What is Phantom Limb Pain?

Posted on: 2 mins read
Melanie Burden

Partner, Head of Employer's Liability - Serious Injury

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Phantom limb pain is when someone experiences pain that seems to come from a limb or finger or toe that isn’t there because of an amputation. For most, phantom limb pain will be temporary and get better over time but this isn’t always the case. It is a recognised form of chronic neuropathic pain.

Our specialist major trauma team have helped many people get their lives back on track after they’ve had an amputation following a serious injury. We can help you access the compensation and rehabilitation you need to get through your phantom limb pain.

Get in touch with our Personal Injury Solicitors for a free claims assessment.

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What Causes Phantom Limb Pain? 

It’s not known exactly what causes phantom limb pain. When nerves are injured during an amputation, this can affect the brain’s ability to send messages to other parts of the body.

As nerves are used to pass messages from the brain to the limbs, a disruption to the nerves can cause the brain to become confused and create an illusion of a phantom limb. Medical research has shown that these sensations are in fact very real linked to the brain and spinal cord.

Even though the person with the amputation knows that the limb is no longer there, phantom limb pain feels very real and it can be very debilitating. Sadly, our experience is that many people suffering from phantom limb pains are not believed, and this can increase anxiety levels and depression.

Phantom limb pain symptoms can include:

  • Burning sensations
  • Stabbing pains
  • Pressure
  • Cramps
  • Pins and needles
  • Itching

Symptoms can vary from person to person, and they won’t always happen right after surgery. Even a partial amputation of a finger or toe can trigger phantom limb pain which can also be intense and disabling in its effects. 

As well as dealing with amputation injuries of the utmost severity, we also frequently act for people who have suffered intrusive phantom pain following the amputation of a finger or toe where we've successfully obtained a package of treatment and support and a high award of damages compensation.

If you’re still experiencing phantom limb pain following an amputation, please don’t suffer in silence. Contact us for a free claims assessment to see if we can help you get treatment for your phantom limb pain.

Treating Phantom Limb Pain

There are a range of different treatments you can try if you’re experiencing phantom limb pain.

Different people will find certain treatments more effective than others. A combination of different treatment is often needed to obtain optimum pain relief and help cope with the pain which is why it is important to seek expert legal advice if your injury has arisen from an accident that was not your fault. This will mean your solicitor can get you access to a programme of treatment specifically tailored to your needs.

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