Patient care for postamputation pain and the complexity of therapies: living experiences

Pain Manag. 2018 Nov 1;8(6):441-453. doi: 10.2217/pmt-2018-0033. Epub 2018 Sep 3.


Aim: Limb amputation traumatically alters body image. Sensations rapidly prevail that the limb is still present and 85% of patients portray phantom limb pain. Throughout the testimonies of amputated patients with intense phantom limb pain, we show the difficulty in treating this chronic pain with current pharmacological and nonpharmacological therapies.

Patients & methods: We qualitatively analyzed the therapeutic choices of five amputees, the effectiveness of the treatments chosen and the impact on patients' quality-of-life.

Results & conclusion: In general, patients who are refractory to pharmacological treatments are in favor of trying alternative therapies. It is therefore crucial to design a combined and personalized therapeutic plan under the coordination of a multidisciplinary team for the wellbeing of the patient.

Keywords: chronic pain; complementary and alternative medicine therapies; neuropathic pain; phantom limb pain; pharmacological therapies; postamputation pain; rehabilitation; therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Intractable / complications
  • Patient Care
  • Phantom Limb / complications
  • Phantom Limb / psychology*
  • Phantom Limb / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome