Cindy Tincher

Pain Management

The first rule for using hypnosis in pain management: Avoid using hypnosis to manage pain symptoms for which the cause is undiagnosed or unknown.

If you are suffering from a headache you feel is due to stress or fatigue, you can use pain management techniques to relieve it. However, at some point, you would be better served to address the stress itself by autogenic training and autosuggestion. As for fatigue, while autogenic training can mitigate the symptoms, a good night's sleep would be a better approach. In fact, continually using hypnosis to help with fatigue will eventually result in an inability to produce the trance state — you'll be too fatigued to apply the focus and concentration necessary to achieve and maintain trance states, and your very intelligent subconscious mind will not permit you to harm yourself with constant sleep deprivation.

If you are having frequent and severe headaches, however, get checked by your health practitioner before just applying an autogenic band-aid.

The same applies to any pain or change in your overall health condition — get thee to your health practitioner before dampening down what may be your body's early warning system about a serious health issue. Believe me, you'll be happier that you paid attention to your body's gentle tap on the shoulder, rather than getting the proverbial 2x4 whack across the head later on down the road.

That said, there are times when the old adage of "no pain, no gain" just doesn't apply, and there's just no reason to put up with it. Say you've burned yourself on the stove. You've cussed, you've fussed, you've looked at the injury and it doesn't require a trip to the ER. Apply some ice, and then do some trance work. Imagine your body already sending in its little healing battalions to secure the area and clean up the damage. Everything is under control. Nothing here to see folks, so move along. Certainly no need to keep hurting! Thank your mind/body for registering the heat/danger so you could pull yourself out of harm's way, and give your mind/body permission to release the pain response.

You can use autogenic training and visualizations for pain management in many ways. For instance:

Dialing Down Pain

Imagine a pain gauge in your brain's control room, with green, yellow and red zones. See where your pain level is — is it a small but nagging pain somewhere just outside the green zone and into the yellow zone? Or is it a migraine of the yellow/red zone variety? Is it a labor contraction in the red zone?

You've just made an association — where the needle rests on that gauge corresponds to your level of pain. A=B. When you visualize turning that dial down, it starts bringing the needle back into the green, or white, or whatever pain-free color works for you, and your level of discomfort is correspondingly diminished.

The Numbers Game

Look inside your mind and ask your mind to assign a number from ten to one for your level of pain — one being no pain and ten being the most severe level of pain. Once you see that number, imagine it changing, decreasing.

If it's 8, visualize the 8 unwinding and becoming a 7. Then imagine the number 7 on a chalkboard, erasing the number, and writing a 6. See the number 6 in the sand at the beach, right at the edge of the water. Imagine a wave coming in, curling and cresting, then washing up, covering the 6, and as it recedes, leaving the sand smooth, without a ripple or mark. Then, take a stick or your finger and draw the number 5 in the sand. Imagine the number 5 clearly in your mind as a number painted on a wall. Paint over it with a color of your choosing (White? Blue? Green?) Then paint the number 4 on the wall instead. See a stage curtain with number 4's all over it. See the curtain being drawn open, revealing another set of curtains behind it with the number three. See the number 3 and imagine it unwinding to become a number 2. Notice how the number 2 resembles a swan, the curve of the neck and its body on the surface of the water. Imagine the swan drifting on the surface of a gently moving river, slowly moving further and further away, until it disappears in the distance or around a bend in the river. And then visualize the number 1. Maybe it's on a calendar, or appears as a highway sign, or comes to mind as a low number on a thermometer or speedometer.

The important thing is that you have made an association — these numbers correspond to your level of pain. A=B. So by visualizing decreasing numbers you will be decreasing your level of pain.

Make an Appointment with Your Pain

For those suffering from an injury or with health issues that result in chronic pain, it may not be possible to remove the pain entirely. There is something amiss in the body, and it's going to have something to say about it.

But, is it really necessary to suffer all day? Can you make an appointment with your pain? Can you do the things you need to do today, and maybe some things you really would enjoy doing, and make an appointment to hear your body's complaints at some other time when you can give it your full time and attention? **For this to work, you have to set the appointment, and you MUST keep it.

Set aside a time to be by yourself, to get still, go within, and really listen. Breathe into every discomfort. Thank your body for bringing its needs to your attention.

Pour light into every muscle, every cell of every part of you that needs your attention. Remember that in the beginning, you co-created this body; you drew mass together and helped form this body. It has an inherent memory of health in every cell, in its very DNA structure. Visualize looking into the cells, into the molecules, and seeing that molecular structure rebuilt, whole and healthy. See the cell suffused with inner light, the radiant light of health and wellbeing.

Some people are apprehensive about setting aside time to "deal" with their pain. Pain, in a relaxed trance state, is much more manageable than pain under stress or strain. Stress amplifies pain, which creates more stress, which increases pain... you get the picture. Many of us ignore the slight aches and pains that result from living in human bodies, when we would be ahead of the game to pay attention and make adjustments. Get up and move away from the computer. Do some yoga. Take a walk outside. Dance. Do some meditation or trance work.

For chronic pain sufferers, hypnosis may even induce a disassociative state that actually removes them from conscious awareness of pain. Sometimes autogenic training can alleviate some of the stress that chronic pain generates, as well as the feelings of frustration, helplessness and anger that result from the limitations that chronic pain can impose on one's lifestyle. Even a short time in such a state can allow the muscles and systems of the body to release enough stress so that there is a marked decrease in the level of discomfort upon return to normal states of awareness. Less stress equals less pain, which results in less stress, which further diminishes the perception of pain…in a cycle of progress that strengthens and reinforces itself every time a state of relaxation, meditation or trance is sought.

Return to Favorite Trance-formational Techniques and Suggestions