Pain…It’s All In Your Head, And Why That’s A Good Thing!
I know, I know….pain is a touchy subject. So many people come into my office who are in pain. I’m not down playing the seriousness of their pain, but rather offering an alternative way to think about pain and to understand how hypnosis can help. According to a recent article in Medical News Today, lower back pain may all be in the mind.
The article notes the following:
“‘The brain uses information from numerous different sources including sound, touch, and vision, to create feelings such as stiffness,’ says Dr. Stanton.
“If we can manipulate those sources of information, we then potentially have the ability to manipulate feelings of stiffness. This opens the door for new treatment possibilities, which is incredibly exciting,’ she concludes.”
One of the theories from this study is that the brain uses stiffness as a way to prevent movement. In fact people with chronic back pain “overestimated how much force was being applied to their backs – they were more protective of their back.”
Reality, It’s All An Illusion
While that may seem hard to believe, none of what we experience is what is real. That is not to say there is not a reality out there, however our subjective reality is based on our brain’s interpretation of what’s out there. When you see something, in general terms light reflects off an object, hits the retina, activates the photoreceptors (cones and rods), and sends that to the visual cortex where it is reconstructed as an image. Similarly, the brain is interpreting the level of firmness you are experiencing in that chair, the temperature of the air around you, and interpreting the sounds around you. It is also why different people have different experiences. Our individual experience, or our “reality,” is based on how our brain interprets things.
The Dress: Is It Blue and Black or Gold And White?
When you take a look at that dress, what color is it? Some see it as white and gold, others see it as blue and black. In fact this sparked quite a bit of spirited conversation online. When the individual colors are displayed outside the dress, it shows that it is actually a blue dress. Yet subjectively, people see different colors based on how their brains filter out and interpret the colors. If you check out the debates, people are pretty devoted to their .
Pain Is An Internal Experience
So what does that have to do with pain? Pain is an internal experience. It is our brain’s interpretation of stimulus, and is a warning system letting us know about damage in the body. If you stub a toe, your attention turns to your injured foot and you experience pain. However, you may have had the experience of being distracted and not realizing until later that you had hurt yourself, or getting a cut and not feeling it until you looked at it and saw it. In fact Dutchman Wim Hof has made a reputation for himself by being able to ignore extreme cold temperatures. By using meditation and breathing techniques, he is able to achieve some seemingly superhuman levels of enduring extreme temperatures.
Perhaps even more amazingly, in the 1800s the surgeon Dr. James Esdaile used mesmerism (an early form of hypnosis) as the sole form of anesthesia to perform surgery. While chemical anesthesia has become much more prominent, there are still surgeries taking place today that use hypnosis for anesthesia. This is particularly important in cases where the patient is too weak for anesthesia to be safely administered, or where the person has some sort of intolerance.
Resetting the Alarm
One way to think of pain is an alarm. Much like a smoke alarm or your alarm clock, pain is a way to let you know something is wrong and you need to take action to prevent further damage. That is actually a helpful defense mechanism. If you lean on a hot stove, that warning lets you know something is awry and you should take action; namely moving that hand away from the not metal. If you have an injury, that pain can help prevent you from overusing the injury. Without pain, we would be much more likely to cause great harm ourselves without even being aware of it.
Going back to the alarm metaphor, where pain becomes a problem is when the alarm does not shut off. If you imagine your smoke detector going off, perhaps because you forgot about what was cooking on the stove top, that alarm did a job. Now, imagine that alarm never shuts off, even after you’ve taken care of the charred remnants of dinner, even days later. That is what chronic pain is like. Not only does the pain no longer serve a purpose, it also prevents you from knowing when something new takes place that may need your attention. Once you have acknowledged the pain and taken action to correct whatever is causing the pain, the alarm has done its job. However, often the pain signal never turns off. That can be because of an emotional component, fear of repeat injuries, or a chronic terminal illness.
One way hypnosis has a great track record is in turning the pain down, or in many cases even turning it off. If the pain is serving a purpose, we do not want to turn it off. However, if appropriate we can turn the sensations down. If it is no longer necessary, in many cases we can turn it off entirely, permanently. After all, if pain is all in the brain, and it is no longer serving a purpose, we can change how your brain represents that. That is useful for chronic pain symptoms, terminal conditions, reducing useful pain, removing phantom pain in amputees, or for helping moms during pregnancy.
Hypnosis Can Help Turn Off The Pain Alarm
If you suffer from chronic, unnecessary, or useless pain, hypnosis can help you turn the alarm down or off.
Want to find out if you are a good candidate? Contact David for your free consult, today! Schedule Your Free Hypnosis Consultation By Clicking Here!
See You Soon!
Fox Valley Hypnosis