The experience of acute to extreme pains after undergoing a surgery is a part of healing process. The pain gradually keeps decreasing as the time passes by. However, this is the not case with phantom limb pain.
Phantom limb pain is a pain that you experience after the amputation of a limb that is not physically there. Many types of sensations are felt by the patients. These sensations may be unpleasant or painful for the patients.
Before the treatment of phantom pain, one needs to understand its different types to differentiate between them and treat them accordingly.
A patient, sometimes feel that the missing part is still there. Usually, patients who have experienced amputation of a leg or an arm feel this sensation but some breast cancer patients have also complained about it.
Phantom pain is an actual feeling of pain which can range from acute to extreme in the body part which is not there.
Residual limb pain:
The pain that occurs in the part that is still there is termed as phantom limb pain. This pain is not a phantom pain rather it is a pain that has been originated from the stump.
Treatment of phantom limb pain:
Recovery from post-amputation pain depends on several things such as the intensity, frequency, and various other mechanisms. Some most common treatments of phantom limb pain are listed below:
Massaging of the area from where the limb has been removed causes relaxation and ease from pain. Regular massage will lead to quick recovery.
If the pain is extreme, medication is prescribed by the doctors. These medications may include painkillers, anti-depressants, neuroleptics and few others. It may be noted that there are no specific medicines available for phantom limb pain, but some drugs that have been designed to treat other cures have helped to relax the pain.
A medicine prescribed to one patient may not necessarily work for the other patient as well. Since the level of pain and sensations vary from person to person.
Different therapies may be suggested to patients by the doctors to ease the pain and relax the muscles. These therapies include physical, non-invasive and minimally invasive therapies.
Mirror box therapy in a common therapy which is often suggested to patients. In this therapy, a patient is made to watch mirror while receiving this therapy and it helps to make them understand that their limb is no longer there.
Nerve block is another common therapy given to reduce the phantom limb pain. In this method, the medication that is given interrupts pain message that is between the brain and the area of phantom pain.
If any other method does not work and pain is still there, a surgery could be performed to remove scar tissues that may be entangling a nerve. Brain stimulation can also be performed to minimize the pain. In this technique, tiny electrodes are directly placed on the surface of the brain to reduce the force of the pain with electrical impulses.
Doctors may suggest any of the above-mentioned techniques depending on the condition of the patient. Sometimes more than one technique may also be applied if the first one does not work.
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