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How can hypnotherapy help you manage pain?

Pain is a complicated issue. Everyone experiences pain differently, with varying symptoms and to differing levels of severity or discomfort. It can be hard to treat, with conventional treatments such as painkillers not always being effective. Could you turn to hypnotherapy as a complementary therapy to help manage pain?

If you are experiencing pain, you are always advised to see your doctor. This is the starting point to investigate what is causing your pain, and how best to treat it.

Your recommended treatment will depend on the type of pain you are experiencing, for instance, whether it is acute or chronic pain. Whilst treatment for short-term pain can often be as simple as taking a course of painkillers, chronic pain is often more complicated and difficult to treat.

The reason you are experiencing pain may be easily pinpointed, for example as a result of a medical condition. However, in some cases, there may not be any obvious cause. This does not mean the pain isn't real, it just makes treatment that much more complex; it is often the case that one method alone is not sufficient to treat the patient.

If you’re experiencing pain on a regular basis, it's important to consider other treatments that might help to form your own ‘pain management plan’. In many cases, a variety of approaches can be taken to help lessen pain.

Part of the treatment of chronic pain may not only be in relieving the pain itself, but possibly to improve independence, or to provide support to cope with the emotional implications of a condition. For many, complementary approaches such as hypnotherapy form a large part of this plan.

Hypnosis as pain management

One important focus of pain management involves examining the link between the body and mind. For many people, stress and anxiety are commonly experienced alongside pain and can exacerbate pain.

The perception of physical sensations is directly linked with the way that the mind responds to pain. Focusing on changing the thought patterns related to pain can make a huge difference to pain perception, and helping to reduce associated stress.

Hypnosis enables you to focus on relaxation and let go of any distracting thoughts, by temporarily tuning-out the conscious part of your mind. Hypnosis also opens you up to the power of suggestion - at which point your hypnotherapist can make suggestions to encourage pain relief.

A common misconception is that a hypnotherapist will try to convince you that your pain doesn't exist.

Far from this, hypnotherapy as a form of pain management aims to deal with the fears and anxieties you have relating to your pain.

The therapy helps to reduce stress and relax the nervous system to help it become less reactive to pain.

Hypnosis can help you to refocus your mind, taking thoughts away from the pain to something more pleasant. For instance, a popular technique used by hypnotherapists is to ask you to imagine that you're somewhere peaceful and tranquil, like a beach.

Thinking about the colour of the sea, the feeling of the sun on your skin, or the sand between your toes will help to comfort the mind. Encouraging visualisation techniques in this way, helps to distract a patient away from their pain.

Most hypnotherapists will also give post-hypnotic suggestions, allowing you to carry out self-hypnosis after your sessions end. It is also common for hypnotherapists to make recordings for you to use at home - so you can continue to employ hypnosis techniques in the comfort of your own home, too.

Many people claim that hypnotherapy is an effective tool as part of their chronic pain management plan. But, it is worth remembering that, as with any treatment, it is not guaranteed to work for everybody. However, it is a natural therapy with no side effects, so it is certainly worth trying - particularly if other treatments haven’t worked for you so far.

Other treatments for pain

Hypnotherapy may be an effective treatment for the pain you are experiencing, however, it is important to remember that it is a complementary therapy; it is designed to be used in conjunction with traditional medicine. Be sure to pay attention to other important factors, to ensure continual effective treatment that will best aid your recovery, or long-term pain relief.

A few tips

  • If you are able to, try to stay as mobile as possible, and take part in some form of gentle exercise - such as walking, yoga or swimming
  • Many people with chronic conditions require some form of physical therapy, such as stretching exercises, manipulation and other pain relief exercises
  • Medications and painkillers as advised by your doctor can also form part of your chronic pain management plan


Find out more about hypnotherapy and pain management on Hypnotherapy Directory.