Strategies To Manage Phantom Limb Pain

Posted on: 21 October 2015

Phantom limb pain (PLP) is experienced by many limb amputees. This phenomenon is the sensation that people experience after a limb is removed. While the limb itself is gone, painful sensations are still felt. Often this pain is experienced in what would have been the fingers or toes of the body. Phantom limb pain can feel like a burning, pressure, itching or aching, and can happen off and on for months or years after the removal of the limb. This type of pain can be difficult to treat, in part because the limb itself is gone. However, phantom limb pain is such a common occurrence among amputees that there are strategies that have been developed to help amputees manage PLP.

Avoid Triggers

Phantom limb pain often starts with triggers in the environment. Doing a certain activity or simply encountering a specific environmental condition can often result in an occurrence of phantom limb pain. To determine what your triggers are, pay close attention to your phantom limb pain. Keep a journal of the days and times when it begins. Your triggers may be a temperature in the air, assuming a specific posture or engagement in a specific activity. If you can, avoid your triggers. Even if you can't avoid certain triggers (like cold weather), recognizing the triggers can help you be prepared for an occurrence of the pain.

Chiropractic Care

It's thought that the cause of phantom limb pain is the result of mixed signals in the body. This is why chiropractic care is one of the recommended treatments for phantom limb pain. Chiropractic care re-aligns the bones in the spine, promoting good communication between the brain and the rest of the body via the spinal cord. By eliminating subluxations, chiropractic care can help prevent signal misfires that cause phantom limb pain.


Biofeedback is a therapy that helps patients learn how to control the internal workings of their body through the power of their mind. Biofeedback can help patients control muscle activity, heart rate, breathing and other involuntary functions controlled by the central nervous system. Biofeedback can help phantom limb sufferers by helping them overcome the pain with the power of thought.


Although phantom limb pain seems to originate with a part of the body that is no longer there, the pain itself is real. Many doctors will prescribe certain pain medications for phantom limb pain management. If you experience phantom limb pain on a regular basis, talk to your doctor about the best medications for your condition. He or she can prescribe medicines that will be the most helpful for your particular pain.

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