Lifestyle and home remediesBy Mayo Clinic Staff
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:
- Look for distractions. Find activities that take your focus off the pain, such as reading or listening to music.
- Stay physically active. Get your exercise by doing activities that you enjoy, such as gardening, walking, swimming or cycling.
- Take your medications. Follow your doctor's directions in taking prescribed and over-the-counter pain medications. If you try herbal and other alternative medications, be sure to tell your doctor.
- Find ways to relax. Practice activities that reduce your emotional and muscular tension. Take a warm bath — not too hot, as heat may aggravate the pain. Lie down and follow helpful relaxation techniques, such as rhythmic breathing, meditation or visualization.
- 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.
- Take care of your stump. Removing or putting on your prosthesis, massaging the stump, and applying TENS, cold or heat may reduce the 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 rather than give up.
Dec. 03, 2014
- Angarita MA, et al. Pathophysiology and treatment of phantom limb pain. Colombian Journal of Anesthesiology. 2014;42:40.
- Vaso A, et al. Peripheral nervous system origin of phantom limb pain. Pain. 2014;155:1384.
- Niraj S, et al. Phantom limb pain and its psychologic management: A critical review. Pain Management Nursing. 2014;15:349.
- Virani A, et al. Phantom limb pain: A nursing perspective. 2014;29:44.
- Cornish P, et al. Successful peripheral neuromodulation for phantom limb pain. Pain Medicine. In press. Accessed Sept. 15, 2014.
- Virtual reality therapies for phantom limb pain. European Journal of Pain. 2014;18:897.
- Kalapatapu V. Lower extremity amputation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 15, 2014.
- Benzon HT, et al. Practical Management of Pain. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 16, 2014.
- Alviar MJM, et al. Pharmacologic interventions for treating phantom limb pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD006380.pub2/abstract. Accessed Sept. 16, 2014.
- Pain: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/chronic_pain/detail_chronic_pain.htm. Accessed Sept. 16, 2014.
- Acupuncture: What you need to know. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/acupuncture/introduction. Accessed Sept. 16, 2014.