CRPS – You Don’t Have To Give In To Your Pain…

I attended the RSDSA conference in LaJolla yesterday.  The theme of the conference was, “Treating the Whole Person: Optimizing Wellness.”  I love the philosophy behind treating the whole person and optimizing wellness, because that is how each person will regain their life.  That’s how I did it!  

 

It was a great experience to meet other people that had been diagnosed with CRPS/RSD and their caretakers.  I’ll be honest this was the first RSDSA conference that I had been to.  I look forward to going to more in the future and hopefully being a speaker too.

 

One common thread that I heard throughout the day was different ways for CRPS patients to cope with their pain, to put small goals in place that they can achieve, to stay grounded, to look to the positive, etc.  I love all of these suggestions.  I know they help and are key in helping to get through those tough days when pain levels are high.

 

Yet from a couple of the doctors that spoke I heard comments that I didn’t agree with:  “Providing mere relief…”, “Results are good…” and “Healthier with their CRPS”.  As someone that was diagnosed with CRPS (type 2), lived with it for 6+ years, tried all Traditional treatment options, was treated globally, and finally gained remission in 2013 – I think I can say that from a patient prospective the above comments were not music to my ears.  Yes, it is important to be as healthy as possible but it is just as important to have some type of tangible results for the patient in regards to dramatically decreasing pain levels on a long-term basis.

 

I heard heartwarming stories about young ladies that pushed through their pain to regain some normalcy in their life, but they are still dealing with the CRPS demons.  Whether it was a new injury that caused the CRPS to return or perhaps it people have learned to push through their pain; either way there has to be a better way.

 

There is a huge push for Ketamine Infusion therapy right now for CRPS and other conditions.  I know it can bring short-term relief to CRPS patients and then follow-up Ketamine boosts are needed to stay pain free.  Is this the right treatment option for you?

 

I listened to a Naturopathic Doctor talk about the need to change the paradigm and balance the body.  I completely agree with these statements.  What I didn’t agree with was being “healthier with CRPS”.  I don’t know about you but I can be the healthiest person on this planet but if I am still in pain then I am not too happy.   I’ve actually treated athletes that were diagnosed with CRPS.  Their concern was centered around their pain.

 

What we have to look at is CRPS and most chronic pain conditions including chronic migraines are also tied into the Limbic System in the brain.  Dr. Sajben talked about the glia and how important they are in the pain process.  We have to take into consideration the ‘mind-body’ connection if we want to break the pain loop, help CRPS and chronic pain patients to get out of fight/flight, to balance the ANS, and address many other issues associated with chronic pain.  These connections have to be made.  Then we have to treat the whole person.  This is not just the chronic pain.  It is everything tied in with it:  stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and/or PTSD.  Once an individual is able to regain normalcy in these areas then they will regain their life.  Yes, it is possible.

 

I personally don’t believe that any person diagnosed with chronic pain has to give in to their pain or live with extremely high pain levels.  With HCT (Hypnosis Combined Therapy) we have found that chronic pain patients, CRPS, and other diagnosis have been able to dramatically decrease pain levels and many gain remission.  This is an evidence based, non-invasive, drug-free protocol that is providing long-term relief.  HCT: clinical hypnosis, biofeedback, light/sound therapy, neuroplasticity training, working with the Limbic System, cell memory and more… is allowing people to regain their lives when they thought they had exhausted all their options. 

 

It is important for every pain patient on a global basis to find the treatment protocol that is right for them.  We are all individuals and as such what works for one may not work for all.  Please do your research, ask questions and be your own advocate. 

 

Traci’s Story

My name is Traci Patterson.  I’m the Founder and Director of Advanced Pathways Hypnosis, a Keynote and motivational speaker, writer, Delegate with the International Pain Foundation, an Ambassador with the U.S. Pain Foundation, patient advocate, and CRPS survivor.

Who was I prior to my diagnosis with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)?

Prior to my diagnosis with CRPS, I was a healthy, active, mother, wife, healthcare executive (at the top of my professional career), volunteer (with Young Life, Rising Tide and Orangewood Children’s Foundation), mentor, had been on the board for Tustin Eastern Little League, enjoyed softball, kayaking, outdoor activities, baseball, gardening, landscaping, and staying very busy.  I was one of those individuals that was always busy either with our family, volunteering or just helping friends or family.  I just loved to be active and busy.  That all changed after December, 2006 when I stepped over a box in our garage and turned my ankle.  What started out as a simple sprained ankle, triggered dominoes to something that what we could have never imagined. 

