We have all had experience of pain at some time in our life and know that it is not a pleasant experience at all. Notice how some people have a higher threshold for pain then other? The degree to which people may feel pain can depend on their culture, psychological structure, environment as well as genetics. An example of this is birth. In the western world women are often taught that giving birth is going to be painful. The amount of times ‘pain’, ‘pain relief’ and horror stories often told by other women having their babies can often reinforce this belief- and its not surprising how the birth is then often ‘painful’ for these women. However in certain tribal areas or hunter gatherers women often give birth themselves and are then often up and walking about as soon as they have given birth. It is an interesting observation..
There are a few types of pain:
Acute Pain: This pain is the type of pain that accompanies illness, surgery or tissues damage. e.g. through sports. Acute pain can be mild and momentarily brief e.g. pricking your finger on a needle. Or it can be ore lasting due to injury e.g. 6 week. With acute pain, the person knows where the pain is coming from. e.g. toothache. Acute pain, with treattment, will often fade away or heal.
Chronic Pain can be extreamly debilitating. Most chronic pain sufferers would have experienced pain for at least 6 months or more. This sort of pain may be constant or may come and go- often withot warning. e.g. such as a headache. Unlike acute pain, sometimes there may be no reason or cause for the pain. There may be however,chronic conditions that do cause the pain. such as:
- arthiritis (painful inflammation of the joints)
- Cancer pain
- Back pain
Sometimes chronic pain can also result from an injury that has damaged a nerve in the body. These nerves may sometimes fire randomly- sending messages to the brain which the brain then interprets as pain. This pain can often lead to other issues such as depression, insomnia and anxiety.
Doctors will often treat chronic pain by the use of pain medications and even anti depressants. However this may not always solve the problem.There is a lot of research that shows that pain is psychological as well as physical. Stress and anxiety can often make the pain worse or even trigger the pain on occasion. Ever had a really stressful day at work and then had a pounding headache afterwards?
You do the maths.
How can hypnotherapy help with pain?
Hypnotherapy to reduce pain, works by teaching the brain to stop or reduce these pain signals through the use of visualisation, suggestions, self hypnosis and various other techniques that can help the client to effectively manage their pain. Underlying issues that may be making the pain worse such as anxiety or stress will also be explored.
There has been extensive research proving the effectiveness of hypnotherapy used to treat pain:
- A meta analysis in the year 2000 of 18 published studies by psychologists Guy Montgomery (PhD) Kahterine DuHamel (PhD) and William Redd PhD, showed that 75% of clinical and experimental particpants with different types of pain obtaines substantial pain relief from hypnotic techniques.This includes both acutue and chronic pain issues.
(Source:American psychological association)
- Professors of Radiology at Harvard Medical school; Ginandes and Daniel Rosenthal published a report on their study of hypnosis to speed up the mending of broken bones. They recruited 12 people with broken ankles that did not require surgery and who received the usual treatment at hospital.Ginandes hypnotised half of these people once a week for 12 weeks whilst the other half received normal treatment at hospital. A radiologist who reviewed the xrays did not know which patients had undergone the hypnotherapy treatments.Results indicated that those who received hypnotherapy healed faster than those who did not recieve hypnotherapy. Only 6 weeks after the group who had received the hypnotherapy treatment showed the equivalent of 8 and a half weeks healing in comparison to the group that did not receive the hypnotherapy treatment.
(Source: Hypnosis network)]
- The national institute of health technology assessment panel on integration of behavioral and relaxation approaches into the treatment of chronic pain and insomnia received studies on hypnosis with cancer pain and concluded that research evidence was strong and suggested that hypnotherapy was effective with some chronic pain including tension headaches and migraines.
(Source: DC Hammond .(Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 2007 – Taylor & Francis)
Sidra Khan: MBPsS, DipHyp, HPD, PNLP
Contact: 07526 000360