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.
Oct. 27, 2011
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