How would you define Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), is a long term condition that often worsens with time. It is characterized by severe pain and sensitivity, swelling, and changes in the skin. It may initially affect one limb and then spread throughout the body; 35% of people report symptoms throughout their whole body.

The cause of CRPS is unknown though CRPS is associated with dysregulation of the central nervous system and autonomic nervous system resulting in multiple functional loss, impairment and disability. Precipitating factors include injury and surgery, although there are cases where no injury had occurred at the original site. CRPS is not caused by psychological factors, yet the constant pain and reduced quality of life has been known to cause psychological problems (such as increased depression and anxiety). Although “research does not reveal support for specific personality or psychopathology predictors of the condition,” CRPS is associated with psychosocial effects, including impaired social and occupational function.  It is classified as an amplified musculoskeletal pain syndrome.

Somebody who has chronic pain is living with a daily challenge to cope with pain that does not have a quick fix, sometimes it does not have a cure and the best you can hope for is to get into remission. As a patient you feel like you have to learn how to alter your dreams and bring focus and meaning back to your life.  Patients living in chronic pain also have to cope with others looking at them, not understanding what they are trying to deal with day in and day out, because most people only see a glimpse of what you are going through and to them you look normal.  You are not in a cast, you are not necessarily in the hospital, and you are home on medication dealing with a horrible pain condition that is wreaking havoc on your body.  This is why Chronic Pain, CRPS/RSD and many neurological pain syndromes are also known as ‘Invisible’ pain conditions.   

 How are people’s lives affected by this illness? What changes when they start dealing with this illness?

Your life is altered, your dreams for the future are never going to be exactly as you planned them to be, you have to change your expectations in life because now you are dealing with a condition with chronic pain, and now that you have pain you are not physically able to do things the way you used to.  So it alters your life.  Many will say it’s a matter of learning to live with it, around it and accept the changes that have come to your life.  The career that you had may now be gone.  The many activities that you were involved with, you now cannot continue due to high pain levels and it is very hard for others to understand this.  People that once stood by your side start to disappear as they just don’t understand why you are unable to do what you used to.  Your life as you once knew it changes, and this isn’t even talking about the impact it has on your family.

Why is this illness different from others illnesses?

You have to face this for the rest of your life, unless you are one of the individuals that can get into remission. Some people go to physical therapy for 6 to 8 weeks and then they get better. There is no cure for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Some people have an injury and they go through their process and the pain; medication, PT, injections, blocks and all of a sudden they graduate and then they’re able to get into remission and get back to their lives (this is not the norm). People like me that don’t respond to normal treatments go through aggressive treatment protocols that can include: heavy medications, injections, PT, regional blocks, lumbar sympathetic blocks, and maybe even Spinal Cord Stimulators.  Yes, I did all of that and had no improvement.  As a matter of fact everything they did to treat me made me worse!  I was told my case was one of the worse my Pain Management doctor had ever seen.  It was very aggressive and extremely volatile.  It started out in my left foot and ankle, moved into my back when they put in a Spinal Cord Stimulator (they stated this had never happened before to previous patients), then I had a build-up of scar tissue on my Dura of the spine that would have paralyzed me, so the final Spinal Cord Stimulator had to be removed.  At this point my Pain Management doctor was giving up!  My CRPS kept trying to ‘mirror’ to my right leg, but we were able to stop it each time.  How was I ever going to get better?  I refused to give up, my life had already been drastically altered, and I had been living life as a Chronic Pain patient on a cocktail of pain meds to just live…  I just knew in my heart that there had to be some answer out there, some hope, some way of getting my CRPS into remission and I refused to give up! 

At this point in my life I knew I had already been to hell and back, my CRPS was moving – getting worse (it was in my left foot/ankle, my entire back and had recently moved into my pelvic region), I knew God had other plans for me and I just had to figure out where that path was going to lead me.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Traci’s Case Report

My Name is Traci.  I was 36 years old when I originally sprained my ankle stepping over a box in December, 2006.  That started my journey.  Then a little over a year later I was formally diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) in January, 2008. 

