ArticlesScience & HealthIs Phantom Limb Pain Real?

9 months ago2 min

Billy Brimblecom, amputee and Executive Director at Steps of Faith Foundation, says yes.  After being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in his lower leg, Billy took the doctor’s recommendation to have an above-the-knee amputation in order to prevent the cancer from spreading.  When he awoke after surgery, Billy immediately felt intense pain at the point of amputation.  Doctors gave him painkillers to help manage the pain as the area continued to heal.

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Shortly thereafter, Billy began to feel a sensation and tingling where the amputated leg and foot had previously been.  This continued to intensify over a two week period into pain and then for the subsequent two weeks into a “terrible, unthinkable, pretty consistent pain” in the limb that was no longer there.  For many years doctors believed that phantom limb pain was a psychological problem, but Billy’s personal story is consistent with the current thinking in the medical community that this phenomenon stems from signals sent by the spinal cord and brain.

More information on phantom limb pain can be found on the Mayo Clinic’s website here.

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