Can hypnotherapy be a useful tool in the fight against bad backs?

September 12, 2011 Back Pain

Can hypnotherapy be a useful tool in the fight against bad backs? Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis in psychotherapy. Modern hypnotherapy is used in a variety of forms, trained physicians and psychiatrists may use hypnosis to treat depression, eating disorders, sleep disorders, anxiety, posttraumatic stress to name just a few. Certified hypnotherapists who are not physicians or psychologists often treat smoking and weight management.

The unconscious mind is constantly working, monitoring all the physical and psychological functions of the mind and the body, from blood pressure and hormone levels to states of hunger and fatigue. The conscious mind, on the other hand only deals with the “here and now” and turns off when we are asleep. It also deals with much of our memory of what has happened, remembering a very large proportion of our experiences, much more than we could ever remember.

Stress causes pain and pain causes more stress, it is difficult to break away from this ever increasing cycle, Hypnosis looks to break that cycle.

During hypnosis, the conscious part of the brain is temporarily tuned out, a bit like turning the volume down. When our minds are concentrated and focused, we are able to use them more powerfully. Imagery produces responses in us in everyday life, and can affect our behaviour: and this is what the hypnosis practitioner uses, while making the imagery more powerful, more specific and more real to the person being hypnotised.

When hypnotized, a person may experience physiologic changes such as a slowing of the pulse and respiration, and an increase in alpha brain waves. The person may also become more open to specific suggestions and goals such as reducing pain. The therapist will then reinforce continued use of this behaviour.

One of the advantages of this type of therapy lies in its ability to cut through the patients verbal evasions or discussion, (it could take hours for the fully conscious patient to resolve a single issue) as it penetrates the unconscious and releases information which might otherwise be withheld.

Research has shown medical hypnosis to be helpful for acute and chronic pain. As already mentioned the unconscious remembers a great deal of our experiences, for example the smoker who uses the habit as an outlet for some deep-seated anxiety, will almost certainly need longer to deal not only with the habit, but with the anxiety that provoked the habit initially.

People who suffer from bad backs generally have some emotional pain, as mentioned earlier. Hypnosis can be a very pleasant experience, and it will teach you about relaxation, this will hopefully give you another way to cope with pain and the world at large.

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