A visiting international rehabilitation expert has called for Hypnotic Therapy to be considered a ‘mainstream’ treatment option in the management of chronic pain, potentially benefiting thousands of Australian pain sufferers.
Presenting at the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, Annual Scientific Meeting in Brisbane today, Professor Mark Jensen, Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, urged Australian healthcare professionals to discuss the option with their patients.
“Pain management for patients, particularly those with long-term illness or injury requires a considered and holistic approach,” Professor Jensen said. “Imaging studies have shown that Hypnotic Therapy influences all of the cortical areas and neuro-physiological process that underline pain.
“Helping patients manage pain can have a significant psychological impact. What people do to manage pain and what they think about pain, and their social environment, can all influence pain and its negative impact on functioning.”
Findings that could have significant benefit for sufferers of chronic pain, their family members and caregivers, show that Hypnosis can reduce daily background pain intensity for many patients.
Moreover, recent well-documented clinical trials in people with disabilities have demonstrated that Hypnotic treatment for chronic pain has specific effects on pain intensity over and above effects based on placebo (expectancy) alone.
This is good news for the estimated one in five adult Australians (3.2 million) that suffer chronic pain, a number that is projected to increase as Australia’s population ages.
“Hypnosis still has a certain stigma to it,” Professor Jensen said. “However we are seeing this treatment option used to manage debilitating physical and psychological conditions including phobias and addiction.
“It may be that physicians are not recommending Hypnotic to their patients due to a lack of understanding of the process, or it may be that patients are wary of Hypnosis.
“Hypnotic treatment for chronic pain management has proven efficacy and should be explored as a viable option in the treatment plan.”
Further to the pain management results associated with Hypnotic Therapy, Hypnosis can influence a number of non-pain-related quality-of-life domains according to Professor Jensen.
“Based on various international studies, the side effects of Hypnosis have been shown to be overwhelmingly positive. Indirectly, any therapy that can assist with pain management can ease the burden on caregivers, and positively impact family relationships.”
Professor Jensen recommends that rehabilitation physicians train patients in the use of self-Hypnosis to achieve immediate pain relief and provide audio recordings of treatment sessions to enhance treatment effects.
The Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine (AFRM) of The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), Australia’s largest specialist medical college, is currently holding its Annual Scientific Meeting, this year with the theme ‘Striking AcCORD – succeeding through teamwork’.
The 2011 AFRM Annual Scientific Meeting is currently being held in Brisbane from 13 to 17 September, 2011.