Phantom pain is a very frustrating, as well as painful, condition that amputees sometimes face.
The term “phantom pain” means pain that seems to be coming from a part of a limb that is no longer there.
Phantom pain usually occurs shortly after the amputation. It can feel like regular pain, or burning, pressure, itching or twisting.
It may last for just a few seconds, or even days or weeks.
Fortunately phantom pain usually gets less severe and lasts for shorter periods of time after the first six months since the amputation has passed. However, it can in some cases last for years.
Many amputees who experience phantom pain do not want to tell anyone. They may be afraid people will think they are crazy.
However, about 80 percent of amputees feel these sensations at some point. If you are feeling phantom pain, it’s important to report the pain to your doctor so that it can be treated early on.
Currently, doctors believe that phantom pain is caused by signals from your brain or spinal cord.
It’s possible that certain activities in which you are engaging are causing the pain, such as touching, being exposed to cold, or smoking. If you notice a pattern, it’s important to tell your doctor, and you may be able to limit the phantom pain by avoiding the triggers.
Although scientists are currently working on treatments, right now the most effective way to treat phantom limb pain is with a combo of medication and alternative therapies.
The alternative therapies might include acupuncture, massage, biofeedback, elevating the limb, electrical simulation, or other therapies.
If you are experiencing phantom pain in a limb, it’s important to let your healthcare provider know.
If you are having trouble with getting an insurance company to pay for certain phantom pain treatments, you may need to seek legal counsel. Insurance companies often act in bad faith in order to save money.
Call me, Conal Doyle, Amputation Attorney at 310-385-0567.
As an amputee, I understand the frustrations amputees often encounter when dealing with insurance companies. Call me to learn more.