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Notice: Before you attempt using hypnosis for pain control there are some important things to do first.
--- don't self-diagnose. consult a doctor to make sure there is not a problem that can be fixed.
--- learn what all the options are before you decide which way to go.
--- check the links below for more information about chronic pain and treatments
It's a real pain or maybe not!
First let's define what pain really is and why it’s valuable for your survival.
True pain is a message from the body to the mind that something is wrong and needs to be fixed. It can be carried by several types of nerves and triggers an emotional reaction as well as just the sensation. Without it, people wouldn’t survive long because of damage and infection, so it is a survival tool.
But there's another kind of "pain", carried by the same nerves that is anti-survival. Chronic pain, where you've done what is needed but the nerves don't know that yet, or the nerves are malfunctioning and sending meaningless signals. Those signals just get in the way of conscious functioning--distracting and making life rather unpleasant at times. In reality, that kind of pain is just noise in the system because it doesn’t carry any useful information.
The problem with this kind of pain is that you’ve learned that all signals on those nerves are warnings so it is very hard to ignore them. And they trigger the same emotional reaction even though they have no useful information. When there is a real warning involved with those nerve signals they can save your life or help you avoid injury, but when it’s just a form of useless noise it just causes discomfort without any benefit.
There are a number of ways to deal with chronic pain: try to live with it, which may not work all that well; rely on OTC medications, which sometimes are enough; get a prescription for opioid type medications, which can have a number of side effects including cost. You’re probably already aware of those methods but there’s another approach which is often more effective—hypnosis as a tool for pain management.
There are at least three ways that Hypnosis can be used to deal with chronic pain:
1) Creating analgesia, much the same way that it would be done for dental work or minor surgery. This works, but tends to wear off and have to be redone by the client every so often.
2) Amplification of effects. Hypnosis is used to amplify the effect of a relatively weak, safe pain medication such as Naproxin or aspirin to the point that it is as effective as a powerful opioid. This works well with clients who really believe that they have to take a pill to get relief.
3) Having the unconscious re-frame the signals coming from the “pain” nerves depending on their context: Is this signal actually a warning that something is wrong and needs to be fixed? If so, pass it on to the conscious mind with full effect; Is the signal left over after the problem is solved or simply a problem with the nerve itself? If so, it is only noise and be can dismissed the same way background sounds are handled, unnoticed unless you look for them; Is this signal carrying a positive message such as the so called “pain of healing”? If so, pass on the positive interpretation of the signal.
I definitely prefer to use the third option whenever possible, since it is the most flexible. The unconscious does not want the conscious mind distracted from dealing with the immediate situation. I have actually seen times when I was simply describing the process to a client and the unconscious grabbed the idea and put it to use, even though they were not in trance at the time. Usually though, it is much easier to use hypnosis to set the process up.