Limb Loss Research & Statistics ProgramPeople With Amputation Speak Out  
What You Said About Pain
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Residual Limb Pain and Phantom Limb PainResidual Limb Pain
Almost 70% of all those surveyed said that they had residual limb pain (pain in the part of the limb that is still present). People with trauma related amputations were 1.5 times more likely to experience residual limb pain than those with vascular-related amputations, after adjusting for age, time since amputation, and chronic disease.

When asked to rate the intensity of their pain on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being extremely mild pain and 10 being extremely intense pain, the average intensity reported was 5.1. When asked if they were bothered by their pain, 86.5% reported being bothered, with one- third of those being “extremely” bothered.

Phantom Pain
Phantom pain (pain in the part of the limb that is missing), was reported by 80% of amputees. Similar to residual limb pain, the likelihood of experiencing phantom pain did not vary by time since amputation. There was no difference in the number reporting phantom pain across cause after adjusting for age, time since amputation, and chronic disease.

When asked to rate the intensity of their pain on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being extremely mild pain and 10 being extremely intense pain, the average intensity reported was 5.5. When asked if they were bothered by their phantom pain, 81% reported being bothered, with onethird of those being “extremely” bothered.

Nonamputated Limb Pain and Back PainNonamputated Limb Pain
Nearly half (49%) of all amputees surveyed reported experiencing pain in their nonamputated limb. The presence of nonamputated limb pain varied by cause of amputation, with cancer-related and traumatic amputees less likely to experience pain in the nonamputated limb than those who had vascular-related amputations, after adjusting for age and time since amputation.

When asked to rate the intensity of their pain on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being extremely mild pain and 10 being extremely intense pain, the average intensity reported was 4.6. When asked if they were bothered by their nonamputated limb pain, 88.3% reported being bothered, with just less than one-third of those being “extremely” bothered.

Back Pain
Back pain affected 62% of those surveyed. Back pain did not vary by the cause of the amputation nor by the time elapsed since the amputation. Nearly three-fourths of respondents were bothered by their back pain, with one-third of those reporting being “extremely” bothered.

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Pain, whether in the amputated limb or in another area of the body such as the back or the nonamputated limb, can lead to limitations in activity and result in further disability. Most of those surveyed (91%) said they had some type of pain. Over three-fourths (83%) experienced pain in two or more body areas.