This surprisingly funny video about how pain works tells you everything you need to know about pain except what to do about it, which I’ll get into when you’re done looking at it.
If pain is largely a matter of interpretation by our brains, then one of the most helpful ways of dealing with it is reinterpretation.
Hypnosis has been used for pain control for more than 150 years. One of the classic techniques is very similar to an experiment described in the video. In the experiment, you have the subject wear a “pain helmet” that doesn’t actually do anything, and allow him to watch as you turn up a “pain knob” that doesn’t do anything either. And as you turn up the knob, the subject’s pain increases. It really does. Even though the knob isn’t connected to anything at all.
Okay, that’s a pretty good prank, if you’re into that kind of thing, but, to me, the kicker is this: As you turn the knob back towards zero, the pain decreases.
In hypnosis, I often have clients imagine their pain knob and tell me what it’s set to at the moment. For example, someone who comes in for pain control will often report pain level of six. I’ll ask them to turn it down to a five. This works easily for some people and takes a while for others. (Interestingly, asking people to turn the pain up always works right away.) Once we’ve got movement in any direction, we’re now free to get movement in the desired direction.
That’s about the simplest intervention there is for pain. There are many others, which I may describe in future blog posts.
Tired of hurting? You may want to see a hypnotist. It’s a proven technology that plays nice with modern medicine and the other methods you may be using.