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Keywords:

  • Phantom limb pain;
  • amputee;
  • pain quality description

Abstract

Purpose

The purposes of this descriptive study were (a) to identify the relative frequencies of a priori categories of phantom limb pain (PLP) quality descriptors reported by Mid-Southerners with limb loss, (b) to analyze their descriptions for emerging categories of PLP, and (c) to identify the relative frequencies of the emerging categories.

Design

This cross-sectional descriptive verbal survey assessed PLP descriptors. A content analyses determined relative frequencies of a priori PLP descriptors as well as emerging categories that were identified.

Findings

The most common a priori PLP quality descriptors reported by 52 amputees with PLP were intermittent, tingling/needles/numb, sharp, cramping, burning, and stabbing. The most common emerging categories reported were pain compared to illness/injury, electrical cyclical, and manipulated/positional.

Conclusion

The detailed descriptions of PLP provide insight into the vivid experiences of PLP.

Clinical Relevance

Rehabilitation nurses can use this information with PLP assessment, patient teaching, and counseling.