Phantom limb pain is pain that is perceived in a part of the body which is no longer present. It is estimated that 80 percent of amputees experience phantom limb pain. Although the term is “phantom limb pain” the feeling is often more of a burning, twisting, itching, or pressure sensation than pain. The exact mechanism of phantom limb pain is unknown although proposed mechanisms include pain origination from either the central nervous system or the peripheral nervous system. Since the exact mechanism of phantom limb pain is unknown, treating this pain may be difficult. Treatments include pharmacological and nonpharmacological. Pharmacological treatments include NSAIDs, opioids, anti-convulsants, beta-blockers, and calcium channel blockers. Non-pharmacological treatments include mirror therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, acupuncture, guided imagery, massage, and biofeedback. Amputees experiencing phantom limb pain typically have the best outcome with a multi-disciplinary approach that includes both pharmacological and non-pharmacological management.
Stockburger, Stephanie J.; Sadhir, Mandakini; and Omar, Hatim A., "Phantom Limb Pain" (2016). Pediatrics Faculty Publications. 243.