Sensory System


What is phantom limb pain?

Phantom limb pain is perceived in tissue that is no longer present. This name was attached to the phenomenon by a physician during the American Civil War, when a veteran with amputated legs asked for someone to massage his cramped leg muscle. One explanation for phantom limb pain is that the nerves remaining in the stump may generate nerve impulses that are transmitted to the brain and interpreted as arising from the missing limb. Other theories propose that the phantom sensation might be produced by brain reorganization caused by the absence of the sensations that would normally arise from the missing limb.


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