Woman taking pain killer - Pain Management Hypnosis

Hypnotic Interventions in Pain Management

It is not uncommon for patients attending for dental procedures to be concerned about pain. This can be in terms of both during a procedure and for acute pain/discomfort that may follow for a longer duration. The problem is not with the proceedures themselves, but the anticipation that the patients build. As a result of anticipating high levels of pain, they perceive high levels of pain.

Hypnosis can safely and effectively help patients in dealing with pain. There are a range of methods available and the selection of which will vary based on the patient’s personal preferences and their level of susceptibility. Patients with a lower susceptibility will still be able to benefit with the right method.

Possible interventions include the following:

RELAXATION – Anxiety can exacerbate pain due to increased activity in the sympathetic nervous system. Helping patients to relax and teaching them self-hypnosis techniques that they can administer themselves, not only helps them to feel more comfortable but empowers them during any work that needs doing.

DISTRACTION – The human mind can only consciously focus on between 5 and 9 things at any one time. Teaching patient’s distraction techniques such as the installation of an imaginary safe place can take the patients attention away from the body and therefore the pain. This is often the case when you are engaged in a task and realise you are bleeding. The skin was cut but due to the focus being elsewhere, the pain was not felt

TIME DISTORTION – A minute can feel like an hour and an hour can feel like a minute depending on where your focus is at the time. Distorting a patient’s perception of time during a dental procedure can make a longer procedure pass much more quickly and therefore minimise the discomfort felt

ANAESTHESIA – Creating an anaesthetic effect within the patient’s mind can allow them to benefit from the lack of sensations that an anaesthetic brings but without needing to have one administered (although it is often best to use hypnotic anaesthesia as a way of topping up an anaesthetic). Suggestions of numbness and insensitivity in the given area are used

DISSOCIATION – Highly susceptible patients will be able to dissociate themselves from their body to the point of not feeling any pain or discomfort at all

REINTERPRETATION – As some patients may feel the need to stay focused on the pain, the perception of pain can be moved to another part of the body, one with a higher tolerance to discomfort


If you have a patient that is struggling or may benefit from pain management hypnotherapy, or wish to discuss how hypnosis can be integrated into your practice then contact Ed on 07921 220557, email at erogers@wiserhorizons.co.uk or fill in our contact form.