HCT For The Relief and Control Of Chronic Pain

Author: Traci Patterson, CH, CI – Founder and Director, Advanced Pathways

 

You are not your pain. You can make that statement a reality by utilizing the powerful protocol of Hypnosis Combined Therapy (HCT).  HCT can harness your ability to retrain neural pathways and develop new patterns in the brain and body, to help you reclaim control.

HCT is a combination of clinical hypnosis/hypnotherapy, biofeedback, light/sound therapy, neuroplasticity training, working with the limbic system, cell memory, and more. This protocol has given patients, on an international basis, the ability to dramatically decrease pain levels (many do gain remission), increase restorative sleep, decrease and control stress, anxiety and/or PTSD, and regain their lives.

Clinical trial evidence over the past 10 years, confirms that hypnotherapy treatments are effective for reducing daily pain intensity levels in people with chronic pain.

My own experience of living with chronic pain (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) means that I have a real understanding of the impact it has on all areas of life. Chronic pain doesn’t just impact one area. It hits patients in ways that were never expected. The isolation, stress, anxiety, depression, and feelings of helplessness can be overwhelming. The good news is this can change. You can have the ability to change the way you experience your body and your life – to take control again.

When pain persists, your role in managing it becomes really important. What you think, feel and do on a day-to-day basis, has an effect on your pain. In order to change your pain state it is necessary to change your thoughts and emotional responses.

HCT is a powerful tool that helps you take back control over your pain and your life by enabling you to change your thoughts and emotional responses to both your pain and to external factors. This will assist you to retrain neural pathways and calm down the over sensitized state of your central nervous system, helping you lay down new templates of response in the areas of the brain responsible for determining the pain experience.

With HCT you will be able to promote and experience the healthy effects of positive energy in your life, empowering you to get back in the driver’s seat of your life once again.

What exactly is chronic pain?
Pain is considered chronic when it occurs for most days of the week and persists for longer than three months. It includes persistent pain that no longer has an identifiable cause where the original injury has healed, as well as pain that has an identifiable cause such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, TMJ dysfunction, cancer, diabetic neuropathy, shingles, multiple sclerosis etc. It also includes persistent pain that has no identifiable cause at all.

It is now estimated that over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Push the numbers out on an international basis and chronic pain is becoming an epidemic. The cause and treatment of persistent pain is complex, added to which is the enormous impact chronic pain has on a person’s ability to function effectively in the wider areas of family, social and work life.

Chronic pain and illness is debilitating, isolating and extremely stressful. There is no single approach or ‘magic bullet’ solution to treating chronic pain. Rather, it’s a matter of being in charge of your health management and decisions, choosing the right combination of treatment strategies and health care professionals to help you improve your health outcomes and the quality of your life.

How do we know that hypnosis can actually make a difference for pain?
There is physical evidence that hypnosis works to alleviate chronic pain, and medical imaging studies have shown that hypnotic therapy influences all of the cortical and neuro-physiological processes that underline pain. Current scientific research shows that hypnotherapy treatment causes both pain perception thresholds, and pain tolerance levels, to be strikingly increased.

Why use Hypnosis Combined Therapy (HCT) to treat chronic pain?
HCT is safe, drug free, non-invasive, evidence based and also works to support other medical and alternative therapeutic approaches you may be using in your multidisciplinary approach to healing. My own experience of utilizing a range of health options including hypnosis to gain long-term remission in my own journey with chronic pain (CRPS) is a valuable resource that I bring to patients. I can help you navigate those choices to find what’s right for you, so that you gain real improvements in wellbeing and quality of life.

Science has discovered that thoughts, emotions and physical movement create chemical reactions in our body, which either calm down our central nervous system or turn the alarm volume up. By changing your response to pain and the way you think about pain, you can in fact change your pain state. Plus, when we tap into previous memories of being healthy and happy it allows us to rebuild the neuro-net that our brain relies on and our cell memory.

How we focus our attention can have a significant impact on our experience of pain. Research has shown that being able to focus attention on a task, activity, or experience – or to distract yourself – reduces pain and distress for people in chronic pain. The more we can divert our attention from pain, the less signal we create in our pain pathways. The less signal in our pain pathways, the less pain receptors and sprouts our nerves create, and the less sensitive our nerves become. When engaged in or focus on enjoyable experiences, we increase our production of good chemicals (neurotransmitters), such as endorphins. And, as you know, these ‘good’ chemicals help to calm pain pathways even more. Because hypnotherapy is a state of focused concentration it can create and absorb you in a desirable and comfortable state, and your brain can start to pay attention to that instead of pain.

We also want to focus on the Vagus nerve and the importance it has in chronic pain. The Vagus nerve is one of the largest nerve systems in the body. The name Vagus is Latin for “wandering,” which describes the long and complicated path this nerve takes through the body and all of the different systems it comes in contact with. In some cases this nerve is linked to medical conditions such as low blood pressure, and in other cases doctors will stimulate this nerve to help treat disorders. Stimulating the Vagus nerve with something as easy as an abdominal breath can release endorphins, serotonin, and melatonin.

Biofeedback allows us to objectively monitor your heart rhythms and display the physiological level of coherence – an optimal state in which the heart, mind and emotions are operating in sync and balance, and the immune, hormonal and nervous systems function in a state of harmonious coordination.

Pain and the brain…
Pain is an output our brain makes to defend us. It is what alerts us to danger and it acts as a protective mechanism to make us stop and do what we need to, to take care of ourselves. Our brain decides if something is painful or not. This is hard to comprehend because we feel pain in parts of our body, therefore we believe the pain comes from those parts, but in fact pain is determined by the brain.

However, when pain is ongoing the body’s danger response to sensory input becomes over sensitized and the alarm system stays on red alert causing a process called ‘Central Nervous System Sensitization’; then fears, thoughts and beliefs become involved and start contributing to the chronic pain state. Chronic pain sufferers end up feeling as though pain has engulfed their life, feeling helpless and hopeless. The good news however, is that HCT can change that. It can help you break the chains that chronic pain holds you in, thereby letting in the possibility for change and new perspectives.

A Multimodality / discipline approach…
A multimodality approach is needed in order to address the different facets of physical and emotional health involved in the treatment of chronic pain. Once you decide to get involved in your own healing, as captain of your team, you will need to find the protocol and/or team that works best for you.

Clinical trial findings and MRI studies support the fact that hypnotherapy is a valuable tool that will support your ability to learn new ways of dramatically decreasing your chronic pain and dealing with the impact it has had on your life.

What the research tells us…
• The brain is plastic! The brain’s neuroplasticity means that it is not a fixed and final thing; it can change the way it works and the way your body responds to its messages. “Neruo is for ‘neuron’, the nerve cells in our brains and nervous systems. Plastic is for ‘changeable…modifiable’” (The Brain That Changes Itself, Norman Doidge MD, 2007).
• The neural pathways that take messages to and from the brain can be altered, and new paths can be created. The latest brain research shows that our brain has the ability to change its function and structure through thought and activity, but only when it is in a state of openness, creativity and freedom from stress. Because hypnotherapy helps you reduce the significant levels of stress that occur in your body as a result of experiencing ongoing pain, it creates the necessary open and creative space for your brain to begin changing its responses. (Neuro Orthopaedic Institute Australasia, August 2011)
• Thoughts are one of the most powerful influences on your mood and emotions. The way you think about yourself, your situation, and your future is extremely important in chronic pain, for a number of reasons. The more you can reduce your own distress with your thinking, the more you reduce your adrenaline levels, which in turn is good for desensitizing your nervous system. The more you can generate helpful thinking patterns that improve your mood, the more helpful neurotransmitters you are likely to produce, such as opiates. These are your body’s natural ‘feel good’ chemicals. When your body produces ‘feel good’ chemicals, they help to reduce the level of signal in your pain pathways. (CPA Australia http://www.chronicpainaustralia.org.au)
• Research has shown that being able to focus attention on a task, activity, or experience – or to distract yourself – reduces pain and distress for people in chronic pain. An important point about attention is that we all only have a limited amount of attention to allocate to various aspects of our experience. If much of our attention is taken up by a particular thing, then there is less attention to be allocated to anything else. (CPA Australia http://www.chronicpainaustralia.org.au)
• There is growing recognition that hypnosis is helpful for altering the thoughts and beliefs that contribute to the pain state.
• The findings suggest that self-hypnosis training for chronic pain has two primary effects (a) it creates a long lasting (possibly permanent) change in the way the person and brain processes pain information, so that they experience a decrease in ongoing daily average pain, and (b) provides skills that they can use on a regular basis to experience periods of comfort.
• New sciences such as New Biology, Quantum Physics, and Molecular Science, all recognize that human beings are a dynamic organic process. These scientific perspectives contend that it is not the individual parts, but the whole that provides for in-depth understanding. The human organism is not perceived as isolated or compartmentalized, but rather is studied as a living system. No longer an “it “ – an object – the human being is recognized as a dynamic ever-changing process, embedded in a field of relationships and information. (From Changing the Language of Body: from Object to Process article by Liz Koch). This relational field moves between your thoughts, emotions, and body and is intrinsically linked. Hypnotherapy works with the whole person in a powerful way that harnesses their mind, body spirit self to achieve healing and transformation.
• Researchers are not sure exactly how or why biofeedback works. However, there does seem to be at least one common thread: most people who benefit from biofeedback have conditions that are brought on or made worse by stress. For this reason, many scientists believe that relaxation is the key to successful biofeedback therapy. When your body is under chronic stress, internal processes like blood pressure become overactive. Guided by a biofeedback therapist, you can learn to lower your blood pressure through relaxation techniques and mental exercises. When you are successful, you see the results on the monitor, which encourages your efforts. (University of Maryland Medical Center)
• The limbic system can influence chronic pain. A conceptual framework is presented suggesting conscious and subconscious interpretation of emotional responses to events can impact all systems of the body generating or modifying chronic pain symptoms. The limbic system can directly modify the activity of the autonomic, immune, endocrine and musculoskeletal systems. Through these systems it is able to alter the activity in all other systems. It is important to note that multiple systems are being affected simultaneously. The end result is that pain may be felt in a specific region, which can be viewed in the context of current knowledge on pain physiology and the neuromatrix. (University of West London)

You can utilize HCT to break the chains from chronic pain. Doing so will help you to regain your life by dramatically decreasing your pain, increasing restorative sleep, decreasing and controlling stress, anxiety and/or PTSD, and empowering you to engage in a meaningful life again.

 

Researchers Examine Self-Hypnosis to Manage Pain during Needle Biopsy

 

Author: Beth W. Orenstein

 

Date Published: Jan 29, 2007
Publisher: Radiology Today

 

More than 60% of women in the United States aged 40 and older will undergo mammography screening for breast cancer this year. Between 5% and 10% of their mammograms will result in abnormal or inconclusive findings that will require further study, according to the findings that will require further study, according to the American Cancer Society. If a suspicious lump is found through mammography, or by palpitation, a large core needle biopsy (LCNB) is likely to be performed.

 

Found to be a reliable diagnostic tool, LCNB is typically performed in an outpatient setting, which limits the use of intravenous (IV) drugs in reducing pain and anxiety. The practical problem is that administering would make the procedure longer, and suite time is typically at a premium. Also, IV drugs limit the woman’s ability to drive to work after the procedure. “Many of the women we encounter have to juggle job, home, and family, and being out is something they can’t afford,” says Elvira V. Lang, MD, associate professor of radiology at Harvard University in Boston.

 

In addition, with the woman lying prone so her breasts are accessible through a hole in the table, IV drugs could be a danger. “If you give drugs and the patient would have any reaction, it would be difficult to resuscitate her in that position,” Lang says.

