The sensation of pain varies greatly from one person to the next. Many of the factors are not coming from the actual pain receptors, like-the fear of death or financial ruin, previous experiences and associations with pain, lack of control, what the pain signifies, and anxiety. These all are located in the brain. While medical treatment can cure and treat the actual injury or disease, hypnosis can offer relief from these secondary emotional and psychological conditions.
Through therapeutic imagery and visualizations, combined with long-established relaxation techniques, we teach and coach clients to diminish their sensation of pain and regain a sense of control. They learn to transform or displace it, to direct their attention away from it, and gain tools to directly decrease their perception of it. Many of these techniques have been widely used for childbirth, now many are using them to reduce their fears of medical procedures and needles, restore their sleep, and depend less on pain medications.
Not only can individuals learn to use their own minds to block the pathway carrying pain messages from the site of injury to the brain, but also to change brain chemistry, releasing endorphins and serotonin.
My pain management clients use these tools for both acute pain due to injury, illness or surgery and for chronic pain. Many times it is appropriate to experience “signal” pain, so hypnosis can create an analgesic effect, relieving anxiety and relaxing the muscles. But, it is especially valuable for chronic pain, since often pain medication is the only treatment available. Besides the risk of addiction, patients often hesitate to take it, due to grogginess and other side effects that may interfere with effectiveness and safety on the job. In some situations, after diagnosis and treatment, a more complete anesthetic effect is appropriate.
Some additional benefits include lower patient pre-operative anxiety, fewer post-surgical complications and nausea, less need for drugs, less bleeding during surgery, and faster recovery time. Since the 1950’s thousands of people have undergone surgery with no anesthetic other than hypnosis, so it definitely can help you cope with such ailments as chronic back pain, headaches, fibromyalgia, burns, arthritis, and shingles.