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Understand your needs after amputation: Phantom pain

An amputation is one of the worst injuries a person can go through. It may be sudden due to an impact or a laceration, or it could be necessary as a result of infection.

Amputations change your life forever. While there are ways to adjust to an amputation, like using a walker or getting a prosthesis, there are additional problems other than the visual loss of a limb.

One of the problems some patients deal with is phantom pain. Phantom limb pain, also known as PLP, is a series of ongoing, painful sensations that feel like they affect the part of the body that is missing. For example, if you're missing your leg, it might feel like your ankle is sore.

The reason for this is simply a misfiring of nerves, but it can be deeply disconcerting. The pain can last a short time or for years. There's no way to know how long it will last since each patient's body heals differently.

There are treatments for phantom limb pain including medications such as muscle relaxants, antidepressants, NSAIDs and narcotic pain medications. What works for you may be different for others, so you will need to work closely with your doctor to decide what's best.

Phantom pain can cause people to need ongoing medical care for their amputation long into the future. If you have this pain, it's important to make sure your settlement or payout for your injury covers this medical care. Your attorney will help you make sure you get the compensation you need, so you can treat your injury as needed.

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