Dealing with Amputee Phantom Pain
Whenever I meet another amputee, the subject of phantom pain eventually comes up. It seems most amputees have suffered through these pains in various forms and intensity.
There is a lot of information available regarding phantom limb pain online today. I have compiled a list of some of the best resources here.
There are also some beliefs and misbeliefs about phantom pain, phantom sensation, and stump pain. Phantom pain comes on strong with sharp, shooting pains originating in the bottom of the residual limb and experienced in the “missing” shin or knee or foot area. The sensation for me is like an electric shock of pain or a sharp stabbing feeling. The pain can come on fast or slow and have a wide range of intensity. The pain may last a few hours or a few days and longer.
Phantom sensation feels like tingling or pins and needles in the stump end. It is very similar your foot falling asleep and it feels sort of numb and tingly for a minute or two. Except phantom sensation can go on for days. I’ve had this feeling for up to five days in a row, resulting in lack of sleep, edginess and ending up in a full blown attack of pain.
Stump pain is like phantom pain, except most of the pain is in the stump itself, primarily in the bone end.I have experienced these symptoms in varying degrees over the course of thirty years as an amputee. The pain now is not going away. It seems to be happening more frequently lately. The bottom line is, pain is pain. Amputee pain can be quite devastating, but pain relief and pain management for the amputee is like that of any other person. The primary concern is, what works?
For many years I dealt with the pain by using prescription medicine in the form of nerve relaxers (tegretol) and pain pills (Tylenol with codeine). These didn’t help much but the other effects of the medication would sometimes help induce sleep. Sleep was the main objective. If I could relax enough to sleep, hopefully the pain would be gone when I awoke.The medication became a problem of its own. Taking the combination of pills rendered me unable to drive or do much else. Kind of like walking around in a stupor. Not very effective medicine, but better than nothing.
Phantom pain can be dealt with in other, more natural ways as well, and no single method or combination of methods works for all amputees. It is highly recommended that you view some of our phantom pain links pages for alternate ways of dealing with the pain, such as Farabloc, massage, hot baths, ice and similar treatments.For years, I relied mostly on pills and their side effects. Until I moved to British Columbia and discovered Farabloc while surfing the web one day around 1998 or so. The Farabloc website claimed that their product, a fabric cloth enmeshed with steel fibers, could block out the phantom pain. As any pain sufferer knows there are lots of pain relief products out there, all claiming the same thing. For me, I was tired of the feeling the medication gave me, and I decided to try the Farabloc cloth. I ordered a custom fit stump cover online and it arrived by mail a short time later.
The next time I felt the pain coming on, I put the cover over my stump, and to my delight and amazement, I felt the pain decrease almost immediately, accompanied by a warm feeling. If the pain was my electric guitar amplifier turned up to nine or ten, the Farabloc cloth turned it down to about a two or three! I couldn’t believe it. Finally, actual pain relief without medication.I have relied on Farabloc’s shielding properties for about six years. For me, the important thing is simply to halt the pain, just like any pain sufferer wants, and Farabloc works for me. Simple as that.
Article by Larry Gardner – Owner and Webmaster for www.amputee.ca . This article is under the copyright of Sky’s the Limit Web Marketing and may only be reprinted with expressed written permission. Please send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Farabloc is now the “Standard of Care” for Phantom Limb Pain.
“I first encountered Farabloc during a research study in 1990 ( University of British Columbia, School of Rehabilitation ). Together with Dr. Tali Conine, we examined the efficacy of using Farabloc to manage phantom limb pain in amputees. The study utilized a randomized, double-blind, cross-over design to find in favour of Farabloc.
The outcome was consequently published in a number of medical Journals:
Canadian Journal of Rehabilitation Volume 6, Number 3, 1993 pp. 155-161 ISSN 0828-0827
British Columbia Medical Journal: 2001 Dec; 43: 10; Pages 573-577
Clinical Journal of Pain, Philadelphia, PA; 2002 Mar-Apr; 18(2): 84-92:
Farabloc is now the “Standard of Care” for Phantom Limb Pain.
I have been in private practice as a specialist in Physical Medicine since
1990. It is important to note that further studies have been done to examine the effect of Farabloc on the rehabilitation of muscle injury as well as it’s effect on Fibromyalgia, awaiting publication in Clinical Rheumatology, UK, in 2006.
I have personally prescribed Farabloc to a number of patients with Fibromyalgia and Regional Myofascial Pain.
Since 1997, I have been using pulsed magnetic fields (Pulsed Signal Therapy) to treat osteoarthritis, chronic musculoskeletal pain secondary to trauma and work injury and chronic sports injury(www.certifiedpst.com).
Pulsed Signal Therapy (PST) and Farabloc may have something in common. PST involves the passage of low frequency magnetic pulses through tissue. This promotes healing and tissue regeneration.
Farabloc has been shown to block high frequency radiation from entering tissue. I think PST and Farabloc could be used in a complementary fashion for the treatment of chronic soft tissue pain.
Cecil Hershler, MD, PhD, FRCP(C)
Vancouver, B.C. Canada
Director of the Vancouver PST Clinic
What is Farabloc?
“As an electrically conductive fabric it probably induces an electromagnetic field around the body (or the limb for a local wrap) similar to a Faradic cage, or a coil around a magnet.
When electrical energy is generated within the body (by muscle activity, spasm cramp, stiffness, nerve activity or chronic pain), this energy normally passes along the sensory nerves to the spinal cord and to the brain, indicating pain.
When wearing the Farabloc fabric, this energy can pass out of the body into the electromagnetic field of the blanket like an electrical ground or sink, thereby dissipating the energy which would otherwise travel up the sensory nerves as “pain.”
Excerpt Dr. Twidale , Langley )
To find out more about Farabloc Limb Covers for Amputees, please visit the Farabloc website at: