By Traci Patterson, Owner, Advanced Pathways Hypnosis
Chronic pain is pain that will not go away long after the initial injury. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is chronic pain that develops out of all proportion to the initial injury, and it typically will start in an arm or a leg.
In a chronic pain patient there is a distal loop that occurs that doesn’t get to the spinal cord. This pain loop is what keeps the pain going as the neurotransmitters are not firing correctly. Thus, the normal things that stop pain don’t work in chronic pain patients.
There are two types of CRPS. Type 1, which accounts for 90 percent of documented cases, according to the Mayo Clinic, marked by nerve pain when no nerve damage was involved in the initial injury. Type 2 is a more explicable development of regional pain after damage to the nerves.
After a relatively minor or localized injury, perhaps only to a hand or ankle, pain can spread to the entire rest of the limb. The symptoms include either burning or a “pins and needles” sensation. The affected area can become very sensitive to touch (allodynia) and the limb can change temperature, color, and swell. This is due to abnormal microcirculation caused by damage to the nerves controlling blood flow and temperature, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at NIH.
Many cases of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome occur after a forceful trauma to an arm or a leg, such as a crush injury, fracture or amputation. Other major and minor traumas — such as surgery, heart attacks, infections and even sprained ankles — also can lead to Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Some psychologists have stated that emotional stress may be a precipitating factor, as well.
After regaining my life and getting into remission myself from CRPS, I am now treating chronic pain patients in my hypnosis practice. I see patients who have persistent pain because of chronic pain such as fibromyalgia, CRPS, chronic back pain, chronic fatigue, migraines, PTSD, cancer pain, etc. I see patients who have not responded to traditional treatments and they are searching for non-invasive, drug free treatment options.
Most people don’t realize that the body is in a constant state of ‘Fight – Flight’ when dealing with chronic pain. This causes the body to be in a continual stress state, and in response you have the release of cortisol from the adrenal glands from the stress. Continued high levels of cortisol have been shown to lengthen the healing period. Therefore, you are in a never ending loop.
The bottom line is that by utilizing hypnotherapy, relaxation techniques, visualization, biofeedback and other somatic therapies you can break the continual loops and allow the individual to gain control.
Yes, many people will say they have either heard of others that tried hypnosis or maybe they have tried it themselves. But, I would ask this question: Did you or the person you are speaking with work with someone that was also certified in ‘Pain Management’ and were they well versed in chronic pain or your condition?
I ask this question because when I was going through my journey with chronic pain I too tried hypnosis early on. Unfortunately, it didn’t work because the person I saw was not certified in ‘Pain Management’ and did not have a background in chronic pain. Yet when I worked with someone with the proper credentials and someone that worked with the psychology, biology and physiology of the brain and how it responds to pain – I got into remission and regained my life. This is a large piece of the puzzle to allowing chronic pain patients to gain control over their pain and to regain their lives!
If you would like to know more about treatment options for chronic pain please contact Traci at Advanced Pathways Hypnosis.