[AMP-L] Phantom limb "tingle"
ldeanc at sbcglobal.net
Sun Aug 15 11:06:39 PDT 2010
Larry - Great news that your stump is healed and no longer infected and that you
are doing well! I am an HD amputee (March 2007), and I can share my experience
with phantom tingling.
1. It is not likely to go away completely. My doctors and my reading confirmed
this for me. These "phantom sensations", as opposed to phantom pain, pretty
much stay forever. However, they tend to diminish in intensity and frequency
over time, and this has been my experience. I used to feel them on and off
throughout the day daily, especially when at rest. Now, I feel them
occasionally - usually during weather changes - and only mildly at bedtime and
once in a while during the day. They can be more intense when in reaction to
weather changes, and sometimes, I get pain/throbbing/stabbing for a few moments,
too, due to weather changes. Even so, neither the tingling nor the pain is as
intense during these times as they were during the months after my amputation.
If your phantom pain and sensations are responding already to gabapentin, then
it is highly unlikely that you will be one of the very small number of people
whose phonatom pain and sensations remain chronic and intensely uncomfortable.
I took Lyrica, a newer and similar medicaiton to gabapentin, for 6 months to
deal with my phantom pain/sensations, and it helped a great deal. After 6
months, I was weaned off it, and I have had no issues since, other than the mild
sensations and occasional moments of more intense ones that I described above,
and these all are very manageable. They are not a problem for me at all.
2. Additional ways of dealing with phantom pain and sensations that I found and
continue to find tremendously helpful are gentle massage of the stump and scar
areas, meditation, guided imagery, regular exercise/healthy eating, and daily
extended use of my prosthesis.
Regular massage of the stump and scar area helped prepare me for my prosthesis
by getting the nerves accustomed to pressure. Wearing my prosthesis all day
(12-14 hours) helped the damaged nerve endings heal better and become
increasingly accustomed to being touched, pushed, rubbed, etc. I still wear my
prosthesis all day...can't imagine ever wanting to live without it!
Meditation and deep breathing help with any kind of physical and emotional
discomfort, including phantom sensations. I've been meditating for years, and
for a period of time, I added additional meditation time to my day. When I have
a bout of uncomfortable phantom sensations, I am able to take a few deep slow
breaths and put myself in a calmer frame of mind and imagine the discomfort
flowing out of me with my breath, which helps release the discomfort, so it
diminishes and dissipates quickly.
Guided imagery is a meditative way of tapping the mind's and body's own healing
powers, and I find it relaxing and powerful. I use CDs by Belleruth Naparstek.
She has dozens of CDs, each geared toward addressing different issues, e.g.,
cancer, general wellness, pain, etc. I use her "General Wellness" CD. You can
learn more about guided imagery and her CDs here:
http://belleruthnaparstek.com/. Go to the online store to buy CDs.
Finally, regular exercise and healthy eating help keep my body healthy, vital
and strong, including reducing pain and discomfort from phantom sensations. I
excercise every muscle in my body through resistance workouts, exercises I
learned in PT, and yoga, and I do this 5-6 days a week. When combined with
meditation, healthy eating, etc., it helps me stay as grounded, centered, calm,
peaceful, healthy, vital and strong as I can be, which has all kids of benefits,
including reducing discomfort.
Hope this helps...good luck!
ldeanc at sbcglobal.net
From: "lhunsicker at mchsi.com" <lhunsicker at mchsi.com>
To: amp-l <amp-l at u.washington.edu>
Sent: Sat, August 14, 2010 6:54:22 PM
Subject: [AMP-L] Phantom limb "tingle"
My two questions:
1. Is this something that will eventually go away? If so, what sort of time
line should I expect.
2. If this is not something that is likely to go away, is there something more
definitive than taking gabapentin that I can do about it?
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