Fibromyalgia amplifies the body’s sensations to feel pain by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.
A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health in the USA showed that Fibromyalgia sufferers undergoing Hypnotherapy reported 80% fewer pain symptoms than those who received no Hypnotherapy treatment, and also reported decreased muscle pain and morning fatigue and fewer sleep difficulties, which really helps.
First signs of fibromyalgia syndrome or FMS:
- Pain and tender points.
- Sleep problems.
- Concentration and memory problems, known as “fibro fog”
- Anxiety or depression.
- Morning stiffness.
- Numbness, and tingling in hands, arms, feet, and legs.
Medical researchers and doctors don’t know what causes fibromyalgia. However, thanks to decades of research, they’re close to understanding factors that may work together to cause it.
These factors include:
Infections: Prior illnesses may trigger fibromyalgia or make symptoms of the condition worse.
Genetics: Fibromyalgia often runs in families. If you have a family member with this condition, your risk for developing it is higher. Researchers think certain genetic mutations may play a role in this condition. Those genes haven’t yet been identified.
Trauma: People who experience physical or emotional trauma may develop fibromyalgia. The condition has been linked with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Stress: Like trauma, stress can create long-reaching effects your body deals with for months and years. Stress has been linked to hormonal disturbances that could contribute to fibromyalgia.
Doctors also don’t fully understand the factors that cause people to experience the chronic widespread pain associated with the condition. Some theories suggest it may be that the brain lowers the pain threshold. What once wasn’t painful becomes very painful over time.
Another theory suggests that the nerves and receptors in the body become more sensitive to stimulation. That means they may overreact to pain signals and cause unnecessary or exaggerated pain.
Hypnotherapy Can Help with Fibromyalgia Pain Management
People who have Fibromyalgia, or know someone who does, may be aware that Fibromyalgia Awareness Day is coming up on 12 May each year, but many of us won’t even be aware of this debilitating condition, let alone know how to effectively manage the symptoms.
So what is Fibromyalgia?
The word itself is derived from pain (algia) coming from the muscles (my) and fibrous tissues (fibro) such as tendons and ligaments, but most people with Fibromyalgia also have other symptoms in addition to the pain, therefore, Fibromyalgia is sometimes called Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). It is a chronic (persistent) condition. It does not affect the joints because it is not an arthritis.
Michele says: “Fibromyalgia affects a surprisingly high number of people – about 1 in 50 of us develop Fibromyalgia at some stage, and it is seven times more common in women than in men. In most cases, it first develops between the ages of 25 and 65. There are many symptoms, but the main ones are pains felt in many areas of the body, and tiredness, but some people also develop other symptoms as well. The severity of symptoms varies from person to person and pain can occur in any area of the body.”
Many areas of the body are typically affected, with some people feeling the pain all over. The most painful areas are usually the neck and back, and the severity of the pain can vary from day to day. Things like stress, cold or activity can make the pains worse. After a night’s sleep people may also feel quite stiff for a few hours and some areas of the body may also be quite tender. Tiredness (fatigue) is common, and is sometimes severe; for some people it is more distressing than the pain itself. It is also common to have a poor sleep pattern, with some people waking up feeling exhausted. Many people feel worse first thing in the morning, but improve by the afternoon. Even a small amount of activity may cause the sufferer to feel very tired which may lead to poor concentration.
She explains, “Because of the kinds of symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia, Hypnotherapy can be really very helpful in dealing with the effects of it – but many people aren’t aware of this. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a modern, research-based combination of Psychotherapy and Hypnosis, aimed at encouraging clients to focus on how they want things to be.
Many Fibromyalgia sufferers attribute reduction in their symptoms to receiving Hypnotherapy, which can help to alleviate or limit their pain symptoms and increase their energy and comfort level. A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health in the USA showed that Fibromyalgia sufferers undergoing Hypnotherapy reported 80% fewer pain symptoms than those who received no Hypnotherapy treatment, and also reported decreased muscle pain and morning fatigue and fewer sleep difficulties, which really helps them on a day to day basis.
That’s great isn’t it? It means that there is more help available than purely relying on painkillers or just ‘putting up with it’. We do get some great results and it’s certainly something to consider when deciding on treatment and support options.”
With hypnosis, you concentrate deeply on a single thought. The therapist may also use role-play, imagination, motivation, and the power of suggestion in this therapy to enhance the session. Hypnosis requires that you truly desire to change a type of behavior. In fact, success might be greater in those who are more convinced that they can change behavior. If you consider hypnosis, it’s important to note that the success of your outcome depends greatly on the practitioner’s experience and expertise, as well as your willingness to change.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder affecting over 5 million Americans, with 80-90% of those affected being women. Symptoms include widespread muscle pain, tenderness, painful trigger points, problems sleeping, fatigue, and depression. This article presents the scientific evidence that hypnosis is effective in providing relief from the symptoms of fibromyalgia. As this fact has become well established, the focus of research has shifted to the role of the brain, the comparison of hypnotic methods, and the effects of hypnosis when combined with other interventions. From the controlled studies on hypnosis and fibromyalgia, the hypnotist and hypnotherapist can draw conclusions concerning the best hypnotic approach and the likely results when using hypnosis for fibromyalgia.
Studies are conclusive
In the 1990s there were a number of studies on fibromyalgia and mind-based interventions, such as hypnosis, mindfulness meditation, and stress reduction exercises. Generally, results have shown that psychological treatment is more effective than the conventional pharmacological approach, especially when hypnosis is added. Hypnosis has proven so effective that German and Israeli guidelines for the treatment of fibromyalgia now include hypnosis.
Treatment protocols in these studies are based on experimental design, rather than evaluations of the individual patients. Nevertheless, it may be helpful to know the length of treatment used. In the largest meta-analysis, patients had a median of nine hypnosis sessions. In one study fibromyalgia patients saw a significant decrease in physical and mental discomfort with 12 weeks of hypnotherapy and a follow up at 24 weeks. In another, the patients experienced better overall change and significant improvement of sleep with five sessions over two months, and were also encouraged to practice self-hypnosis.
Which symptoms are affected most?
Hypnosis does reduce strong feelings of physical and psychic pain from fibromyalgia. Using hypnosis, fibromyalgia patients have also experienced significant improvements of sleep and less fatigue on awakening. There is less evidence that hypnosis reduces the general fatigue and depression that can accompany fibromyalgia. In one study hypnosis reduced pain but did not significantly improve the patient’s perceived quality of life as it relates to health. This may suggest that the hypnotist should focus specifically on the reduction of pain, better sleep, and less fatigue on awakening, instead of the patient’s perception of quality of life, general fatigue, or depression.