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.

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Causes & Risk Factors

  • 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.


There are many types of cancer pain. Our Pain and Spine Specialists can help you discover the type and cause of the pain so it can be effectively treated. Symptoms include:

Symptoms 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.


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 Options

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:

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