Treatment Options for Phantom Pain


April 13, 2022

Phantom pain is a common and debilitating symptom that can persist even after a person has been declared free of cancer. It’s estimated that up to 80% of the population experiences this phenomena, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Treatment typically depends on the individual’s symptoms and preferences. Some people may prefer Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), while others may require prescription medications or surgery. 

Common Symptoms

Common symptoms include:

  • Shooting, twisting, or prickly pain
  • Incessant pain that comes and goes
  • Itching
  • Vibration 
  • Pressure

Treatment options for Phantom Pain:

 When people reach a certain age, their bodies tend to develop several complications. This can manifest as chronic pain and even phantom pain, which is pain that is felt but cannot be attributed to an actual injury or medical condition. There are several treatments for phantom pain and chronic pain, but the best way to treat them depends on the individual. Surgery may fix the underlying problem for some people, while medications and other treatments may help others. In case you or your loved one is experiencing phantom pain, consult your doctor.

What Causes Phantom Pain?

 Phantom pain can occur due to many different situations and conditions. It is mostly attributed to a mix-up in nervous system signals between the brain and the spinal cord. It may appear from nerve damage. Some factors that can cause nerve damage include: 

  • Trauma
  • Spinal injury
  • Whiplash

 Phantom pain can occur after an amputation, where the person experiences pain in the missing limb. The brain typically senses that a body part is missing as there appears to be an unnatural link between the brain and the missing limb. Another possible explanation of phantom pain in amputees is a remapping of the nervous system’s sensory circuit to another part of the body.

Recently however, scientists have discovered a new cause of phantom limb pain (PLP). This condition is called Central Nervous System Activation Disorder (CNSAD), and it is entirely different from the form of PLP that occurs with amputation. 

Non-Surgical Treatments: 

While surgery is often used to treat this condition, several non-surgical treatments can be effective. These treatments include medications, therapies such as acupuncture and electrical stimulation, and psychological interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. 


There are many ways to treat phantom pain in elderly people. Some treatments include surgery, physical therapy, acupuncture, and antidepressants. Other forms of treatment include cognitive behavioral therapy and therapies that use electrical impulses to stimulate the brain. For more information about phantom pain treatment for elderly people, reach out to us today. Contact us using the form below:

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