A chronic pain condition is not an easy thing to live with. Typically, the medical response is to chuck pain-killing drugs at the problem. However, psychotherapy, in the form of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and hypnotherapy can do much to not only help alleviate your perception of pain, but to also help with the inevitable emotional problems (such as anxiety and depression) that come with having to live with pain for so long.
Pain control is one of hypnotherapy’s many success stories and its effectiveness is backed up by plenty of research.
Hypnosis works not on the pain itself (which is real), but on your perception of the pain (which can be altered, controlled and lessened).
In the short term, hypnosis can help relax a body that has become far to tense due to living with pain and, in the longer term, uses visualisation and other methods to alter the level of pain you feel.
Your perception of pain is so open to suggestion, that people have even had major operations (both surgical and dental), using hypnosis as the only method of pain control.
CBT helps as, over time, people build up unhealthy beliefs about their condition, beliefs that not only lower the pain threshold by causing fear, tension and low mood, but by inhibiting your daily life and limiting what you think you can do.
I have a lot of experience in helping people cope with their pain and, in some cases, almost entirely remove it.
In 2008 I was hired as a specialist by the cardiology department at The Royal Brompton Hospital, to help their patients manage a condition known as Cardiac Syndrome X (CSX). This is chest pain in the absence of any coronary abnormalities and can be very debilitating. I’ve also helped people with angina, migraines, tensions headaches and more.
I operate on the understanding that any chronic pain condition is a psychogenic pain condition. Psychogenic pain is a physical pain that is caused, increased or prolonged by mental, emotional or behavioural factors, with headaches, muscle, back and stomach pains (such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS) being some of the more common types.
The pain is real, and most definitely not in your head but, because it is on going, the pain quickly becomes influenced by psychological factors.
CBT and hypnotherapy, when used in conjunction, become a very powerful and flexible tool to help you manage your pain, and the specific problems that have built up around it.
At the very least, it’s nice to be reminded that you are not your pain. Once you realise that, you can begin to reclaim your life.