Phantom pain seems to be my daily companion, although, I feel fortunate that it is in no way debilitating for me and that I have no need for pain medication.
As with most amputees who suffer from phantom pain I feel it most at night in bed (not that it keeps me awake), but, bizarrely the sensations intensify for me whilst driving. Which, wouldn’t normally be such a challenge if I didn’t have to commute 80 miles a day!
Only occasionally do I feel what I would call “painful” sensations (stabbing/sharp pain), mostly it’s more a constant sense of constriction, for want of a better word. Imagine putting your hand into wet cement (or perhaps burying it deep in sand), imagine the pressure exerted on your hand as the cement dries, imagine trying to move your hand to break out of the confines, but, not being able to. That’s the best way I can describe it, an ever-present feeling of pressure, an aching.
Interestingly, if I’m wearing my prosthetic then my sensations kind of match reality with my stump being in the socket and this seems to resolve the cognitive dissonance somewhat (between what I feel and the real world) and alleviates the sensations, at least until I start driving.
I’ve got quite use to the sensations and they certainly don’t stop me in my daily life, however, I’m open to experimentation to see if I can improve things. And so, I’ve been trying out Farabloc, a nylon fabric with lots of ultra thin steel fibers woven into it that supposedly blocks high frequency electrical waves (like a faraday cage) and thus alleviates phantom pain (amongst other things).
I’ve been wrapping it around my stump at night and sleeping with it, it’s hard to determine if it’s helped just yet. I feel some improvement whilst driving to work but not enough relief that I could conclusively say it’s helped. I’ll keep wearing it for a few weeks and see what happens.
UPDATE: Well I tried it for over a week now, can’t say I’ve really noticed any improvement.