Phantom Pain Therapy
by Dr Peter Mack
This case is a lady in her early 40's whose hand was caught and crushed in the sugarcane roller machine at a hawker centre. The right index and middle fingers turned black and had to be surgically amputated. After the surgery she experienced severe phantom limb pain (pain the fingers which were no longer there) which was resistant to all the pain-killers given by the hand-surgery team as well as the pain-management team.
The Chief of Pain Management referred her to me for therapy (the first time ever). After 4 sessions of hypnosis and regression therapy her pain disappeared completely. She re-lived the terrible moments when she saw her hands crushed and her fingers turning gangrenous and could then come to terms with those feelings after the therapy.
A year later she returned to the hospital with severe burning pain at the stump of the amputation site and was unable to sleep at night as a result of it. The hand surgery team operated and explored the nerves in her hand, found two nerves to be swollen and removed those. After the surgery, the pain remained. The surgeons ran out of options and called me for help.
I started therapy sessions again and under trance the patient revealed that her burning pain originated from her non-acceptance of the appearance of the amputation stump. Furthermore, her pain was aggravated by the stress of looking after a demented parent at home. After therapy the patients pain level dropped to negligible levels and remains under control to date.
The hand surgery team was exhilarated, and so was I ........