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Pain. 1997 Aug;72(1-2):87-93.

The relationship of phantom limb pain to other phantom limb phenomena in upper extremity amputees.

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  • 1Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology, University of Tübingen, Germany.


In thirty-two unilateral upper extremity amputees with and without phantom limb pain, various phantom limb phenomena were investigated. In general, the incidence of non-painful phantom limb sensations was higher in patients with phantom limb pain than in pain-free amputees. Kinesthetic and kinetic phantom limb sensations were reported more frequently than exteroceptive cutaneous sensations. There was a significant positive correlation between phantom limb pain and stump pain. Patients more frequently assigned sensory than affective pain qualities to their phantom limb pain, whereas no differences between pain qualities were observed for stump pain. No support was found for a relationship between the presence of telescoping (i.e., shrinkage of the phantom limb) and phantom limb pain. These findings point to central as well as to peripheral factors contributing to phantom limb pain.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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