5 Causes of Amputation Pain
Updated: Feb 23
More often than not, pain associated with amputation demands a multi-pronged approach for managing symptoms, which may include vibration technology like TheraV. To understand why, one must consider the nature of pain experienced by amputees – often depicted in three categories:
Phantom limb pain: when pain is felt in a body part that no longer exists due to amputation.
Phantom limb sensation: similar to the above, but referring to false perceptions of sensation or movement rather than pain
Residual limb pain: when pain is felt in the part of an amputated limb that still exists, including the stump
Patients may experience just one or all three of the above, and this likely depends on what stage of healing they are in. Below are common root causes of pain experienced in people with limb loss (along with brief explanations of each).
Neuroma is a collection of nerve endings that form under the skin of residual limbs (the part of the limb that remains attached to the body upon amputation). They can be extremely sensitive and painful to the touch.
Mixed or mismatched signals are said to cause phantom limb pain and/or phantom limb sensation in particular, although the science behind this is not well-understood. Some theories: when nerves in the brain and spinal chord lose signals from the missing body part, they respond by sending pain signals (usually an indication that something is wrong). Meanwhile, the neuroma at the residual limb sends disordered signals to the brain.
Scar tissue in the residual limb may entrap nerves, causing pain signals and interfering with prosthesis fit.
Bone spurs are abnormal bone formations at the end of residual limbs. These give rise to pressure or pain points for the amputee.
Bursitis refers to soft tissue inflammation at the stump, a result of mechanical stress between the stump and the prosthesis socket.
Pain or discomfort from neuroma and mixed signals may also be described as neuropathic pain, an umbrella term used to describe pain caused by nerve damage. Not all neuropathic pain is caused by amputation, however, and not all amputation pain is neuropathic pain.
To complicate matters further, amputation pain is often caused by two or more interrelated mechanisms (in other words, it is rarely just one of the five outlined above). That is why a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment does not exist, why understanding the sources of pain is critical to pain management and prevention, and why TheraV may successfully compliment a variety of standard treatment plans.
About Writer: Pranita Muralidhar
Pranita Muralidhar is a marketing consultant based in the Philadelphia area. She is passionate about health sciences, entrepreneurship, and connecting people with products that benefit them the most. By contributing to the blog, Pranita hopes to help raise broad exposure and awareness of TheraV ELIX.
Learn more about Pranita at pranitamuralidhar.com