I was then referred to a DPM (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine) for assessment. After conservative treatment that included a CAM Boot, Physical Therapy and cortisone shots, the pain continued.

The DPM followed with three (3) surgeries of which several errors were made, including cutting the Tibial Nerves, Lateral Plantar Nerve, Rupturing the Posterior Tibial Tendon, and making the incision in the wrong place. 

I had two (2) surgeries by a top Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Surgeon to reconstruct my Posterior Tibial Tendon, and later he completed a Tarsal Tunnel Release hoping to help with the nerve pain.

During these surgeries, my pain continued to increase disproportionate to what should have been occurring.

In 2008, I was officially diagnosed with CRPS by my Pain Management doctor, and he put together an aggressive treatment plan to try to treat my condition.  Initially, he thought he could get my condition under control within 6 months to a year, and told me this could be one of the most devastating diagnoses of my life.

He started with putting me on a lengthy list of opioid pain medications that included: Methadone, Dilaudid, Ketamine (oral and topical), and more…

In addition to these medications he tried regional blocks with no results, and then we did 13 Lumbar Sympathetic Blocks (the last one shut down my adrenal glands, landing me in the hospital for several days).  Thus, my PM Doc stopped any further blocks and I was then told I had to get a Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS).  In addition to the Sympathetic Blocks I also received a prescription from my pain management doctor to undergo HBOT.  I did 25-30 sessions of HBOT, which I had heard could help to relieve pain, but did not get relief.  The next step was a SCS trial which was a success. Yet once the real spinal cord stimulator (SCS) was implanted it functioned in-properly and caused swelling every time the battery was charged.  Thus, I had to have a 2nd surgery to change out the SCS Battery. It was at this time that I started to notice some CRPS Pain in my back.  I had continued trouble with the SCS, so the system was removed and replaced (Medtronic to Boston Scientific) – no precautions were taken to make sure the CRPS didn’t move into the back.

Following this surgery, I had full CRPS in my back (my waist to my shoulders).  I was told by the Neurosurgeon this was the first time he had this happen.  I had further issues with the Boston Scientific SCS, which included a build-up of scar tissue on the Dura of my Spine.  Upon further review, it was found in several articles that SCS in rare cases could cause scar tissue on the Dura that would lead to paralysis.  Therefore, my SCS was removed/explanted (2011).

It was at this time that my Pain Management doctor told me, “…after all of this I’m afraid to touch you. There is nothing else I can do at this time.  Therefore, you may have to do your best with pain meds.”

Three weeks following my post-op of the SCS removal, I flew to Frankfurt, Germany, for further treatment.  This was the first of my four trips over to Frankfurt, Germany, for treatment of my CRPS.

The first trip, we started with building up my immune system, Stem Cells (utilizing my own blood), Thymus Cell Extract, Blood Ozone Therapy, Neural Therapy with Ozone, Myers Cocktail IV’s, Lymphatic Massages, Physical Therapy and Detoxing.

On my second trip to Frankfurt, we noticed there was one area where they removed the SCS that was problematic.  Following an ultrasound, they discovered there was something foreign in the incision.  The Medical Director in Germany re-opened this area and found there was some gauze left in my incision from when the SCS was removed.  This was cleaned up, left open to heal, debrided on a daily basis until it closed on its own.

During this trip and my subsequent trips to Germany, I completed the following types of treatments (this is inclusive of the last three trips):

Neural Therapy with Ozone

Ionization

Ozone Therapy

Blood Ozone Therapy

Thymus Cell Therapy

Regional Hyperthermia (3x/day – 5days/week: first CRPS patient in world to be treated with Regional Hyperthermia)

Alpha Lipoic IV’s

Myers Cocktail IV’s

Homeopathic Injections

Regeneris Therapy (RNA Cell Therapy – 4 weeks treatment protocol)

PK Protocol

Physical Therapy and Massage

Bodywork

(Last trip to Germany was August-September, 2013).

 

I still feel that my trips to Germany were important in my over-all treatment process as they were able to shrink the area(s) of my CRPS and decrease my pain levels overall.  Following my last trip, my pain levels remained at a 5 for approximately six weeks and then started to increase again.

