Sunday, January 25, 2009

(Pain 106) Phantom Pain

"Phantom pain feels like it's coming from a body part that's no longer there. For decades, doctors believed this post-amputation phenomenon was a psychological problem, but experts now recognize a physical cause for this pain — and that it actually originates in the brain.

Most people who've had a limb removed report that it sometimes feels as if their amputated limb is still there. This painless phenomenon, known as phantom limb sensation, can also occur in people who were born without limbs. Phantom limb sensations may include feelings of cold, warmth, itchiness or tingling — but should not be confused with phantom pain. Similarly, pain from the remaining stump of an amputated limb is not the same as phantom pain.

For some people, phantom pain gets better over time without treatment. For others, managing phantom pain can be challenging. You and your doctor can work together to treat phantom pain effectively with medication or other therapies."

--Mayo Clinic