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Types of Pain and Problems

Phantom Limb/Amputation Pain

This describes pain that occurs after amputation of any body part, in particular a limb. It most often occurs with the loss of a limb such as an arm or leg, but patients may experience phantom pain after procedures such as mastectomy or tooth extraction. Reasons for this pain are not well known. Some suggest that it is the body’s sensory “memory” in that particular area of the body that is involved. Generally, patients born without a limb and patients who lose a limb before age 6 do not experience phantom limb pain. It is suggested that the central nervous system must develop beyond this age in patients for this type of pain to occur after amputation. Symptoms may develop any time after amputation, but usually decrease over time. Treatment options include anti-depressants, anti-convulsants, opioid medications, injections, acupuncture, and nerve or spinal cord stimulation.