I contacted the Medical Director in Germany and it was suggested to do two more rounds of Regeneris or return to Frankfurt for continued treatment.

Between my trips to Germany, I was also treated in Mexico in tandem with the Medical Director from Frankfurt.

In Mexico, he treated me with the following over 3 different stays:

Insulin Potentiated Therapy (IPT – utilizing pain meds)

PK Protocol

Physical Therapy

Chiro

Alpha Lipoic IV’s

Myers Cocktail IV’s

Rife

Acuscope

Neural Therapy with Ozone

Ondamed Biofeedback

HBOT and detox

Regional Hyperthermia

 

These treatments only decreased my pain levels to a 6-7.  My last trip to Mexico was July, 2013.

Following my last trip from Germany I contacted highly regard clinic known for hypnosis for possible treatment.  I had previously done some hypnosis sessions, but was referred there due to their background and being known for Pain Management.  After speaking we set up a time to be seen mid-November, 2013.

I was told that it would be a week long intensive session that would include our time together and homework each evening (i.e. reading, listening to CD’s, etc…).  To me, this was an exciting avenue to go down and I was 100% dedicated to get the most out of everything that was set before.

Day one, I walked in with what I formerly called “Pain Levels”, and now have changed, calling them “Comfort Levels” up in the 8-9 range.  The evening prior they were at a 10+ due to the full day of travel to get from CA to my destination.  Little did I know, although I had hoped and prayed it would be, that my ‘Comfort Levels’ would drop to a ZERO by the end of the week! 

Over the week we used a combination of:

Hypnosis

Imagery / Meditation

Biofeedback

Light/Sound Therapy

“Issue Solution Training”

and learning Self-Hypnosis

 

While working together the first day, it was discovered that I was also dealing with a case of PTSD due to everything that I had dealt with over the years; the treatments; being given medications for anesthesia and not having them work – then listening to the physicians; having my Pain Management doctor tell me that there was nothing more he could do and I would just have to live with the pain;  going through some treatments that were extremely uncomfortable; and negative comments from physicians about the possible outcome of my situation.  This did not surprise me to say the least.

From the first day to the last day I saw progress.

Thursday of our week together, I was scheduled for a massage.  To be honest, I was a bit reluctant and worried walking to that appointment due to the fact that I had not been able to tolerate a massage on my back since 2011 when CRPS had moved into my back.  I knew that my ‘Comfort Level’ had already dropped to a ZERO in my back, but I wasn’t sure if I trusted it enough to do the massage.  I was pleasantly surprised to see how relaxed and comfortable I was during the massage.  I had no pain in my back and I was able to keep my ‘Comfort Level’ at a Zero.  To me this was a test, and it showed me what I had accomplished to that point was holding and would continue to get better.

The other huge thing that they were able to assist me with was a continual spasm or uncontrollable motor deficiency in the little toe on my left foot.  This was in addition to my CRPS, and it was due to a nicked Lateral Plantar Nerve.  I had had many doctors consult with me regarding this, and I was always told that they had never seen anything like it.  They had no idea what to do, etc.  Thus, I had been dealing/living with my little toe being in continual spams since 2007, and in 3 days, we were able to get my little to stop moving!  Wow, this was a mechanical problem and it had stopped.  This was huge!  Talk about bringing a smile to my face. It was intriguing to see how the process of hypnosis could access areas of the brain to stop the continuous signals being sent out.

Yes, it was an intense week of learning, working, and following all of the instructions given me, but to have my ‘Comfort Levels’ drop to ZERO for the first time since 2006 when I sprained my ankle, then was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), it was well worth it.

One of the things that I learned was that every cell has a memory.  It is essential to provide the cells with a new memory other than pain, and when you do this, new memories will take hold as the cells regenerate every 90 days.  Thus, in approximately 90 days after arriving home, new memories should be strong.

When I arrived home I was barraged with questions, because friends and family members immediately noticed a marked difference in my demeanor, a bigger smile on my face, my ability to put weight on my left foot for the first time since 2006, and an overall sense of well-being.  This was after 5 days with of treatment with hypnosis in a multi-therapeutic approach.

