FAQs about Phantom Limb Pain

Understanding Phantom Limb Pain

Phantom limb pain is a chronic condition that affects patients who have recently had an amputation. Patients with this condition often experience a complex feeling where their brain perceives pain sensations from the region of the amputated limb. This is a nerve-related condition that is difficult for patients to understand. The simple explanation is that phantom limb pain is the result of nerve damage that occurred during the patient’s injury or the surgery to amputate. As a result of this damage, the nerves send unnecessary pain signals to the brain, which processes it in a way that feels as though it is occurring in the amputated limb. 

Common Symptoms

Patients with this condition may experience a plethora of symptoms as a result of their condition. Common symptoms include burning, tingling, itching, or shooting pain, which the brain processes in the region of the missing limb. These symptoms can be quite debilitating and prevent patients from engaging in everyday activities. 

Much like any chronic condition, phantom limb pain can also cause mental barriers that can be difficult for patients to break through. This pain can prevent patients from leaving their houses and enjoying the same activities they once did, limiting their social life. For this reason, it is important that patients feel comfortable discussing their symptoms with their doctor or a therapist, to ensure their mental health is protected during this time. 

FAQs About Phantom Limb Pain

There are lots of unknowns when it comes to phantom limb pain, and we are here to offer some clarity. Below you will find common questions that many patients with this condition have. At BEST Health System, we are dedicated to educating our patients to ensure they can most effectively manage their pain.

What are Phantom Limb Pain Treatment Options?

There are several treatment options for patients with phantom limb pain. Oftentimes, treatment will begin with medication therapy to help patients manage discomfort. This may include the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antidepressants, anticonvulsants, or opioids to alleviate discomfort. Additionally, many patients engage in physical therapy to help them improve mobility and reduce pain symptoms. If these treatments are ineffective, patients may consider mirror therapy or spinal cord stimulation therapy which have been known to significantly help them find relief. 

What is Mirror Therapy for Phantom Limb Pain?

Mirror therapy is a non-invasive treatment option for patients with phantom limb pain. The therapy works by creating an illusion that the missing limb is present through the reflection of the intact limb in a mirror, thus providing visual feedback to the brain. Over time, patients can expect this therapy to rewire their brains to improve motor control, relieve pain, and enhance the patient’s quality of life. 

Can Spinal Cord Stimulation Help Phantom Limb Pain?

Spinal cord stimulation is a common treatment option for patients suffering from many nerve-related chronic pain disorders. Spinal cord stimulation works by disrupting the pain signals before they reach the brain, effectively reducing sensations of phantom limb pain. Numerous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of SCS in managing chronic pain, with many patients reporting significant improvements in their quality of life and reduction in their overall pain levels. 

Why Is Phantom Limb Pain Worse at Night?

This condition is often more severe at night for a few reasons. During the day, individuals are typically more occupied, masking the symptoms. However, at night there are fewer distractions, making the pain appear more severe. Additionally, activity during the day can cause the body to experience pain at night.

Treatment with BEST Health System

BEST Health System is a modern healthcare brand specializing in pain management for chronic conditions. We understand that many patients with chronic pain concerns are overlooked due to the complex nature of treatment. However, our team is different. BEST is comprised of in-demand doctors who are dedicated to helping patients find meaningful relief. 

If you experience chronic pain, you deserve to find relief. Contact us today to learn more.