Hypnotherapy can help conditions such as:
* Chronic Arthritic Pain in the back, hips, knees, neck.
* Tension Headaches.
* Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS
* Crohns / Ulcerative Colitis
* Menstrual Pain
The interesting thing, about pain, is that pain is not made in the area of your body that hurts, pain is created in the brain.
Receptors at the end of our nerves called nociceptors detect damage or danger and then transmit an electro-chemical pulse in the direction of the spinal cord and on up towards the brain. These receptors and pulses can be thought of as danger receptors or danger signals. They do not however create pain.
Only the brain can create pain. The brain will create pain signals once it has perceived a threat. Pain is not detected by the brain, it is made by the brain.
Functional MRI scans have shown that 3 areas of the brain are activated when a person is in pain. There are a mixture of inputs and this is unique to each person and for every experience of pain, known as a ‘Neurosignature’.
The 3 areas of activation are:
⭐️ Sensory (detection of danger signals from nociceptors, creation of pain signals to source).
⭐️ Emotional (activation of sympathetic nervous system, involved with fear, anxiety and stress).
⭐️ Cognitive (our thoughts, our memories, our beliefs).
Pain signals are sent by the brain to help and protect you. The brain always thinks its doing a job of alerting you and protecting you from danger or further injury. It is important to remember that pain is a friend, it is acting as a bodyguard or our guardian. It is a signal for protection, it is not attacking us.
Pain however is often not an accurate informant of damage. Pain can sometimes become very overprotective, it can send pain signals at the mere sniff of a threat, such as when we are tired, stressed or ‘over doing it’ slightly. Pain can become persistent, overly sensitive, increasingly bothersome and even life ruining. It is known that long after injuries heal, even when there is no longer any sign of tissue damage, the brain in many cases, still sends pain signals.
It’s important to know, that although pain is made in the brain this does not mean it is ‘all in the mind’ like it can be wished away. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We do not decide to have pain. Pain is out of our control.
⭐️ Pain is a decision made in the Subconscious mind, not in our Conscious mind.
It is an unconscious learned response, like any other biological responses that we have little control over, such as our hormones or our nervous system.
It is in the realm of the Subconscious mind that Hypnotherapy can be a useful tool for chronic pain.
Suggestions under hypnosis can help to retrain the brains emotional and cognitive responses, by altering its perception of the perceived threat and thereby teaching it to stop sending pain signals.
Hypnotherapy calms the subconscious mind, reduces the anxiety and fear of pain and alters its previously learnt responses by reassuring it that there is no life threatening danger and that pain signals, in this instance, are no longer required.
When pain has become chronic, the alarm system in the brain becomes overly sensitive and becomes activated to send pain signals at a far quicker and more efficient rate. This constant loop of pain signals puts the body into the ‘fight or flight mode’ far more frequently, activated by the sympathetic nervous system.
Hypnotherapy can help to control these problematic symptoms, it can help with the reduction of pain levels and to positively manage pain. Along side pain It can also be used to increase activity levels, improve mood and improve sleep quality.
Sessions for pain also include techniques to calm the nervous system down, by stimulating the vagus nerve to reassure the mind that the body is safe and calm. This slows the fight or flight response and in turn, feeds back to the brain that pain signals do not need to be sent with such intensity, or even at all. These techniques include breathing, visualisation and grounding exercises.
It is encouraging that NICE, The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence now recommend Hypnotherapy as an effective alternative therapy for pain. There is wide evidence for the effective treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome with hypnotherapy.
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