Phantom Limb Pain Treatment

Most people experience some degree of pain after undergoing surgery — pain is part of the healing process and it typically subsides after your body’s tissues repair themselves. For amputees, however, painful sensations may endure long after the tissues heal. For some patients, phantom pain improves over time without treatment. For others, managing phantom pain can be challenging as available phantom limb pain treatment guidelines are not effective for everyone.

Florida Mind Health Center offers effective, customized ketamine treatment for pain disorders to help relieve symptoms commonly associated with neuropathic pain and pain resulting from limb amputation. Contact us today to learn more about our available range of ketamine treatments and to schedule phantom pain treatment.

What Is Phantom Pain?

Phantom pain refers to neuropathic pain that feels like it originates from a body part that has previously been removed. Phantom limb pain is felt in the area where a limb, such as a leg, foot, arm, or hand, was amputated. Pain after amputation can be mild to extremely painful and it can lead to a lifelong struggle with chronic pain. While most amputees report that it feels like their limb is still there — a painless phenomenon known as phantom limb sensation — others experience mild-to-severe pain long after their procedure. Approximately 80 percent of amputees experience phantom pain. Characteristics of phantom pain include the following.

  • Pain during the first week after amputation or delayed onset.
  • Pain that comes and goes or is continuous.
  • Pain described as cramping, burning, tingling, shooting, stabbing, crushing, or throbbing.
  • Symptoms affecting the part of the limb farthest from the body, such as the hand of an amputated arm.

What Causes Phantom Limb Pain?

The exact cause of phantom limb pain is unclear, but it appears to occur as a result of mixed signals between the brain and the spinal cord. Although the limb is no longer attached to the body, the nerve endings at the amputation site persist to send pain signals to the brain, signaling that the limb is still there. Those with persistent pain in the remaining limb — residual limb pain — usually experience phantom pain too. Some patients find that certain activities or conditions trigger phantom pain, including the following.

  • Exposure to cold temperatures
  • Smoking
  • Touch
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Changes in barometric pressure
  • Angina
  • Herpes zoster
  • Urination or defecation

Ketamine Infusion For Phantom Pain

Ketamine is a powerful anesthetic that has been used to treat a wide range of conditions since it first gained approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1970. Since that time, research on the benefits of ketamine treatment has proven significant for improving mood disorders and relieving chronic pain, such as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), both quickly and effectively. The science behind ketamine highlights the treatment’s abilities to help patients manage acute pain conditions, treat patients with opioid intolerance, acute hyperalgesia, and chronic and neuropathic pain.

As a natural pain treatment, ketamine binds to N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, blocking their ability to communicate with other brain regions and restoring critical connections previously disrupted by phantom limb pain. Ketamine infusion therapy can be used in conjunction with other types of treatments for a balanced and comprehensive approach that accommodates each patient’s unique chemistry.

Effective Pain Treatment With Ketamine

As Gainesville’s source for ketamine treatment, our ketamine clinic is dedicated to helping each of our patients find relief from pain conditions and mood disorders with a healthy, effective, and sustainable treatment option. Each treatment comprises highly individualized, compassionate care and professional therapies designed to promote patient wellness and healing. To learn more about the wide range of conditions treated with ketamine or to schedule infusions for pain, contact Florida Mind Health Center today.