What Is Phantom Pain Syndrome?
One of the most catastrophic injuries that can happen during or after an accident is an amputation. The loss of a body part can be devastating physically, emotionally, and psychologically for an injury victim, and the issues do not end there. Most amputation patients also end up suffering from phantom limb syndrome, which must be considered when determining the proper amount of compensation after an accident. To learn more about what your injury claims might be worth, call or contact the experienced Nashville personal injury lawyers at Mitch Grissim & Associates.
Phantom Pain Syndrome
Phantom pain syndrome, otherwise known as residual pain syndrome, is a condition where patients experience sensations, painful or otherwise, in a limb that does not exist after an amputation. This syndrome occurs in eighty to one hundred percent of amputees at some point and can often be a chronic condition that is resistant to treatment. For a long time, doctors assumed that this was a psychological condition, but recent medical evidence has shown that these sensations originate in the spinal cord and brain.
Symptoms of phantom pain syndrome include the onset of painful sensations within the first week of amputation, although the symptoms can present weeks or even months later and painful sensations that can either come and go or be continuous for the victim. The pain typically originates from the amputated part of the body furthest away, such as the hand or toes, and the sensations have been described as shooting, stabbing, cramping, pins and needles, crushing, throbbing, or burning pain.
Are There Any Lifestyle Changes That Can Help Reduce Phantom Pain?
Yes, there are several lifestyle changes that can help reduce phantom pain. Pain management is key to managing phantom pain. Regular exercise, stress management, and relaxation techniques can all help reduce the intensity of phantom pain. Additionally, engaging in activities that can help distract the mind from the pain can be beneficial. For example, setting aside time to engage in activities that the individual enjoys such as reading, listening to music, or spending time with family can be beneficial in managing the pain.
Another way to reduce phantom pain is to stimulate the brain or spinal cord in a controlled manner. This can involve the use of gentle massage, acupuncture, or nerve stimulation therapy, which can help to reduce the amount of pain signals that the brain or spinal cord interprets. Additionally, medications such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants, or muscle relaxants can be prescribed to help reduce the intensity of the pain.
Finally, it is important to maintain an open dialogue with a healthcare professional and develop an individualized pain management plan. This can involve identifying triggers that increase the intensity of the pain and avoiding or minimizing them. Additionally, incorporating lifestyle changes that can help reduce the intensity of the pain and improve overall well-being can also be beneficial. By engaging in these strategies, individuals can better manage their phantom pain and improve their overall quality of life.
Is Phantom Pain More Common In Certain Age Groups Or Demographics?
Yes, phantom pain is more common in certain age groups or demographics. Generally, individuals who have had an amputation, spinal cord injury, or surgery involving the brain or spinal cord are more at risk for developing phantom pain. However, those who have had a stroke, multiple sclerosis, or a traumatic brain injury may also be at risk. Additionally, individuals with a history of chronic pain, such as back pain, are also at risk of developing phantom pain.
The risk factors for developing phantom pain vary between individuals. In some cases, it might be due to nerve damage, while in other cases it might be due to psychological factors. Additionally, it is important to note that those who are more likely to experience phantom sensations are more likely to experience phantom pain.
In order to relieve phantom pain, there are several treatments that can be used. Spinal cord stimulation is one of the most common treatments for phantom pain. It involves sending electrical pulses to the spinal cord in order to block the pain signals from reaching the brain. Additionally, medications such as opioids, anticonvulsants, or antidepressants can be prescribed to help reduce the intensity of the pain. Finally, physical therapy and occupational therapy can be used to help improve the individual’s range of motion and reduce the intensity of the pain.
By understanding the risk factors for developing phantom pain and the treatments that can help relive the pain, individuals can better manage their phantom pain and improve their overall quality of life.
What Causes Phantom Pain?
There are a few theories as to what causes phantom pain after an amputation injury. In studies, the brain shows activity in parts connected to the nerves of the amputated limb when phantom pain occurs. Many medical professionals believe it is caused by mixed signals coming from the brain when a body part is removed, and the brain no longer receives input from that area. Other possible reasons include damaged nerve endings, scar tissue at the site of the amputation, and the physical memory of pain in the amputated area. Risk factors for phantom pain include pain in the affected area prior to amputation and residual limb pain after amputation in the remaining limb that was not amputated.
Compensation for Amputation Injuries
After an accident, an injury victim is entitled to compensation from those responsible for the harm caused, especially if it results in something as traumatic as an amputation. Damages for an accident victim include all out-of-pocket economic costs as well as noneconomic harm inflicted by their injuries. Compensation includes damages for all present and future medical bills, lost wages, loss of future income and benefits, pain and suffering, emotional distress, disability, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life. To learn more, talk to our office today.
The Cause Of Amputations
Negligent circumstances that can cause amputations can range from medical malpractice to motor vehicle accidents. In the case of medical malpractice, the most common cause of amputations is failure to diagnose and treat an infection, which can lead to the amputation of a limb. When a limb is amputated, the person may suffer from phantom limb pain, which is a sensation of pain in the missing limb. The pain signals are sent from the brain to the missing limb, which can cause intense pain and suffering.
In order to manage phantom limb pain, there are several treatments available, such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and spinal cord stimulation (SCS). TENS works by sending electrical impulses to the nerves in the area of the missing limb, which can help to reduce the pain signals sent to the brain. SCS works by sending electrical pulses to the spinal cord, which disrupts the pain signals traveling up the spinal cord to the brain.
In addition to medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents can also cause amputations. When a limb is severed by a motor vehicle accident, it can cause intense physical and emotional suffering for the victim. To help manage the pain and suffering, the victim can seek out pain management treatments, such as TENS and SCS, to help reduce the pain signals in the missing limb.
No matter the cause of the amputation, the victim may suffer from phantom limb pain. Fortunately, there are treatments available to manage the pain and help the victim cope with the loss of the missing limb.
Treatments And Therapies
Phantom limb pain is a sensation of pain in a missing limb and is often experienced by people who have undergone an amputation. The pain can range from mild to severe and can last for days, weeks, or even months. Fortunately, there are treatments available to help ease the pain associated with phantom limb pain.
One of the most common treatments for phantom limb pain is the use of pain medications. These medications can help to reduce the intensity of the pain and make it more manageable. However, in some cases, medications may not be enough to reduce the pain and other treatments may be necessary.
Other treatments for phantom limb pain include physical therapy and massage. Physical therapy can help to reduce the pain associated with phantom limb pain by stretching and strengthening the muscles in the area of the missing limb. Massage therapy can also help to reduce pain by relaxing the muscles and reducing muscle tension in the area of the missing limb.
Mirror therapy is another treatment for phantom limb pain. During this treatment, the person is asked to look into a mirror and concentrate on the reflection of the remaining limb. This can help to reduce the pain signals sent to the brain and reduce the intensity of phantom limb pain.
Finally, for more severe cases of phantom limb pain, surgery may be necessary. Surgery can help to reduce pain signals by cutting off the nerves in the area of the missing limb. This procedure can help to reduce the intensity of phantom limb pain and residual limb pain.
Call or Contact Us Now
Phantom limb pain is a serious issue affecting almost all amputation patients, and you deserve to be compensated for this harm after an accident. To learn more about your legal options, call or contact Mitch Grissim & Associates today.