Phantom Pain

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

After one of your limbs is amputated, you may feel a pain from that area as if the limb is still there. This is called phantom sensation or phantom pain. Dr. Edward Hill discusses this condition in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Phantom pain is pain that feels like its coming from a body part thats no longer there. Doctors once believed this post-amputation phenomenon was a psychological problem, but experts now recognize that these real sensations originate in the spinal cord and brain.

Although phantom pain occurs most often in people whove had an arm or leg removed, the disorder may also occur after surgeries to remove other body parts.

Characteristics of phantom pain include:

Onset within the first few days of amputation

Tendency to come and go rather than be constant

May be described as shooting, stabbing, squeezing, throbbing or burning

Sometimes feels as if the phantom part is forced into an uncomfortable position, and

May be triggered by weather changes, pressure on the remaining part of the limb or emotional stress

For some people, phantom pain gets better over time without treatment. For others, managing phantom pain can be challenging. You and your doctor can work together to treat phantom pain effectively with medication or other therapies.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.