The evidence in support of hypnotherapy for chronic pain management has flourished over the past two decades. Hypnotherapy and the use of hypnosis offer help where medication and alternative treatments have failed. Through hypnosis a person suffering from chronic pain is taught to alter the brain’s perception of the pain message, to turn down the intensity and to produce its own internal medication.
The following case study shows how hypnotherapy can effectively help to reduce chronic pain.
For reasons of confidentiality, the name of this client has been changed.
Chris had been struggling with pain for many years. Not only was she experiencing persistent pain in her back, neck and shoulders she was also suffering from frequent headaches. Virtually every day for the past four years she had woken up with a headache. Whilst an MRI scan showed no signs of a more serious underlying condition, Chris was finding medication to be of little help. Her muscles felt constantly tired, tense and heavy and the pain was affecting her quality and enjoyment of life.
After so many years of chronic pain it was understandable that Chris felt upset and stressed about her condition. It was also unsurprising to hear that she had a negative expectation of waking up pain-free and constantly worried about what she could or couldn’t achieve in the day. Unfortunately, worry and stress only exacerbate chronic pain conditions. When the mind and body are full of stress and tension (a non-relaxed state) the nerve fibres in our system get pumped up and this increases the pain message.
Chris had a course of hypnotherapy sessions spread over a number of months. Using solution focused techniques and hypnosis we worked over time to change Chris’s perception of pain and to evoke a more positive and relaxed state of mind. By refocusing her thoughts in a solution focused way Chris was able to change the way she felt about her condition and to think in a way that was more helpful to her.
After two sessions Chris noticed her way of thinking had begun to change. For example, when pain came on instead of getting annoyed with herself and thinking what she couldn’t achieve that day she was now more accepting of the pain. She was starting to be kinder to herself, taking time out in the day to relax and reassuring herself with words of comfort. In the past she had kept working when in pain. As the sessions progressed Chris found she was able to focus more on other things rather than pain. She also felt more motivated to do more things she enjoyed, things she had stopped doing because of pain.
By reducing negative thoughts and emotions and focusing on things she enjoyed Chris was able to turn down the stress response and create a more relaxed state in her mind and body. These positive changes in thought and action stimulate an increase in important neurotransmitters in the brain, most notably serotonin. Whereas stress hormones pump up the nerve fibres and so increase pain messages, serotonin interrupts the pain signals. In her last session Chris was pleased to say she was now waking up pain-free and looking forward to the day. She felt happier, much more positive and had more energy. She was excited about her work and enjoying life again.
To find out more about hypnotherapy and how it can help with pain management call 07514 931 096 or email me using the contact form.
Results may vary from person to person as do the number of hypnotherapy sessions required and length of treatment.