What is pain? Pain is just a sensation until your body decides what to do with it, emotionally and physically. Pain is the end result of activity in different parts of your brain. These parts determine the intensity and quality of pain you will have, the risk it poses to your body, the emotions you assign to that pain and what meaning you give it.
Pain starts as a signal through you peripheral nerves that relay your pain sensations as electrical impulses to your spinal cord where neurotransmitters are activated to process and transmit the information to your brain. In the brain the signal enters the thalamus which forwards the message to three different regions in the brain: the somatosensory cortex, the limbic system and the frontal cortex. The somatosensory cortex identifies the physical sensations, the limbic system is responsible for the emotional response, and the frontal cortex which is the thinking region.
We all experience pain differently. Different factors influence how we interpret pain: emotional and psychological state; memories related to previous pain experiences; upbringing, social and cultural influences; values and beliefs; expectations of and attitude toward pain; age and sex. Your pain experience is based on these factors and your body will react accordingly.
Since your experience of pain is based on the above factors hypnosis can help by changing the patterns that create the pain and the associative meanings given to the pain. By altering your perceptions of the suffering components of pain often linked to emotions such as frustration, irritation, disappointment, sadness, hurt, you alter the way you feel about pain. Hypnosis can also change the meaning you give to pain and give you coping mechanisms to help you manage the pain in a productive healthy manner.
Hypnotic intervention has been successful with many type of specific pain. Specific pain examples include the treatment of burns; wound cleaning; fibromyalgia and chronic regional pain syndrome. It can also be used by cancer patients to reduce pain associated with chemotherapy and nausea. Hypnosis can also reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine and tension headaches. Another great use of hypnotic intervention is pre and post surgical uses, not only for pain relief but also for faster recovery with less use of medication. These are just a few ways hypnosis can be used in pain management.
A study found at the National Institute of Health on hypnotherapy for the management of chronic pain states 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.”
Further, a study found in Nature Reviews Neuroscience was conducted using functional MRI (fMRI) to show the brains reaction to pain perception. During this study an fMRI was taken at three different intervals. The first with physically induced pain with a pain rating of 5, the second hypnotically induced pain at a pain rating of 5 and hypnotically induced pain with a pain rating of 1. The physical pain condition was caused from placing a hot thermal probe (119.3°F) in the palm of the hand. The hypnotically induced pain was caused while the participant believed the probe was activated at the same level of heat – when actually if was at a comfortable setting (98.6°F). This caused the brain to activate the same areas of the brain that were activated when the actual physical pain occurred even though the pain should not have been at that level. When told under hypnosis to reduce the pain rating to a 1 the fMRI showed a reduction in brain activity in the pain centers.
How Hypnotherapy can Help
- Reduction of anxiety
- Pain Relief/Reduction
- Tension Relief
- Emotional Healing
- Coping Capabilities
- Disconnect from Pain
- Fatigue Management
- Sensory Substitution
- Symptom Reduction
- Mood Improvement
Articles and Research about Hypnosis for Pain Management
“I was diagnosed with two chronic pain diseases, CRPS and Fibromyalgia. After 8 long years of doctors “trying” medications, procedures and therapies on me, I had pretty much given up. I was exhausted of being a Guinea pig and I was preparing myself for a sedentary life, a life filled with constant pain that dominated my body and mind. Through my massage therapist, whom I trust very much, I met Rainie. She is very easy to talk to and right away started a plan for me. I am now living my life. I still have pain but instead of it dominating my every thought and being at the forefront of my mind she has pushed it to the background and it’s not as intense. This was absolutely worth it and if I need a “tune up” or if I need help with any other issues I will definitely be giving her a call. Thank you so much!!”