Pain Management in North Belfast
Pain. No one likes it, but lots of us experience it. Perhaps you’re waiting for an operation, suffer with a bad back or have arthritis. If you’ve had the same type of pain for more than a few months or much longer than expected, you’re probably suffering from chronic pain.
Chronic pain disrupts your daily routine, prevents you from working or causes feelings of hopelessness and anxiety. You have my sympathy – I suffered with a prolapsed disc (twice) for some time before undergoing surgery. I know how debilitating it can be.
Before you start hypnotherapy
Before you start Hypnotherapy you must be examined by your GP and a cause for your pain sought. It is the body’s warning signal so cannot be ignored. Ideally, your GP/consultant should be involved in your treatment.
What causes pain?
Pain is the body’s signal something is wrong so cannot be ignored. Pain keeps us safe – it tells us to move our hand away from heat so we don’t get burnt. In fact, people who don’t feel pain have a reduced life expectancy.
However, there are times when the pain is misleading like phantom limb pain.
The perception of pain differs from person to person and interestingly it also reflects cultural expectations. What seems unbearable to one person may be tolerated by another.
The science bit
Researchers have studied the effect of hypnosis on the brain using Functional MRI scans which show brain activity and PET scans which show how body tissues are working as well as what they look like.
-hypnotic suggestions affect a number of mechanisms in the brain.
-different parts of the brain have less activity when suggestions are given for decreased pain.
-Hypnosis can alter the process of brain activity.
Suggestions can influence physical responses – in one study (many years ago!) harmful heat was applied to both arms. Suggestions were given for one arm to be normal and the other vulnerable. 75% of the time this resulted in greater inflammation and more tissue damage to the vulnerable arm.
Thousands of surgeries have been carried out at the University Hospital of Liège under ‘hypno-sedation’ instead of general anaesthetic (when you are “knocked out”). ‘Hypno sedation’ is routinely used and combines local sedation, fewer analgesic drugs and medical hypnosis.
In the 1800s James Esdaile, a British surgeon in India, performed hundreds of major operations using hypnosis as anaesthesia.
Pain reduction – Evidence based hypnotherapy for you to succeed
Research shows the benefits of hypnosis increase over time. Regular practices improves the length of time and effectiveness of pain relief.
You’ll learn a combination of these techniques which are considered to be of most use for overcoming pain:
- Relaxation – research shows pain and relaxation cannot co-exist. Relaxation plays an important role because less tension means less pain.
- Distraction – by focusing on other parts of the body or imagining being in a different place or a time/place when you didn’t have pain. There’s evidence imagining being in a special place helps decrease pain.
- Goal-directed imagining – like using ice to create numbness.
You’ll also learn to change the way you think about pain too. A study indicated reduction in pain is advanced when pain-related thoughts are dealt with.
How many sessions?
Review after six sessions. I offer a free initial consultation during which we discuss a personalised treatment plan and the number of sessions required.
The greatest evidence for hypnosis is in the treatment of pain. Hypnosis is a learned skill and regular practice is needed to derive the greatest benefit.