If analgesic drugs are effective, they have side effects. How to take less? Several techniques have proven themselves.
Hypnosis: to alleviate the pain signal
Antoine Bioy, psychologist, scientific director of the French Institute of Hypnosis: "Pain has two components: an objective perception and the negative emotions associated with it. These are the latter that make it difficult to bear. In the case of osteoarthritis, for example, patients are afraid of getting worse, not being able to move, etc. Hypnosis does not repair the body, but it modifies its experience by influencing the nervous message. The pain is still there, it just loses its invasive dimension and becomes livable again. When suffering from rheumatism, the alarm signal starts from the joint where the bone is bruised to go to the brain. It is transmitted to a specific area, the anterior cingulate gyrus. It is he who is responsible for decoding the information, to decide whether the situation is dangerous or not. Hypnosis acts at this level. It usually takes three or four sessions to score a profit. Patients must then perform exercises at home, which are as important as a medication prescription. After seven to ten sessions, the person manages to use self-hypnosis to relieve themselves. "
Music therapy: to stimulate the hormones of well-being
Stéphane Guétin, psychologist, music therapist and founder of music therapy software Music Care: "Many very serious studies have been done on this technique for fifteen years. The researchers discovered that music acts directly on several brain areas involved in pain, as well as at the level of the circuits of the "reward system", a network of neurons that activates when an element pleases us. Music therapy causes release of dopamine and endorphins, the hormones of well-being, as well as a reduction of stress hormones. It is known that anxiety greatly aggravates the pain, especially because of the muscular tension it generates. Music therapy also works at this level. One session lasts about forty-five minutes. Part of it is devoted to a preliminary interview and the assessment of listening, which usually lasts twenty minutes. It must be practiced by a professional, formed by a university degree. The specialist can suggest playing or listening to music. In the second case, he prepares a selection of songs adapted to the patient, frequently based on a progression in U: the first music is quite strong and rhythmic, then they slow down, and leave at the end to help the person to get back feet in the reality. "
Acupuncture: to reduce inflammation
Dr Jean-Marc Stéphan, Acupuncturist and President of the National Union of Acupuncture Physicians of France (SNMAF): "Acupuncture is an excellent alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs for seniors. There is today a lot of scientific work to attest to its effectiveness on pain, especially in cases of osteoarthritis or low back pain. In the latter case, it is interesting to note that the level of relief observed was higher for people treated with acupuncture than the one reported in allopathically treated patients. The benefits are increased when the practitioner uses electro-acupuncture. In this variant, the action of the needles is reinforced by a weak electric current. After the first session, it may happen that the pains are a little more present in the next ten to twelve hours. In some, on the contrary, it will disappear very quickly. But whatever the first reaction, almost everyone is relieved in the following week. We advise you to come back three or four times, gradually spacing the sessions. The rare cases where acupuncture is not effective concern very advanced osteoarthritis, especially knee, which require surgery. "
Meditation: to put the pain back in its place
Dr. François Bourgognon, psychiatrist psychotherapist *: "Mindfulness meditation was used to reduce stress, anxiety and chronic pain in the 1970s. Since then, it has been the subject of many scientific studies, especially for relieve chronic low back pain, sciatica or fibromyalgia. It objectively improves the level of pain, emotional distress and irritability. When one suffers from persistent pain, the field of consciousness shrinks and the suffering eventually invades the whole space. Meditating frees you from the struggle and puts the pain back in its place. We widen our gaze to take into account all the other sensations and thoughts. Paradoxically, accepting pain significantly reduces it. We can get back in motion, consume fewer drugs, find a social life. People who practice regularly report a real improvement in their quality of life. The process of meditation is to refocus attention on all the bodily feelings and thoughts that cross the mind, without stopping there. One can meditate very easily at home, but it is still advisable to be a little guided, especially at the beginning. "
* and author of Know to heal: meditation in 10 questions, ed. Mona edition.
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