Phantom limb pain refers to mild to extreme pain felt in the area where a limb has been amputated.


  • Phantom limb sensations may include
  • feelings of coldness
  • warmth
  • itchiness or tingling
  • Characteristics of phantom pain include:
  • Onset within the first few days of amputation
  • Comes and goes or is continuous
  • Often affects the part of the limb farthest from the body, such as the foot of an amputated leg
  • shooting, stabbing, boring, squeezing, throbbing or burning
  • Sometimes feels as if the phantom part is forced into an uncomfortable position
  • May be triggered by pressure on the remaining part of the limb or emotional stress


  • Touch
  • Urination or defecation
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Angina
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Changes in barometric pressure
  • Herpes zoster
  • Exposure to cold

Risk factors

  • Pain before amputation
  • Stump pain
  • Poor-fitting artificial limb (prosthesis)

Diagnostic Tests

  • Can identify the condition by collecting information about your symptoms and circumstances


  • Medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Narcotics
  • N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists
  • Noninvasive therapies
  • Nerve stimulation
  • Mirror box
  • Acupuncture
  • Minimally invasive therapies
  • Injection
  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • Nerve blocks
  • Surgery
  • Brain stimulation
  • Neurectomy

Lifestyle management

  • Look for distractions
  • Stay physically active
  • Take your medications
  • Find ways to relax
  • Seek the support of other people
  • Take care of your stump