Dani Dudek had fingers so sore, it was difficult to open a car door, and pain in her elbow so intense, straightening her arm made her feel like she had broken something -- at age 22. In 2009, senior point guard Dudek was one of the most prolific women's basketball players in NCAA history, only the second woman to top 1,000 points, 800 rebounds and 600 assists. She has learned to handle the pain through using self-hypnosis.
Dudek developed arthritis in fifth grade, and for the next four years, she took antibiotics for the infection in her bloodstream. But there was no prescription for the intense pain. During her freshman year in high school, Dudek found relief in a self-hypnosis technique taught to her by a pediatric psychologist at the Hackensack University Medical Center. As he explained to Dudek, her light switch for pain was constantly on. By hypnotizing herself, she could turn that switch off.
It is encouraging to note that numerous studies have documented that hypnosis is effective in reducing the pain associated with arthritis and chronic inflammatory disease. But beyond symptom relief, and even more encouraging, is the finding that hypnosis impacts at the disease level, reducing swelling and stiffness.
One large study also found that depression is often connected with arthritis and the concomitant loss of physical ability. This study finds that the depression is significantly reduced for those who utilize hypnotherapy for depression and to deal with the pain and other symptoms of arthritis. Chronic pain contributes to clinical depression, and using hypnotherapy for chronic pain management helps to alleviate the depression.
It is best for hypnosis to first be taught by a certified, professional hypnotherapist before recommending that someone try self-hypnosis on their own. Professionals are trained and skilled at providing the proper wording for the most positive results. Positive suggestions, appropriate visualizations and key wording is required in order to reduce pain and inflammation. In addition, we use mind body techniques that will help the arthritis sufferer discover any emotions that may be connected with the arthritis in order to relieve the symptoms of depression, frustration and the feelings of powerlessness over their body.
 Horton-Hausknecht, Jillian R.; Mitzdorf, Ulla; Melchart, Dieter. (Jan 2000). The Effect of Hypnosis Therapy on the Symptoms and Disease Activity in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Psychology & Health, 14(6), 1089-1104.