I wear my prosthetic all day. As an active Mommy, I start my day well before 7 am. The first thing I do in the morning is put my leg on, and the last thing I do when I get into bed is take it off. Many days, I am wearing my leg for in excess of 15 hours.
I have discovered that the best fitting socket in the world doesn’t alleviate stump soreness and those pesky “phantom pains” which, for me at least, manifest themselves at night. I have tried numerous medications. None of the pharmaceutical treatments worked well for me, and if they did work they left me feeling drowsy and spacey. I knew that there had to be a better way.
I know that every amputee experiences phantom pains differently. For some, they actually feel pain in the limb that has been amputated. This has happened to me on a few occasions, but the occurrences are rare. I consider myself lucky that I don’t suffer from this type of pain.
My phantom pains are strictly nerve based. My residual limb feels as if it is being stung by hornets. I feel extremely sharp small pains all over my stump, causing my leg to involuntarily kick. On nights when the stinging is severe, I feel as if I should have been a Rockette.
The stinging and kicking combine to make me miserable. Pain medications are ineffective and merely leave me groggy the next day. I am forced to try to find a comfortable position in bed and hope that it goes away.
Although I haven’t completely eliminated the phantom pains, I have greatly reduced their intensity and frequency. I also have a problem with my limb “kicking” at night, involuntarily and sometimes quite rapidly. My husband is thrilled that I have come up with a way to quiet the “cricket leg.”
I have started using the HoMedics Shiatsu Massaging Pillow at night. I have found that the deep circular massage, for 15 to 20 minutes every night, treats the stump soreness and drastically decreases the phantom pain issues.
As luck would have it, my residual limb fits perfectly between the two massaging balls. I can sit down, relax and let the massage pillow works its magic on my angry little nerves. My life has been so much better since I found a non-narcotic treatment for my pain, which is anything but phantom!