Doctors and researchers are constantly puzzled at what exactly causes phantom pain. How or why it happens really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t change the fact that thousands of leg amputees suffer from it on a daily basis, myself included. Read on to discover some simple methods to keep your phantom pain to a minimum.
A vast majority of phantom pain sufferers get relief by using heating pads. A heating pad will help to increase circulation in the residual limb. Increasing circulation can eliminate a lot of phantom pain, depending on what exact nerves were damaged/severed during the amputation. Actually, exposing the stump to increased heat, whether it be by heating pad, or even a warm towel. It’s been said by many amputees that relaxing in a hot tub works wonders for reducing or eliminating the phantom pain.
Frequent exercise is another good way to relieve the symptoms of phantom pain. For lower leg amputees, there are specific exercises that should be done regularly in order to keep the limb loose and limber. If the amputee is considering getting a prosthetic leg, these exercises are a major part of preparing for the therapy that comes after getting the leg. In the process of doing these exercises, blood flow throughout the residual limb is improved,
and this greatly reduces the instances of phantom pain.
If you are already wearing a prosthetic leg when a bout of phantom pain occurs, remove the prosthetic and leave it off for a minimum of 20 minutes or so. Sometimes the prosthetic device can pinch a delicate area of the stump. Taking off the leg can ease the pressure on the nerve that is causing the pain. Try gently massaging the limb. This will provide some comfort and increase circulation.
If sitting, stand up and try to remain standing for at least a few minutes. Blood will drain DOWNWARD into the stump.
Farabloc treatment is a relatively unknown, but effective way of managing your phantom pain. From the Farabloc website:
“The human cellular system is similar to a complex set of electrical receptors and conductors, with the brain acting as a central receiving station. Farabloc blocks high frequency electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation and thus may allow low frequency EMF to stabilize cellular permeability, limit release of inflammatory factors and consequently modify pain perception.”
You have just learned several ways of dealing with phantom pain. These methods have come from other leg amputees, so you can rest assured that they are likely to work. If your pain persists or is very severe, try consulting a pain management doctor.
As a leg amputee and fellow phantom pain sufferer, I sincerely hope that at least one of these methods proves helpful in relieving you pain.