 

Studied for More Invasive Procedures

 

Having had success with self-hypnosis during more invasive surgical procedures, Lang and colleagues decided to investigate its use during LCNB. They conducted a study involving 236 women who were undergoing LCNB at the university affiliated medical center between February 2002 and March 2004. Their research showed that self-hypnosis is not only a valuable pain management tool for women undergoing LCNB but also a cost effective strategy.

 

Lang presented their findings at RSNA 2006 in Chicago this past November. Previously, their research group had reported its findings in the September 2006 issue of Pain, the journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain. Lang’s research was supported by the U.S. Army Medical research and Materiel Command and the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

 

The women included in the study were required to give written consent and be able to hear and understand English; they also had to pass screenings for mental impairment and psychosis. The subjects were randomly assigned to one of three types of care: standard care, empathy, or hypnosis.

 

Seventy-six women received standard care with members of the biopsy team comforting the patents in their usual way. Eighty-two women received empathetic attention, where a person in the procedure room was assigned to be responsive to their needs, asking whether he or she could do anything to make the patient more comfortable. The person was also instructed to avoid negative language. For example, one would say, “This is the local anesthetic,” rather than, “You will feel a burn and a sting.”

 

The final group of 78 women was given empathetic attention and taught self-hypnosis techniques. For the hypnosis, a research assistant read a script instructing the patient on techniques that would help her relax. “The script invited patients to roll their eyes upwards, close their eyes, breathe deeply, focus on a sensation of floating, and experience a pleasant setting of their choice with all their senses,” Lang says. The script also suggested how patients could transform their discomfort into a sensation of warmth, coolness, or tingling.

 

The research assistants included one male and one female physician, two female medical students, ad one female premedical student with a background in mental health sciences. The script provided the consistency needed to administer the hypnosis techniques for the study. “We actually videotaped all the procedures to make sure that the assistants did what they were supposed to,” Lang says.

 

Reproducibility

 

Lang says the results may have been better had the assistants been able to improvise for each patient’s situation, “but we wanted something that the average, compassionate healthcare provider can do” and that can be easily replicated, Lang says.

 

The research assistants received standardized training, under supervision of physicians and psychologists, in empathetic structured attention and hypnosis. They also participated in workshops; used teaching videos, reading materials, and a web-based course; and performed supervised practice with patients. The researchers then compared several factors, including levels of pain and anxiety, and procedure time and cost.

 

Lang says the women in the study had increased levels of anxiety, which is not surprising, adding that the woman are undergoing the procedure because they may have breast cancer and “the prospect of having breast cancer can be very scary. One out of eight women will develop breast cancer in the lifetime. So the odds are very high that a woman undergoing an LCNB knows another woman who has had breast cancer, or worse, she knows someone who had a breast biopsy and had a bad experience.”

 

Time is of the Essence

 

The researchers also found that the longer a patient is in the procedure room the greater her pain. “I think even if you weren’t to do anything, just lying on the table in those surroundings increases the pain experience even more,” Lang says. “That’s why we wanted to give these women something to get through that and, specifically, to address the anxiety.”

 

Anxiety and pain were measured prior to entering the procedure room using a Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Anxiety was also valuated in the procedure room using verbal scales of 0 to 10; a rating of 0 indicated no pain or anxiety while 10 indicated the worst pain and anxiety possible. Patients were asked to make pain and anxiety ratings every 10minutes. “These scales were used because the patient’s self- report is considered the single most reliable descriptor of the pain experience,” Lang says.

 

Results of the study showed that anxiety increased significantly in the women in the standard care group, while anxiety did not change in the empathy group, and decreased significantly in the hypnosis group. All three groups reported pain during the procedure, but the empathy and self-hypnosis groups reported significantly less pain than the standard care group.

 

The researchers also measured time and cost and found that neither differed significantly among the groups, even though the empathy and hypnosis groups had an additional assistant. The hypnosis group had the shortest procedure time and the lowest cost. For standard care, the procedure was 46 minutes and calculated to cost $ 161; for empathy care, the time was 43 minutes and cost $163; and the time for the hypnosis group was 39 minutes and cost $152.

 

Relaxing Staff Too

 

Lang attributes the shortened procedure time with hypnosis to the decreased level of stress. When using hypnosis, the stress is not only less for the patient, she says, but also for the treatment team. “The relaxation technique serves to calm and focus everyone involved in the procedure,” she says.

 

Lang adds that the patients learned a coping tool they can take with them and use to relieve anxiety through subsequent waits and workups related to their diagnosis and treatment. “We had women in the study who were found to have malignant cancer, which they had removed. During subsequent biopsies, they would ask to have self-hypnosis as well,” Lang says.

 

David Spiegel, MD, associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine in California, says he is impressed by Lang’s methodology and conclusions. “She has demonstrated in a very convincing way that a little bit of self-hypnosis goes a long way in the radiology suite,” he says. The results are significant because the study was large scale, randomized, and “elegantly conducted,” he adds.

 

While Lang’s results showed hypnosis did more to relieve the women’s anxiety than it did their pain, Spiegel says, “large core needle biopsies aren’t that painful, so I don’t think there is much room for improvement in that regard.” The hypnosis clearly had other advantages as well, he says, including shorter procedure times with fewer complications and the need for fewer medications.

 

Some people fear hypnosis because they view it as inducing a loss of control, Spiegel says; however, the study shows the opposite is true. When used correctly, it can actually enhance the patient’s sense of control over their emotional and sensory experience.

 

In an editorial in the same issue of Pain as the Lang group study, Spiegel points out the irony that hypnosis, the oldest form of psychotherapy in Western culture, can be successfully wedded to one of the newest medical interventions: LCNB for breast cancer diagnosis. Obviously, he says, “this old technique of refocusing attention can be utilized with great effectiveness to reduce pain and anxiety during a variety of medical procedures.”

