Back Pain

Back Pain Advice: How Can Hypnotherapy Help You

Clinical hypnotherapy could be of benefit in helping you cope with the pain and disability that often accompanies back problems (if you have a bad bed, this can also be the reason of strong back pain. Pay attention to the Loft mattress to solve this problem). Since hypnotherapy was approved for clinical use by the BMA in 1958, numerous clinical studies have proven its effectiveness in a wide variety of medical conditions.  

Complementary and Alternative therapies, like hypnotherapy, are becoming ever more popular. Sometimes they can offer the same pain relief as super effective arctic blast. There are many reasons for this but perhaps the main reason, as much as the actual treatment itself, is the extremely therapeutic benefit of having one-to-one sessions with a person who gives you their undivided attention, with whom you can relax and be at ease, and to whom you can say as you please in complete confidence without burdening your friends, family or carers.

In contrast, when was the last time you were able to tell your GP how you felt? Sadly with the medical system as it stands, our doctors do not have the time, or sometimes even the ability, to treat us holistically, to manage the entire person, not merely the symptoms the patient presents with.

The management of health problems is an ever-growing field for most hypnotherapists.  Practitioners are increasingly being asked to help clients deal successfully with a wide range of issues, from chemotherapy support, comfortable childbirth or fighting cancer, through to reducing the noise of tinnitus, combating infertility and controlling pain.

Hypnosis is not a miracle cure, but once you can accept how mighty the subconscious mind is, you begin to have an idea what a fantastic tool it is for change and healing.  

There are many ways of achieving healing or pain relief, and the most effective way is dependent on the individual client. A full case history will allow the therapist to draw up a personal plan to help you in the best possible way and in the shortest time. Hypnosis mostly goes straight to the seat of the problem, the origin of feelings, and the root cause of the issue. Using a combination of commands, pictures, stories, and metaphors, it speaks directly to the part of you that knows exactly what to do, and how to do it, and where change occurs at a cellular level.

There are some things a hypnotherapist must never do when dealing with illness and pain and removing the pain altogether is one of them. Pain is always there for a reason, passing on a valuable message. A reputable hypnotherapist will also insist that, before any sessions, clients have obtained their doctor’s approval, or had any new change in their condition checked by their doctor.

When we use pain control, we aim to reduce the pain to an agreeable and manageable level or change it to something acceptable such as a comfortable tingle. And when you have worked with a hypnotherapist within a trance state, you can easily learn to do as you have been taught for yourself, enabling you to use your techniques wherever or whenever you need to, often with the use of an anchor, such as touching a ring or pinching together your thumb and finger.

What is Hypnosis?

For most of us, hypnotherapy conjures up images of Paul McKenna, whose stage show regularly appeared on television in the early 1990s. But hypnotic techniques have been used for millennia, with one of the first recorded uses amongst the Ancient Egyptians over three thousand years ago. Franz Mesmer first popularised hypnosis in Europe in the 18th Century under the name of mesmerism, but the term “hypnotism” was not used until the mid-19th Century, coined by the Scottish surgeon James Braid from the Greek root hypnos, meaning sleep.

Most of us have experienced self-hypnosis at some time. How often have you driven your car along a familiar route and, on arriving at your destination, didn’t remember driving there at all? How many times have you been so engrossed in reading a book or watching a film that you didn’t even hear the telephone ringing or your partner asking you if you would like a cup of tea? At such times you are in an Altered State much like a light hypnotic trance one might achieve through meditation or yoga.

Put, this altered state of hypnosis is the means whereby the critical faculty of the conscious mind is set aside, and the unconscious mind is accessed.

Hypnotherapy is always client-led: after all, the patient is the person living in their mind and body they know how they feel and whether or not more work is required. В  However, therapists cannot work miracles, and the client’s part of the bargain is their desire to make changes and their willingness to embrace the suggestions and advice given.

At no time while in hypnosis is a patient in the hypnotherapist’s power; neither are they in a zombie-like state. On the contrary, they are alert, aware, able to move and speak; to hear everything going on around, and free to open their eyes and halt the session at any time.  It is essential to remember that hypnosis is a consent state; the therapist does nothing to the patient instead they are the catalyst that helps one to do, become, or feel those things that will improve their lives or make it more bearable.

This state of hypnosis is called Lethargic Hypnosis, which is a wonderfully literal description of how one might feel during it. But, paradoxically, during this state of apparent lethargy one’s senses experience an enhanced awareness hearing is sharper, one’s sense of smell more acute, and recall much clearer. The patient is calm and relaxed, their conscious mind is diverted¦, and yet their subconscious mind is fully aware and ready to react to the slightest intimation of danger.   

