A recent article in Medical Xpress states that researchers from University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney and Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, Brazil and the University of Washington, US have identified a new drug-free treatment which combines hypnosis with pain management education to reduce the intensity of chronic low back pain.

woman sitting on top of mountain with hands outstretched in air

Around 4 million Australians experience low back pain, and around 40% of this pain will become chronic.

Currently, no ideal treatment for chronic pain has been identified despite the availability of pain medications and other pain therapies, said Associate Professor James McAuley from NeuRA and UNSW Sydney.

Associate Professor McAuley said that most of the available therapies have significant side effects, or risks of serious adverse events. Hypnosis is a safe drug-free method which has been shown can help reduce pain intensity, disability, and catastrophising of pain by those receiving the combined treatment. It helps the brain to calm the noise of pain, providing a much needed respite for the patient.

The study, published in the Journal of Pain, shows the addition of hypnosis enhances the treatment effects of pain education in the short and medium term. This method of treatment, where patients are taught to manage their back pain,  has a relatively low cost. This is the first trial showing that adding hypnosis to pain education results in improved outcomes over pain education alone in patients with chronic non-specific low back pain.

The use of hypnosis in pain management is also recommended in an earlier article by Meredith Craigie, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Pain Medicine, Flinders University. This article states that non-pain management approaches, including hypnotherapy and mindfulness meditation, are a safe initial treatment. It also recommends lifestyle changes such as stretching, walking and pacing activity, diet and nutrition changes, improving sleep hygiene and addressing relationship problems as first line treatments.

If you would like some help in resolving chronic pain, contact me at Sunset Coast Hypnotherapy on 0403 932311, or email sunsetcoasthyp@gmail.com for a free no-obligation phone consultation.

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