Explain the psychological and physiological causes, effects and treatments of phantom limb pain.

Topic: The psychological and physiological causes, effects and treatments of phantom limb pain

In this review I will be discussing phantom limb pain and the various causes and effects that amputees experience. When a person loses a limb their body reacts with feelings of pain in a limb that was once there. The body reacts using psychological symptoms that can cause amputees to think they still have the limb when reaching for objects or stepping out of bed. The causes for phantom limb pain in amputees are still unknown but there are helpful possibilities that gain insight into the inner workings of the mind and body. There are three major theories discussed for the causes of phantom limb pain are using the peripheral, central and psychodynamic theory. The peripheral theory states that pain is caused by stimulation of newly developed nerve cells at the site of the amputation. The central theory takes a psychological perspective by saying that the cause of phantom limb pain is neurological/consciousness based. Following the causes, the review will go into depth about the cutaneous senses, how the brain responds to pain and how this translates into psychological responses and effects. The psychodynamic theory takes a stance that phantom limb pain is a psychological denial of the missing limb and therefore the body compensates with pain. The major effects of phantom limb pain are the psychological toll it takes on a person. This pain has been linked to psychosocial dysfunction, sleep disorders, and a lower quality of life. Some long term consequences are the onset of cardiovascular disease, obesity, chronic joint and back pain. The best treatment options are pharmacologic medication, non-traditional and holistic therapies, and finally surgical intervention as the last resort. This paper presents a complete review on the possibilities, life altering effects and helpful treatment options for amputees that suffer with long term phantom limb pain and sensations.

The Key Points:

? The causes of phantom limb pain is still unknown but there are three theories that help us understand the possibilities

? The three theories of peripheral, central and psychodynamic phantom limb causes provide insight into why amputees experience the pain and sensations in the first place

? Amputees experience a great deal of psychological and physiological distress when dealing with phantom limb pain

? There are helpful treatments of a medical and non-medical that can lessen and sometimes even stop the pain and sensations that amputees feel.

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