Phantom Limb Syndrome
(Phantom Pain; Phantom Limb; Neuropathic Pain)
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- Preamputation pain
- A blood clot in the amputated limb
- Preamputation infection
- Previous damage to spinal cord or peripheral nerves that supplied the affected limb
- Traumatic amputation
- Type of anesthesia used during the amputation
- Shooting, stabbing, piercing, or burning pain
- An article of clothing or jewelry
- The limb still being attached and functioning normally
- Numbness, tickling, or cramping
- Muscle relaxers
- Imidazoline receptor agonists
Electrical Nerve Stimulation
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)—a tiny electric current is sent through the skin to points on the nerve pathway
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation—a strong magnetic pulse is sent through the scalp into the brain
- Spinal cord stimulation—an electrode is inserted and a small electric current is delivered to the spinal cord to relieve pain
- Regional sympathectomy—a surgical procedure that interrupts selected nerves near the spinal cord affecting the perception of localized pain
- Meditation and relaxation techniques
Amputee Coalition of America http://www.amputee-coalition.org
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke http://www.ninds.nih.gov
Casale R, Alaa L, et al. Phantom limb related phenomena and their rehabilitation after lower limb amputation. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2009;45(4):559-566.
Chahine L, Kanazi G, et al. Phantom limb syndrome: A review. Middle East J Anesthesiol. 2007;19(2):345-355.
Flor H, Nikolajsen L, et al. Phantom limb pain: a case of maladaptive CNS plasticity? Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 2006;7:873-881.
Foell J, Bekrater-Bodmann R, et al. Phantom limb pain after lower limb trauma: origins and treatments. Int J Low Extrem Wounds. 2011;10(4):224-235.
Peripheral neuropathy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated December 2, 2013. Accessed December 3, 2013.
Resources for pain management. Amputee Coalition website. Available at: http://www.amputee-coalition.org/limb-loss-resource-center/resources-for-pain-management/index.html. Accessed December 3, 2013.
Rothgangel AS, Braun SM, et al. The clinical aspects of mirror therapy in rehabilitation: a systematic review of the literature. 2011;34(1):1-13.
Weeks SR, Anderson-Barnes VC, et al. Phantom limb pain: Theories and therapies. 2010;16(5):277-286.
Wolff A, Vanduynhoven E, et al. 21. Phantom pain. Pain Pract. 2011;11(4):403-413.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 12/2013 -
- Update Date: 12/00/2013 -