Pain is a common health problem and the reason for most doctor visits. For treatment purposes it is helpful to distinguish between acute pain, procedural pain, and chronic pain.
Hypnosis in preparation for medical procedures.
Medical procedures can cause substantial pain and anxiety, including surgery, dentistry, wound care, chemotherapy, imaging or invasive tests. Procedural hypnosis for pain management can be particularly helpful when preparing a patient about to undergo a medical dental procedure of any kind, or who is distressed by a medical or dental visit.
Relative to working with patients in crisis, when treating procedural pain, patients can be seen beforehand in a calm and relaxed environment conducive to learning self-hypnosis, a skill they can later use effectively when it is most needed.
Hypnosis in the treatment of chronic pain:
Chronic pain is defined as pain that persists beyond the normal healing time after an injury, or pain that is the result of an ongoing disease process such as cancer or arthritis. Hypnotic interventions have been used to help individuals manage chronic pain for many years. In recent decades control studies have demonstrated the efficacy of using hypnotic procedures to increase patient comfort and relaxation, and to dial-down the intensity of pain signals originating in the body. Post-hypnotic suggestions given under hypnosis can further serve to reduce pain and enhance comfort beyond treatment sessions. Patients can also be taught self-hypnosis, often with the aid of an audio recording created during therapy sessions to be used to reduce pain on an ongoing basis.