Why do we get pain?
And what can we do about it when all else fails?
Our body produces pain for specific reasons.
The two key roles for pain are it to be protective and recuperative. For example if you injure your ankle and you keep moving it, it’s going to get worse. The pain lets you know that there is damage and prevents more damage.
But when the injury heals or the disease is cured or it has been 6 months after the surgery, and the pain goes on and there is nothing the doctors can do except provides more medication, it’s neither protective nor recuperative. This is when pain becomes chronic.
Unrelieved chronic pain can cause considerable suffering, physical limitations, and emotional distress Many people, when suffering from chronic pain, turn to a whole host of painkillers and opioids, leaving them confused and less able to function.
Hypnotherapy is a natural way to help you control physical pain and the negative emotions associated with it (mental pain) on a subconscious level. It can help you manage the pain by …
- Changing the intensity of the pain
- Help block the fear receptors in your brain
- Managing the fear and anxiety you feel related to that pain
- And help you understand a better way of going forward
In New Zealand roughly 770,000 people suffer from chronic pain.
It has been stated in many medical journals and papers, that a multi-disciplinary approach to pain management, which can include hypnotherapy, more than doubles the return-to-work rates for patients and substantially, reduces opiate use and annual medical costs.
The National Health Survey of 2016/17 estimated 20% of adults had chronic pain. That is defined as pain present almost daily, which has lasted or is expected to last more than six months irrespective of intensity. Common areas of pain are back and nerve related pain. Most people develop pain after a musculoskeletal injury or surgery.
Mostly pain starts as a result of disease or trauma.
Pain specialist, Tipu Aamir relates chronic pain to back in the old days when we had to learn a new landline number when we moved suburbs. The first few times we could remember it, but after recalling it many times, it pops into the brain with no effort at all.
It’s the same with pain signals. At first they fire in response to a stimulus, but if they do it often enough it becomes an automatic reaction at a subconscious level. The pathway that is taking that signal around the brain has transmitted so many times that it becomes hypersensitive, so the pain response is elicited even when there’s no pain to respond to.
HOW HYPNOTHERAPY CAN HELP
Many people with chronic pain experience low moods and anxiety and depression. But our thoughts and emotions can actually turn pain up or down. And the more we try not to focus on something – try not to think of a pink elephant – the larger it becomes.
One of the ways Hypnotherapy can assist you is by helping you to take your mind off the pain! Yes, really!
Hypnotherapy can also assist you to control the anxiety and depression caused by chronic pain. It can help motivate you and see that there is a different way, perhaps a better way, that there can be life after the pain.
It can help you to concentrate and change the intensity of the pain. Hypnotherapy techniques include visualization. By using visualization, while in Hypnosis, focusing on relaxation and letting go of distracting thoughts you can learn how to lower the intensity or even in some cases shut pain out entirely, just by training your un/sub-conscious mind.
In essence what hypnotherapy aims to do is give your pain to your sub-conscious mind for it to work on, to help you over a number of sessions. And as it has taken months or even years to get this pain, it may take a few sessions of training for your subconscious mind to “get it”. And as you are working with your sub-conscious mind, it works faster than normal leaning and habit forming. Usually, a series of just 6 or so training sessions can really help you.
There are various areas of pain* where Hypnotherapy can assist you to train your brain. Below are just some….
- Phantom Limb Pain
- Dental Treatment
- Cancer treatment
- Surgery recovery
- Migraines / Headaches
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Childbirth & Recovery
- Other gut and digestive pain
- Having an MRI scan (fear of, or can get painful if in scanner for a long time)
*Hypnotherapy is not meant to take the place of medical treatment. Always get pain checked out with your medical specialist or GP before seeking complimentary treatment for pain.
** With severe burns and/or an emergency trauma situation, the person affected is already in a highly focused trance state (also called shock hypnosis) so be very careful what you say to them. Remain calm and give positive suggestions. E.g. Help is on its way. I’m here with you. Or “Imagine your arm (or whatever is burnt) being bathed in a cool stream, cooling down, cooling down.” Call emergency medical help first as required and/or make sure you deal with the situation as per workplace first aid certification.
Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are examples of pain that can be helped. Studies show that people with arthritis and related diseases can experience more than 75% significant pain relief using hypnosis (arthritis foundation.org).
Hypnotherapy can help you to change your subconscious so that the emotional response to the pain and how much suffering you experiences is lessened. Patients are taught techniques that can provide natural pain relief which can help in all areas of life as well – you will be able to rest and digest better, stress levels will lower, which will also mean your immune system will be given a boost!
A PMC article for example, reviews 13 controlled studies of hypnosis for the treatment of chronic pain, were identified – including cancer pain, fibromyalgia, physical disabilities, sickle cell disease, low-back problems, temporomandibular (jaw pain) and mixed chronic pain – that compared outcomes from hypnosis for the treatment of chronic pain to either baseline data or a control condition.
The findings indicate that hypnosis interventions consistently produce significant decreases in pain associated with a variety of chronic-pain problems.
Also, hypnosis was generally found to be more effective than non-hypnotic interventions such as attention, physical therapy, and education.
Pain can be managed in a natural way and hypnotherapy has been proven to help.
If you, or someone you know, suffers from chronic pain, come and take advantage of our FREE, 30 minute, no obligation consolation and contact us to make an appointment.