If you are among the 100 million Americans who suffer from chronic pain, you know how debilitating it can be.  In recent years, there has been a great deal of focus and research on pain.  The Institute of Medicine reported the shocking pain numbers.  The annual cost of chronic pain, in lost productivity and in treatment is estimated at $635 billion.  In fact, 4.6 hours of productive time was lost weekly by 13 percent of workers due to pain.

     Researchers and physicians continue to try to understand chronic pain.  Most doctors now believe that chronic pain is not just a symptom but a disease in itself.  They identify a number of different causes including inflammation and genetic causes particularly on the HCN2 gene.  An even more complicated cause may be that with long term exposure to physical pain, the nerves may be hard-wired into a neurological memory.  So pain may continue to occur after the original cause is gone.

      With 26 million Americans reporting frequent back pain and 42 million Americans saying pain keeps them awake at night, sufferers are desperate for help.  Typical ways of treating chronic pain have included treatment with over-the-counter drugs (like aspirin and ibuprofen) to treat inflammation and morphine and codeine, narcotics prescribed by medical doctors to block the pain.

     Integrative medicine combines these treatments along with complementary therapies like massage, acupuncture and massage.  Studies at the Stanford University Center for Integrative Medicine indicate that medical hypnosis can reduce chronic pain.

    Before you begin any attempt to relieve pain, you need to understand why you are suffering.  Pain is a warning system.  If you have chronic pain, you need to see your medical doctor for a diagnosis.  Sometimes clients come into my office and say that they have chronic headaches.  Before I would work in hypnosis with that client, I would need a referral from a medical doctor.  The pain could be a symptom of a serious medical condition such as a brain tumor.  If, on the other hand,  the client had seen a doctor and has a referral, hypnotherapy could be a valuable tool for the pain sufferer.

    Dr. Helen Crawford at Virginia Tech says, "Hypnosis seems to eliminate or reduce the perception of pain as well as the anxiety that accompanies it.  It's as if the brain sends out a message that it does not want to feel the pain; it wants to inhibit it."  If you suffer from chronic pain, hypnotherapy can help you feel better and BE WELL.