Phantom Limb Pain (Pain Management Service)
Headed by Dr. Hemaxi Ambani
What Is Phantom Limb Pain?
The causes of Phantom Limb Pain are not fully understood. But this neuropathic (related to the nervous system) pain seems to appear when the nerves that originally carried messages from the limb continue to send signals to the brain, and the brain interprets these as pain signals. Symptoms can include a variety of sensations:
- Burning, stabbing or piercing pain
- Feels as if limb is still there and can move
- Tickling, itching, twitching, numbness or cramping
The phantom pain can vary with intensity and duration. Some patients experience the painful sensations immediately after surgery, while for others the symptoms can occur after months or even years. For some patients the feeling diminishes over time, and for others it can occur daily. Stress and anxiety may contribute to the
The length of time this pain lasts differs from person to person. It can last from seconds to minutes, to hours, to days. For most people, Phantom Limb Pain diminishes in both frequency and duration during the first six months, but many continue to experience some level of these sensations for years.
People are often reluctant to tell anyone that they are experiencing Phantom Limb Pain, for fear that they will be considered "crazy" However, it is important to report these pains as soon as you begin to experience them so treatment can be started.
What Causes Phantom Limb Pain?
As with any other kind of pain, you may find that certain activities or conditions will trigger Phantom Limb Pain. Some of these triggers might include:
- Urination or defecation
- Cigarette smoking
- Changes in barometric pressure
- Herpes zoster
- Exposure to cold.
If you notice any particular thing triggering an episode of Phantom Limb Pain for you, let your healthcare provider know. Some triggers can be avoided - for example, you can prevent constipation or stop smoking. For other triggers, you will just have to understand and treat accordingly. You will not be able to prevent the barometric pressure from changing, but you will be able to understand that your PLP might be more severe on days with big shifts in the weather!
Diagnosis of Phantom Limb Pain
Many phantom limb sufferers have been reluctant in the past to share their symptoms for fear of not being believed. However, the condition has been well documented and is now well known to the medical community. We as a physician will want to talk with you about your medical history and your symptoms. At Shivam Pain Management Centre this usually happens at one of our centers at Vastrapur, Ahmedabad.
Treatments for Phantom Limb Pain
A wide range of treatments are available for Phantom Limb Pain including medications such as anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, muscle relaxants and pain medications, nerve blocks, neuromodulation, biofeedback, mirror therapy and surgical treatment. Spinal Cord Stimulation for Phantom Limb Pain During this procedure the neurosurgeon implants a small electrode in the spine to deliver electrical pulses to block the pain signals to the brain.
Medications for Phantom Limb Pain
There are many different categories of medications that can decrease your pain. Each of them is thought to work on different kinds of pain sensations. The categories of some of the medications you might be given include:
- Acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Opioids (narcotic pain medications)
- Muscle relaxants.
Some of these medications work best if taken in combination with other medications and if given at certain times of the day. The antidepressants typically work best if given at bedtime, and are often taken at the same time as the anticonvulsants. Finding the right medications - with the fewest side effects - will require you and your healthcare provider to work closely together.
Non-Medication Treatments for Phantom Limb Pain
Alternative/complementary therapies can be helpful for the reduction of Phantom Limb Pain
- Massage of the residual limb
- Use of a shrinker
- Repositioning of the residual limb by propping on a pillow or cushion
- Mirror box therapy
- TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
- Virtual reality therapy
Wrist pain can encompass a wide range of issues, including issues with a tendon, ligament, or nerve. Sometimes, surgery may be required to address these problems; in other instances, a hand specialist will be able to diagnose you and then treat the problem through physical therapy. Regardless, assessing the problem is always the first step. As a leader in Pain Management practice in Ahmedabad, Shivam Pain Management Centre has experienced doctors like Dr.Hemaxi Ambani who provide skilled state-of-the-art treatments. Our physicians are experts in the specialties of pain management.
Talk with one of our phantom limb pain specialists at our Vastrapur area Pain Management Center.