For each of us, hypnosis is a slightly different experience, and there is no single, recognized, textbook hypnotised feeling.  A patient won’t even realize at what point during the process they slipped into the trance state of hypnosis, so gradual is it.  

Perhaps what surprises people most, apart from how wonderfully calm and relaxed they feel after a hypnotherapy session, is the amount of time that has elapsed whilst they were in a hypnotic trance. Most underestimate the time by about two-thirds.  This is because the subconscious mind has no concept of time, and since you are in the realm of the subconscious, no time measurement is possible.

How does hypnotherapy actually work? The hypnotic trance enables the therapist to bypass the client’s conscious, rational, logical mind to access and address their more emotional, feeling, subconscious mind, and to make suggestions of a positive and affirming nature, which the client will then act upon at a later time. This is called post-hypnotic opinion and is most commonly used to, for example, help smokers quit their habit, maximize sporting performance, and enhance learning.

However, when a person has problems or issues to resolve, post-hypnotic suggestions are of limited use. Rather, what is required is that the root cause of the problem is addressed and resolved. While on a conscious level you may not know the root cause of your problem, your unconscious mind doesn’t is the key that unlocks many doors, provides solutions to problems and answers to questions.

The mind collects mental scars in much the same way as the body accrues physical injuries. However, unlike physical injuries, nobody else can see our psychological scars  and often neither can we! The mind has a very clever way of hiding painful incidents, called repression. We all have memories that we choose not to remember for one reason or another, but repressed memories are tucked away in our subconscious mind, and our conscious mind has no knowledge of them. Somewhere there would be clues or symptoms, such as a fear of heights, a stutter or a psychosomatic illness such as migraine headaches, eczema or stomach ulcers, which are often totally unrelated to the original event.

Most of us will have picked up a few of these significant repressed memories, or mental scars, by the time we are 15 or 16.  After that age, we seldom repress an incident because our emotions and intellect are sufficiently mature to rationalize and deal with the experience.

The exception is when the adult mind controls a particularly horrific incident say, a road traffic accident.  Many people who have had such an experience might remember leaving home that day, their journey up to the point of the crash, but the next thing that they remember is lying in a hospital bed.  They often have no memory of the actual impact, the ambulance journey (assuming that they were conscious at the time), any conversation they had with Emergency staff and so on.

But before the many and various symptoms we suffer as a direct result of these repressed memories can vanish, these repressions have to be excised, and one of the simplest ways to do this is to employ regression therapy.

You might ask why is this necessary when you recall your fear of dark, enclosed spaces originates from when scary old Aunty Bertha shut you in the cupboard one day because you accidentally trod on her cats tail. The likelihood of this being the actual cause of your claustrophobia is entirely possible but unlikely, and is called an erroneous association – that is, where the person believes he or she knows the root cause of their phobia or illness. In reality, this will not be the case at all, because the conscious mind cannot recall a repressed memory.

Hence the need for more in-depth work, during which the therapist may regress the patient back to their childhood to help them discover and deal with the root cause of their problem. The patient can then relive it safely, in controlled conditions, as an adult – with adult understanding, intellect, and emotions. Once they have done this, the repressed memory and its associated emotions have no hold over them any longer, and the symptoms disappear.

Can everybody be Hypnotised?

Yes! There are very few exceptions. Providing you are over the age of about 7 or 8 years, are of sound mind and not heavily under the influence of alcohol or recreational drugs, you could undoubtedly be hypnotized.

How many sessions would I need?

Many conditions can be dealt with very successfully in just one session, although of course, this varies from person to person, and case to case.

What are the side-effects of Hypnosis, and could I be harmed in any way?

The only side-effects will be positive and life-enhancing. You can come to no temporary – or indeed permanent – harm from being hypnotized, despite the occasional sensational media stories to the contrary.

Could hypnotherapy change a person’s character?

No, absolutely not you are who you are. What hypnotherapy does is help you to do the things you want to do, stop doing the things you DON’T want to do and to feel good about yourself. Any changes to your character will generally be very positive and, if they occur at all, will only be made by yourself as a consequence of the improvements to your life as a whole.

Does hypnotherapy always work?

No, not always. Some people request help and then do their level best to resist the hypnotherapist giving it to them as if they are somehow trying to prove that their will is stronger.  In reality, no intention is involved, so it is a pointless quest. It is only their time, money, and effort that they are wasting!

How do I find a reputable hypnotherapist in my area?

Ask your GP, or contact one of the professional bodies such as the General Hypnotherapy Register, who will provide you with a list of their members with practices in your area. Most reputable hypnotherapists will offer a free initial consultation, and you should take this opportunity to check their credentials and that the appropriate insurances cover them.