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Phantom Limb Syndrome Specialist

Johnston Pain Management, P.A. -  - Pain Management

Johnston Pain Management, P.A.

Pain Management located in Jacksonville, NC & New Bern, NC

After you lose an arm or leg, it's common to develop phantom limb pain, experiencing real pain in a limb that's no longer there. Effectively treating phantom limb pain requires the comprehensive approach practiced by the team at Johnston Pain Management, P.A. They choose from multiple types of treatment to create a customized plan that works for each person. If you need relief from phantom limb pain, call one of the offices in Jacksonville, New Bern, or Sneads Ferry, North Carolina, or book an appointment online today.

Phantom Limb Syndrome Q & A

What causes phantom limb pain?

Phantom limb pain refers to pain you feel in an amputated arm or leg. You experience real pain even though you no longer have the limb.

Another type of amputation-related pain, called stump pain, occurs when you have pain in the remaining part of the arm or leg.

Phantom limb pain develops due to nerve changes that occur after an amputation. Removing the limb causes significant trauma in the nerves in the stump. As a result, the ends of the remaining nerves develop growths (neuromas), the nerves become hypersensitive and send pain signals to your brain.

Another possible cause begins in your brain. After your brain loses sensation from the limb, it may reorganize nerve pathways. This complex reorganization allows you to feel pain from other areas as though it originates in the amputated limb. 

What symptoms accompany phantom limb pain?

Phantom limb pain ranges from mild to excruciating. Your pain may last for seconds, days, or longer. In addition to pain, you may also experience:

  • Cramping
  • Aching
  • Burning
  • Tingling (pins and needles)
  • Sensations of heat or cold
  • Stabbing sensations
  • Feeling that your missing fingers or toes are moving
  • Feeling that your missing limb is still there

If you get phantom limb pain, it may appear shortly after your amputation, or it may not develop for weeks or months.  

How is phantom limb pain treated? 

The team at Johnston Pain Management, P.A., offers holistic care that combines several types of treatment to achieve optimal pain relief. Though they customize your treatment plan, many patients respond well to a combination that includes medication, interventional procedures, and psychological support.

Examples of medications and interventional procedures frequently used to treat phantom limb pain include: 

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Pain-relieving medications
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Neurostimulation
  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
  • Continuous peripheral nerve block

Phantom limb pain often causes stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Unfortunately, these conditions also aggravate your pain and make it worse. For this reason, the team at Johnston Pain Management, P.A., includes clinical psychologists. They work with you to help you overcome emotional disorders and learn ways to cope with the pain.

With a focus on creating treatments that achieve optimal pain relief, your provider may also recommend therapies such as acupuncture, physical therapy, and mirror therapy.

To learn more about your treatment options for phantom limb pain, call Johnston Pain Management, P.A., or book an appointment online today.