Hypnosis for the Treatment of Pain

Do you ever feel like you’re always in pain? That nothing ever helps?

Did you know that these mantras in your brain, the ones which keep repeating these negative messages, actually help keep you locked in a cycle of pain?

One of the most powerful ways to treat pain is to teach your mind and body to control it. That’s where hypnosis comes in. It helps you overcome this onslaught of negative self-input and replace it with focused, positive thought.

In effect, hypnosis changes the mantras in your brain. And once you replace the bad with the good, you have already turned the corner away from pain and towards lasting relief.

Even conventional medicine recognizes the power of hypnosis

While the concept of hypnosis dates back to at least the 11th century AD, hypnosis only gained widespread acceptance as a medical technique over the past century. In 1958, the American Medical Association finally approved hypnosis as a viable approach to medicine.

Since that time, hypnosis has been used to help people reduce pain, lose weight, stop smoking, increase self-esteem, end fear of public speaking, manage stress and generally help subjects take control of their own lives. All through the power of the mind.

Healthcare practitioners continue to slowly evolve from a conventional mindset to an integrative approach which takes into account the mind-body connection in health and well being. Hypnosis has been one of the few bright spots of progress in this effort.

Over the last 50 years, hypnosis has been increasingly used for healthcare applications in hospitals, clinics, and psychotherapy practice. A substantial body of research now demonstrates the effectiveness of hypnosis as part of the treatment for many conditions that conventional medicine has found difficult to treat.

Helen Crawford, professor emeritus of psychology at Virginia Tech, has spent much of her career investigating the use of hypnosis in the treatment of pain, particularly chronic lower back pain and pain related to jaw alignment problems. Her outstanding work has been recognized by prestigious awards such as the 1992 Bernard B. Raginsky Award for Leadership and Achievement from the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis and the Ernest R. Hilgard Award for Scientific Excellence from the International Society of Hypnosis in 2003.

In an article published by Science from Virginia Tech, she explains that “Pain is an awareness created by the brain. Over time a strong memory of pain is created so future pain may be easier to feel because the message gets through more quickly. Hypnosis can help break that memory pattern.” She also recommends starting hypnosis early in the treatment process, before strong pain memories can develop.

Hypnosis for back pain and neck pain

There are numerous risk factors associated with developing back and neck pain. In each case, hypnosis can either help you overcome the risk factor itself or minimize the impact it has on your health.

Physical factors

  • Smoking
  • Lack of regular exercise
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Previous neck or back injuries
  • Prior back surgery

Psychological factors

  • Lowjob satisfaction
  • Interpersonal relationship problems
  • Depression
  • Fatigue or insomnia
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Excessive stress

Change Your Mind, Change Your Life

Your mind is a virtually untapped source of amazing power. If you change your mind, you must change your life.

Hypnosis is simply a tool to help you change your mind, giving you the ability to change your innermost ideas and images about pain, stress, and virtually every other area of your life. And through hypnosis, you can finally take control over your pain.


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Astin JA. Mind-body therapies for the management of pain. Clinical Journal of Pain. California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, San Francisco, CA, USA. 2004 Jan-Feb; 20(1): 27-32.

Harris, S. Researchers look at how hypnosis helps control pain. Science from Virginia Tech. 1996

Lu DP, Lu GP, Kleinman L. Acupuncture and clinical hypnosis for facial and head and neck pain: a single crossover comparison. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. 2001 Oct; 44(2):141-8.

Montgomery GH. Duhamel KN. A meta-analysis of hypnotically-induced analgesia. How effective is hypnosis? International Journal of Clinical Experimental Hypnosis Issue 2. 2000 April: 48(2):138-153

McCauley JD, et al. Hypnosis compared to relaxation in the outpatient management of chronic low back pain. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1983

Weisberg Dr Mark. 50 years of hypnosis in medicine and clinical health psychology: a synthesis of cultural crosscurrents. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. Minnesota Head and Neck Pain Clinic, St. Paul, MN 55114, USA. 2008 Jul. 51(1):13-27

Filed Under: Hypnosis
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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