What is Pain?

The Types and Steps to take to help the doctor help you.


Pain is a feeling that hurts. Often, only you can feel it, tell where the pain comes from, or tell what it feels like:

  • Is it dull?
  • Throbbing?
  • Sharp?
  • Stabbing?

Only you can tell if treatment for your pain has worked.

 Understanding the pain of limb loss after amputation.

 Being able to describe your pain clearly can help you and your healthcare team determine the best treatment regimen for you. These types of pain are as follows:

  • Phantom Limb sensation (PLS) may continue to be felt in your amputated limb, even though it is no longer there and may include pins and needles, tingling, itching, temperature changes, pressure, abnormal position and movement. *These sensations are not painful, and no treatment is indicated.
  • Residual Limb pain (RLP) This pain originates in the part of your limb that remains. It can be caused by swelling, nerve damage, or irritation from your prosthesis
  • Phantom Limb pain (PLP) When sensations in the phantom limb are uncomfortable or hurt


In addition to the types of pain related to limb loss after amputation there are those experienced before surgery and the pain you will experience during normal healing after your surgery.

When you let us know what kind of pain you are having, we can offer different ways of helping you manage that pain. Don’t let pain manage you!

Pain can make it:

  • Hard to Sleep
  • Hard to think
  • Hard to function when you are awake It can overwhelm you, frustrate you, and depress you. What can you do in order to help your Healthcare Provider help you? Before you come to see us:

  1. Write down your symptoms:
  2. The location of the pain
  3. Is it when you are wearing your prosthesis?
  4. What were you doing at the time the pain started?
  5. How long did it last?
  6. Actions you took to stop or decrease the pain.
  7. Did it help? And how did it help?


How to keep your pain diary?

  • Paper and Pen • On computer & smart phone you can use: or “My Pain Diary” on smartphone

**Understanding the when, what, where of your pain will help you and your health care provider understand the why, how, and when your pain occurs.**


  1. Make a list of Key Medical Information and keep it updated with:

  • Any and all diagnosis or conditions you have
  • All medications you are on:
  • Includes Vitamins, and over the counter medications, as well as ointments or drops. **Bring this list to your Referring Doctor visit**


  1. Bring a friend or family along for the visit. It helps to have him or her with you to hear and confirm what your healthcare provider says.

  2. Write down questions to ask ahead of time such as:
  3. What are the treatment options?
  4. Is there anything beside medication?
  5. If medication is given ask:
  • How does it work?
  • What are the side effects?
  • Is there a chance of addiction or dependency?
  1. Will you need to see a specialist?
  2. Will insurance cover this treatment?

**Need help coming up with questions to ask? Check out: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) at**