pain Control - Using Hypnosis for Medication-free pain Control

Using Hypnosis for Medication-free pain Control

Using Hypnosis for Medication-free pain Control

Virtually everyone experiences major chronic or acute pain sometime during their lifetime.

Once the source of the pain is known and the person is working with his or her health practitioners to remedy the problem, the pain no longer serves its purpose and can safely be controlled.

Generally people turn to various pain control medications, whether over-the-counter or a prescription, to relieve unnecessary pain. But sometimes the side effects are almost as bad as the pain. Some people develop gastric distress from aspirin or other pain relievers. Others become addicted to prescription medications. Still other people simply prefer not to use pharmaceuticals of any sort.

Hypnosis and pain

Hypnosis is one of the most natural alternatives to medication for controlling pain. Hypnosis works on the increasingly recognized connection between a person's mental state and physical response. Research suggests that hypnosis reduces pain by influencing the limbic-hypothalamic areas of the brain, triggering the opiate receptors to produce endorphins and related neurotransmitters.

In addition, psychological factors can influence the perception of pain. When a person anticipates that an adjustment will be extremely painful, for example, the experience of the pain will be more intense than if the person anticipates a lesser level of pain.

How to Reprogram pain

Just as expectation can strengthen the experience of pain, the patient can use self-hypnosis to reprogram their anticipation of pain and achieve a much lower level of discomfort. There are several ways this reprogramming can work.

Imagery can help stimulate the release of neuropeptides into the body. Visualization of the intended result triggers the correct response in the body. Under hypnosis a person can visualize soothing, healing endorphins reducing the pain. As he or she does so the pain will lessen and may completely disappear.

Deep relaxation is beneficial in relieving pain. Some painful conditions, such as headaches or whiplash injuries, are aggravated by stress and therefore can be eased by relaxation alone. Even those conditions that are not directly stress-related can be helped with relaxation. pain causes a person to tense muscles, and tension makes the pain worse. Your patients may have noticed that an adjustment is more effective and less uncomfortable when they are relaxed than when they are tense.

It is possible to distract oneself from the pain. One young woman had open heart surgery using hypnosis as her only anesthetic. As part of the process she imagined herself water-skiing on her favorite lake, distancing herself from the surgery.

Since anticipation of pain makes it worse, hypnosis can help relieve the fear of pain if someone is facing a potentially painful situation, such as back surgery. If the patient goes into surgery relaxed, without fear, and with confidence in their ability to handle the situation, it will be much less painful.

One of the most interesting ways to reduce pain is metaphor intervention, which involves objectifying the pain by describing its experienced characteristics, such as its shape, size, color, texture, and temperature. When it is clearly defined the person imagines transforming the pain into something else, often the metaphor's opposite. Within a few minutes after the exercise is concluded the pain will be much reduced, if not gone altogether

Another common pain control technique is glove anesthesia, in which the Hypnotherapist helps the patient perceive one hand to be numb. The patient then transfers the numbness to the painful area.

Self-knowledge Helps Avoid pain

pain is best controlled when it begins, not when it is in full force. To avoid flare-ups of a chronic condition the sufferer must know his own body-its areas of tension, its needs, its sensitivities, how it feels when it is relaxed, and what the beginnings of a painful episode, for instance a migraine, feel like. Hypnosis can help a chronic pain sufferer become familiar with his own sensitivities by remembering previous flare-ups and learning techniques to avoid the conditions that cause the problem.

Hypnosis should be used as part of a total pain-control program. No patient should try to relieve pain through hypnosis until the cause is identified. A suddenly occurring back pain may be due only to a muscle spasm, but it might also be a herniated disc, so the patient should get it diagnosed and physical treatment started before going to a Hypnotherapist to control the pain.

When you are working with a patient with chronic back pain, or one who is especially sensitive to pain, consider Hypnotherapy as a complement to your treatment. Both you and your patient will be glad you did.

Case Study

I had an occasion to conduct several sessions on pain management with a woman who is also a member of one of my on-going groups.

She had been in two separate automobile accidents that had resulted in whiplash injuries. To complicate the situation, she had a stressful job that required her to spend long hours at the computer. As a result she frequently suffered episodes of acute pain that could involve her whole back and head as well as her neck.

I presented her with two separate exercises to help control her chronic pain and lessen acute episodes when they occurred.