Once home and settled, I put myself into a routine that included listening to the CDs of the sessions that I had completed, doing self-hypnosis, and utilizing the tools given to me.  After the first week home, I was no longer utilizing my cane to walk.  I still needed to work on my gait, but this was a big milestone.  During this time, I also met with my Pain Management doctor.  He was used to me going to Germany for treatment and coming back with their protocols, but this time, he had no idea what to expect.  When he entered the exam room, I was sitting there with socks and running shoes on, no cane and long pants that could touch my ankle and medial side of my foot. 

My Pain Management doctor looked at me, pushed back on his stool, and started looking around the room. He was in disbelief at what he was seeing.  He then asked me to take off my left shoe and sock, because he wanted to see if my left little toe was still spasming or doing the rhythmical movement.  When he saw that it was not moving, I had shoes on, my coloration was not off in my foot, and I was feeling great, he was dumbfounded.  He next words were, “I’m being punked. Where are the cameras and how are you doing this?”  I had to laugh.  He wanted to know what I did in my treatments, but since he doesn’t understand what I did, he was skeptical.  Then when I asked him to take me off of my pain medications, he was awestruck.  He hesitated, to say the least, because he wasn’t sure this was going to hold.  As I told him, I am confident in where I am and what I have accomplished.  I have no pain at this time, so I don’t feel that I should continue on pain medications, and I asked again to be titrated off of them.

Week by week, I continued to see progress.  Having the ability to walk my dog at the park with no pain, completely comfortable, completing household chores with no discomfort, babysitting my nephew who was 6 months old with complete confidence, and spending time with my family in activities that I would not have been able to have done previously, these are all the rewards of learning self-hypnosis and following through with what I was taught during my treatment.

Now over 3 years later I continue to be completely pain free and have had the ability to regain my life.  It is important for people living with CRPS and other chronic pain conditions to hear about positive outcomes such as mine.  This is not a one off or something that cannot happen to others.  As a matter of fact I am honored to be able to treat chronic pain patients now with HCT (Hypnosis Combined Therapy).  This protocol is very similar to what helped me get into remission with some exciting changes based upon medical advanced.

I’m now seeing clients on an international basis with outstanding outcomes.

I know for some it is hard to believe, but trust me with everything that I went through with treatments in the United States (Traditional Western Medicine), in Frankfurt, German (Integrative Medicine), Mexico (Integrative Medicine), and then back to the US to be treated by a highly recommended clinic… I think I can say I looked at everything, tried just about everything and found what worked for me.  I have heard from others with CRPS that they have tried hypnosis and it just doesn’t work.  I too tried hypnosis prior to going back to be treated in 2013, my previous treatments with hypnosis didn’t help me – then again they were not well versed in chronic pain and not certified in ‘Pain Management’ either.  When I was referred to the last clinic I was told by everyone that it was the best, that they did things differently, and they do – they work with the biology and physiology of the brain and how it causes Chronic Pain.  It is a completely different way of looking at things, working with Chronic Pain and finding a solution for the pain.  What works for one will not necessarily work for all, but if it is successful for one it is likely going to be successful for many!

Now you have a better understanding of what Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is, how it affects a patient, just a little bit about what we go through and some of the treatments we endure.  I was a fortunate patient in that I was able to get into remission in 2013. 

I was determined to find a treatment somewhere, some way to help me regain my life, and I did it!  I went from not being able to have anything touch the areas where I had CRPS to being able to put a sock on my foot, to wearing a shoe and not being in pain.  I got my life back.

This is why I am so passionate about sharing my story, getting information out about chronic pain, trying to educate as many people as possible on the effects of CRPS/RSD and chronic pain syndromes, and viable treatment options.

Let me ask this question before you read on… if you or a loved one are willing to look at opioid therapy, spinal cord stimulators, pain pumps and other invasive treatments that are only bandaides… why are you not willing to seriously look at other treatments that have worked on other CRPS/RSD and chronic pain patients?  Is it because your doctor(s) are not talking to you about these types of treatments?  Possibly because the pharmaceutical companies are not advertising it or the insurance companies are not pushing it? Yes, I know that many patients, like me, find out about these treatment options after going through the ringer.  But, if this is a way to get your life back, to regain what you lost, and to start fresh… is it not worth taking a serious look at your options?   Please take a serious look at what will really work to help you or your loved one in the long run.   No, not every treatment is right for every patient, but if it is evidence based and non-invasive is it not worth looking into? 

