Sunday, December 16, 2012

                                       Blog #10: Hypnosis for Pain Control
     It is important to be selective with the use of hypnosis for pain relief, since pain is a message from the nervous system.  When discomfort is covered up, a person can be at risk of further injury because warning signals about the body’s vulnerabilities are diminished or re-interpreted.  I strongly recommend appropriate diagnostic tests, such as x-ray, MRI, blood work or urinalysis, as well as a course of physical treatment, such as chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, medication, or appropriate dietary changes before turning to hypnosis for relief.  Once it has been established that a person’s pain sensations are no longer necessary or appropriate for feedback and healing, hypnosis can help dramatically. 
     Some examples of the appropriate and safe use of hypnosis with pain are at the dentist’s office, with phantom limb pain, with burns or abrasions that will be protected from further irritation, to prevent discomfort in the course of a normal childbirth, and to relieve muscle spasm arising from emotional distress. Many of my patients and students have reduced or eliminated acute pain from burns and other injuries, as well as chronic pain of unknown origin.  
     Several years ago, I helped a patient eliminate severe low back pain with hypnosis.  First, I sent her for x-rays and an MRI of her low back, both of which appeared normal.  She was an athletic woman who missed long-distance running and playing on a volleyball team.  She limped into my office the first day of treatment, and could think of no injury that caused her back problem.  She received chiropractic and acupuncture for two months.  At the end of that time, her pain was reduced by 30 percent, but no further improvement occurred.
     She was highly hypnotizable and had a positive, expectant attitude about therapy.  A combination of progressive relaxation and glove anesthesia proved effective for her.  Progressive relaxation involves focusing on one area of the body at a time, from the head down to the feet, or vice versa, and allowing each area to relax.  Learning glove anesthesia can be quite challenging, but this woman learned the technique quickly and was pain-free by her sixth hypnosis session.  The glove technique involves temporarily eliciting a cold, numb feeling in one hand, placing that hand over the area of pain, and transferring numbness to that part of the body.  This woman used the two techniques at home several times each day.  She resumed her athletic activities and her low back remains pain-free. 
     This blog’s offer:  contact me for a free consultation about your pain.  I will tell you if hypnosis could be effective and will tell you what, if any, tests and therapies would be advisable prior to using hypnosis and self-hypnosis for pain control.
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