Phantom Limb Pain and Hypnosis

July 3rd, 2013 § Comments Off on Phantom Limb Pain and Hypnosis § permalink

Phantom Limb Pain and Hypnosis: Phantom limb pain is caused by the nerves that would normally communicate energy to an amputated or missing limb. Hypnosis can help rewire the brain.

Phantom limb pain is a very interesting phenomenon. It is the sensation that the amputated or missing limb is still attached to the body, and is actually moving with other body parts. Phantom pain happens when the nerves that would normally communicate energy to the missing limb cause pain. The pain sensations are generally described as burning sensations or other strange sensations that can be very agonizing for some people. Some experience temperature change in the missing limb,  itchiness, or the sensation that the limb is in an uncomfortable position and causing great discomfort.

A variety of treatments to alleviate phantom pain are available including  medication, physical treatment, nerve block, neuromodulation, and surgical treatment. Mirror therapy is another option for pain relief, and based on what we know about the subconscious mind, it makes a lot of sense. You may recall, from previous posts, that the subconscious mind does not discriminate between actually doing something and pretending or thinking about doing something.

In mirror therapy, a mirror box is used to trick the brain into thinking, and seeing, that the missing limb still exists. The patient places the good limb in a position that is reflected back in a way that makes the brain see two matching limbs. The patient then makes movements with the good limb, and the brain sees the reflected imagine of both limbs moving. Through the use of this artificial visual feedback, it becomes possible for the patient to “move” the phantom limb into a comfortable position.

Hypnosis is often used for pain management and in the case of phantom pain, it seems clear to me how valuable it can be to practice “seeing” the missing limb moving and responding in a way the helps to alleviate the pain. Again, the subconscious mind does not know the difference between doing and pretending. For those who are not visual, they can improve the degree of pain they experience by engaging in the “feeling” sense of the limb moving. The power of our mind is phenomenal, and hypnosis can expedite the desired outcome in many cases.

 

 

Releasing Natural Brain Chemicals for Pain Reduction

March 10th, 2013 § Comments Off on Releasing Natural Brain Chemicals for Pain Reduction § permalink

Releasing natural brain chemicals for pain reduction can be accomplished using hypnosis.

Using hypnosis to ease pain is very common and often very successful. Using hypnosis to reduce stress is also very common and often very successful. Perhaps this is because these two “states of being” are strongly related to the same region in our brain called the “amygdala”. This part of our brain is where we process emotions and pain, and, in many cases, our emotions add to the intensity of our pain.

According to the article, How the Brain Suppresses Pain During Times of Stress, the suppression of pain during times of stress can help us cope with or escape from potentially life-threatening situations. Apparently, there are marijuana like chemicals in our brain called “endocannabinoids”. Pain reduction due to fear, called “fear-induced analgesia”,  is strongly related to elevated levels of this marijuana like substance in the amygdala.

We know that the subconscious mind is responsible for running our physiology. It runs our circulatory system, respiratory system, nervous system, our blood pressure, body temperature, etc. So it makes sense that if we can get access to the subconscious mind, then we can influence the manner in which the subconscious mind affects our physiology. Through the use of hypnosis it is possible to release endocannabinoids, and other pain relieving chemicals, without needing the added stress, or experiencing the side effects of drug usage. For many clients, the addition of certain types of visualization exercises also help to reduce the intensity of pain, and for some, eliminate it completely.

 

Treating Chronic Pain With Hypnosis

March 9th, 2013 § Comments Off on Treating Chronic Pain With Hypnosis § permalink

Nobody wants to live a life consumed with pain. The suggestion to “just relax” to alleviate pain can seem almost insulting to those suffering from intense persistent physical pain. However, having an understanding of what happens chemically in our bodies when we are experiencing pain can help in our understanding as to how simple relaxation exercises, via hypnosis, can go a long way to relieving our pain.

We know that cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands and sometimes called the “stress hormone” is activated in reaction to stress. Pain is stressful, and when we are in pain and under stress our bodies are flooded with stress hormones. When we are flooded with stress hormones we are actually in a fight or flight response. It takes a great deal of energy for our bodies to maintain the fight or flight response and there is an allocation of energy away from the viscera (our body cavity), to our arms and legs during this response. In short, this means our immune system is compromised, our digestive system is compromised, and we have a minimal amount of energy to allow the natural healing process to  proceed.

Through the use of hypnosis, one can learn to access a deep state of relaxation, thus keeping the cortisol and other stress hormones at bay. This allows the immune system to function properly, and provides a healthy environment for healing to take place in our bodies. Through the use of visualization in hypnosis, many pain sufferers find relief from the agonizing experience of chronic pain. Visualization is not for everyone, but everyone can benefit from the depth of relaxation experienced through hypnosis.

For further information on the physiology of pain and stress management see: Preventing chronic pain with stress management.

The Use of Hypnosis for Medical Procedures

October 18th, 2011 § Comments Off on The Use of Hypnosis for Medical Procedures § permalink

Hypnosis is often used instead of, or in conjunction with anesthesia, for a variety of medical procedures. In this report, which appeared on the CBS Health Watch segment of the Early Show, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/04/22/earlyshow/health/main4033962.shtml hypnotherapist Alex Lenkel volunteers to go under the knife for a surgical procedure on his hand, completely free of anesthesia.

Dental hypnosis is also very popular, and can aide patients who suffer anxiety in the dentist’s chair in addition to reducing or completely eliminating pain. Hypnosis is a great advantage for those allergic to Novocain, those who suffer with needle phobias, and those who suffer with hemophilia.

It is also becoming more and more popular to use hypnosis during childbirth, and yes, it is possible to have a completely painless childbirth! » Read the rest of this entry «

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