One technique I gave her was glove anesthesia. In the session I suggested to her that her hand was becoming very numb, and that she could transfer this numbness to any area of her body by simply placing her hand there. She was successful in using the technique while under hypnosis to numb the pain in her neck. After the session she said her neck felt as if she had iced it, but without the cold.

In another session I taught her the metaphor intervention technique outlined in the accompanying article. Before we began the exercise she described the painful area as encompassing her head from the back of her neck over the top of her scalp to the level of her eyebrows. Using the metaphor technique she was able to reduce the pain to a minor ache over one eye.

She has incorporated these techniques into her repertoire of pain management, allowing her to reduce her dependence on pain medication.

Hypnosis for Health
The 5 Levels of pain Control with Self-Hypnosis

1) The first level of pain control is removing your biggest obstacle: FEAR, i.e., letting your intellect play the "what if" game. Fear inhibits two important abilities: concentration and relaxation. Basically, fear = pain. You must confront both the fear associated with the pain and the fear of using self-hypnosis. The fears usually associated with pain are: fear of making it worse, fear of having a unknown illness, fear of unending pain, and fear of death. It is important that your condition has been diagnosed by your doctor to dispel these fears. The fears usually associated with hypnosis are: fear of being misled or tricked, fear of not doing it right, fear of losing self-control, or fear of coming out of self-hypnosis too soon. The truth is: all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. Your way is the right way, and self-hypnosis is a method of gaining more self-control than you ever thought possible! But you must participate with an open mind. Once you have practiced self-hypnosis techniques, the fear of coming out of it is like the fear that you might forget how to drive your car. In one form or another, hypnosis has been successfully used by "native" healers for 100's, if not 1000's of years. There are many well-documented cases of painless surgeries with hypnosis dating as far back as the 1840's when a Scottish surgeon named Dr. James Esdaile practiced Mesmeric techniques in India.

2) The second level of pain control is achieved by generating trust and belief in the hypnotic process and in the virtuosity of your body. Realize that your body makes its own pain killing drugs similar to morphine called endorphins. (That's why morphine and its derivatives are so addictive, the brain has these receptor sites built in.) Endorphins are administered in a site-specific way within the brain in order to preserve the other vital systems and functions of the body. This is how nature intended pain control. Ever notice a bruise on yourself and not remember how it happened

3) Once your mind has been freed of fear and ignorance, the third level of pain control is the ability to focus your intellect and concentrate on your experience in the present moment. When you concentrate on just the pain in the moment, noting its qualities, you have reduced that pain by 2/3: you have removed both the pain you remember from yesterday and the pain you anticipate for tomorrow. By closing your eyes and focusing inwardly on the pain, you have indirectly begun the hypnotic process. Distracting yourself by concentrating on something else can help, too

4) The fourth level of pain control is using the intellect to engage systematic/progressive relaxation. Relaxation is an important key to successful pain control, especially for chronic pain. You begin with slow rhythmic breathing centering in the abdomen, paying close attention to expelling ALL your air with each exhale. Then focus on relaxing your eyelid muscles and progress all the way down to your feet, mentally relaxing each muscle group as you go. A personalized guided relaxation tape is often helpful. Continue scanning your body for any pockets of tension, and, if necessary, consciously tense any resistant muscle group for a few seconds, then release. Use your breath as your main focal point. At this level you have reduced the pain by about 75% and with enough practice can control your nervous, circulatory, and healing systems through visualization and guided imagery.

5) The fifth level is complete removal of the pain through the process of dissociation. (Dissociation through self-hypnosis is a controlled process and has no relation whatsoever to any mental disorder.) Some people are better at dissociation, out-of-body journeys, and deep trance states than others; yet, with enough practice anyone can do it. To enter a deep trance state you must be completely relaxed but rested enough to remain awake. The key here is to realize that you are removing your self from the pain and not vice versa. With your mind's eye, create a pain-free place in detail, using your most vivid memories. Beautiful outdoor scenes work well, but any serene place will do. Using a background sound track or personalized self-hypnosis tape can prove useful to maintain focus for longer periods of time. The more absorbed you can become in your imagery, the more oblivious you will become to your symptom. With enough practice, at this level you can completely anaesthetize any part of your body and undergo major surgery or, coupled with proper physical conditioning, you can mentally detach from contractions for a drug-free, painless childbirth.

pLEASE NOTE: Make sure you have been diagnosed by your doctor before using any of these techniques, especially if redness and swelling are present. Remember that pain is a signal from the body that something may be out of balance, (or in childbirth, it may be time to simply change positions.)

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