Using Hypnosis For Pain Management

Pain Management: Poweful Achievement of Hypnosis

Stress and pain are intimately related. When being in pain causes stress or being stressed worsens pain, psychological therapies - including hypnosis - may help break the cycle.

For pain therapists, these treatments, which focus on the relationship between the mind and body, are considered mainstream.  For other health professionals, they may be considered alternative or complementary therapies. Regardless of how they are labeled, there is evidence that for many people they work.

Hypnosis is a set of techniques designed to enhance concentration, minimize one's usual distractions, and heighten responsiveness to suggestions to alter one's thoughts, feelings, behavior, or physiological state. Hypnosis is not a type of psychotherapy. It also is not a treatment in and of itself; rather, it is a procedure than can be used to facilitate other types of therapies and treatments. People differ in the degree to which they respond to hypnosis. The key to becoming hypnotized is the extent to which a person is hypnotizable, which is a very reliable and stable individual difference trait that indexes one's openness to hypnotic suggestions.


Applications and Techniques

Hypnotherapeutic methods for achieving pain relief are numerous.  Effectiveness can vary and the choice may depend on the condition and personality of the patient.  Suggestions may be direct or indirect, or may utilise guided imagery, hypnoanalysis or other procedures.
As is so important in hypnosis, attitude is a major factor.  It is important that the patient accept that relief is possible.  Constant pain needs to be approached on a different basis from interim pain.  Constant pain is not to be relinquished completely even for a few minutes, since it is identified with the life force.  The patient likes to feel it is there, however reduced, even during periods of sleep.


Physical pain is seldom constant.  The therapist will determine if the patient has experienced periods, however briefly, which were free of pain.  If the patient claims the pain is constant, it is more likely to be psychological in origin and may indicate a constant pain syndrome.  Treatment will likely involve the establishment of rapport with empathy and appreciation of the value of pain.  Pain indicates something is wrong, somewhere, and that is true whether the pain is physical or mental. 

Through hypnosis, patients frequently can be shown that they can control their pains, and being able to do so they also can diminish pain to tolerable levels of turn it off completely at will.
Seemingly endless periods of tests which prove inconclusive, often accompanied by conflicting diagnoses, can instill levels of fear which may be dealt with through hypnotherapy.  Guilt, anger or other emotional problems often enter into the picture when accidents are involved as source conditions.


Negative attitudes must be dealt with, and again the capability of hypnosis to modify trends of thought becomes important.  In difficult cases, the power to cope can be programmed into the patient’s mind, possibly together with cues to make the process more or less automatic. 

In dealing with pain situations, teaching the patient the use of self-hypnosis techniques can be highly beneficial, reinforcing the programming that has been done in the case.