Hypnotherapy for Pain Management
Prescription pain medication sees some of the highest rates of addiction, even more than cocaine and heroin combined. America pops pills, and this mentality has led to disastrous results with the Centers for Disease Control estimating that 4 people die each day from painkiller drug abuse.
Addiction centers around the country comment that this is one of the hardest addictions to treat. One of the reasons for this is that like alcohol, there is no stigma attached to prescription painkillers because they are legal, and so “okay to use” since a doctor prescribes them.
In reality, opiates, like Vicodin, codeine and OxyContin are very physically addicting, and so once a person is hooked, it is very difficult to recover. The body becomes physically addicted to the drug and because of this the withdrawal is excruciating.
Of course, occasional use, such as, a few pills post dental surgery or an acute incidence of pain, such as, from injury will not be detrimental, but, prolonged use typically results in physical dependence, and also the psychological dependence that destroys many people’s lives.
Many people, who are smart, are looking to natural alternatives to conventional medicine, such as, painkillers, and even when they are of the over the counter variety, such as, NSAIDs, like aspirin and ibuprofen.
Hypnotherapy is a form of complementary or alternative medicine that involves alteration of one’s state of awareness, from being conscious to being relaxed. The idea is to focus on relaxing ideas, emotions, situations, and images to be distracted from feeling pain.
For centuries, hypnotherapy has been used to diminish acute or chronic pain. Like many forms of alternative medicine, it revolves around the principle that stress and pain are related. Hypnotherapy aims to break the cycle that connects the two.
How Hypnotherapy Works?
During hypnotherapy, the person separates from conscious thoughts and rather focuses on concentration and relaxation. During this event, the mind becomes more powerful, being more open to suggestions, pain reduction included. The body may also experience physiologic changes such as increased alpha waves of the brain, and decreased respiration and pulse.
Conditions Often Addressed with Hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy has been proven effective in relieving pain associated with the following conditions.
• Spinal stenosis
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• Neck pain
• Joint pain
• Pain from cancer
• Rheumatoid arthritis
Other Benefits of Hypnotherapy
• Reduced anxiety in relation to surgical and invasive procedures such as intubation, catheterization, and endoscopy
• Better sleep quality
• Less need for pain medications
• Better surgical outcomes
• Faster recovery periods
• Improved coping mechanisms such as repression and intellectualization
• Increased energy
4 Strategies Involved in Hypnotherapy
When a person is distracted, such as during the midst of an amazing or unexpected event, the perception of pain is reduced.
The best example of this is a boxer who doesn’t feel all the pain during an intense battle at the ring, but after the fight suddenly feels the pain from his injuries. Distraction techniques during hypnotherapy aims to put less attention on pain itself, thus diminishing the sensation.
Reframing technique means turning the pain sensation into another kind of sensation. For instance, the therapist helps the patient perceive severe pain as a mild itch, or a burning pain as an actually cool sensation.
During hypnosis, the person enters a dream-like state, wherein catalepsy, or the temporary paralysis and loss of feeling, occurs. The hypnotherapist guides the patient while in trance, suggesting and talking about scenarios that initiate numbness, such as hand freezing because of the snow or sleeping on one arm. The trick is to help this numbness spread throughout body parts suffering from pain.
Upon entering the hypnotic state, the person dissociates from the body, the same way when a person is dreaming. The therapist takes advantage of this phase, allowing the patient to have an “out of body” experience, leaving all the pain sensation behind.
What You Need to Know
It is very important to know that pain is a sensation which signals that something is wrong in the body, and should not be ignored. If you are considering hypnotherapy for pain relief, it is crucial to seek the advice of a health professional and have the underlying causes of pain corrected before proceeding.