 

Overcoming Tradition

 

Spiegel also says that while physicians and their patients “may be skeptical of treatments that involve talk and relationships rather than medications and nerve blocks, “this study, as well as previous work by Lang and her colleagues, showed that “hypnosis works during medical procedures.” Spiegel hopes physicians won’t dismiss the idea of hypnosis simply because “there is no intervening pharmaceutical industry to sell the product. We don’t use dangling gold watches anymore,” he writes.

 

Lang, who is now chief medical officer for a biomedical device company, says she plans to continue her research and promote hypnosis as a way of alleviating pain in patients undergoing procedures in the radiology suite. She has begun another large study of the use of hypnosis for patients undergoing an invasive procedure where the blood vessels supplying tumors are blocked.

 

Some physician groups have already adopted their model, Lang says. “The next step is to have a broader introduction in to hospitals. We’ve already trained people in our interventional radiology division and are training more in our breast division. We’ve been asked by other radiology departments to help them learn how to do this.”

 

“This research,” Lang says, “embraces a holistic approach combining ‘high-tech’ with ‘high-touch’ that respects the needs of women during the stressful times of breast biopsy and…that can be successfully applied to a number of other interventional procedures.”

Beth W. Orenstein, a freelance medical writer, is a regular contributor to Radiology Today.

Outcomes With Hypnosis Combined Therapy by Traci Patterson

Hypnosis Combined Therapy (HCT) by Traci Patterson, CH, CI has proven to be an excellent drug-free, non-invasive, and evidence based treatment protocol that is providing positive outcomes for the patients diagnosed with chronic pain, fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, chronic migraines, and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) [type 1 and type 2].  Yet it is not limited to these specific diagnosis.

The data in this report is specific to those clients/patients diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS); type 1 and type 2; that were treated with Hypnosis Combined Therapy (HCT).  The data is based upon all CRPS clients/patients that were seen over a one year period (June, 2015 – June, 2016).

Today, over 1 million people are diagnosed with CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) aka RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy) worldwide.  While staggering, patients are not being given the options of treatments outside the box that can help them such as Hypnosis Combined Therapy (HCT).  What we have found through research and tried methodology is HCT gives hope and restores chronic pain patients’ lives.

The majority of patients diagnosed with CRPS aka RSD are treated with traditional methods (i.e. NSAIDS, PT, OT, local blocks, regional blocks, lumbar sympathetic blocks, ganglion blocks, pain medications/opioids, spinal cord stimulators and even pain pumps), and most do not see long term or permanent relief.

At Advanced Pathways we are seeing clients/patients that have been diagnosed with CRPS from all over the world.  Those from the United States have been seen at some of the top facilities (Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Scripts Medical Center, etc.) and by some of the top physicians including Dr. Chopra prior to coming to our office. These are individuals that have not been able to find relief from other treatment options (listed above), but they are able to dramatically decrease pain levels and regain their lives utilizing HCT.  Many have been able to get into complete remission.

The average starting levels are below:

Pain Level:      9.090909091   (Rated on a scale of 0-10.  10 being the worst pain imaginable.)

Sleep Quality: 7.272727273   (Rated on a scale of 0-10.  10 being the worst.)

Quality of Life:                      (Rated on a scale of 0-10.  10 being the worst.)

HCT Outcome Data – CRPS

 

The average ending levels following, “Week-Long Intensive”, with HCT:

Pain Level:      0.727272727   (Rated on a scale of 0-10.  10 being the worst pain imaginable.)

Sleep Quality: 2.363636364   (Rated on a scale of 0-10.  10 being the worst.)

Quality of Life: 3.363636364   (Rated on a scale of 0-10.  10 being the worst.)

HCT Outcome Data – CRPS 1

 

HCT is a combination of the following modalities:  clinical hypnosis, biofeedback, light/sound therapy, transdermal peptides (when appropriate), working with the limbic system, cell memory, and more.  This combination is evidence based while providing our clients/patients with the best outcomes possible.

We have found that it is critical to look at all aspects of the diagnosis and what the individual is dealing with (i.e. stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, PTSD).  It is imperative that the individual is able to resolve all of the issues they are dealing with, or have the tools to decrease these in order to regain their lives.

Hypnosis as an adjunct to medicine allows one to decrease pain and enhance healing. Often, a person with chronic pain may feel helpless, lost, and victimized. Hypnosis gives the person greater self-control, which decreases the effects on the autonomic system that activates the fight or flight response. Self-control also decreases the level of stress hormones. Both the reduction in fight or flight, and the decrease in stress hormones, can lead to a significant decrease in pain.[1]

We work with the subconscious mind.  The subconscious mind is not just in the brain or the head. According to research completed by Candace Pert, Ph.D., a research professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University, she states, “The subconscious mind is a part of every cell within the body. Every cell in the body has memory units. Each cell has over 6,000 receptor sites for proteins capable of interacting with signals and converting those signals into intracellular activity. Through molecular division, each cell divides into a daughter cell and the mother cell dies. The daughter cells replace the parent cells; however they still contain the cellular activity or memory of the mother cell. This cell replacement process occurs every three months, except in skeleton cells that divide every six months. With each division and replacement new memories can replace old memories, creating new behaviors from the cellular level.”[2]

Another key area of focus is working with the limbic system and the autonomic systems of the body.  We understand that the human body is made up of four significant vital signs:  heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and respiratory rate.  Pain was added to this list of vital signs in 2000 by JCAHO.  As with other vital signs, pain impacts a number of functions such as emotions, behavior, long-term memory and olfactory senses. The limbic system influences these same functions.  Understanding how pain interacts in the limbic system and how it operates helps patients break the pain loop and move beyond chronic pain. “When we think the Limbic System responds”[3].

When the limbic system functions abnormally, numerous health problems can occur. Physical problems such as a lack of sleep, too much stress, or chronic pain, exacerbate the problems created by an out-of-balance limbic system. The results are devastating.  In some cases, depending on the external factors, these imbalances can result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is the essence of stress turning into distress.

