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Phantom Pain

May 16, 2014 8:14 AM

I am a left above the knee amputee (9-9-12) from a traumatic accident. I am 54 and retired on disability due to the injuries sustained on that day, including a brain injury.
Phantom pains occur daily and usually increase intensity as the day wears on. Bursitis in the limb irritates the nerve pain. I find relief in medication - oxycodone 5mg. Massage will help reduce the pain at times as well. I also have a TENS unit, which provides electrical nerve stimulation at my lower lumbar; it is helpful.

Does anyone else have suggestions for phantom pain relief?

May 16, 2014 3:35 PM

Hi suemaus,
My pain isn't phantom, so I'm not sure I can entirely relate, but it is daily, constant and very tiring. Recently I've found some relief in meditation and self-hypnosis, specifically aimed at reducing pain (picturing a place where you are safe from your pain, imagining the part that hurts to be numb - even if your aching body part is no longer actually there, your brain apparently thinks it is, so maybe it's willing to be fooled). I'm not usually the type to go for things like this, being very much a person who appreciates science and tangible things, but when the pain lasts long enough you become desperate enough to try anything (as I'm sure you know). It actually helps, somewhat to my surprise.
I hope you find something that helps you!
-Loki

May 17, 2014 7:45 PM

Loki and suemaus.. the visualization I relate to. I find this along with deep breathing helps me. I cannot take pain meds and have to find alternative methods. The TENS is good. As I have said elsewhere, when my pain is way too much my feet end up in a bucket of ice! Love massage! Wish I could get it regularly.

May 18, 2014 2:18 PM

God, definitely, what I wouldn't give for the ability to get a massage daily. I've often joked I should marry a massage therapist... :)
Visualisation is good for when you have the time, but I do have trouble making time for it on a busy day. It's not exactly a ten second method. And it's not like you can plan for when the pain flares up.
The most frustrating thing for me is the unpredictability and how sometimes so little can be 'too much'. Yesterday I did fifteen minutes of yard work, had an alarm clock to remind me to stop in time and everything. Today, my back hurts so badly I don't even know what to do with myself. Painkillers aren't working and I can't find any position in which I'm comfortable. But I've been too busy to set time aside for meditation. It can be a hassle. On the other hand, finding something that works at all is a relief in itself, so...beggars can't be choosers.

May 20, 2014 8:05 AM

Loki and barbz thanks for the suggestions. I have never meditated, so have trouble figuring out when and where to do it. There's always something more pressing to do, but I will try to do it a long with visualization. As a matter of fact, I have my first massage scheduled with an RN turned massage therapist. She works in a PM&R clinic, so I have high hopes for success.

May 22, 2014 3:42 PM

http://www.guilford.com/cgi-bin/cartscript.cgi?page=add/caudill/index.html
This link offers some helpful audiofiles (belonging to a self-help book about managing pain) for start-up visualisation exercises. Maybe that will help.

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