Severe injuries caused by an automobile accident or a defective product can be painful. If your injury results in the amputation of one of your limbs, you may hope that at least the pain will be over with. However, you might still experience discomfort or even harsh pain afterward due to phantom pain.
According to WebMD, phantom pain occurs when you feel pain from a limb that is no longer attached to your body. This may seem like a strange occurrence, but there are some possible reasons why it happens.
The aftermath of the amputation
Sometimes surgery to remove a limb does not correct all possible problems. You may have nerves that remain damaged even after the surgery. Further treatment may be necessary. Sometimes scar tissue left from the operation also causes phantom pain.
Changes in nerve signals
Losing a limb can affect the nerves of your body in different ways. Your nerves may send pain signals just because they cannot sense the missing part of your body. It is also possible that your nerves will mix up nerve sensations. As a result, if you touch one part of your body, your brain may interpret the feeling as coming from your missing limb.
Phantom pain is common
Do not worry that your doctor will not believe you when you mention phantom pain. Many amputees suffer from it. Sometimes the pain subsides after a while. However, other patients suffer persistent and severe pain. It can manifest as a twisting sensation, or a burning, crushing or shooting feeling.
Discussing phantom pain early on may help you understand what to do if you experience it. You might need follow-up surgery and pain medication.