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Phantom Pain

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  • Phantom Pain

    The neurological basis and mechanisms for phantom limb pain are all derived from experimental theories and observations. Little is known about the true mechanism causing phantom pains, and many theories highly overlap. Historically, phantom pains were thought to originate from neuromas located at the stump tip. Traumatic neuromas, or non-tumor nerve injuries, often arise from surgeries and result from the abnormal growth of injured nerve fibers. Although stump neuromas contribute to phantom pains, they are not the sole cause. This is because patients with congenital limb deficiency can sometimes, although rarely, experience phantom pains. This suggests that there is a central representation of the limb responsible for painful sensations. Currently, theories are based on altered neurological pathways and cortical reorganization. Although they are highly intertwined, mechanisms are often separated into peripheral, spinal, and central mechanisms.

  • Phantom Pain

    Various methods have been used to treat phantom limb pain. Some antidepressants or antiepileptics have been shown to have a beneficial effect on reducing phantom limb pain. Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, and sodium channel blockers, mainly carbamazepine, are often used to relieve chronic pain, and recently have been used in an attempt to reduce phantom pains. Pain relief may also be achieved through use of opioids, ketamine, calcitonin, and lidocaine. Often physical methods such as light massage, electrical stimulation, and hot and cold therapy have been used with variable results. Most treatments do not take into account the mechanisms underlying phantom pains, and are therefore ineffective. However, there are a few treatment options that have been shown to alleviate pain in some patients, but these treatment options usually have a success rate less than 30%.
  • Phantom Pain

    Researches like ‘Phantom pain: new research to trick the brain’ explaining How do you treat pain in a limb that no longer exists? A Danish researcher is looking at how we can trick the brain into avoiding phantom pains. ‘Finding new treatments for phantom pain’ by The European Union (EU)-funded project plasticity in amputees has provided new insights into the ability of the brain to rewire its connections following the loss of a hand. The research work is expected to pave the way towards the development of rehabilitation techniques for both residual and intact limbs.
  • Phantom Pain

    Studies have shown that only about 30 percent of all amputees can be helped with the existing treatments against phantom pain. The objective of my research project is to develop a new and effective treatment.

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