Fibromyalgia. It won’t hurt to take a look.

Let’s face it. It’s about time I wrote specifically about Fibromyalgia.

Its been hovering around the edges of my posts for some time and there are quite a few people following this blog who suffer.

According to NHS Choices in UK;

Fibromyalgia, also called fibromyalgia syndrome, is a long-term condition which causes pain all over the body. Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain and extreme tiredness.

Depending on who you talk to and which research you read, the debate is wide open about whether Fibromyalgia is a condition which causes pain or whether it is a syndrome which describes the pain but the cause is unknown. There is apparently no definitively accepted test for it. It is often a diagnosis of last resort when all others have been eliminated.

Needless to say being diagnosed with this condition can be pretty traumatic. Because Fibro is defined as a long term chronic pain condition affecting the whole body the diagnosis can feel like a life sentence. With no remission or time off for good behaviour. Not even the itself pain is consistent. As a neuropathic condition, the sensations can turn up as anything from uncomfortable tingles to serious aches, cramping muscles, burning or stabbing pains; You know, pretty much anything that’s unpleasant.

From a hypnotherapy point of view, Fibromyalgia is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Because of the way Fibromyalgia is defined, by accepting the diagnosis, you also implicitly have to accept that the pain will not go away. So in essence, if you have Fibromyalgia, then you expect it to last for a long time, that it will be painful, that it will affect the whole body and that nobody knows what it is or how to fix it. You are also tacitly accepting that the medical and pharmaceutical profession/industry have nothing which can relieve it. If they did, then you wouldn’t be told you’re going to face long term pain, you’d be given the treatment to cure it.

In asking you to accept a Fibromyalgia diagnosis, the medical community are asking you to accept their unpleasant truth. It won’t get better, it won’t go away and nothing can cure it. That’s a big ask.

So, if you do have Fibromyalgia, what can you do about it? This is where Cognitive Hypnotherapy can step up to the mark.

If pain is an alarm (which it is) and that alarm can misfire (which it can) then being put in a position where you expect continuing pain, the alarm cannot reset itself because there is nothing to reset it to. All pain you feel is expected, and all you expect to feel is pain. It is an exceptionally vicious circle.

For my part, I seek to re-open that door between the mind and body. A door which in many philosophies doesn’t even exist. It is a western invention. It is perhaps time to re-engage the connections. At least allow for the possibility that the mind has substantial influence over the body and vice versa.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy carries with it some amazingly powerful techniques.

Hypnotherapy can be and is used as anaesthesia, removing acute pain completely or reducing it to easily tolerated levels. Patients have been operated on with only hypnosis as the anaesthetic. click here for just one example…

Anaesthetic hypnosis is sometimes used for chronic pain but in my opinion is not ideal. As pain is an absolutely vital protection alarm, it is essential it isn’t switched off except in controlled circumstances when that safety function is taken on by someone else (the surgical team, for example).

Treating conditions like Fibromyalgia with hypnotherapy requires more subtlety and takes a little longer. In essence the techniques, gradually educate your unconscious mind, (that part of ‘you’ which drives almost 90% of what you do), to recognise that you are increasingly safe. In turn this leads to less and less need to be warned of potential damage (the function of pain) which in turn leads to less and less pain.

Often these techniques have beneficial side-effects. For example, many users of my hypnotherapy mp3 report that they also get immediate pain relief or that the recording is extremely relaxing even though this is not what is primarily going on.

So as a final point, I would encourage anyone who is diagnosed with a long term pain condition: by all means, accept the diagnosis but you don’t have to accept the prognosis as well. The condition you experience can progress differently for you than it does for others. Your doctor’s expectations might be wrong. Search out and find your own path.

And if you’d like me to join you for part of your journey, you only have to ask.

Related:

Hypnosurgery Live : Live TV broadcast in the UK (YouTube video)

Tony Burkinshaw Cognitive Hypnotherapy website: tonyburkinshaw.co.uk

To purchase a Pain Management mp3 click here

fibromyalgia, hypnosis mp3, pain relief

It looks cluttered, but it’s very restful
© Tony Burkinshaw 2103

Chronic Pain: What a relief?

It still surprises me just how powerfully Cognitive Hypnotherapy can affect the physical symptoms the human body suffers. It is genuinely remarkable.

This of course flies us straight into the face of one of pain’s key conundrums and, as it turns out, one of the keys which allows Cognitive Hypnotherapy to address otherwise intractable symptoms which consistently defy pharmaceutical intervention.

A fundamental driver of evolutionary development is to staying alive to propagate genes and a key components of achieving this is a means of identifying and responding to threats. It is extremely effective and adaptive. We know this because we are (possibly) the dominant species on this planet.

