Chronic Pain and Cognitive Hypnotherapy

Chronic pain is continuous, long-term pain of more than 12 weeks, or after the time that healing would have been thought to have occurred in pain after trauma or surgery. There are almost 10 million people in the UK who suffer with chronic pain. With numbers like that it is more than likely that you know someone who suffers.

As chronic pain affects so many people, there have been a lot of research and interest into why some people who have similar injuries, why do some end up with chronic pain while others recover and are pain free?

The first longitudinal brain imaging study to track participants with a new back injury has found the chronic pain is linked to parts of the brain associated with emotional and motivational behaviours. This new Northwestern Medicine study shows for the first time that chronic pain develops the more the two sections of the brain talk to each other. The more they communicate, the greater the chance a patient will develop chronic pain. Researchers were able to predict, with 85% accuracy at the beginning of the study, which participants would go on to develop chronic pain based on the level of interaction between the frontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens.”The injury by itself is not enough to explain the ongoing pain. It has to do with the injury combined with the state of the brain. This finding is the culmination of 10 years of our research.”


Cognitive Hypnotherapists are practised at helping people with their chronic pain, and the latest research is backing up why this is possible. Through Cognitive Hypnotherapy clients can explore the possibilities of altering the psychological components of the pain. Learn valuable relaxation techniques and guided visualisation which in turn change the associated areas of the brain, and challenge other life related factors that may be contributing. Chronic conditions, however, may require a comprehensive plan that targets various aspects besides the pain experience. The patient may need help increasing behaviors that foster well-being and functional activity (e.g., exercise, good diet) challenging faulty thinking patterns (e.g., “I cannot do anything about my pain”), restoring range of motion and appropriate body mechanics,


Chronic pain conditions for which hypnosis has been used successfully include, among others, headache, backache, fibromyalgia, carcinoma-related pain, temporal mandibular disorder pain, and mixed chronic pain. Hypnosis can alleviate the sensory and/or affective components of a pain experience, decrease stress and anxiety, improve sleep and help improve coping skills.