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Phantom Limb Pain: Why You Should Talk to Your Doctor About It

Phantom Limb Pain: Why You Should Talk to Your Doctor About It

If you’re an amputee, you might suffer from phantom limb pain (PLP), which causes uncomfortable sensations in your limb that’s no longer there. You might feel that this condition can’t be helped, but that’s not true.

At Regenerative Spine and Pain Institute in Plainsboro and Manalapan Township, New Jersey, double board-certified Dr. Ronak Patel understands how PLP works, and can diagnose and treat it effectively.

If you suffer from PLP, we understand that it can be a reminder of your circumstances. You might also think this pain is strictly imaginary. But, that’s simply not the case. We have compassion for what you’re going through and the pain you feel, so please make an appointment with us if you have PLP. 

In the meantime, here’s more information about the condition and how we can help.

Symptoms of PLP

PLP causes you to experience any of the following:

We have an answer for why these symptoms might occur.

Why PLP happens

After you have an amputation, it can take 3-6 months to heal. If you have PLP, researchers believe your nervous system is sending out mixed signals between your spinal cord and brain. 

When a part of your body is amputated, the nerve connections that run from your periphery to your brain stay where they are. So your brain can misinterpret the information as a signal of pain, even if the amputated portion of your body has been removed.

Treatment for PLP

When you visit us at our practice, we work to ease your symptoms. Suggested treatments to send electrical impulses to your nerves, brain, or spinal cord include:

We have other treatments that can help ease your pain, such as nerve blocks, injections, muscle relaxers, beta blockers, antidepressants, and prescription pain relievers. 

Mirror therapy may also help with your condition. You look at a mirror that gives the illusion that your missing limb is intact. You then perform symmetrical exercises that make you think your missing limb is moving. This has been known to ease PLP symptoms.

Where to start

Your first step is to call our office for an appointment. Dr. Patel can accurately diagnose you. During your examination, he asks you questions to find out your sensations, where you sense they’re located, how long your pain lasts, and how often it occurs.

When you meet with him, you can begin your path of treatment to help your symptoms diminish.

To make your appointment, call or click “book online” today. 

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