Hypnosis works well with the limbic system, specifically the Amygdala and the Hypothalamus, to change the stress response. Hypnosis allows a focused concentration and relaxation, resulting in an increase in oxygen throughout the body’s cells. This increase in oxygen has a major influence on decreasing a patient’s autonomic response to stress. Dr. John Rowlingson, the director of the University of Virginia Department of Anesthesiology Pain Management Center, is quoted as saying, “The limbic system might explain why therapies that act primarily in the brain, such as hypnosis, biofeedback, and brain stimulation, work so well to control pain.”

Transdermal peptides mixture of BPC-157, TB-500 and MGF has been proven to break up scar tissue, decrease inflammation, and decrease nerve pain.

Hypnosis Combined Therapy – the research and science of the mind-body connection, knowledge of how brain mechanisms interact, and pulling this together in individualized treatment plans – is what makes it so successful.  Utilizing different techniques through HCT, patients are able to break the chronic pain loop, bypass devastating memories, decrease inflammation, and set a path towards hope and a new life.

If you would like more information on Hypnosis Combined Therapy (HCT) by Traci Patterson, CH, CI please contact Advanced Pathways.

 

 

[1] Temes, Roberta, PhD. (1999). Medical Hypnosis and Introduction and Clinical Guide. New York: Churchill Livingstone.

[2] Pert, Candace B. PhD (1999). Molecules of Emotion. NY: Touchstone Publishing.

[3] Siegel, Ronald D. PsyD, Michael H. Urdang and Douglas R. Johnson M.D. (2002) Back Sense. New York: Broadway Books.

 

New CDC Guidelines Effects on the Pain Community

By: Traci Patterson, CH, CI – Owner and Founder, Advanced Pathways Hypnosis

 

In the last month the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) handed down new guidelines pertaining to opioid prescribing and the National Pain Strategy (NPS) was implemented. These guidelines and strategies have left the chronic pain community reeling, discouraged and feeling left behind. This is the time for advocacy for all evidence and outcome based treatments to be available to patients.

At this time the majority of chronic pain patients are receiving inadequate care and are not receiving information on all treatment options. With the new guidelines that have been set in place doctors and insurance companies are now limiting access to medications that can keep patients functional. If these limitations are going to be put in place then pain patients need access to all evidence and outcome based, non-invasive, drug-free treatment options.

I am proud to be the owner and founder of Advanced Pathways Hypnosis. I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) myself in 2007 and was fortunate enough to get into remission in 2013. I take what I learned through my journey with chronic pain and utilize that to help others regain their lives.

To make this situation even more horrifying, is the realization that the majority of patients do not have access to the appropriate treatments. It is a disgrace to know that medical professionals are being forced to follow the oath they took to do what is best for their patients, or to follow new guidelines provided to them by the government due to fear of losing their medical license. These same clinicians’ feel that their hands are tied because other treatments that hold much potential to bringing relief – such as integrative and complementary therapies – are not covered or paid for by health insurance companies. Therefore, these treatment options for the most part are not even discussed with the patients.

I understand the feeling like no one cares or is listening. There should not be so many roadblocks for people to have access to information on all viable treatment options and to receive adequate care. Society needs to stop minimizing the pain of which they do not understand or cannot see on display.

However, lashing out against rhetoric and society is not going to solve these problems. The community needs to come together to advocate for access to all viable treatment options. A message that is honest and real needs to be pushed forward to the doctors, universities, insurance companies and elected officials. Now is the time to push for more than medications. We need to push for access to treatment options that will create a real difference in the lives of those living with pain. Become empowered and unify.

Hypnosis Combined Therapy: Providing Treatment Options and Relief for CRPS and Chronic Pain Patients

By: Traci Patterson, CH, CI – Owner and Founder, Advanced Pathways Hypnosis

Today, over 1 million people are diagnosed with CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) aka RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy) worldwide. While staggering, patients are not being given the options of treatments outside the box that can help them such as Hypnosis Combined Therapy (HCT). What we have found through research and tried methodology is HCT gives hope, and restores chronic pain patients’ lives.

The majority of patients diagnosed with CRPS aka RSD are treated with traditional methods (i.e. NSAIDS, PT, OT, local blocks, regional blocks, lumbar sympathetic blocks, ganglion blocks, pain medications/opioids, spinal cord stimulators and even pain pumps), and most do not see long term or permanent relief. Unfortunately, physicians are not trained in alternative or integrative methods to treat CRPS/RSD and other chronic pain conditions. Thus, patients and their loved ones do not hear about other options. Sometimes, we have to be our own advocate as a patient and bring this information to our physician. I did, and it changed my life.

HCT has allowed countless chronic pain patients (CRPS/RSD, Fibromyalgia, phantom limb pain, chronic migraines, neuropathic pain, PTSD, etc.) to dramatically decrease their pain levels, if not get completely into remission, and regain their functionality. HCT therapies include: hypnosis, biofeedback, neuroplasticity training, cell memory, resetting the chronic pain loop in the limbic system, and more.

Hypnosis as an adjunct to medicine allows one to decrease pain and enhance healing. Often, a person with chronic pain may feel helpless, lost, and victimized. Hypnosis gives the person greater self-control, which decreases the effects on the autonomic system that activates the fight or flight response. Self-control also decreases the level of stress hormones. Both the reduction in fight or flight, and the decrease in stress hormones, can lead to a significant decrease in pain.[1]

If you have experienced hypnosis, you know that hypnosis is nothing more than focus and concentration. Hypnosis allows one to comfortably and easily set aside all the demands and pressures of everyday life. If you have never experienced formal hypnosis before, you will truly enjoy the experience. More importantly, it opens the door to a new perspective for making healthy changes in your life.

Many misconceptions about hypnosis exist today. However, the practice and process of hypnosis remains a consistent and safe approach to relieving anxiety, decreasing stress, and reducing pain. Many modern studies support the positive results of hypnosis. Although science continues to study why hypnosis works, there are many studies that reveal the complex interaction between our minds and our bodies, and our brains and our thoughts.[2] The National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducts and supports medical research throughout the nation, and they support hypnosis for pain control. The Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) endorsed hypnosis as a complementary, non-pharmacological management of pain in 2000.

