Post Amputation Pain

What is Post-Amputation Pain

Phantom limb pain can develop after an amputation or damage to the nerve cells of the affected area. Phantom limb pain is believed to result from the brain’s continued perception of the missing limb, even though it is no longer there.

There are several mechanisms of action that might be at play:

  1. Central Sensitization: The nervous system becomes more sensitive to pain signals, amplifying the perception of pain.
  2. Neuromatrix Theory: Proposed by neuroscientist Ronald Melzack, this theory suggests that the brain has a “neuromatrix” that generates pain sensations. Even after amputation, this neuromatrix continues to generate pain signals.
  3. Cortical Reorganization: After amputation, the brain’s representation of the missing limb can change. The areas of the brain that used to represent the amputated limb may become active in response to stimulation, leading to the perception of pain.

Chronic pain can cause secondary depression as patients might be limited in the activities that they can perform including mobility and social interactions. The depression can then lead to loss of sleep and changes in appetite and suicidal ideation. Chronic pain can also lead to anxiety and stress that could lead to adrenal gland fatigue.