Have You Had an Amputation But Still Have Pain?

Anyone who undergoes an amputation can develop phantom pain or stump pain. Phantom limb pain feels like it is coming from the body part that is no longer there, although it is actually caused by nerve endings at the site of the amputation that continue to send pain signals to the brain. Stump pain is located at the end of an amputated limb’s stump—and is caused by nerve damage in the stump region.

Cause/Risk Factors of Phantom & Stump Pain

  • As nerves that were damaged in your amputation surgery try to heal, they sometimes form abnormally sensitive regions called neuromas, which cause stump pain.
  • Phantom pain normally occurs within the first week after an amputation, although in some cases, it can develop months or even years after the amputation.
  • Phantom pain may be a response to mixed signals from the brain as areas of the spinal cord and brain lose input from the missing limb and adjust in unpredictable ways.
  • Phantom pain may be caused by damaged nerve endings, scar tissue at the site of the amputation, and the physical memory of pre-amputation pain in the affected area.

Symptoms of Phantom & Stump Pain

Characteristics of phantom pain include:

  • An onset within the first few days of amputation
  • A tendency to come and go rather than be constant
  • Often described as shooting, stabbing, boring, squeezing, throbbing or burning
  • May also include feelings of coldness, warmth, itchiness or tingling
  • May be triggered by weather changes, pressure on the remaining part of the limb or emotional stress

Stump pain is often described as sharp, burning and electric

Diagnosis of Phantom & Stump Pain

Although there are no medical tests to diagnose phantom and stump pain, the conditions can be identified by collecting information about the symptoms and through clinical examination.

Treatment of Phantom & Stump Pain

At PMIR Medical Center, we understand that pain is a complex condition that affects the whole person—body, mind and spirit. We provide a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to treatment, customizing the most effective treatment plans for our patients and empowering them to become a collaborative partner in their recovery process.

Non-invasive treatment for phantom pain and stump pain is often a matter of trial and observation. Quite often, multiple treatments may be used.

We offer treatment options for phantom pain and stump pain that include:

We specialize in non-medication-based therapies to help our patients achieve sustained pain relief. However, we do offer pain medication, when necessary, as a supplement to other treatment options.

We may also recommend complementing your treatment at PMIR with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) options that include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Physical therapy
  • Biofeedback
  • Massage
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

Make An Appointment Today

To learn more about how we treat phantom pain and stump pain, and the treatment plan that might be best for you, contact us directly via our online form or request an appointment today by calling (855) 764-7633.

Talk to our Pain and Spine Specialists