Hypnosis works with the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is not just in the brain or the head. According to research completed by Candace Pert, Ph.D., a research professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University, she states, “The subconscious mind is a part of every cell within the body. Every cell in the body has memory units. Each cell has over 6,000 receptor sites for proteins capable of interacting with signals and converting those signals into intracellular activity. Through molecular division, each cell divides into a daughter cell and the mother cell dies. The daughter cells replace the parent cells; however they still contain the cellular activity or memory of the mother cell. This cell replacement process occurs every three months, except in skeleton cells that divide every six months. With each division and replacement new memories can replace old memories, creating new behaviors from the cellular level.”[3]

Another key area of focus is working with the limbic system and the autonomic systems of the body. We understand that the human body is made up of four significant vital signs: heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and respiratory rate. Pain was added to this list of vital signs in 2000 by JCAHO. As with other vital signs, pain impacts a number of functions such as emotions, behavior, long-term memory and olfactory senses. The limbic system influences these same functions. Understanding how pain interacts in the limbic system and how it operates helps patients break the pain loop and move beyond chronic pain. “When we think the Limbic System responds”[4].

When the limbic system functions abnormally, numerous health problems can occur. Physical problems such as a lack of sleep, too much stress, or chronic pain, exacerbate the problems created by an out-of-balance limbic system. The results are devastating. In some cases, depending on the external factors, these imbalances can result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is the essence of stress turning into distress.

Hypnosis works well with the limbic system, specifically the Amygdala and the Hypothalamus, to change the stress response. Hypnosis allows a focused concentration and relaxation, resulting in an increase in oxygen throughout the body’s cells. This increase in oxygen has a major influence on decreasing a patient’s autonomic response to stress. Dr. John Rowlingson, the director of the University of Virginia Department of Anesthesiology Pain Management Center, is quoted as saying, “The limbic system might explain why therapies that act primarily in the brain, such as hypnosis, biofeedback, and brain stimulation, work so well to control pain.”

Hypnosis Combined Therapy – the research and science of the mind-body connection, knowledge of how brain mechanisms interact, and pulling this together in individualized treatment plans, is what makes it so successful. Utilizing different techniques through HCT, patients are able to break the chronic pain loop, bypass those devastating memories, and set a path towards hope and a new life.

This is the time when opioid restrictions are being put in place and the consequences will be dire for pain patients if they do not have options to turn to.  Every patient is different as are their needs.  Therefore, they need to find a treatment options / protocols that are right for them.  Just as we are advocating for the right for physicians to treat their patients and prescribe medications – it is just as important to advocate for access to all treatment options.

 

[1] Temes, Roberta, PhD. (1999). Medical Hypnosis and Introduction and Clinical Guide. New York: Churchill Livingstone.

[2] Lipton, Bruce, PhD. (2005). The Biology of Belief. Scottsdale: Conference Recordings.

[3] Pert, Candace B. PhD (1999). Molecules of Emotion. NY: Touchstone Publishing.

[4] Siegel, Ronald D. PsyD, Michael H. Urdang and Douglas R. Johnson M.D. (2002) Back Sense. New York: Broadway Books.

 

CRPS: Diagnosis and Prognosis

By: Traci Patterson, CH, CI and Owner, Advanced Pathways Hypnosis

As an individual that was diagnosed with CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) I know there are a lot of questions about how patients are diagnosed and from there what is the prognosis for those patients.  I’ve put together some information to try to answer some questions that I’m asked quite often.

DIAGNOSIS

Currently there is no actual ‘one test’ that will give a definite positive diagnosis of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) aka Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD).

Instead to receive a positive clinical diagnosis of CRPS/RSD, pain specialists and doctors use the current BUDAPEST CRITERIA 2004, which was brought out during the International Consensus Conference in 2004. This new diagnostic criteria takes over from the one from the International Association for the Study of Pain in 1994 (IASP 1994). The pain specialist or doctor will discuss with you your medical history, symptoms you may be having and any signs or changes. They also may do nerve conduction studies, EMG, MRI scan, x-rays, bones scans, and/or a thermal study.

If there is no known injury or illness that contributed to the problems then the doctors and specialists would carefully check to see if there is no other treatable condition that has been missed.

The BUDAPEST CRITERIA 2004 states that for there to be a clinical diagnosis of CRPS/ RSD certain criteria need to be reached.

These are:

  •  There needs to be lasting pain which is disproportionate to the initial injury or illness.
  • The patient also needs to be experiencing at least 3 out of 4 of certain categories listed below. If you are positive in any of these categories you need to tell the doctor / specialist that is treating you.

Specific Categories:

  1. SENSORY – This means that you describe symptoms of increased sensitivity or hypersensitivity on your limb
  1. VASOMOTOR– This is when you describe temperature differences in your limb and / or skin color changes and / or difference in your skin color between the limbs
  1. SUDOMOTOR / EDEMA – You describe edema and / or sweating changes and / or sweating asymmetry
  1. MOTOR / TROPHIC – Reports of decreased range of limb motion and / or abnormality of a muscle or nerve that effects or produces motion (including tremor, weakness, dystonia…) and / or trophic changes (includes changes in nails, hair, skin…)
  • You must ALSO show at least 1 sign observed by the doctor or specialist at your appointment, in 2 or more of the categories below:
  1. SENSORY– Evidence of hyperalgesia usually following a pinprick and / or allodynia (proof of pain to a light touch and / or deep somatic pressure and / or joint movement)
  1. VASOMOTOR – Proof of temperature change in 2 limbs or more and / or skin color changes
  1. SUDOMOTOR / EDEMA – Proof of swelling or edema and / or sweating changes and / or sweating asymmetry
  1. MOTOR / TROPHIC – Evidence of decreased range of motion and / or motor dysfunction (such as tremor, weakness, dystonia) and / or trophic changes (skin, hair, nails…)
  • If there is NO other diagnosis that could better explain the symptoms and signs observed during a physical examination, and you meet the above criteria then you will most likely be diagnosed with CRPS/RSD.

