Chronic pain is when pain last more than 12 weeks and after an injury would have healed. It often serves no purpose and is linked to conditions such as diabetes and arthritis. It is estimated to affect at least eight million people in the UK. This can have a very detrimental impact on quality of life, leading to sleeping problems, reduced energy, relationship and work problems.
There is growing concern over the health implications of long-term use of painkillers. These include stomach, kidney and heart problems. Long-term use of opioids can reduce muscle tone, decreased immune system, depression, anxiety, increased risk of falls and broken bones. There is also the risk of being addicted to painkillers and taking an overdose.
Hypnosis involves the client entering a deeply relaxed state where the subconscious mind becomes more open to positive suggestion. The Hypnotherapist makes suggestions which can trigger the body’s natural ability to reduce pain and alter your experiences of feeling pain, which makes managing chronic pain easier.
There is good evidence of the effectiveness of hypnotherapy for managing chronic pain. A BBC show presented my Dr Michael Moseley showed that hypnosis alters the sensation of pain and brain scans illustrated the effects of hypnosis on the brain. The Journal of Rheumatology published a study where fibromyalgia patients found benefit from hypnotherapy. Similarly, the European Journal of Pain reported on a study where osteoarthritis patients benefitted from hypnotherapy. Indeed, NICE recommend hypnotherapy for the treatment of IBS.
So, if chronic pain is having a negative affect on your life and you would like to take a non-drug route of managing pain, it is worth discussing your situation with a hypnotherapist and see what they can offer. It is also recommended that you first talk to your GP about coming off prescribed painkillers.