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Phantom Limb Pain
When a limb is lost traumatically in an accident or through amputation, there are times when the patient continues to experience pain in the area that has been lost. This can be any of the following; burning, cramping, crushing or shooting sensation at its worst. As well as the patient commenting that they can still feel the normal sensations associated with the limb prior to its amputation.
Most frequently the phantom limb pain does reduce in severity over the months following the amputation. But it is important that the patient discuss this in depth with their pain specialist because appropriate medication given at an early stage can reduce the likelihood of the experience becoming longer lasting. Where the pain is due to an ill fitting prosthesis we may refer the patient back to the limb centre who are very helpful in this regard, as well as helping the patient with some balancing or posture related exercises
Our clinicians work alongside medical specialists to help the patient develop skills in:
- Managing the pain by learning distraction strategies.
- Learning how to reduce muscle spasms or improve blood flow to the areas near the amputation site. To do this we use state of the art biofeedback equipment.
- Coping with pain by means of learning how to increase quality of life despite the presence of pain.
- Working with mood related issues such as reducing any associated depression, irritability or anxiety.