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Phantom Limb Pain Treatments

Old 09-19-11, 04:24 PM
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Phantom Limb Pain Treatments

One that has been pretty effective is Mirror Therapy


It takes advantage of neurological architecture to reduce excess brain activity. If we lose an input, the brain will manufacture that input, resulting often in phantom pain.
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Old 09-19-11, 06:32 PM
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That is INCREDIBLE.... the human mind is an amazing thing! I have a friend who lost his leg 40 years ago, and he still has phantom pain.
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Old 09-19-11, 07:06 PM
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I have heard this works well for some, and not at all for others (including myself).
Another possible source of relief is from rubbing a soft towel, lambskin, shammy, w/e your preference is along the stump around the scar line. It supposedly helps your brain accept the fact that the limb is gone and to where the "new" location of some of the nerves are, in a pleasant sensation.

I might suggest to some that if this issue becomes intolerable that you look into pain management. I am a patient and it litterally changed my life back to some state of normality after dealing with intense pain for almost two years. There comes a point where it is ok to accept that you may need some help through your individual situation. Being a "hero" can cause a lot of problems in your life. Pain is an issue that no other individual can decide for you what you feel and where your personal limit is. Living with it every day, 24 hours a day drains you physically and mentally and significantly reduces your quality of life. Don't be afraid to talk to your dr. about it.
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Old 09-20-11, 10:06 AM
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Pain MGNT is more about Quality of life than about 'healing'. For me, it is an acknowledgement that the pain isn't going away, and we find ways to make it easier to live with. Doctors (I find) do not wish to treat symptoms, but rather find the cause. With chronic pain there is not always a cause that can be fixed, so treating the symptoms is part of the protocol.

Yes, for me, going back to Pain MGNT feels like giving up, but life is better this way. A good Pain MGNT clinic isn't just about pills, but also about directing possible exercises, procedures,etc to hopefully solve the issues for you. When all else fails, they look for the least 'pills' that will make your day-to-day life better.

Pain has been a large part of my life for almost 30 years, and at this point, I'm done, and mentally can not deal with pain well anymore.
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Old 10-01-11, 03:40 PM
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Interesting. Though my left arm is still present and has some function the brachial plexus tear and resulting paralysis has created a situation very similar to phantom pain. Other treatments including painkillers shot directly into the nerve have been largely ineffective.
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Old 10-06-11, 01:02 AM
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This topic reminded me of an episode of 'M*A*S*H' where a college running back's leg was amputated. But when he woke up from the anesthesia, he was saying that his leg hurt.
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Old 10-07-11, 06:30 PM
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There are a lot of treatments for phantom pain. Desensitization is always important no matter what other tx are used. That involves "mirroring" and the rubbing that punkncat mentioned. I tell my patients to wiggle their toes/fingers/whatever. I always get the response "I don't have any", to which I reply, "Your brain does not know that".

In addition, there are a lot of non narcotic medications (narcotics do not work well for phantom pain) that work very well as adjunctives.
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Old 10-08-11, 10:29 AM
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lol... when I try to wiggle the paralyzed toes, my butt twitches where the damage is at. All the nerves that were cut rewired themselves kinda weird.

I don't get a lot of phantom pains, but I did suffer from RSD for a decade or so. I was pretty happy when it went into remission.
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Old 10-08-11, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by RUOkie
In addition, there are a lot of non narcotic medications (narcotics do not work well for phantom pain) that work very well as adjunctives.
There is certainly something to be said for the new research going on in non-narcotic pain relievers, but this new thought process that many people and dr's have about narcotics just being "bad" is nonsense. I will trust a naturally derived product any day over something that was synthesized in a lab and even the creators/inventors only know a small percentage of what it's real side effects are. Then you get the other group who are convinced you are a "seeker" when you tell them that Gababpentin, Cymbalta, etc. don't work for you and make you feel worse than you do without anything. I get terrible side effects from the whole group of these "new" meds and analogs.
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Old 10-09-11, 03:21 AM
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Originally Posted by punkncat
Then you get the other group who are convinced you are a "seeker" when you tell them that Gababpentin, Cymbalta, etc. don't work for you and make you feel worse than you do without anything. I get terrible side effects from the whole group of these "new" meds and analogs.
AMEN. Years with gabapentin, Pristiq, pamellor, you name it... None of these worked well and when they didn't work the doctors got mad at me... as if I LOVE pain. Next they shuttle you from pain management clinic to pain management clinic and tell you to HTFU. sooo frustrating!!!!
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Old 10-09-11, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Rona
AMEN. Years with gabapentin, Pristiq, pamellor, you name it... None of these worked well and when they didn't work the doctors got mad at me... as if I LOVE pain. Next they shuttle you from pain management clinic to pain management clinic and tell you to HTFU. sooo frustrating!!!!
Yeah, my reaction to one of the medications was much like "me being outside, or beside myself". I litterally felt as if I was sitting beside myself watching my body do things that I was thinking. Very strange and disjointed. The Dr. looked at me funny and says, "That is a reaction only elderly patients get from the medication." and told me I was a pill seeker. Hey, thanks much for your professional advice on what I am feeling.
I have pretty much lost faith in great parts of the medical and phamaceutical industry. It seems that interest went away from the patient and is now much too focused on covering the R & D on the latest fashionable pill we are supposed to be shoving in our head....nevermind we will sprount a third nipple from our forehead ten years down the road, they will make another pill to cure that too.
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Old 10-09-11, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by RUOkie

In addition, there are a lot of non narcotic medications (narcotics do not work well for phantom pain) that work very well as adjunctives.
Very true. In fact I'd say not at all.
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Old 10-09-11, 05:42 PM
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I was given medication for phantom pains that really took my head out of the loop as mentioned earlier. Grabbing and looking at the lost digits has been far more effective for me.
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