Research reveals surprising lack of understanding of condition that affects more than half of amputees
Researchers from Imperial College London have explored the current treatment available to amputees suffering with post-amputation pain compared with methods of treatment used during World War One, revealing that doctors are no closer to working out how to treat the pain than a century ago.
Around 60% of amputees are thought to be affected by phantom limb pain (PLP) which is now understood to be a result of the way the nervous system adapts to the loss of a limb.
While medical advances mean that the techniques available to deal with amputations and the technology of prosthetics bear no relation to that available to a WW1 amputee, there is still no treatment or relief for patients suffering with PLP.
Serious injury solicitor based at Thompsons Solicitors’ Manchester office, Imogen Wetton said: “Phantom limb pain remains poorly understood by medical professionals.
“Considering the advances in medicine since WWI, it is extraordinary that 100 years on there is still no effective treatment or pain relief available to amputees suffering phantom limb pain.
“Through my work with amputees and the Limbless Association, I understand the devastating effects that losing a limb can have for the individual, as well as the emotional strain it can put on a family. It is vital that these findings and the knowledge gap that they reveal are acknowledged by the government. There needs to be adequately funded research if we are to improve the rehabilitation and quality of life for amputees who suffer with phantom limb pain.”
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