Phantom pain is something that many amputees experience, and I’m no exception to the rule. For me there is a constant ache or throbbing in my arm that varies in intensity through the day. At it’s worst it feels like there is pressure squeezing my arm and I feel as if my hand is clenched tightly in a fist and I can’t open it. Every now and then I’ll feel a sharp, stabbing pain that lasts from less than a second to maybe three or four.
I’ve been taking 40mg of Nortryptline for the last couple of months, it was prescribed to help reduce the nerve pain and does a reasonable job, although I’m now trying to reduce the dosage since I’d rather not be taking any medication if I can help it.
It’s interesting that my arm feels most uncomfortable when I’m in a car, as a passenger or driving, and likewise at night when I go to bed. My best guess is that in both cases the rest of the body is pretty much resting and the pain in my arm then comes to forefront.
From reading around it seems people aren’t quite sure what the cause of phantom pain is or even how best to treat it. There are plenty of suggestions, but it seems it’s really down to finding something that works for the individual. I’m fortunate enough that the pain isn’t debilitating and I can get on with every day life and just put up with the annoyance coming from my arm, a bit like living with tooth ache. If it was my leg I can imagine it making it hard to use a prosthetic.
So my hunt is on for something that will help eliminate the phantom pain, I’ve been recommended self hypnosis…apparently it worked very well for one amputee. I’ll keep you posted as I try things out.