Pain Relief and Hypnotherapy
Pain creates fear.
Fear fuels stress,
Fear and stress lead to inflammation in the body, resulting in more pain.
Autoimmune and other painful conditions occur when the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissues in the body, bones or joints, causing inflammation and damage.
Your pain is real and it is normal to feel fear and stress when you live with chronic pain. When you fear your pain, as everyone does this reinforces to your brain that your pain is dangerous, causing the brain to react, releasing cortisol, the flight/fight stress hormone. This cyclical reaction is the foundation of the Pain-Cycle.
Fear is not just a by-product of the pain, it keeps the pain going and growing. Neurons in the brain that fire constantly, in this case from fear and stress, wire together creating neural pathways that become your pain response i.e. a strong, highly effective pain response that fires, even when the pain doesn’t necessarily need such a strong response.
Fear elevates stress levels. Fear and stress cause more cortisol to be released into the body which over time, suppresses the immune system eventually causing inflammation which results in more pain. A damaging cycle.
Your pain story creates a constant focus on your pain e.g. checking in, body scanning and looking for the painful areas of your body that you want to protect. This magnifies your fear and stress around your pain on a daily basis, so much so your brain eventually learns how to ‘do’ the pain response automatically which keeps the Pain-Cycle going. This is how pain becomes chronic.
This kind of reactive response to pain is called neuroplastic pain: ‘neuro’. because it has to do with your brain and your nervous system, and ‘plastic’, because there is a component of learned behaviour in managing your pain i.e. your fear and stress causes the brain to constantly fire and wire in response to pain signals.
Importantly, because your pain response is learned, in part or whole, it can be unlearned by rewiring your brain’s pain response through Hypnotherapy.
Since the advent of CT Scans and MRIs, we can see the brain’s responses to stimuli such as pain. Research now confirms that your brain creates your ongoing pain response which is outside your conscious awareness.
Efforts by the conscious mind to control your pain response are rarely effective in the short term because:
- Consciously, you are not aware of the brain’s pain response, as it is acting on auto-pilot outside your awareness i.e. creating chemical triggers in your body in response to your fear and stress; and
- Your beliefs and behaviours i.e. your emotional and physical responses to your pain are controlled by your subconscious mind which is not within the control of your conscious mind, again outside of your day-to-day awareness.
Hypnotherapy breaks your Pain-Cycle by changing your relationship with the fear and stress associated with the pain.
Hypnotherapy works with the subconscious mind and that is why it is such an effective therapy, compared to other therapies, in working with you to achieve change and give you control over your pain response.
Pain relief and hypnotherapy, a holistic approach to pain management
Hypnotherapy is a complementary therapy and is an important part of your integrated health and well-being protocols in managing your pain. Your Hypnotherapist works with your Doctor, Specialists and your other Allied Health professionals in a team approach to help you live your best possible life.
Your Hypnotherapists will work with the areas of health and well-being that are disrupted by chronic pain, breaking the Pain-Cycle and giving you control over your pain response by changing:
- the fear of physical movement;
- the pain, fear and stress cortisol response in your body; and
- your emotions to a more positive outlook on life knowing you are in control
Pain relief and hypnotherapy, a case study
My client Jane suffered from Fibromyalgia for 10 years. Since her diagnosis, Jane was only able to work part-time and, any additional stresses in her life often had a debilitating effect, leaving her bed-ridden. Hypnotherapy helped her to change her pain response. This is her feedback:
“Omg 😳 Helen. This has been awesome. I have listened to your (hypnotherapy) recording every day. The memories of the fibromyalgia symptoms are like a big blank: I know it’s there in the background but it’s like… muh!
It has no emotional bearing and I don’t feel beaten down or feel the despair every morning when I wake up like before. My pain and stiffness have reduced by more than 50% and it’s not waking me up at night.
I have increased my daily walks as well without having to go to bed afterwards, exhausted. I’m feeling really positive about fibromyalgia and my control over it. Thank you. Unbelievable.” Jane
Jane’s results were nothing short of a miracle for her. Nine months later she is still in control of her pain. Importantly, you can see the emotional and physical impact of her Hypnotherapy for her. The reduction in her fear and stress levels put her firmly in control of her pain response. Jane’s life improved significantly: her ability to work longer hours, her health, her energy and her relationships.
Now she has become a more outgoing, happier person knowing that she is in control. She still paces herself but, she is in control, in the driver’s seat of her life.
Hypnotherapy reduces your pain response. Part of the homework process is that you put the work in to change your old, negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours. For example, when you:
- body scan and find pain, re-scan and find parts of you that feel good, pain-free and celebrate that;
- find yourself feeling you need to limit movement, move anyway if it is safe to do so;
- are feeling sad, mad or blue, change that feeling to “I’ve got this. I’m in control, not the pain”.
Hypnotherapy is part of a balanced lifestyle. We all need balance to achieve health and wellbeing: balance across your body, mind, spirit, emotions and energy. This translates to eating well, daily movement, relaxation, positive relationships and responding, not reacting to pain and other stressful events.
Hypnotherapy is research-based. The practice of entering Hypnosis or trance to heal has existed and persisted from the Ancient Egyptians right through the centuries to now. Hypnotherapy works and will give you the tools you need to take control of your pain response.
Hypnotherapy has a critical role to play in pain management.
Your hypnotherapist will work with you to help you learn and understand the impact of pain on your whole being including:
- the body’s automatic pain response;
- what you are, and what you are not consciously aware of happening in your body; and
- the role of the subconscious mind in controlling beliefs and behaviours.
The aim of hypnotherapy in pain management is to put you in control of the pain and, not allow pain to control you and your life. Live your best life. Trust the process of Hypnotherapy.
Helen McLucas is an Accredited HCA and GoAH Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at New You Hypnotherapy in Sydney, Australia. Find out more about Helen on her website – nyhsydney.com.au.
How to find an accredited clinical hypnotherapist in Australia
The Hypnotherapy Council of Australia is the country’s peak body for the profession and maintains a register of Accredited Clinical Hypnotherapists that belong to its member associations. These associations all adhere or exceed the industry standard training, ongoing professional development requirements and supervision standards and include
- Australian Association of Clinical Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy Inc.
- Guild of Australian Hypnotherapists
- International Strategic Psychotherapists Association
- Professional Clinical Hypnotherapists of Australia Inc.
- Professional Hypnotherapists of Australia Inc.
If you want to know how hypnotherapy can benefit you email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to put you in touch with an accredited clinical hypnotherapist in your area,