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When Your Amputation Hurts Years Later

By Grant Law Office on August 4, 2020

amputee with a prosthetic arm

Phantom pain is common after amputation. It involves pain in a limb or body part that is no longer there. For some amputees, phantom pain improves over time without treatment. For others, the pain continues. Victims may experience cramping, pins and needles, or stabbing, crushing, throbbing, or burning pain that feels as if it is located in the missing body part.

Phantom Pain: The Basics

Phantom pain typically appears within the first week after amputation, although it can be delayed for months or even longer. The pain may appear at the amputated limb farthest from the body, such as feeling to be at the hand of a severed arm.

  • The pain may be continuous, or it may come and go.
  • Victims experience pain as described above (shooting, stabbing, pins and needles, crushing, cramping, burning, or throbbing).

Exact causes of phantom pain are yet unknown, as stated by the Mayo Clinic. Based on existing research, this pain appears to originate from the spinal cord and the brain. In MRIs and other imaging scans, activity can be seen in portions of the brain that were previously connected neurologically to the amputated limb while the person is experiencing phantom pain.

This mysterious pain felt in missing limbs is thought to be, at least partially, a response to mixed signals to the brain. Certain areas of the spinal cord and brain lose input when a limb is amputated. This may trigger pain as a basic message from the body that something is not right.

Treating and Recovering from Phantom pain

When phantom pain does not resolve on its own over time after an amputation, pain management can be challenging. The pain experienced in the missing limb can be severe and long-lasting. Finding an effective treatment can be difficult. Treatment typically begins with medications. Further treatment may involve acupuncture and other non-invasive therapies, injections, or implanted devices. In severe cases, as a last resort, phantom pain may require surgery.

People with phantom pain often have a lower quality of life, as determined in a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Researchers found that reduced quality of life is mainly related to the impairment of daily activities and increased anxiety levels caused by phantom pain, particularly among younger adults, and depression among older adults. Phantom pain affects the perception of body image and leads to psychological changes that can impact the functional outcome and quality of life for amputees.

Why You Need a Lawyer After Losing a Limb Through Negligence

The loss of a limb can have life-altering consequences for the victim. If you have suffered amputation caused by someone else’s negligence, you need an attorney to help you hold the responsible party accountable and fight for the compensation you deserve for the losses you have suffered. Losing a limb can affect your ability to earn a living and significantly impact your quality of life. It is essential to your recovery and your family’s future to pursue the maximum compensation available under the law.

We are not a high-volume personal injury law firm. Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Grant Law Office will give each case the individual attention it deserves. We have a successful track record, recovering multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts for our clients. If you suffer from phantom pain after losing a limb due to the negligent actions of another party, call us at (404) 995-3955.

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