Because phantom sensation and phantom pain are common after an amputation, it's likely your doctor will ask you about these symptoms during follow-up visits after your surgery. If you develop pain from the amputated limb before your doctor raises the issue, call your doctor. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and on your response to initial treatments, your doctor may refer you to a specialized pain center.
What you can do
- Write down your symptoms, including when you first noticed them and how often they occur. Also note whether anything in particular seems to trigger phantom pain.
- Make a list of your key medical information, including any other conditions with which you've been diagnosed and the names of any medications, vitamins and supplements you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to recall all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor. Creating your list of questions in advance can help you make the most of your time with your doctor.
For phantom pain, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What pain relief therapies do you recommend?
- If you're prescribing medications, what are the possible side effects?
- Is there any risk of becoming dependent on or addicted to these drugs?
- Given that I have these other health conditions, how can I best manage them together?
- Are the treatments you're suggesting likely to be covered by insurance?
- Am I a candidate for clinical trials?
- Should I see a specialist?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask any other questions that arise.
Dec. 03, 2014
- Angarita MA, et al. Pathophysiology and treatment of phantom limb pain. Colombian Journal of Anesthesiology. 2014;42:40.
- Vaso A, et al. Peripheral nervous system origin of phantom limb pain. Pain. 2014;155:1384.
- Niraj S, et al. Phantom limb pain and its psychologic management: A critical review. Pain Management Nursing. 2014;15:349.
- Virani A, et al. Phantom limb pain: A nursing perspective. 2014;29:44.
- Cornish P, et al. Successful peripheral neuromodulation for phantom limb pain. Pain Medicine. In press. Accessed Sept. 15, 2014.
- Virtual reality therapies for phantom limb pain. European Journal of Pain. 2014;18:897.
- Kalapatapu V. Lower extremity amputation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 15, 2014.
- Benzon HT, et al. Practical Management of Pain. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 16, 2014.
- Alviar MJM, et al. Pharmacologic interventions for treating phantom limb pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD006380.pub2/abstract. Accessed Sept. 16, 2014.
- Pain: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/chronic_pain/detail_chronic_pain.htm. Accessed Sept. 16, 2014.
- Acupuncture: What you need to know. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/acupuncture/introduction. Accessed Sept. 16, 2014.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.