Recent changes effective last January 1st (2001) are requiring hospitals and doctors to treat pain. New standards require that every patient’s pain be measured regularly from the time they check in and proper pain relief begun. The patients will rate their pain from zero, no pain, to 10, the worst pain imaginable. Physicians will prescribe those pain medications that sometimes help but most often because of the side effects are not tolerated well by the patient or the body develops a tolerance for the drug and it loses its effectiveness. These medications are effective for “Acute Pain” but have little effect on “Chronic Pain.” Medications while helpful are not always the answer. Many of our clients come to us because “It hurts!” “It makes me sick” “It’s still there — that nagging pain!” “I haven’t been able to sleep!” Chronic Pain is universal and long term! Chronic pain itself has become a major illness. The common types of chronic pain that I see in my office have to do with postoperative pain, headaches, back pain and the pain of arthritis.
Chronic pain management requires a comprehensive approach. Physical therapists can give relief by determining the best exercise. Chiropractors and massage therapists may be able to release the nerves and muscles. We as hypnotherapists release the pain by teaching skills of relaxation and stress reduction and behavioral changes. One of the affirmations I give to my clients who have cancer is: “If you continue to do as you have always done, you will always get what you have always got!” They learn to relax and take the world with a little less stress. Any complaint of pain brings a caution. Do not attempt to work on a chronic pain in which the pain may be a symptom of an as yet untreated, medically treatable physical condition. It is highly recommended that you get a doctor’s referral before working on a client. Pain is God’s way of letting us know that there is a problem. Once the cause of the pain is established then it is proper to use clinical applications of hypnotic modalities to release stress, and develop within the patient the ability to dissociate and turn off the pain. As long as the suggestions are acceptable, the patient will freely comply with the hypnotherapist to release or dampen the discomfort until it dissipates completely.
Postoperative pain can be the most severe and the pain just can’t be controlled by medications. The most common is the pain caused by the use of staples or glue to close the operation. After the pain becomes apparent, it makes no sense for the surgeon to go in and redo it, so the patient must learn to tolerate the chronic pain. Actually in my classes for cancer patients I tell them to ask the doctor not to use staples to close and if they can’t do that, could he bring in a plastic surgeon to close. Now you know the doctor will never ask another doctor to close his operation but he will do the nicest close you have ever seen. But, as you are aware we don’t usually get the clients before the surgery! The scar left by surgery is usually not lined up with the severed nerves and there is usually a pucker. The staples allow the scar to widen. And on some women the scars on knees and on the body embarrass them and cause self-consciousness. In Therapeutic Touch and Body Talk there are methods to reduce the appearance of the scars even if they are old. To control the pain you need to soften the area around the scar, making it soft and supple.