Pain Management

What is Pain

Many people are unaware that pain is not physically present in the area of the body where it is felt. Pain is a construct of the mind, an interpretation of the signals that the brain receives from various parts of the body. The brain somewhat logically, and at the same time somewhat arbitrarily, does its best to interpret the messages it receives from the nervous system; translating them to pressure, temperature, pain, or some other sensation. Take for example the case of phantom limb pain where someone who has lost a limb can still feel a pain or an itch in their missing limb.

The amount of pain we feel is strongly related to how and where we focus our attention in response to the pain. If we ignore the pain and focus our attention on other parts of the body, or the task at hand, the pain will diminish in intensity. If we dwell on the pain, the brain will think we want more information and increase the intensity of the pain.

Consider the example of a footballer focused on winning a grand final or an Olympic athlete competing for a gold medal. These elite athletes have developed the skill to push through injury and extreme pain by focusing their attention so completely on their goal that their conscious mind has no resources left to perceive pain. At the other extreme, a boring day at the office and a paper cut becomes a major drama as it demands our full attention.

What this means for us is that pain is malleable and responsive to hypnosis. This allows us to effectively change the way pain is interpreted and represented in the mind.

Hypnosis for Pain

Hypnosis can be used to change the way the brain interprets pain signals, altering the perception of these messages to that of a pressure or a tingling sensation. Pain can also be moved to another area of the body which is less sensitive. In addition to changing the representation of the pain itself, a persons attention can be focused on other areas of the body that are pain free which can significantly reduce the discomfort.

Relaxation techniques can be employed to help alleviate painful areas that are aggravated through cramping and tension. Better sleep patterns can be encouraged to help the body rest and recuperate, to ensure that the body functions as it should overnight. Visualization and self hypnosis techniques can be taught to give the conscious mind more direct control over the intensity and threshold of pain, to help manage the discomfort through the day at home and at work.

When dealing with pain it is generally necessary to also address any associated issues such as anxiety, concentration, learning difficulties, and relationships at work and home. Each client will have individual needs which can be met through a personalized plan for pain reduction and pain management.