Phantom through your nervous system. To reiterate,

Phantom pain
(Phantom limb pain PLP)

PLP is one of those strange afflictions of the human body
which can be caused by a number of instances. Although surgery and the removal
of limbs, hence the name, are the primary and most common way of developing
PLP, there are numerous other ways which can bring PLP on, albeit not in as
severe ways; these ways include, but are not limited to Touch, Urination or
defecation, Sexual intercourse, Angina, Cigarette smoking, Changes in
barometric pressure, Herpes zoster, Exposure to cold, and almost any other
instance where you experience a feeling through your nervous system. To
reiterate, while it is one hundred percent possible to develop PLP through any
of those listed, the chances of such a thing is low, and unlikely to cause
anything other than mild irritation for a few minutes.

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As of right now, we do not know why PLP occurs. There is a
number of scientists who speculate that the reason behind it is due simply to a
failure of the nerves in the brain and spinal cord to correct and account for
the newly missing limb; thus, causing the brain to attempt to send signals out
to the missing limb, not receive a response, thus causing the discomfort. To
reiterate, we do not know what causes PLP, and with the research we have now,
all we have is speculations. Perhaps you would like to help further research by chopping off your own
arm? Don’t actually do
that.

 

The pain of
PLP is not ‘all in your head’, it is very much a real pain that is experienced.
And like all pains, PLP can feel like a variety of pains purely based on what
was removed, for instance, it is one hundred percent possible that you could
experience Burning pains, shooting pains, Pins and needles, Twisting, Crushing,
and electric shock. However, there can also be feelings, while not exactly
pain, of other kinds; such as, Movement, Temperature, Pressure, Vibration, or
even itch. As stated above, we are unsure why the brain does this, but it is
interesting to be sure; the brain is such an incredible organ.

 

As stated
above, PLP is a very strange affliction, where the best way to avoid it is to
not have a limb removed, because if a limb is removed, you are almost guaranteed
to develop it. Almost, down to around 2-10% do not, everyone experiences
phantom pains at some point after surgery; of the 90-98% people that do develop
PLP, 75% feel it as soon as the anesthesia wears off, and the remaining 25%
after a few days or weeks. As far as we are aware, ethnicity, gender, and age
do not seem to affect phantom pains at all; neither in its onset nor duration,
though it has not been fully explored yet.

PLP, like
all pains, does not have a uniform amount of time for it to “go away”, rather,
it tends to be anywhere between seconds to years, though more often than not,
it diminishes in about six months without therapy of some kind.

 

PLP has been
around for as long as limbs were removed, however, we have only recently begun
developing the technology and understanding to begin work on it, but even then,
research is still in it’s infancy.

The truth of
the matter is, PLP is not an easy affliction to study. However, we are aware of
some aspects of the affliction, such as, as more of the limb is amputated, the
greater chance of moderate to severe phantom pains. Unfortunately, in the end,
we just do not know enough about PLP. In most cases, the pains end, or at least
mitigate within about two years, though persistent cases, ~5%, may continue for
even longer; but even in these persistent cases, the pains become

 

While no
drugs have been made specifically for PLP, some medicines for other conditions
may help, such as, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, opioids, and other
painkillers, though a doctor should
still prescribe these for treatment of PLP. If medicine alone is not enough, as
tests have shown, there are other therapies that may help with recovery, such
as, nerve stimulation, mirror box therapy, acupuncture, and a change in daily
habits. In rare cases where all of the medicine and therapies are simply not
enough, there are yet other ways to ease the pain, though these are for much
more serious cases which cause more severe pain. These methods can include
spinal cord stimulation, brain stimulation, and even revision surgery.

 

As stated
earlier many times, we simply do not understand phantom pains yet, but that
does not mitigate pain in those that have it, so we are beginning to look into
new ways of dealing with the issue. And while the new research is promising,
not much progress has been made yet, though it is still an ongoing effort. One instance
of this is through a combination of prosthetics and virtual reality, another is
though attaching a piece of muscle from elsewhere onto the severed muscle.
These instances, as just said, are promising, but are still very new tests, and
unlikely to yield mainstream success for a long time. But with these new theories
being developed and worked upon, the future looks much brighter for those
suffering PLP.

 

·       
Martin,
Hannah, (2017, December 3). Senses offer
new hope for amputees suffering phantom pain. Retrieved from https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/99349385/new-hope-for-amputees-suffering-phantom-pain-using-through-sound-and-vision

·       
Mayo
Clinic Staff, (2014, December 3). Phantom
Pain. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/phantom-pain/basics/definition/con-20023268

·       
Moon,
Mariella, (2017, November 2). Virtual
reality could be the answer to treating phantom pain. Retrieved from https://www.engadget.com/2017/11/02/virtual-reality-phantom-pain-treatment/

·       
Weintraub,
Karen, (2017, June 2). New Approach to Amputation Could Reduce
Phantom Pain. Retrieved from
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-approach-to-amputation-could-reduce-phantom-pain/

·       
Unknown,
(2005, December 1). Phantom Limb Pain.
Retrieved from https://www.myvmc.com/diseases/phantom-limb-pain/

·       
Unknown,
(Reviewed 2013, July). Phantom Pain and
Phantom Sensation. Retrieved from http://www.upmc.com/patients-visitors/education/pain-control/pages/phantom-pain-and-phantom-sensation.aspx

·       
Unknown,
(Reviewed 2017, June, 14). What Is
Phantom Limb Pain?. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/phantom-limb-pain#1

·       
Unknown,
(Last edited 2017, October 5). Phantom
Pain. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_pain

·       
Unknown, (Unknown). Managing
Phantom Pain. Retrieved from https://www.amputee-coalition.org/limb-loss-resource-center/resources-for-pain-management/managing-phantom-pain/