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What does phantom limb pain feel like?

On Behalf of | Nov 13, 2019 | Construction Accidents |

The risk of work-related limb amputation in New York is higher in certain industries than in others. Workers in construction and manufacturing, for example, are at greater risk. Following the amputation of a limb in a job-related accident, you may start experiencing pain and discomfort that seems to be coming from the limb that is no longer there. This disorienting and frustrating condition goes by the name of phantom pain.

Phantom pain is common following the amputation of a limb and is even expected to a certain extent. However, according to WebMD, everyone experiences phantom pain somewhat differently. You may experience a sensation that is like an electric shock or describe your pain as “pins and needles.” The pain may also be shooting, burning or crushing in nature. It may take the form of an itch that you cannot scratch or a sensation of pressure.

Despite the fact that your limb is no longer present, the pain is not merely in your imagination. Researchers do not yet fully understand what causes phantom pain, but studies have shown that it is a physiological reaction rather than a psychological effect. The cause may be scar tissue and damage to nerves from the amputation surgery, or it may be an issue with the brain trying to “rewire” itself in response to losing nerve signals.

If you experience phantom pain following an amputation, you should discuss treatment options with your doctor. These may include nerve stimulation with a TENS unit, relaxation techniques, medications or surgery.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.