Once you experience phantom limb pain, you know you want to do whatever you can to stop it from happening again. At Metro Denver Pain Management, the team of board-certified professionals understands the root causes of phantom limb pain and works to find a solution to relieve your symptoms. With convenient locations in Greenwood Village, Parker, and Thornton, Colorado, there’s no reason to wait to schedule your appointment. Call the office today or go online to book your initial consultation.
Phantom limb pain occurs in a limb that has been amputated or lost and not attached to the body. This pain, which is believed to manifest in the spinal cord and brain, gives you the indication of coming from a limb that is no longer there.
Along with the pain, you may experience other phantom limb sensations, such as:
These symptoms, along with the pain, may come and go, or they may be steady. Sometimes it may feel like your missing limb is in an odd position or like your limb is moving.
The underlying cause of phantom limb pain is unknown, but it’s believed to occur in the spinal cord and brain. While your limb is missing, the nerves in your spine and the area in your brain that is responsible for the sensations in that area are still present and functioning.
In MRI and PET imaging tests, the area of the brain that was connected to your missing limb activates when phantom limb pain occurs. This has refuted the past idea that phantom limb pain resulted from a psychological issue; that theory is no longer accepted.
Instead, experts believe that the nerves that were attached to your limb adjust themselves, but that it can lead to a miscommunication in the brain. Because the body knows that something’s not right, it creates pain.
Your doctor spends time discussing different options for your phantom limb pain. He starts with basic relaxation skills that can help dissipate the pain. He may recommend deep breathing or have you imagine tensing and then relaxing the missing limb.
Distraction can also help reduce phantom limb pain and decrease its frequency. Listening to music, reading a book, or going for a walk may help. Calling a friend may even be enough to distract your mind and reduce the severity of your pain.
Over-the-counter pain medications may also help.
When these treatments aren’t effective, the Metro Denver Pain Management practice may recommend nerve stimulation through a TENS unit or, in more severe cases, implanted devices.
In extreme cases, the specialists may suggest nerve blocks or even surgery.
When phantom limb pain interferes with how you function, call Metro Denver Pain Management to schedule your appointment. You can even book today online.