Herein lies the route of our painful downfall.

Pain is one of these absolutely vital alarms which keep us safe. When something is damaging your body, it is imperative that you respond. Right now. Without thought or debate. It is designed to grab your attention and demand, absolutely demand, that you act. In this way, by prioritising damage as the highest of the immediacy alarms, you are forced to deal with something which could either kill you or injure you to the point when your continued survival is compromised. Pain even triggers physical responses to help us heal. Redness, swelling, rashes, increased sensitivity, stiffness, reduced range of movement can all be triggered by pain in order to assist with healing.

Quite simply, our bodies don’t want us or our children to die and will scream at you until you act.

But…

what if responding to the damage could in itself compromise your chance of survival or of propagating your genes in that imperative manner geneticists like to refer to? What if responding to being in pain lets down other defence mechanisms like fight or flight or prevents you from saving your offspring?

Well, as it turns out, the pain alarm is extremely sophisticated. Not only does your brain assess the information from your body (nerve input about pressure, temperature, chemical effects, danger to tissues) but it assesses this against all manner of other inputs it is receiving about your overall situation. It does what it does best, lightening fast projection of what could happen and how to respond in multiple scenarios, so quickly that we quite simply aren’t aware of it. We do it all the time.

The more dangerous the situation your brain believes you to be in, the more sensitively it sets its alarms. You are more likely to jump at a sudden noise or movement when you’re scared than when you’re calm and happy. You’re more likely to feel pain when you expect to sustain tissue damage.

There is an exact opposite to this, though. If your situation is so dangerous that dealing with pain would be yet more dangerous, then the pain alarm does not fire. There are many stories of people who have saved themselves or loved ones from danger even though they have been injured already. The pain didn’t arrive until later. When there was time to hurt.

These are the pre-cursors of chronic pain. 

After tissue damage, the body repairs itself to whatever level it can and the pain alarm returns to its normal sensitivity. Sometimes however, the brain has become so used to firing the pain alarm that it mistakes it’s own sensitivity as further tissue damage. Sometimes it treats its own increased sensitivity as continued indication that your environment is more dangerous than it really is. It enters a spiral of pain sensitivity that it doesn’t recognise and doesn’t try to find a way out of it because it believes you are in too much danger.

In a very real way, your brain has begun to jump at its own shadow.

Modern living causes another twist in the tail. The bulk of the threats we face are social rather than physical. But as a social being we perceive socially threatening situations as dangerous. So if we feel socially vulnerable (anxiety, stress, tiredness, depression), we automatically increase our perceived threat levels. If we are unhappy about where we live, the job we have, the threat of redundancy, worry about money, arguments with our partner, concern about our children, worry about our health, all of these are assessed as indicators that our environment is dangerous.

Given that prolonged pain can lead to anxiety, stress and depression, chronic pain can extend its spiral because eventually the perceived threat is sustained by chronic pain itself.

This is where Cognitive Hypnotherapy becomes extremely effective.

It uses a variety of powerful techniques which are designed to help you perceive increased levels of safety and control within your own environment. These are superbly effective at reducing anxiety, stress and depression; dealing with phobias; social fears such as public speaking and so on. It is these very tools which allow Cognitive Hypnotherapy to have such dramatic effect on chronic pain conditions.

Given that perception of pain is based on the level of tissue damage and the assessed level of immediate threat in your environment, then the most predominant trigger for chronic pain is the perception of threat alone. After all, one of the key definitions of chronic pain is ‘pain which is continuing for more than 12 weeks or after the time at which healing would have been thought to have occurred’. In essence, if the pain you have is ‘chronic’ then, by definition, your tissues are no longer sustaining damage.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy prompts your unconscious mind to recognise the reality of the level of safety you have, both externally and internally, physically and psychologically, then the assessed environmental threat level is reduced and the pain alarm is fired less and less. As the pain alarm is fired less and less, the brain allows the nerve receptors themselves to gently return to their normal sensitivity.

With careful work, your unconscious perception of threat is reduced and perception of safety and control is increased. This sets up a virtuous circle of feedback. Gradually and gently the frequency of pain reduces until it becomes something that used to happen.

Chronic pain can become a thing of the past.

Using Cognitive Hypnotherapy, both face to face, over Skype and through carefully designed mp3 recordings, many clients have been helped out of the spiral of their chronic pain.

Why not join them?

You’ve only got one thing to lose. Your pain.

Related:

http://tonyburkinshaw.co.uk/shop : Chronic Pain Hypnotherapy mp3

http://www.britishpainsociety.org/ : further information about chronic pain

Chronic Pain, Hypnotherapy mp3

The Outlook is Sunny
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013