How can phantom pain be managed?
Phantom pain is a pain that is felt in a limb that has been amputated. The person who is feeling the pain actually feels a burning, stinging, cutting, or even itching sensation, even though the limb is not physically there.
Doctors don't understand how and why the pain is caused, but the reality is that the pain is there and needs to be managed. Some patients have had success using medications that are meant to deal with neuropathic pain, or nerve pain, although it is not effective for everyone.
There are new treatments being studied as well. For example, recently a study was published showing positive results when people with amputations used mirrors to put their body into perspective. This seemed to have some effect on the perception of pain.
Phantom pain does tend to decrease for many people eventually.
Erkin Sonmez, MD, et al. Lumbar disc herniation as a rare cause of stump pain. In Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. April 2008. Vol. 8. Pp. 398-399.