Phantom Limb Pain

Phantom pain is pain that feels like it’s coming from a body part that’s 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 who’ve had an arm or leg removed, the disorder may also occur after surgeries to remove other body parts, such as the breast, penis, eye or tongue.

Characteristics of phantom pain include onset within the first few days of amputation, comes and goes or is continuous,  affects the part of the limb farthest from the body, such as the foot of an amputated leg, may be described as shooting, stabbing, boring, squeezing, throbbing or burning.

Common treatment options include nerve stimulation, a mirror box, acupuncture, injections, spinal cord stimulation, and nerve blocks