HCT by Traci Patterson is helping chronic patients that have been diagnosed with CRPS/RSD, neuropathic pain, Fibromyalgia, cancer pain, phantom limb pain, PTSD, migraines, etc… to regain their lives on a global basis.  

I have a dynamic background from a perspective that few if any one other Certified Instructor and  Clinical Hypnotist can offer.  My background as a chronic pain patient diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), someone that was treated with/utilized hypnosis to get into remission, and is now a practicing hypnotist is rare.  I have patients that contact me on a global basis searching for viable treatment options.   

If you have questions regarding CRPS, my story or would like information on how you or a loved one can find relief from chronic pain please contact me.

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

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.

 

Cancer: Doctors, Chemotherapy to Prescriptions – Knowing Your Options

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

 

According to statistics from the American Cancer Society and NIH there are 14 million new cases of cancer each year. Diagnoses of cancer are expected to increase by 70% in the next 20 years. Fortunately, only 5-10% of these cases are attributed to hereditary genetics. This means that 90% of cancers are preventable! Thus it is tied back to environmental toxins, poor nutrition and other stressors that are incredibly toxic to our health.

When a patient initially receives that diagnosis and hears the hollow word of “cancer” it is more than devastating. Our society has made this word, “cancer”, to be the equivalent of death, but it should not be this way. Cancer does not have to be a death sentence. It does not have to mean months or years of treatments that will suck the life from you. It is a wake-up call to the person diagnosed and to their family members and a message that needs to be taken very seriously.

What I have seen and learned from walking down this path with a loved one is that cancer is scary, cancer can be emotional and jeering, but ultimately we have control. Control over the doctors we choose to entrust with the care, the road we choose to go down, the treatments we choose to accept or decline, and the medications that we choose to take or not take. Ultimately it is about being as knowledgeable as possible, being your own advocate, not being afraid to speak up for yourself and trusting your gut instinct.

I cringe every time we walk into the oncology office with the bowl of candy on the counter and the cancer patients helping themselves. Hello, sugar feeds cancer and causes it to grow! So, why in the heck would you put a bowl of candy out for your cancer patients?

Remember, knowledge is power.

Do your research, look online, read some books and make yourself an expert in your diagnosis. Know that if you change your nutrition and add in specific supplements that it can alter your course for the better.

After several bouts with cancer and working with many different protocols my husband made the decision to move forward with chemotherapy. The combination and dosages were going to be grueling to say the least. We were told that he would have nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, diarrhea, etc. It wasn’t if, it was when. Needless to say we were given all of the typical medications that are dispensed for the side effects and sent home to get ready for the big day. I could not just sit back and watch someone that I cared for go through that knowing that something could be done to help decrease the side effects. It was time to reach out to colleagues and friends. I found a protocol and case study from Harvard that showed utilizing a photon bed within 24 hours of chemotherapy would increase healthy cells and decrease the noxious side effects of chemotherapy. More research showed using probiotics would increase the good flora in the stomach and intestines. This is key because chemotherapy kills off the good flora and this is what leads to vomiting and diarrhea. Rinsing with warm salt water can help prevent mouth sores. Add in some hypnosis specific to chemotherapy and giving an anchor to control any symptoms gives the patient the ultimate control. Of course diet, nutrition, juicing, sleep, decreased stress, etc. also play a big part in the body being able to recover and heal.

The addition of the protocols and resources that were researched has kept my husband from having to go through the nausea, vomiting, mouth sores and major side effects of the chemotherapy. It is amazing to see the difference between what he is doing and the other patients that I see on a weekly basis that are weak, beaten down, and going through hell due to a treatment that is supposed to help them. It breaks my heart watching and listening to the other patients that are dealing with unneeded side effects because physicians are unwilling to do more than dispense medications. Medications that may not be needed if protocols could or would be put in place to keep their patients from suffering needlessly.

