chronic pain management

The Role of Hypnosis In Chronic Pain Management: Can Hypnosis Effectively Treat Chronic Pain?


Are you one of the estimated 50 million American adults who suffer from chronic pain? These estimates from the 2016 National Health Interview Survey also state that 8% of these individuals have high-impact chronic pain.

Women experience high-impact chronic pain more often than men. It’s also seen in older adults and rural residents.

Also, of note, it’s seen among those now unemployed who previously had jobs. It’s also seen in those living in poverty and without public health insurance.

The question becomes, did the lack of effective chronic pain management cause unemployment, lack of health insurance, and poverty? What if their pain was effectively managed? Could this lead to decreased poverty and increase employment with health insurance coverage?

Keep reading to learn more about hypnosis’ role in treating chronic pain. You may find the answer you’re looking for.

Understanding Pain Perception

In 1965, Drs. Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wall proposed the Gate Control Theory. This theory states that spinal cord nerve cells filter the perception of pain traveling through nerve fibers to the brain. These nerve cells act like gates that regulate which impulses get through to the brain.

Today, scientists know that pain signals from the body become increased, decreased, or altered in quality. This takes place in the spinal cord or brain.

For example, you don’t feel pain in our digestive system when large muscles contract. If you have stubbed your toe, the pain quickly subsides, and you return to what you were doing. If you have a more serious injury, pain signals you to decrease movement that may cause increased injury.

Endorphins are naturally released by the body to help decrease pain perception. Other chemical transmitters interact with pain receptors and emotional components in your brain. Have you ever felt more pain when you were upset or anxious?

What Is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain develops in relation to many different causes. It can lead to physical disability and emotional suffering.

The definition of chronic pain describes constant or recurring pain. This pain lasts longer than expected for the specific injury or illness. It often lasts more than 6 months and limits the person’s ability to take part in the activities of daily living.

Goals of Chronic Pain Management

Of interest, patients and physicians may have different ideas about chronic pain management goals. The Clinical Journal of Pain Management published a study looking at patient vs. physician desired outcomes.

Healthcare providers now focus more on improving an individual’s function and avoiding long-term opioid use. The patient’s primary focus is relief from pain.

The study found that 48% of patients stated their top priority was to decrease the pain. Also, 22% ranked discovering a diagnosis to explain their pain as most important.

Physicians ranked improved function as the primary goal of treatment 41% of the time. Next, 26% of physicians rated decreasing medication side effects as the priority.

While this may look like the patient and physician are focusing on different plans, the ultimate goal is the same. Decrease pain and return to a more normal lifestyle. Each person is unique and different approaches work for some and not for others.

Goals of Hypnosis to Decrease Chronic Pain?

Hypnosis has helped decrease anxiety before procedures. By using the power of suggestion, you can train your mind to remain calm. This can alter the pain receptors in your brain.

When a person’s pain perception decreases, they need fewer pain medications. They are also able to take part in treatment regimens to increase pain relief. All of this can lead to decreased chronic pain symptoms and increased function.

Hypnosis Treatment Plan for Chronic Pain

Hypnosis now plays a role in treating many chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Studies show that over 75% of people with chronic pain reported relief using hypnosis.

Hypnosis does not try to convince you that you’re not feeling pain. The goal is to give you tools to manage the fear and anxiety you feel when you are in pain. You learn to relax and redirect your attention away from the painful feelings.

A common hypnosis session lasts about 10 to 20 minutes. You often begin by focusing on your breathing and relaxation. The hypnotist may ask you to think of a place that makes you feel happy and comfortable.

You may then be asked to describe this place in detail. This activity teaches you to refocus your attention away from negative emotions. The goal is to activate positive emotions and feelings.

The suggestion is then made by the hypnotist that when you feel pain, you’ll feel less distress. You will feel calmer, more at ease, and less worried. Your experience will be like you’re in the described pleasant place.

Hypnotherapy often requires 4 to 10 sessions. This allows you to become proficient in managing your feeling of pain. In the end, you will be able to use these techniques when you begin to experience pain.

Is Hypnosis Right for You?

Everyone responds differently to hypnosis just as everyone’s pain and emotional experiences are different. As noted above, many people report positive results using hypnosis. It’s also important to note that there are no side effects associated with hypnosis.

Be sure to look for a qualified hypnotherapist. You can check the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis website to verify a hypnotherapists’ qualifications.

Are You Ready for a Different Approach to Manage Your Pain?

Have you tried several different methods to find relief from your pain? Are you ready to find something that will work? Hypnotism may provide answers to your chronic pain management needs.

We provide individualized sessions focused on your unique pain. Our goal is to provide a short treatment process that provides long-lasting or even permanent relief.

Contact us today to ask questions and schedule an appointment.