PROGNOSIS

If you receive early treatment following the injury or illness there is a little evidence or research to say that there is a fair chance of recovery or ‘remission’ as CRPS patients know it. It has not yet however been proven during clinical trials and studies concerning early treatment. However, the prognosis will be different for each sufferer as everyone is considered unique and their symptoms although they will have a common trait, will also vary.

Occasionally people are left with unrelenting, agonizing pain and irreparable changes regardless of what standard/traditional treatment is given to them.  I can’t stress enough, that more alternative and complementary treatment options need to be given to CRPS/RSD and chronic pain patients.  This is a starting point.  There are non-invasive treatment options currently available for CRPS patients at this time, but the hospitals and physicians are not utilizing them nor speaking to their patients about them.  Clinical/medical hypnosis/hypnotherapy has been shown to be effective in significantly reducing pain [I utilized clinical/medical hypnosis to get into remission, and I currently treat CRPS patients with clinical hypnosis and a multi-therapeutic approach to assist them in significantly reducing their pain and/or getting into remission.] and let’s not forget about Calmare Therapy.

More research is definitely require to help understand the actual causes of CRPS, how early treatment affects it, why it progresses in some people and not in others… The list is endless as to questions about CRPS – this needs to change.

In a recent study from 2014, Van Velzen, G.A.J. et al. (See below) concerning the quality of life, they concluded:

“We conclude that loss of QoL in CRPS patients is due mainly to reduced physical health. A comparison with data available from the literature shows that CRPS patients generally report poorer QoL than patients with other chronic pain conditions, particularly in the physical domains.”

(* QoL = Quality of Life)

Many children and teenagers who have been diagnosed tend to have a good recovery. According to Edward C.T.H. et al (See below for study details)

“The prognosis of childhood-onset CRPS I seems less favorable than usually reported, and is comparable to the prognosis of the adult-onset CRPS I in view of a decreased quality of life and a large relapse percentage (33%) at long-term follow-up.”

In another study by Finniss, D.G., et al. entitled ‘Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in children and adolescents’, (See below) it was said that:

“Early diagnosis, referral and appropriate intervention are essential in decreasing pain, suffering and resorting function for children and adolescents with CRPS.”

There is still more research to do to learn as much as we can about Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) aka Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD).  At this time there is no one specific test that can be done to diagnosis this condition.  The doctors and specialists are doing the best they can to confirm Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) based upon the BUDAPEST CRITERIA 2004.  No, this is not perfect but it is aiding is the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

Research is slow when it comes to CRPS both in the US and in other countries.  There is some research that has shown that early diagnosis and early treatment will aid in the recovery and subsequent remission, but no clinical trials / studies have been completed to prove this.

I have personally experienced, treated and seen patients that have had CRPS from 1 years to 10+ years get into remission utilizing different non-invasive treatment options including clinical hypnosis.  We have to have studies done on all types of treatments, all stages of CRPS patients undergoing treatment and the efficacy of the treatments.  I think that the outcomes would be eye opening when it came to the money spent on Spinal Cord Stimulators and some of the other traditional treatments vs integrative and complementary treatments.

It seems that there is insufficient evidence in many areas of the condition that are unknown or understood by the health profession on a worldwide basis. This is something that has to change in order to increase the outcomes for CRPS patients.  That is the exact reason why Advanced Pathways Hypnosis is taking the steps to initiate data collection and a clinical study on the outcome of, “Clinical Hypnosis Utilizing a Multi-Therapeutic Approach with CRPS Patients”.  Please keep your eyes open in the near future for further information.

REFERRED TO RESEARCH / STUDIES / TRIALS

A Christian Understanding of Hypnosis

By: Traci Patterson – Owner, Advanced Pathways Hypnosis

I am a Christian myself; I was a volunteer with Young Life for many years and served as Christ’s ambassador to youth from the foster care system too.  Then my journey took a turn and I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).  This turning point took my life in a different direction and introduced me to many things that I would have never experienced; good and bad.  Bad, being chronic pain and a debilitating illness.  Good, a new career path in the field of Hypnosis / Hypnotherapy, and helping others in the same way that I was helped.

After I got into remission with my Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) via clinical hypnosis (that included a multi-therapeutic approach) I took the steps to gain my certifications and credentials in Hypnosis, and additional certifications in Pain Management and Cancer Care.  I already had a background in the healthcare industry, and with my experience as a chronic pain patient this was a natural transition for me.  I wanted to bring the information that helped me regain my life to those suffering needlessly as I had for so many years with chronic pain.

Then, an interesting thing happened after I announced that I was opening an office in the field of hypnosis.  I received emails from some in the church that felt that this was not a Christian way of treating chronic pain, others referred to hypnosis as mind control and a few felt it was perhaps witchcraft.  No one took the time to ask me questions.  Instead they made assumptions based upon misinformation, stage shows they had seen or Hollywood movies they had watched.

Since I started my practice as a hypnotist there are still some in the Christian religion that want to have nothing to do with me as a hypnotist / hypnotherapist. In light of this very narrow minded view of the church, I thought it was good that I write something about the truth of hypnosis and hypnotherapy (from a Christian’s point of view). That is the reason for this article.

Hypnosis has been present since the dawn of mankind as an ancient healing treatment. The popularity of its use has gone up and down, according to societal factors.  Early man used drums and chanting to create altered states. The Roman Empire, in particular, was especially keen on hypnotic states and their healing effects.  Christianity was spreading when the Roman Empire was about to collapse.  Many early Christian leaders frowned upon hypnotic practices and fulminated against it as white witchcraft. Many evangelical authors referred to hypnotists as “charmers” and “enchanters”.  They believed that hypnosis put the soul in jeopardy by putting it in a passive receptive state, thereby opening the door to morbid spiritual influences.