Life is a journey. Cancer is its own journey and one that cannot be taken lightly. But, with proper tools, protocols, knowledge and treatment options it is survivable. Don’t be afraid to be your own advocate or to be your love one’s advocate. Ask questions, speak from your heart and listen to your gut.

Be well.

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 Treatment Options: Why aren’t physicians discussing all options with their patients?

ByTraci Patterson, CH, CI – CRPS Survivor and Owner of Advanced Pathways Hypnosis

Treatment for complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) must be individualized.  No one treatment will work for everyone.  That being said it is very important that patients have access to information on all treatment options available.

Treatment methods are continuously evolving as research and clinical practice provides new evidence and insights, but most physicians are not staying up to date on the latest treatment options. For example it was once thought that sympathetic nerve blocks were a diagnostic tool and a curative procedure. This has been disproven over time yet most Pain Management doctors are still performing them regularly on CRPS/RSD patients.

The majority of the physicians out there will want to start with anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS), pain medications, Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy, local/regional blocks and then move on to sympathetic nerve blocks.   If there is no improvement with these modalities the next conversation will most likely be about having a Spinal Cord Stimulator implanted, or a pain pump that delivers morphine directly to the nerves affected in the spine.

What happens to the patient when they are told by their physician there is nothing more they can do?  Do you just continue on large quantities of pain medications and continue down the slippery slope?  Or do you fight to find something that will help, a treatment that can possibly put this awful condition into remission?

I have been on both sides of this.  I personally was diagnosed with a very aggressive, volatile case of CRPS.  Local and regional blocks did not work on me.  My Pain Management doctor was dumbfounded when this occurred.  Thus we moved onto lumbar sympathetic nerve blocks (LSB).  I had 13 LSB, until the last one caused my adrenal glands to completely shut down.  This landed me in the hospital for a week.  Following this my Pain Management doctor stated we could no longer do any LSB.  His next step was talking to me about having a Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS) implanted.  I was against the idea and had a really bad gut feeling about it, but I was told this was the last option I had to reduce my pain.  I went through with the trial and it went well.  Approximately 6 months later I had a Medtronic SCS implanted.  I had nothing but issues with it.  Every time I charged the battery it caused my affected foot to swell.  They could not figure out why this was happening.  The next step was to have the battery replaced with a non-rechargeable battery.  I underwent the surgery to change out the batteries in hopes this would correct any issues.  Keep in mind that with each of these surgeries I had to be admitted to the hospital to control my pain, even though they were supposed to be an outpatient procedure.  Unfortunately, the second surgery to change the battery did not help.  I then started to have issues with the paddle that was implanted.  Long story short, they had to explant the Medtronic SCS and implanted a Boston Scientific SCS. It was during this time that my CRPS moved into my back!  I had asked my Neurosurgeon if this could happen and was assured it wouldn’t – it did happen after all…  I had this one for less than 6 months when I lost the ability to control the stimulation.  Upon further review of the situation and my symptoms it was determined that I had a buildup of scar tissue on my Dura which could cause paralysis if the SCS was not removed.  In Feb., 2011 the last SCS was ex planted from my spine.  At that point I was told by my Pain Management doctor, who is highly regarded, that there was nothing else he could do except to keep me on pain medication.  He was ultimately throwing his hands up in the air!  This did not set well with me.  I was dumbfounded that none of my doctors (Pain Management, Neuro Surgeon, Neurologist or GP) had anything more to offer me.  I had to research viable alternative treatment options on my own.

This is what the typical CRPS/RSD patient goes through once they receive their diagnosis.  Yet, the reality is there are other treatment options out there as I found out.  Treatment options that allowed me to get pain free and in remission.

The big question should be why physicians, hospitals and universities are not better informed about viable treatment options for CRPS/RSD, neuropathic pain and other chronic pain conditions, and what can be done to get the information out to the doctors that are treating us?

Some current treatment methods:

  • Antidepressants and anticonvulsants. Sometimes antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, and anticonvulsants, such as gabapentin (Gralise, Neurontin), are used to treat pain that originates from a damaged nerve (neuropathic pain).
  • Corticosteroids. Steroid medications, such as prednisone, may reduce inflammation and improve mobility in the affected limb.
  • Bone-loss medications. Your doctor may suggest medications to prevent or stall bone loss, such as alendronate (Fosamax) and calcitonin (Miacalcin).
  • Sympathetic nerve-blocking medication. Injection of an anesthetic to block pain fibers in your affected nerves may relieve pain in some people.
  • Intravenous ketamine. Studies show that low doses of intravenous ketamine, a strong anesthetic, may substantially alleviate pain. However, despite pain relief, there was no improvement in function.

