Effects of a Hypnotic Induction and an Unpleasantness-Focused Analgesia Suggestion on Pain Catastrophizing to an Experimental Heat Stimulus: A Preliminary Study

Pain catastrophizing is associated with greater levels of pain. While many studies support the efficacy of hypnosis for pain, the effect on pain catastrophizing remains unclear. The present study evaluated the effect of hypnosis on pain catastrophizing using experimental heat stimulation. Twenty-two pain patients engaged in 3 conditions: baseline (no suggestion), hypnotic induction, and hypnotic induction plus analgesia suggestion. Participants with higher baseline pain showed a significant reduction in rumination following hypnotic induction plus analgesia suggestion and significant reductions in pain due to both the hypnotic induction alone and the hypnotic induction plus analgesia suggestion. The findings suggest that unpleasantness-focused hypnotic analgesia reduces pain via its effect on the rumination component of pain catastrophizing.