Living with chronic pain can be very debilitating. It can affect all areas of your life and interfere with your ability to concentrate and focus on whatever it is you need or want to do. You no longer get as much pleasure out of life because you can't do the things that you used to enjoy doing, such as exercising, playing with your children or going shopping. Even low levels of pain can affect the way you function on a day-to-day basis.
Being in long term pain is a source of stress and often people report feeling depressed, unhappy, anxious, angry, disappointed and/or helpless. The way in which pain affects your emotions will depend on how you are thinking about the pain. If you are thinking negatively about the pain, about yourself and your situation, then you are more likely to experience negative emotions like those listed above. Whereas if you are thinking more positively about your life, you won't feel so stressed about things and you will feel better about yourself. Stress, anxiety and depression can all amplify pain and cause muscle tension. Hypnotherapy gets you concentrating on the positive things in your life helping you to change your perception of the pain and the condition generally giving you the ability to manage your pain more effectively. It can also help you to reduce your stress and anxiety levels which in turn can help to reduce your persistent pain and lift your mood.
Most people who suffer with chronic pain experience sleeping difficulties. The pain either causes problems with getting to sleep and/or causes you to repeatedly wake up during the night. If your body becomes stressed due to lack of sleep, you often experience more pain. Hypnotherapy can help improve your sleeping pattern which allows your body to heal faster and reduces your pain.
Chronic or persistent pain is classified as pain that persists long after the trauma has occurred. This doesn't mean that the tissues or bones have not healed; it just means that the pain has not gone away as it would normally because the brain continues to receive pain signals even though there is nothing there to cause pain anymore. In some cases pain can be present even when there hasn't been a trauma of any kind. Chronic pain usually lasts longer than 6 months.
Nerves from all over the body run to the spinal cord and link to the nervous system. Within the spinal cord, we have a "gate" which opens and closes and allows pain signals from all over the body to travel up and down the spine between the brain and the rest of the body. When the "gate" is open, pain signals are able to travel up to the brain and we experience pain. When the "gate" is closed, these pain signals cannot get through so we do not experience any pain.
There are various types of transmitting nerve fibres. Those associated with chronic pain are the C fibres which transmit pain sensations such as burning, cold, throbbing, aching, pressure, itching, tingling and numbing. These fibres are relatively slow transmitters and the other faster transmitting nerve fibres can be stimulated to send a signal that reaches the brain before they can get there. In affect, these faster transmitting fibres block the other signals and close the "gate".
Our brain produces chemicals such as serotonin and noradrenaline which dampen the transmission of pain signals. It also produces opioid-like chemicals such as endorphins and enkephalins which act as natural analgesics reducing pain. Many things encourage the brain to produce these chemicals, some of which are listed below as being helpful for closing the "gate" on pain.
So what controls this "gate"? Things that cause the "gate" to open include stress, tension, anxiety, worry, depression and negative thoughts; focusing on your pain; boredom; and lack of activity and exercise. Things that help close the "gate" on pain include relaxation; feeling happy and thinking positively; socialising, taking an interest in life and doing things you enjoy; being active and exercising regularly even if it is only light exercise or walking; and counter-stimulation such as massage, acupuncture, heat/cold, and TENS.
Hypnotherapy can help you to manage your pain whether you are suffering from fibromyalgia, arthritis, back or neck pain, sciatica, myofascial pain syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome, phantom limb pain, muscle tension, or any other chronic pain disorder. Hypnotherapy is also useful in helping reduce the associated symptoms of various conditions such as asthma and other respiratory problems, allergies, headaches and migraines, Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and menopausal symptoms, digestive disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) / Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME), cancer, and skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis. It is also great for helping reduce anxiety related to medical procedures such as childbirth, blood tests and having a tooth removed. It has also been shown to improve recovery times and reduce pain and nausea following surgery.
The amount of sessions you will need depends on a number of factors including the severity of your pain, your current ability to cope, your current stress and anxiety levels and how you feel about yourself and your life. This can be discussed more in detail during the initial consultation.
To book an initial consultation to discuss how Hypnotherapy can help you can help you reduce and manage your pain, call 07851 307 062 or email.
Get Help with Managing Chronic Pain from Hypnotherapy in Bristol