An amputation is one of the most serious injuries you can endure — but the consequences on your overall health don’t stop there. You may experience a chronic, debilitating condition known as “phantom pain” even after your limb is gone.

What is phantom pain, and why does it happen? “phantom pain” is the term attached to a very real sense of pain that the victim feels from a part of their body, usually a limb, that isn’t there any longer. For a long time, victims were told that the pain was purely psychological. Now, however, it’s thought that a victim’s nerves rewire themselves in a way that sometimes sends the wrong signals to their brain.

Phantom pain typically appears within a week of an amputation, although it can show up much later. It can be quite intense, with victims describing their pain as variously stabbing, burning, throbbing or shooting. Treatment is designed around managing the symptoms of the pain and can include over-the-counter pain medication, antidepressants, narcotics, anticonvulsants and other medications that aim to disrupt the pain signals getting to the brain.

Therapy of one kind or another is also used to treat phantom pain. Therapy involving a mirrored box is used to try to trick the brain. Acupuncture is also used to treat the condition, as is spinal cord stimulation. In some cases, however, the pain is so intense that victims have had to endure brain stimulation surgeries and other invasive treatments.

All these treatments are costly — and insurance alone may not cover them. If you suffered an amputation due to another party’s negligence or reckless actions, find out how you can claim the compensation you may need far into the future.