What made the early priests and rabbis take such a strong stand against hypnosis?  Part of the reason was because healing in hypnosis seemed to take place without God. Priests were afraid that people would no longer believe in the power of God.  The concern may not even have been religious.  It was a politics of numbers.  If more followers fell away from Christianity, the priests would lose their power.

Today, hypnosis is neither anti-religious nor pro-religious.  Most religious groups accept the proper and ethical use of hypnosis for helping people.  Hypnosis is steadily gaining recognition in the world as the means to help people be successful and experience abundance in their lives. The late Pope Pius gave his approval of hypnosis, stating that the use of hypnosis by health care professionals for diagnosis and treatment is permitted.  In the context of medical hypnosis, patients are in safe hands, and on the road to recovery.  Practitioners have an ethical code, and it is important to note that hypnotists have no mind control powers. They can’t read the future, can’t cast spells or talk to the dead.  Plus there are many studies that have been done on the efficacy of hypnosis by Stanford University, Harvard, Yale, Mayo Clinic, NIH and in Sweden.

There is also an irrefutable safeguard of hypnosis that keeps hypnotists from abusing the power.  Any suggestion or idea not in accordance with the patient’s beliefs, morals, wishes, principles, or desires will quickly and automatically be rejected.  No one can make anyone do anything they do not wish to do through hypnosis.  If the hypnotist gives a suggestion and the person absolutely does not want to accept that suggestion, then he will not do it.  No one can be hypnotized against his will.  As God’s creatures, humans have the freedom to choose and decide and act; free will.

When evangelical authors wrote that hypnosis opened the door to evil spirits, they did not fully understand the Word of God.  Jesus says that light and darkness cannot live together.  Christ is the light, so if you are saved, that means Christ lives within you.  If Christ lives in you, it means no demon or evil spirit can take residence.  The light of Christ drives out the darkness.  It is much like the case of the leper – those with faith in their therapists, who trust and believe that hypnotherapy can help/heal them will get well.  Those with faith well – placed can and will be healed, inside and out.  It is true that there are still some among us who are a little wary of hypnosis.  In actuality, hypnosis is a powerful and valuable tool God has given to man to heal the mind and body.  God created hypnosis for the good of man.  He has a purpose in allowing us the ability to alter our consciousness, even if it seems to take place without Him.  But nothing takes place without his knowledge and permission.  Hypnosis and faith in God can work hand in hand to turn lives around.

Jesus indicated by his teachings that we should help people to live life to the fullest and to relieve pain whenever possible.  Hypnosis is a means to help people live a better and more abundant life and is a means of reducing and/or eliminating pain.  This was the main treatment that helped me to get pain free and into remission with my CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome).

The Bible records several instances of hypnosis:  In the book of Acts, it mentions, “Peter fell into trance.” In the same book, there is also a reference to an apostle healing a person by gazing into his eyes. “This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who when he had fixed his gaze upon him, and had seen that he had faith to be made well, said with a loud voice, ‘Stand upright on your feet.’ And he began to walk.”  There are also various hypnosis acts performed by Jesus to manifest miracles.

Hypnosis has been used in place of anesthesia in World War I, and is used in modern day to rid unwanted behavior, relieve headaches, relieve chronic pain, induce pain-free labor etc.

Often, patients seeking solutions experience lack of confidence / focus and have ongoing issues because of limiting beliefs or a multitude of misinformation.  In hypnosis, the subconscious mind directs millions of neurons to produce positive mental pictures.  A patient can hold and project the idea and image of health, wellness or ‘abundance’ within the mind, causing it to happen in reality.  This therapy is in accordance to Christian beliefs.  Jesus said, “I come so that you may experience life in abundance.”

In Proverbs 23:7 it states that as a person thinketh in his or her heart so is he/she.  This can be interpreted that whatever images or thoughts held in the mind becomes reality. Picture happy moments, experience it again in your mind. By thought, you make feelings present again. The use of positive imagery improves life and health.

The brain is the channel which God communicates with Christians.  By using hypnosis to overcome the ruinous effects of negative thinking, anger, discontent, health issues and selfishness, we can keep our minds pure for God.

Frequently, unhappiness and discontentment are caused by our reaction and thoughts to situations.  It is estimated that 75% of cancers and body pains are caused by unresolved emotions.  In the Bible, God calls us to experience a renewing of our minds.  As we change the way we view things via hypno-suggestions, the same positive changes are manifested in our lives.  We are able to let go of the bad habits we once clung to.  We attract the abundance we desire.  We dissolve our hurts and sorrow.

During the storm in the sea of Galilee, the apostles panicked. “Wake up, Jesus, don’t you care that we perish?” Jesus said, “Have no fear.  I am with you. Peace be with you.” And the disciples grew calm.  If you are a Christian in the midst of a crisis, God is present amidst your broken hopes and dreams and stress.  In life, when the harsh winds of illness or injury blow, when we experience sorrow or grief, realize that we can, too, experience peace in the midst of the storm. This peace comes from knowledge that He is with us to endure it all.

Through positive thinking and optimism; relaxation and imagery induced by hypnotism; life can get better.  The past is still there, but we can begin where we are.  I had an opportunity to experience this first hand with my journey with CRPS.  I utilized hypnosis to regain my life, and it allowed me to take the steps to do things that I would not be doing otherwise.  With hopeful expectations comes a new life.

In Christ, suffering is not removed. It is transformed into victory.  The setback experienced causes the patient to forge a closer bond with God.  In the years ahead, may those who discount hypnosis come to see its value as a gift from God to help/heal us and the means from which we can experience his blessings.

The proper use of hypnosis can help those suffering with chronic pain, CRPS, Fibromyalgia, Arachnoiditis, Migraines, PTSD, stress, anxiety, phobias, help break unwanted habits, and more!  Owner and Clinical Hypnotist – Advanced Pathways Hypnosis 8 Corporate Park, Suite 300, Irvine, CA 92606.

714) 717-6633  |  http://www.Info@AdvancedPathways.com http://www.AdvancedPathways.com

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