Americans are in More Pain

The Associated Press reports that Americans are in more pain than ever, probably due to the aging of the population, so pain killers are selling like crazy.  The use of oxycodone, found in OxyContin and Percocet has increased 16 times in some areas.

According to Gregory Bunt, medical director at the Daytop Village treatment clinics in New York, as we are getting older, more of us are really experiencing  pain. “Pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined.”

Some new formulations that are ready for release will have 10 times more  hydrocodone as that found in Vicodin. Some of the increase use is due to many addicts switching to prescription meds for the great sense of well-being, but physicians are much more willing to alleviate pain for their patients than in the past. They definitely increase a suffer’s quality of life, so it’s very easy to develop a dependency quite innocently.

Fortunately, many individuals learn to use their own minds to block the pathway carrying pain messages from the site of injury to the brain, and even affect their brain chemistry, releasing endorphins and serotonin. This is one aspect of my hypnotherapy practice that is especially rewarding.

See also  Pain Relief in Your Own Mind.

Unlearning Pain

When you are experiencing pain, it’s hard to accept that much of the sensation may be artificial. Yet, neurologist Ramachandran’s work with those with phantom pain from limbs that were no longer there, has shown how pain is actually an “illusion.” Through therapy with mirrors and visualization exercises, patients were able to diminish their experience of pain dramatically.

Pain specialists now believe that messages of pain travel from the site of damaged tissue through the nervous system through several “gates” before reaching the brain. The sensation can be blocked at many points. Even after reaching the brain, a gate can be closed and endorphins released, providing the body’s own pain killers.

Explaining the amazing statement, that “pain is an illusion,” Ramachandran says that

Our mind is a ‘virtual reality machine,’ which experiences the world indirectly an processes it at one remove, constructing a model in our head. So pain, like the body image, is a construct of our brain. (Quoted in The Brain that Changes Itself, by Norman Doidge, MD).

fMRI brain scans also show how with the use of a placebo, the brain can turn down its own pain-responsive regions.

This fascinating work demonstrates why hypnosis is so effective for pain management.  Either by working with a hypnotherapist or by learning self-hypnosis, clients can learn to manipulate their experience of pain, freeing themselves from the need to rely so heavily on pain medications.

Pain Relief in Your Own Mind

We already have what it takes to manage pain within our own brains, especially with a little coaching. Through your life you have had many experiences of the natural way that you automatically desensitize yourself to discomfort.  Think about the first time you wore glasses, a watch or a ring, and how you were constantly aware of the sensation and would fiddle with them. Soon, you got to the place where you weren’t aware of them anymore. With practice, you can learn to intensify this same effect, creating your own analgesia, as you need it, without pain meds and their risk of side effects and addiction. This is just one of many approaches to deal with pain that your hypnotherapist can teach you.

Everyone’s experience of pain is increased by anxiety, fears, and our association of what the pain signifies. For instance a severe pain in the abdomen can be a sign that stomach cancer has returned and will be felt in very different ways than a woman who is excited about having her first child. Soldiers on the battlefield may hardly feel a severe injury, compared to a villager whose home has been destroyed. The soldier knows that his injury means that he will be going home with honor, while the villager has lost everything and sees nothing but doom ahead. In an altered state of deep relaxation you can learn to decrease the anxiety and create new associations.

Many parents were exposed to hypnotic techniques through the Lamaze Childbirth without Pain method of the ‘60s.  Proponents later dropped the “without pain” phrase, because, of course, women had pain, but they were still able to give birth without the dangers of anesthesia. Many of those same techniques are helpful tools in self-hypnosis, like the breathwork, distraction, and visualization.

Through hypnosis your brain chemistry actually changes. You can learn to activate the release of natural pain killers and calming agents. A recent study at UCLA showed that pain can be reduced just by looking at a photo of a loved one.

Some people say that they have such a strong will that they aren’t sure that they can be hypnotized. Actually, those with good powers of concentration can enter the hypnotic state very easily. Dr. Steve Gurgevich states in fact, that “all hypnosis is self-hypnosis.”

Here is his definition-

Hypnosis is a type of relaxed or passive concentration that enables us to become so absorbed and focused on our own ideas that we can exclude or minimize the energy we give to the other things going on around us. I particularly like the analogy of using our mind as a magnifying glass to focus and concentrate our ideas and thoughts so that our subconscious mind receives them clearly and accepts them.

Take a look at this  amazing 4-minute video to see what we can do with our own  minds-

The Power of the Placebo Effect

Hypnosis for Pain Management

This is one of the areas in which hypnosis is undeniably effective for so many clients.

Pain can paralyze us making it impossible to focus, to work, or even to enjoy those times that are supposed to be pleasant and relaxing.

Under hypnosis people have famously undergone complicated surgery and felt little discomfort. Hypnosis is now even taught in some dental schools as a tool for pain management.

In day-to-day life pain becomes compounded by strong emotions often making us sad, irritable, and angry.

Come for a consultation and learn how you can use hypnosis to begin to enjoy your life again.

Denver’s natural pain clinic. Contact Victoria to find out more: victoria@technologiesoftheself.org