CAN AN AMPUTATED HAND STILL HURT?

iD magazine - - Body & Mind -

When a sur­geon has to am­pu­tate a limb, the body part is gone— but not for our brain: Around three out of four am­putees can still feel phan­tom pain af­ter the op­er­a­tion. Those af­fected might, for ex­am­ple, feel a clenched fist even though they no longer have a hand. Why? The brain com­pen­sates for the ab­sence of sig­nals with pain. One way ther­a­pists can treat this is with a mir­ror: The vis­ual im­pres­sion of lack­ing a hand is con­veyed to the brain, which then re­al­izes the sub­sti­tute pain is su­per­flu­ous.

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