It is so easy to say: “It is all in your head.” And that is what you have to live with when you have an inexplicable pain because of something like fybromyalgia. Aggravated by the fact that there seems to be some kind of blame from bystanders: “It is all in your head, so do something about it.” It is not that easy though. When someone is having severe pain complaints he or she would solve it immediately if it was easy doing so using the normal consciousness.
Why something hurts or why it does not hurt is very complex. We do not have a pain center in our head. Actually we have 9 parts in our brain that are involved in the decision making proces to decide if a pain signal must be sent to the area that is damaged or sensitive. Not only the severity of the damage is a factor in this decision making proces of our brain, also other experiences, our own thoughts and factors from our environment. The proces of ‘feeling’ pain and why one person seems to be more bothered is explained very well in the book Explain Pain by David Buttler and Lorimer Moseley.
A recent study from the University of Manchester suggests that talk therapies could be useful for people with chronic pain caused by fybromyalgia or arthritis. Pain seems to be depending on how the brain translates the signals coming from the diseased body parts. European Journal of Neuroscience, Volume 39, Issue 4, Pages 663-672, February 2014
Research seems to confirm what we already know from our hypnosis office: hypnosis can be of great importance to people with chronic pain. Why hypnosis is such an amazing tool to use for pain relieve is explained through research by universities such as Harvard, Yale and Standford. When suggestions are given during a hypnosis session, these suggestions are capable to pass the cortex – which is the part of our brain that takes care of our logical reasoning – and go directly to the limbic endocrine system – the part that occupies itself with fear, memory and stress. The limbic system processes signals from the cortex, however, it can also process orders that come in through external sources such as suggestions given through hypnosis, according to Ron Eslinger.
He says furthermore: “Chronic pain is that pain that has lasted for over six months and by medical standards has no purpose. Phantom limb pain, fibromyalgia, headaches, and back pain can fall into this category. Because cells actually have their own consciousness and respond to messages sent to them by the Limbic system hormones (neuro-chemical transmitters), these cells can recreate their base line feelings of comfort which changes how we physically feel through thoughts and hypnotic suggestions. There is evidence (empirical data) suggesting these cells, when given directions by the Limbic system to decrease cortisol, respond favorably. Cortisol is the stress hormone when received in small amounts protects, however in large amounts over time it can cause arthritis and other chronic pain syndromes. The beauty of hypnosis is that it decreases cortisol levels.”
The fact that we feel pain with our head gives us the opportunity to do something about it using methods that are able to pass the normal consciousness to make use of the subconscious in order to pass the cortex and give acceptable suggestions to the limbic system using hypnosis. The most dramatic way in which we can do so is by operating without any chemical anesthesia, which is done now in several hospitals in the UK, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.