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PHANTOM LIMB PAIN MANAGEMENT & TREATMENT

Phantom Limb Pain Management & Treatment

Phantom pain can occur in people who were born without a body part or in people who have recently had a body part amputated. Once believed to be a psychological problem, phantom limb pain is now recognized as sensations originating in the brain and the spinal cord. Some patients who lose a body part will have phantom limb pain that alleviates without treatment. However, other people face real challenges in their pain management.

At The Pain Center of Arizona, our physicians make sure all of our patients receive the same amount of quality treatment. Understanding that each patient’s condition is different is just the tip of the iceberg of the kind of care and compassion everyone receives. Phantom limb pain is treated with integrity and expertise, and we encourage anyone with this condition to hear our advice at the very least.

The most common symptom after an individual has had a limb removed is that they feel pain as if their limb is still there. This sensation, called phantom limb pain, can provide feelings of coldness, warmth, tingling, or itching. Even individuals born without a limb can feel similar sensations. It is easily to confuse phantom pain with phantom limb pain. Phantom pain is pain generating from the remaining ‘stump’ left after amputation. Phantom limb pain feels as if the pain is coming from the limb that is no longer there.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scans can show areas of the brain that are connected to the amputated limb that continue to have activity when a person feels pain. The cause of phantom limb pain continues to be researched, as its relevancy to the brain and spinal cord have recently been identified. After an individual loses a limb, their brain re-circuits the sensory information to an area of the body that is still there (from a missing leg to an arm). So, when your arm is touched, the area where your missing leg is feels touched. Other factors such as nerve damage, scar tissue, and physical memory contribute to phantom limb pain, too.

If your or someone you know suffers from phantom limb pain, call a specialist at any of our Pain Center locations, today. Losing a limb can be hard, and it can be even harder when pain persists. Let us help you get your life back!

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