dlove at webzone.net.au
Tue Sep 23 18:49:04 PDT 2003
Sorry to hear of your recent entry to this 'club'. I became an rbk 3 years ago and initially had very intense phantom pains. I had my limb nearly torn off in a motorcycle accident. The pains that I had were like having my foot crushed and the nails torn off. Kind off like what really happened I guess.
Any way the pain doc suggested that I could do some mental exercises to 'remove the phantom limb' and the associated pain. These consisted of picturing the limb getting short and shorter each day until it was drawn up to just a foot on the end of my stump, then eventually until it was just a stump without any limb. This mental exercise was combined with the use of a mirror placed at the end of my bed so I could see myself without the limb.
I found this quite effective in getting rid of the feeling of still having a leg, as well as the pain. Perhaps this was because it gave me something to focus on and that I could believe I could actually do some thing rather than lie there in agony How ever I didn't fully get rid of the pains until I stopped taking any opiate based medications.
Why? Well I now find that if I am constipated or have a full bladder I start to get phantom pains. If I don't/can't relieve myself they soon become the same pains I had straight after the accident. Opiates of course constipate one rather savagely!
I note that Archie also has observed this, and my sister who is an oncology (cancer) nurse has reported patients who get referred pain when they are constipated.
Any way the good news is that I very rarely experience any phantom pain now. If I do, I to find massage and/or rubbing the end of the stump provides relief. I'll have to try the blanket idea - it sounds kind of nice!!
Best of luck with your troubles James
Ps with the stump vs residual limb debate, I loved the way the docs referred to bit they could save as 'the viable tissue'
But what ever you choose to call it, it's important to learn to love it. I thank mine every day for getting me around and I treat it with extra special care.
----- Original Message -----
From: James Street
To: Amputee Information Network
Sent: Tuesday, 23 September 2003 5:48
Subject: Phantom pain
I had an above knee amputation about a month ago and I still have a lot of phantom feeling/pain in my missing foot, calf muscle, etc. It consists mostly of nerve popping and feelings like when you hit your crazy bone on your elbow, pins and needles, etc. It is wearing but not extremely painful. It's kind of like having a trumpet player blasting away at odd moments in the other room. It's hard to forget about and go about your business.
Can anyone comment on how long it takes this to go away? I've heard that for some people, it is an on going problem. I hope that is the exception rather than the rule!
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