Can Hypnosis Help Young People With Chronic Pain?

My daughter is a bit nervous about hypnosis so we’ve never really investigated it as a method of treating her chronic pain.

I just came across an article on the ABC News website that suggests that it might be worth her reconsidering hypnosis.

A visiting American pain expert says hypnosis can alleviate chronic pain and should be considered a mainstream therapy.

Professor Mark Jensen from the University of Washington says pain management for patients, particularly those with long-term illness, needs a considered and holistic approach.

Pain is considered chronic when it occurs for most days of the week and for longer than three months.

The latest statistics show one in five Australians suffer from chronic pain. Many of them are elderly.

Current approaches to treatment include cognitive behaviour therapy, distraction techniques and keeping active.

Professor Jensen says there is physical evidence that hypnosis works to alleviate chronic pain.

“Imaging studies have shown that hypnotic therapy influences all of the cortical areas and neuro-physiological processes that underline pain,” he said.

“Helping patients manage pain can have a significant psychological impact. What people do to manage pain and what they think about pain, and their social environment, can all influence pain and its negative impact on functioning.”

Professor Jensen says clinical trials have shown hypnosis can reduce daily pain intensity for patients.

“Hypnosis still has a certain stigma to it,” he said. “However we are seeing this treatment option used to manage debilitating physical and psychological conditions including phobias and addiction.

“It may be that physicians are not recommending hypnosis to their patients due to a lack of understanding of the process, or it may be that patients are wary of hypnosis.”

He says any therapy that can help with pain management will lessen the burden for patients and their carers.

Professor Jensen is in Australia to speak at the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine annual scientific meeting in Brisbane.
Source Reporter Sophie Scott
ABC News Online 16 September 2011

So now I’m a bit interested..but then I’m not the person who needs convincing.

I’d be interested to know about your experience with hypnosis and chronic pain – your comments would be very welcome.