Phantom Limb Pain?

It’s not fair. Charlene lived through the car crash, but her left leg was so crushed with broken bones and bruises that amputation was the only option. After a lot of rehab, drive, true grit and support, she is now back to her favorite sport of running. When she wears slacks, you wouldn’t know that she is missing a leg!

One Saturday eve, the two of you are at a party, and, “ow,” “ouch,” “my left leg!”  The sounds came from your right, but Charlene is the only person on your right;  grimacing, and clearly the utterer! But, how could she have pain in her leg when she doesn’t have a leg?’ I thought! This is something called phantom limb pain.

In phantom limb pain, a patient still feels sensations from a limb that has been amputated, and one of those sensations is pain. Until recently, not much was known about the cause of these sensations, including pain sensations in the phantom limb.

However, recent research shows that the nerves involved in the sensations are not just ‘nerve’ pain. This pain involves the brain, too. Parts of the brain are involved in the processing of these sensations. I’m sure more studies will follow.

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