Phantom pain is a quite interesting issue that affects patients after a limb amputation. It is not rare and about half of these patients at least temporary suffer from phantom pain. Phantom sensations and pain not only occurs after a limb amputation, they have been described even after a breast ablation or teeth extraction.
Phantom pain is a pain of no more existing body part. The exact cause of this feeling is unclear. In the past it was assumed that it originates in the interrupted nerve endings located in stump after the amputation. According to this theory, the irritation manifests as phantom sensations including the pain. Nowadays, the physicians emphasize the influence of central nervous system (brain) that has subconsciously fixed information of individual body parts.
Amputation of a body part is a sudden process and the brain is unable to quickly adapt to such loss and temporarily holds false information about the affected body part presence. The perception of symptoms may of course be also worsened by psyche but this is certainly not the causative factor.
Phantom manifestations are very diverse and not only painful. The patient may often feel many various sensations in the missing limb such as feeling of touch, touch, heat or cold. Very often the patient also complains about itching and tingling.
Making a diagnosis is not difficult in this case. It is quite clear when there are the above mentioned problems in a patient who has recently lost a limb or other body part.
Treatment of this condition is only necessary in severe cases, when there is no spontaneous withdrawal of the symptoms. Administering antidepressants has proven to have a satisfactory effect, in many cases even painkillers helped. Relief has been noted even by using physical therapeutic methods such as regular massages or electrostimulation. Psychic part of difficulties can be solved by psychotherapy. After a leg amputation the phantom sensations often disappear when there is an early rehabilitation of walking with optimally designed artificial limb.