Home treatment of Phantom Limb Pain.
* Remember that managing phantom pain can make a big difference in how you feel. If one approach doesn't provide relief, try something else. Don't give up.
Desensitize your residual limb. After your amputation occurs, an area of hypersensitivity can develop along your scar or healing surgical incision. This usually makes wearing a compression bandage painful and eventually it will interfere with wearing your prosthesis. There are certain desensitization exercises that will help decrease this uncomfortable sensation. The technique involves the gradual advancement of texture and pressure application to the hypersensitive area.
To begin, lightly rub a smooth textured material across the area that is very sensitive to touch on your residual limb (stump).
Once the sensation becomes comfortable, advance the material you are using, as well as the pressure you are putting on your leg or arm. Desensitization should be performed throughout the day. While watching TV, or chatting with family or friends, listening to music is a good distraction while doing this. Start with silk, then advance to cotton, then velvet, corduroy and wool.
Look for distractions. Find activities that take your focus off the pain, such as reading or listening to music. Pick up the phone and call a friend and let them know what's going on; ask them to distract you.
Take your meds. Follow your doctor's directions in taking prescribed and over-the-counter pain medications. Do not take other family members medication. We know it seems tempting and so much easier than going to your doctor and getting your own, but do it. Have your own pain prescription medications.
If you try herbal and other alternative medications, be sure to tell your doctor. Don't go along with the belief "if one is good, two must be better." Take your meds only as prescribed. If it's not working go back and tell your doctor.
*You may not have control over whether you develop phantom pain after surgery, but you can reduce your discomfort and improve your quality of life. One or more of these approaches may help you get through a flare-up of phantom pain:
Take care of your residual limb (stump). Removing or putting on your prosthesis, massaging the stump, and applying TENS, cold or heat may reduce the pain.
Stay physically active. Get your exercise by doing activities that you enjoy, such as gardening, walking, swimming or cycling. Sometimes putting on your prosthesis helps. Visit our exercise pages and see what you are able to do.
Find ways to relax. Do some activities that decrease tension, emotionally and physically. Take a warm bath — not too hot because heat will aggravate your pain. Some people find relief with a cool bath. Lie down and follow helpful relaxation techniques, such as rhythmic breathing, meditation or visualization. Go to our Take 5 & Relax page. This is a page of soft music and short video of the Gulf Beach and the ocean waves coming in and out.
Seek the support of other people. Find ways to get closer to others. Call friends, or join a support group or a group involved in your favorite hobby. Get on Facebook and AAA and let people know that you're having a difficult time. We can assure you, the amp community with jump in with comforting words and advice.