Therapies

  • Applying heat and cold. Applying cold may relieve swelling and sweating. If the affected area is cool, applying heat may offer relief.
  • Topical analgesics. Various topical treatments are available that may reduce hypersensitivity, such as capsaicin cream (Capsin, Capsagel, Zostrix) or lidocaine patches (Lidoderm, others).
  • Physical therapy. Gentle, guided exercising of the affected limbs may help decrease pain and improve range of motion and strength. The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the more effective exercises may be.
  • Occupational therapy. Mirror box therapy, and desensitization of affected limbs. Assisting with activities of daily living, improving range of motion and strength.  The earlier this is utilized in the diagnosis, the more effective it is.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). Chronic pain is sometimes eased by applying electrical impulses to nerve endings.
  • Biofeedback. In some cases, learning biofeedback techniques may help. In biofeedback, you learn to become more aware of your body so that you can relax your body and relieve pain.
  • Spinal cord stimulation. Your doctor inserts tiny electrodes along your spinal cord. A small electrical current delivered to the spinal cord results in pain relief. (Always do your research prior to moving forward with the implantation of a SCS or pain pump.)

Alternative/Complementary Therapies

  • Calmare therapy. Non-invasive, drug-free treatment option. Many time ‘boost treatments’ need to be completed to stay pain free with CRPS/RSD.
  • Clinical Hypnosis. Non-invasive, drug-free treatment option. The utilization of hypnosis and a multi-therapeutic approach is proving to be an effective treatment option for CRPS/RSD.  Those patients going through a ‘One Week Intensive’ have been able to significantly decrease their pain if not completely get into remission.  Working with someone well versed in chronic pain, pain management, biofeedback, neuroplasticity training, etc. will give CRPS or chronic pain patients the best outcomes.

Some Pain Management physicians that I have spoken to have stated that they are treating their patients in the manner that they were taught (i.e while in medical school and residency…).  The outline they verbally gave me pretty much mimicked how I was treated and how thousands of other patients are treated with CRPS/RSD.  The stark reality is that new treatment methods are continuously evolving as research and clinical practice provides new evidence and insights, but most physicians are so inundated with the number of patients that they have to see in a day, charting and regulations that it is extremely difficult to stay up to date on the latest treatment options.  This is not an excuse but reality.

If we stop to think about this it does make sense.  Pharmaceutical companies spend millions of dollars every year in an effort to ensure that their information and medications are in front of or in the hands of doctors.  Durable medical equipment (DME) companies do the same thing.  As a matter of fact they go as far as making sure their products and services are well known at the university levels too.  The bottom line is that updated information on alternative treatment options must be circulated back to those physicians and facilities that are treating patients with CRPS/RSD and any chronic pain condition (fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, chronic migraines, etc.).

Living with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) or any type of chronic pain is challenging, especially if you don’t have a proper treatment plan or access to all your treatment options.  Share information with your treating physician from reliable sources and don’t be afraid to ask about alterative or complementary treatment options that may be available.

If you would like more information on CRPS/RSD, alternative/complementary treatment options, or the author – Traci Patterson please contact us at:

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

References

1.McMahon SB, et al. Wall and Melzack’s Textbook of Pain. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier. 2013. https://www.clinicalkey.com.

2.Ferri FF. Ferri’s Clinical Advisor 2014: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com.

3.Borchers AT, et al. Complex regional pain syndrome: A comprehensive and critical review. Autoimmunity Reviews. In press. Accessed

4.Abdi S. Etiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of complex regional pain syndrome in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home.

5.Complex regional pain syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/reflex_sympathetic_dystrophy/detail_reflex_sympathetic_dystrophy.htm.

6.Abdi S. Prevention and management of complex regional pain syndrome in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home.

7.Complex regional pain syndrome treatment page. RSDSA. http://rsda.org/treatment/