Essay about Causes And Effects Of Phantom Limb

1300 Words Oct 6th, 2016 6 Pages
The Phantom Limb Phenomenon

The phantom limb phenomenon is a known response that occurs following surgery in amputee patients. This response provides a vivid sensation that the amputated limb is still present and phantom limb pain is most commonly seen following the amputation of the arm or leg. The pain felt, may be related to physical or psychological factors, including the weather, or emotional stress, (Flor, 2002). Phantom limb is frequently apparent with physical pain, and this occurs in 50% – 80% of amputees, (Flor, 2002). The pain felt by these amputees can be described as stabbing, burning, tingling, or throbbing. Research has been conducted into understanding the causes and effects of phantom limb and ways it can be treated or prevented since the term was coined in 1872 by Weir Mitchell, (Katz, J. 1990).

The causes of phantom limb pain can be related to the idea of cortical reorganisation. There is a strong correlation between the amount of cortical reorganisation and pain. Studies into back pain found a positive relationship between the amount of pain felt by subjects in relation to the amount of cortical alteration there was. Therefore there should be a positive relationship between the cortical organisation and the amount of phantom limb pain an amputee feels, ( Flor, H. 1995). A major factor in how phantom limb begins to occur can be placed down to the activation and reorganisation of the primary somasensory cortex. However, despite plasticity of the brain…

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