Pain Management Mental

The Mind: Mental Pain Management Image

Every year, millions of individuals require some type of pain management. Often, people turn to over-the-counter medications or prescription pain pills to alleviate pain. More and more, however, those who wish to avoid a chemical solution to pain are finding that natural pain remedies exist.

Using the mind to conquer pain is not a novel concept. For centuries, people have been using their minds to overcome pain. In recent years, this pain management option has gained popularity.

The Sensation of Pain

The sensation of pain occurs when nerves in the body transmit pain signals to the brain. How an individual interprets pain varies widely. While some people have a very high threshold for pain, others have very low pain thresholds.

Pain can be caused by a number of factors. Pain can sometimes be caused by:

  • an underlying medical condition
  • injury
  • trauma.

In other instances, pain comes from specific medical treatments and procedures, such as surgery or chemotherapy. However, sometimes pain can have no known cause.

The Mind and Pain Management

A number of advantages exist for employing the mind in pain management, including:

  • low or no cost
  • medical and office visit cost reduction
  • no risk of addiction to powerful painkillers
  • potential for lower dosage of medications when used as a complementary therapy
  • provides a sense of control that goes hand-in-hand with a more upbeat approach to treatment relief for formerly untreatable pain conditions.

Hypnosis and Pain Treatment

Hypnosis can help individuals achieve both temporary and long-term pain control and is a very popular alternative pain treatment.

In hypnotherapy, a person enters a trance-like state as his mind enters a state of focused awareness. In this focused state, a hypnotherapist provides positive suggestions based on the medical issue. Upon coming out of the hypnotic trance, the imagery and verbal instruction provided by the hypnotherapist will take effect.

In addition to undergoing hypnosis in a therapist’s office, a person can learn to perform self-hypnosis, helping to eliminate pain in everyday life. In self-hypnosis, a person focuses on relaxing himself and on establishing and achieving a goal. In self-hypnosis for back pain, for example, a person might focus on draining the pain from his back and replacing it with positive energy.

Hypnosis can be used to treat pain from a number of sources, including:

  • arthritis and nerve pain
  • cancer pain
  • pain from burns
  • pain from childbirth
  • pain from dental work
  • pain from migraine headaches.

In addition, hypnosis is beneficial in relieving stress, which is often a byproduct of pain.

Natural Treatment for Pain: An Optimistic Outlook

Emotions and expectations play a large role in pain treatment and the management of pain. In fact, those who are depressed may experience pain more often and at more severe levels.

An optimistic outlook on life or even a positive desire to cure the issues at hand can reduce some types of pain and limit the length of painful episodes.

Mental Therapies for Pain Management

While hypnosis is often successful in pain treatment, other methods and techniques are also useful. If you are experiencing pain, you might consider trying the following natural pain remedies:

  • Biofeedback: Using biofeedback can help a person learn pain triggers and understand how the body responds to them. Learning how to relieve tension and stress at the onset of a headache, for instance, can reduce its impact. In biofeedback, you can work with a specialist to learn how to re-channel your energy in order to produce a positive response to pain-producing stimuli.
  • Distraction: This pain treatment method, also known as visualization, appears to be especially useful for mild pain. In distraction, people focus their attention onto something other than the pain in order to reduce its impact. Listening to lively music or watching a favorite movie are examples of distraction. Engaging in a physical activity, as long as it is not detrimental to the cause of the pain, is also successful for some.
  • Imagery: With imagery, a person who is experiencing pain envisions a favorite place or one that is calming, incorporating all the senses to create the picture. Those who are successful often say they experience relief from pain for some time after the initial session. Cancer patients often engage in this technique to relieve temporary pain from chemotherapy treatments.
  • Meditation: This Eastern pain treatment method has a long history. It also may help with issues of chronic pain when prescription medications fail. With meditation, a person focuses his mind on one thing and attempts to block out all external and internal stimuli. By reducing brain activity, some think meditation can thwart pain signals.
  • Relaxation: In relaxation therapy, a person focuses on relaxing his muscles and his mind. This tension-reduction method can relieve pain in tight or knotted muscles and can also eliminate pain in other body parts.

Discuss with your doctor which natural pain remedies might work best for you and your particular type of pain. He may recommend that you experiment, with trained guidance, to find the options that are the most effective. A combination of alternative pain therapies might be the most viable treatment plan for your pain.

Resources

Healthgoods.com (2007). Mind/Body Control. Retrieved September 6, 2007, from the Health Goods Web site: http://www.healthgoods.com/Education/Health_Information/Alternative_Therapies/mind_body.htm.

Nci.nih.gov (n.d.). Nondrug Treatments for Pain. Retrieved September 6, 2007, from the National Cancer Institute Web site: http://www.nci.nih.gov/cancertopics/paincontrol/page4.

Nationalpainfoundation.org (2007). Using Complementary Therapy to Relieve Pain. Retrieved September 6, 2007, from the National Pain Foundation Web site: http://www.nationalpainfoundation.org/MyTreatment/News_Complementary.asp.