The perplexing concept of phantom pain arises when an individual perceives pain in a body part that has either undergone amputation or is no longer part of their anatomy. After limb amputation, this intriguing occurrence is commonly referred to as “phantom limb pain,” particularly when the sensations relate to missing limbs. However, it is important to recognize that this phenomenon can also extend its reach to other surgically removed body parts, including organs or teeth.
Though not entirely comprehended, experts believe that the precise cause of phantom pain involves a complex interplay of factors. Nerve damage, central sensitization, brain remapping, and psychological elements like depression and anxiety are all thought to be contributing factors to this unusual pain experience. The sensations associated with phantom pain can be diverse and vary from person to person, encompassing throbbing, tingling, burning, sharp pain, cramping, or sensations reminiscent of electric shocks.
Treating Phantom Pain
Treatment for phantom pain aims to manage and alleviate the discomfort experienced by the affected individuals. There are several approaches to treating phantom pain, and the choice of treatment may depend on the severity of the pain and the individual’s response to various therapies. Medications are commonly used to manage phantom pain and may include tricyclic antidepressants, opioids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and anticonvulsants.
Non-medical treatments are also available and may involve the use of medical therapies such as Transcutaneous Nerve Stimulation (TENS) and Central Nervous System Stimulation, which use electrical currents to stimulate nerves in the affected area or the brain and spinal cord. Biofeedback is another option, where electrodes are placed near the affected area, and a specialist helps the individual learn how to control certain functions in that area. Additionally, acupuncture may be considered as part of the treatment plan.
How Can We Help?
Having a limb or limbs amputated is already a trying life-changing experience without lingering phantom pain post-surgery. Let us aid your recovery and minimize phantom limb pain in Barrington, IL. Illinois Pain & Spine Institute have award-winning pain treatment techniques that we tailor to each patient. Don’t let phantom pain stop you from regaining your life. Call our Barrington clinic (847) 852-2000 and schedule your appointment today!