What Is Phantom Limb Pain?

Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

What Is Causing My Pain?

If you have had an amputation, you’re probably aware of Phantom Limb Pain. However, many patients are unaware of the extent of the sensations, the cause, and the treatment options available. Learn more about what you may be experiencing and what you can do to find relief.

phantom limb pain surgery

What Are The Symptoms of Phantom Limb Pain?

People with phantom limb often experience the sensation that the amputated limb is still present and connected to their body. Patients living with Phantom Limb Pain experience the same sensation, but it is felt as pain in the absent portion of the extremity or limb.

Sensations arise soon after the amputation (one week to a few months)

Pain can be sporadic or continuous

Pain levels and pain descriptions (e.g. cramping, stabbing, shooting, burning) vary from patient to patient

What Are The Causes of Phantom Limb Pain?

The cause of Phantom Limb Pain lies within the spinal cord and brain. When the brain and spinal cord stop receiving normal messages from the amputated limb, abnormal excitatory signals are generated in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord coupled with a loss of inhibition that occurs at higher levels within the brain. The result is a state of hyperactivity and supersensitivity of the pain signaling pathways within the brain.

Patients who experienced pain in the affected limb before amputation are more likely to have Phantom Limb Pain. Also, amputees that are diagnosed with stump pain or post-amputation pain (often caused by scar tissue or damaged nerves) can have a higher incidence of this condition.

How Is It Diagnosed?

Dr. Alain de Lotbinière is an expert in diagnosing complex neurological disorders and can provide insight into the causes of your specific pain. He will review your medical and surgical history as well as discuss your pain and individual symptoms to ensure the right diagnosis.

Alain de Lotbiniere NY Surgeon

What Are The Treatments?

Dr. de Lotbinière will discuss all the treatments available and help you define the right path toward managing your pain.

Treatments for include:

  • Pain Relievers
  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Intrathecal Pain Pump

How Can Dr. Alain de Lotbinière Help?

If you are living with pain after an amputation, turn to Dr. Alain de Lotbinière. As a pioneering neurosurgeon who utilizes the most advanced tools and innovative procedures, he can provide a pathway to less pain. Book a consultation at either his New York or Connecticut office today!