Amputation causes sharp pain not only to the patient but also to the people close to him/her. An amputation changes the life of the patient. It affects physically at first. However, the apparent pain is not the end of it. Patients feel deep pain after surgery. It is a part of the healing process, and initial pain subsides within a few days of the incision, but psychological and sensational pains remain for a more extended period. Patients deal with the pain and at the same time learn to live with the missing limb. This is a tremendous mental and physical turmoil which an amputee goes through.
We’ll talk about some ways to deal with the amputation process in this article.
What’s an amputation and how it affects?
Amputation is an action of surgically cutting off a limb. It can be anything like a leg, toe, hand or finger. However, the severity of the operation cannot be lessened. Losing any part of the body restricts one from the regular household chores primarily. Even for a simple action, the patient needs to take the help of his/her family and relatives. This dependence leads to irritation of mood.
The patient also feels not only the loss of independence, but the pain can be overwhelming The pain around the operated part is numbing. Various pains can be felt around the area. The skin remains sensitive. The nerves around the operated part generate a tingling pain which is irritating for the patient.
Amputation can occur by accident, military combat or in a necessary condition like diabetes, vascular disease and more.
Also Read: How artificial limbs are made
Different Types of Post Amputation sensations
After the successful incision, internal tissues start getting healed. However, at this time many patients complain about tingling sensation in their cut-off limbs. There are few different types of sensations a person feels in their amputated limb, like Phantom Sensation, Phantom pain, residual limb pain and more. Majority of the patients suffer from Phantom Limb Sensation after the surgery.
Ways to deal with a Phantom Limb Sensation
Phantom sensation is limb awareness which is related to our habit of using the limbs. Patients often feel that the limb is still in place. It can happen with any body part like hands, legs or even breasts after the mastectomy of breast cancer patients. There is a difference between Phantom Sensation and Phantom Pain. In Phantom Sensation patients hardly complain about any pain.
However, in the case of phantom pain patients feel real pain in the missing body part. Here are some ways you can deal with the Phantom limb pain through therapies –
- Local Injection – In this type of treatment, the physician injects a local pain-blocking medicine at the site of amputation. This calms the pain for a few hours or longer.
- Mirror-Box – This is a proven technique to reduce the post-amputation pain among the patients. The patient gets to see receiving PT in an actual mirror to set up the brain with the message that the limb is not there.
- Never-cuff simulation – The physician places a nerve simulator on the nerves that are travelling to the amputated limb. It encapsulates the nerve and rather than blocking its signals, it sends the right signals to the brain. This technique is still experimental though.
- Deep Brain Simulation – This technique works through direct stimulation of the brain. The physician places electrodes on the surface of the brain, and it helps release the pain with electrical impulses.
- Non-opiate Analgesic- This is a prescription medicine to slow or limit the functions of the pain nerves to regulate the pain.
Tips to help someone if an accident causes amputation
- Call ambulance.
- Let the injured person lay down and keep the injured area elevated.
- Apply pressure on the wound. If any sharp object is stuck in the injured area, apply pressure around it.
- Apply bandage one over another. Don’t remove any bandage.
- Don’t move the person. Let him/her be in his/her position intact.
- Help to calm down.
- Keep the amputated part safe. Clean with clear water. Avoid soap.
- Keep the limb in a plastic bag if possible.
- Place the bag into the freezer.
How to resolve the difficulty for yourself as an amputee? How to deal with Amputation yourself.
Getting back into your previous self is time-consuming, although it’s not impossible. Everything depends on how one comes up with the incident.
After the operation, the amputee spends time in rehabilitation center learning how to regain the strength around the amputated area and how to perform the regular chores. This is a crucial period when the patient needs support and love from his/her family, relatives, loved ones, and caregivers. Love and support will help to understand that the struggle s/he is facing is not permanent and they will recover eventually.
Rehabilitation centres teach various exercises by professionals to strengthen the body. Proper diet helps in healing as well as provides multiple nutrients to the body. To keep a healthy body food and exercises are essential. The centers teach how to take care of the skin around the amputated area.
Books on spirituality and inspiring stories of other amputees will help the patient not to feel left out. Inspirational stories help people to re-growth trust and confidence among them. After amputation, generally, people find it tough to concentrate. So, an audible book is an excellent choice for this period. Spirituality aids to settle the inner struggle. Music helps to soothe the mind.
How to deal with Amputation yourself. Self Help is the best help.
An amputee can recover from the physical and mental trauma with some help. You as an amputee are the one who can help yourself with the situation and pain of course with the help of doctors, relatives and the best, you.
Some tips on How to deal with Amputation. Here are some things you can do during your recovery period for easing out the physical and mental pain –
- Reach out to ask for help. People around you love you and care for you. They are willing to help you. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Learn to use your other body parts to help yourself the best you can.
- After the amputation, the first appearance in front of the outside world is the most difficult one. So, try practising beforehand how to use stairs or if you need to use a public washroom then who will assist you there. Train yourself with him or her.
- Practice with a wheelchair or prosthetic body part.
- Take care of your mental health. Depression is usual after losing a limb. Try to help your mental state. Visit counsellors or psychiatrist before your depression becomes a severe issue.
- Indulge yourself in the works that you used to love, or you still like. This will help you to fight with the negative thoughts that usually accumulate in one’s mind after a tough situation. Prepare yourself for the life that is ahead of you.
- Make a list of things that you want to conquer and keep updating every day what the things you can perform now are.
- Do chores for yourself. This will help you to boost up your confidence level. Fix short-term goals and improve yourself day by day.
Coping with a missing limb is not easy. The treatments and medications are out there. However, mentally learning to deal with the situation yourself helps long term. The early the procedure is done, the faster you’ll recover. Therefore, seek the help of a pain management professional to avoid the severe problem to be developed in future.