Hypnotherapy is a recommended treatment for both chronic and acute pain patients. Strong evidence has been gathered by a 1995 panel of physicians of the National Institutes of Health that show hypnotic interventions are beneficial in the management of cancer pain, tension headaches, and irritable bowel syndrome and many other forms of mental and physical pain.
When dealing with pain management it is important to know what type of pain the individual is experiencing. Is this a chronic/ongoing pain or is this acute pain? There are some types of pain that as a hypnotherapist you would not want to eliminate altogether as it is the body's own warning system of a more serious underlying condition. (IE: migraine headaches, bone fractures that make symptomatic appearance as being Arthritis)
We know about hypnotherapy's effectiveness as a pain reduction tool, however, pain is the body telling us there is something wrong and to remove this warning system totally, is not a great idea. If the patient has already been to their doctor and more serious causes of their symptoms have been eliminated, then it would be fine for the hypnotherapist to proceed.
What is the difference between Chronic and Acute Pain?
Acute pain begins suddenly and is usually a sharp distinct feeling. It serves as a warning of disease or a threat to the body. Acute pain might be mild and last just a moment, or it might be severe and last for weeks or months. In most cases, acute pain does not last longer than six months, and it disappears when the underlying cause of pain has been treated or has healed. Unrelieved acute pain, however, might lead to chronic pain.
Hypnosis is successfully used for the management of acute pain associated with invasive procedures, treatments such as burn dressing changes, labor and childbirth, and some surgical procedures.
Chronic pain can persist despite the fact that the injury has healed. Pain signals remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or years. Chronic pain affects millions of people. Physical effects include tense muscles, limited mobility, a lack of energy, and changes in appetite. Emotional effects include depression, anger, anxiety, and fear of re-injury. Such a fear might hinder a person’s ability to return to normal work or leisure activities.
It is a little known fact that Hypnotherapy is a very effective tool in relieving and controlling different types of chronic pain as well as using hypnosis to manage the pain.
Hypnotherapy is also a very effective solution for depression. Several studies have shown a significant rate of depression in chronic pain patients. A client that has their depression under control has a much better outcome of success in dealing with their pain.
Examples of Acute Pain
Examples of Chronic Pain
Low back pain
Burns or cuts
Labor and childbirth
Neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to nerves)
Burn dressing changes
Psychogenic pain (pain not due to past disease or injury or any visible sign of damage inside)
Treating pain with Hypnosis - when can it be done?
Hypnotherapy is used in a variety of situations for treating pain, including the following:
Post-operative pain- Where traditional painkillers aren't appropriate, perhaps because the patient is afraid of needles or allergic to medication.
Phantom limb pain- Amputees sometimes experience pain from limbs which have been removed, and research has shown that hypnosis has had impressive results in treating this kind of phantom pain. I know this fact personally as I am an amputee!
Hypnosis has the potential to provide rapid pain relief that can be maintained for long periods of time. You may eventually find that you no longer have the dependance on pain medications which lose their effectiveness over time along with the side effects that come with them.