- Antidepressants, to relieve pain associated with nerve damage in the affected area.
- Anticonvulsants, to reduce or slow pain signals sent by nerves in the affected area.
- Narcotics, including codeine and morphine prescribed in small doses to control associated phantom limb pain.
- N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists, a type of anaesthetic that blocks the activities of proteins that relay signals from the nerve to the brain.
The most commonly reported symptom reported by people who’ve had a limb amputated is the feeling that the limb is still there; this sensation is painless and is referred to as phantom limb sensation.
Those experiencing phantom limb sensations commonly report feelings such as coldness, heat, itching, and tingling; however, these sensations are not considered phantom pain. According to the Mayo Clinic, and by definition, phantom pain is described as pain and/or discomfort originating in the body part that has been amputated and is no longer attached to the body .
Typical characteristics associated with phantom pain include:
Experiencing phantom pain within the week following amputation
Pain that is continuous or tends to come and go
Often is experienced in the portion of the limb furthest from the body; for example, the hand of an arm that has been amputated
Pain that varies in intensity and is often described as shooting, stabbing, boring, squeezing, throbbing or burning
While there is not a specific medical test designed to identify phantom limb pain, physicians typically diagnose the condition by conducting a physical examination, assessing reported symptoms, and evaluating your medical history.
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