Pain and discomfort are a reality for many who have undergone amputation, but everyone experiences it to varying degrees. Pain Awareness Month is observed in September with the purpose of raising awareness about pain research and its impact on more than 51 million Americans living with chronic pain, including those with limb loss.
Everyone has different triggers, but pain if not managed properly can interfere with everyday life, making it difficult to sleep or even function normally throughout the day. Thankfully it is possible to reduce the intensity of pain associated with limb loss and learn to cope effectively when it does come.
As part of our commitment to the community, the Amputee Coalition is here to help and we encourage you to explore our resources on this topic. The National Limb Loss Resource Center has a page dedicated to pain management information.
First, it is important to understand the type(s) of pain you are experiencing so you can implement the most effective solution.
Residual limb pain refers to pain that originates in the part of your limb that remains after amputation. This is different from phantom limb pain which is the term used when the phantom limb sensations are uncomfortable or hurt. For additional information on phantom pain, Cleveland Clinic is a great resource.
If one way isn’t effective, try different techniques for managing residual pain, phantom pain, surgical pain, or secondary conditions considering everyone’s body responds differently to treatments.
We also encourage you to tap into one of the best resources – each other! Join us on AC Connect if you haven’t already to ask questions and discuss pain solutions with other amputees who understand what you are going through. Find out what techniques worked best for them and see if any also work for you!