Three Alternative Treatments For Phantom Limb Pain

Amputees are often unpleasantly surprised to learn how painful sensations in their missing limb can be. While it is commonly known that amputees typically experience sensations in their missing limbs, most people are not aware that these sensations can involve debilitating pain. In some patients, nerves continue to send pain signals through to the brain long after a limb has been amputated. 

While pain killers, anesthetics, and other drug treatments including nerve blocks are commonly used to treat phantom limb pain, patients also have the option of trying any of the following three alternative treatments that don't require taking medications:

Biofeedback therapy

Biofeedback therapy is used to treat pain resulting from many different causes. However, it is particularly effective when patients have experienced stress-inducing injuries that cause chronic pain afterwards. This is very often the case with amputees experiencing phantom limb pain. 

Biofeedback sessions involve attaching electrodes to a patient's body to gain insights into physiological functions in the brain, muscles, and skin that are resulting in phantom limb pain. This information can help patients and doctors discover emotional and behavioral factors that are triggering phantom limb pain and thereby avoid future recurrences of the pain. 


Acupuncture has long been used to help patients cope with chronic pain. Because phantom limb pain is essentially the result of nerve functioning, scalp acupuncture is usually the type of acupuncture that is used to relieve it. Scalp acupuncture combines the traditional Asian art of acupuncture with Western medical knowledge to manipulate sensory responses and treat central nerve damage. 

Combining acupuncture techniques with modern medicine's knowledge of the cerebral cortex has led to the development of an impressive track record of pain treatment using acupuncture. Some studies have shown using acupuncture to treat phantom limb pain to be effective in as many as two out of every three patients. 

Massage therapy

Using massage therapy to treat phantom limb pain involves manipulating soft tissue areas of the body such as muscles, connective tissue, and joints. Most often, massage therapy meant to treat phantom pain will be performed directly on the amputated area. 

However, massage therapy can also be used to treat phantom limb pain in a more general way by relaxing the patient's body and reducing stress. Many patients have shown a clear relationship between the onset of stress and phantom limb pain.

Additionally, phantom limb pain has also been linked to poor circulation. General massage therapy can treat the pain by manipulating soft tissues in order to improve circulation

You may also want to consider a prosthesis. For more information, contact a company that specializes in them.