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The amputation of a limb or body part can affect a person both physically and psychologically, so certain steps must be taken after an amputation to ensure a complete recovery. Pain must be managed, and the patient must be taught how to take care of the amputated limb or body part. People who care about the patient will often play a vital role in helping that person feel loved and keep him from sinking into depression. A good attitude and a bit of determination will also go far in helping a patient deal with the loss of a limb.
After an amputation, the first thing a person will most likely need to do is deal with the pain. The pain a person experiences may be a result of the surgery or it may be phantom pain. Phantom pain describes the sensation of pain that appears to come from the limb or body part that was amputated. These feelings result from the triggering of nerves in the brain, which are unaware that the body part is no longer there. Many times, these feelings will reduce once the stump is healed, but sometimes the pain will remain present for the rest of a person’s life.
Pain management techniques will generally be chosen and discussed by the doctor. These will most likely include medications, physical therapy, electrical stimulation, and the control of blood flow to the stump. Treatment of phantom pain will depend on the cause of the pain. Along with pain management, the doctor will most likely teach a person how to prevent infections from occurring as well.
When a person’s pain is under control after an amputation, he will generally need to consider the psychological problems that face him and determine how to deal with them. He may become angry, depressed, lonely, confused, or scared. A patient will need to surround himself with people who love him and can help him get through this difficult period.
Support groups are also helpful for those who are trying to recover after an amputation. The patient can meet others who are going through the same life changing experience. These groups will help a person come to terms with the reality of amputation and may help the patient learn how to deal with it.
An amputee may need to seek the services of a psychologist or social worker to help him overcome the mental issues that he faces after an amputation. Counseling can be found in individual or group sessions. Online and over-the-phone support is also available for those who are seeking help.
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