Common among amputees and a potential chronic problem for some, phantom pain is a painful sensation from a part of your body that has been removed.
Phantom pain is believed to be linked to both the brain and the nervous system. When the brain no longer receives sensory signals from an area of the body that has been removed, such as an arm or a leg, the brain may simply become confused. In an effort to correct things, it will begin to associate the missing part with another part of your body – which begins causing these painful sensations. This pain may also be caused or enhanced by damaged nerves near the site of the amputation.
The sensations of phantom pain may include:
These sensations may come and go at regular or irregular intervals – or may continue to persist indefinitely.
Treatment for phantom pain may vary depending on your unique situation. Medications, such as pain relievers or antidepressants may correct the issue. Nerve stimulation or other therapeutic techniques may also be performed in order to help relieve pain and eliminate its return.