Min menu


Phantom pain : Causes and treatments


Phantom Pain and Treatment Are you experiencing any pain after you have had a limb amputated? The pain isn't a delusion; it's real. Technically speaking, the part of your body is missing, but you are still experiencing the pain in that part of your body that isn't even there. Weird. Well, if you are wondering, this condition is termed "phantom pain" in medical terminology. 

Chronology, although it has received some light recently, still remains a poorly understood topic with a medical condition that is difficult to treat.

What is phantom pain?

Phantom pain is referred to as neuropathic pain that is experienced in a body part that is no longer present in the body. Sensations like throbbing, piercing, tingling, and pin pricking are the most frequently experienced ones. 

In the case of phantom pain, it can range from mild to severe. It can last anywhere from a second or two to days or even weeks. These sensations of phantom pain may have an onset at a different time for different people. It may occur immediately following the amputation or years later. So the onset may be within a month or so of the amputation or a year or two after the procedure.

What are the causes of phantom pain?

There are multiple factors responsible for phantom pain. The location of amputation or the location of amputation pain is strongly related to the development of phantom pain. Phantom pain is also related to the cause for which the limb had to be amputated, such as trauma, cancer, vascular problems, congenital limb deficiency, etc .

Anxiety, stress, and memory of pain during the procedure, as well as depression, all contribute significantly to the exacerbation and persistence of the painful sensations of phantom pain.

What is the treatment for phantom pain?

It is quite a process to find the right treatment to relieve your phantom pain. Medication is used first, followed by noninvasive techniques such as acupuncture and physiotherapy.Invasive options include implanted devices and injections. 

If nothing is working for a person, surgery is the last resort to get rid of it. The most recent therapy, mirror therapy, has been introduced. Researchers have found mixed results in controlled trials of mirror therapy for phantom pain. Multidisciplinary measures have helped in achieving the most successful outcomes in this therapy.


It is unlikely for a drug to work for everyone in the same way, so a combination of different drugs is used for different people.

Other treatments

Some of the medications are over-the-counter. Pain relievers such as Tylenol, Ibuprofen, or Aleve; opioids such as morphine, encodeine, tricyclic, antidepressants, anticonvulsants such as carbonazepine, gabapentin, and other anticonvulsants; sodium channel blockers such as bupivacaine, lidocaine; and beta blockers such as metoprolol or propranolol; physiotherapy, prosthesis trainingStimulation. Other treatments include compression on the residual limb, limb massage and desensitization, limb massage, rock heat, ice trigger point release education, and reassurance sensory discrimination training.