Imagine feeling like your nerves are on fire, the pressure of simply sitting being too painful to bear. Then imagine living like this every day, for years; that’s what living with fibromyalgia can feel like. According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, 3 – 6% of people suffer from fibromyalgia, making it one of the most common chronic pain disorders in the world. It is estimated that around 800,000 people in the UK may suffer from it and 75-90% of people with the syndrome are women.
While the exact cause is not known it is thought that the condition can be triggered by stressful events, either physical or emotional such as illness, trauma or bereavement. There appears to be a genetic predisposition to the illness and certain environmental factors are known to be triggers. Fibromyalgia often coexists with other illnesses, especially autoimmune health conditions as these create prolonged levels of stress and inflammation in the body.
There’s no cure for fibromyalgia, however symptoms of the condition can be eased with treatment. According to the NHS, treatment often consists of a mixture of medication and lifestyle changes. Sleep disturbances are one of the more common complaints of fibromyalgia sufferers, recent research has shown that repeatedly disturbing healthy volunteers sleep lead to them developing symptoms of muscle and joint pains and aches similar to fibromyalgia.
The National Council for Hypnotherapy says hypnotherapy can be ‘highly effective in dealing with pain management’ including long term, chronic pain.
Further to this, it is becoming more widely recognised that the mind plays a role in the experience of pain. Learning skills to change habitual thought patterns around chronic pain can significantly reduce a person’s distress and improve their quality of life. Negative emotions can amplify the experience of pain, and a positive outlook can ease it.
Self hypnosis can help. Hypnosis techniques can be taught to clients by an NCH therapist to help them manage chronic pain. Patients suffering from a range of conditions including fibromyalgia, back disorders and pain from trauma such as car accidents or workplace injuries can learn to control their pain through practicing self-hypnosis.
When seeing a therapist for chronic pain, it is essential that the pain is checked out by a GP first for a formal diagnosis. After you’ve had an assessment contact a hypnotherapist near you by using the NCH directory.