You are getting very sleepy - but I'm NOT!

I have spent the last four days with a fever hovering in the 102 to nearly 104-degree range. I found out today that the fever is due to a severe infection in my leg. After so many days with such a high fever, I have developed severe headaches unlike any I have ever experienced. I like to think of myself as a pretty stoic guy, but these headaches have reduced me to a whimpering sack of protoplasm. Nothing can so much as touch them–not any of the three over-the-counter pain relievers I have on hand, not even the Vicodin my doctor prescribed for me (which had absolutely ZERO effect). I’m at my wit’s end.

I decided to see if I could find out something about self-hypnosis for pain control, but my searches on the web have been discouraging. I put it to you, my dear friends on the SDMB: Does anyone have some effective self-hypnosis techniques to share?

Live a Lush Life
Da Chef

Well I’ve noticed that much of Jenna Jamesons’ films put me into a trance-like state for extended periods of time.

These are my personal recommendations in dealing with pain (I also find that drugs can be ineffective):

Orgasms will help you, since the process releases endorphins in your system and generally makes you feel great, so ask Omniscient for those Jenna Jameson movies or call a special someone over.

Laugh. It appears to have a beneficial effect on the body. Watch something funny, or read a funny book (the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or Three Men in a Boat crack me up every time)

A good massage often takes my mind off whatever pain I may have.

Avoid alcohol.

Drink lots of water and lay off the salt. Throw in plenty of juices too, but make sure they are as wholesome as possible (freshly squeezed, no added sugar or preservatives)

Be exposed to regular sunlight (wear sunglasses). Nothing worsens my pain like being cooped up indoors all day long, especially if I am away from natural light.

A nice walk and fresh air do wonders. Also a nice calming view like a park. I remember reading about some studies in pain control that claimed that patients in rooms with open windows facing on to a nice garden required far less pain medication than patients who were in windowless rooms or in rooms looking over concrete.

And finally, smoke a good solid joint to get you high. This will facilitate laughing and make you feel just great. Fill your day with thee activities and you can’t go wrong in your fight against the pain.

Self-hypnosis is a neat trick if you can do it. There are bunches of different methods, but they all have some things in common:

  1. Find a quiet place. Turn off the TV and the radio. If you have roommates or kids, send them off to see a movie or something.

  2. Get comfortable. Put on pajamas or loose-fitting clothes. Find a good comfy seat, like a couch or an armchair. (Lying in bed is good too, if your head will permit it.)

  3. Try to relax. Take a deep breath, and let it out slowly. If you’re clenching your teeth or squinting your eyes, stop doing so.

(This post to be continued momentarily)

Once you’ve done the above, actually placing yourself in a trance isn’t too difficult; it’s mostly a matter of learning to relax really well. The following is what I do when I have a migraine.

Close your eyes. Sit comfortably, and let yourself breathe normally.

Become aware of the muscles in your hands. Consciously relax them as much as possible. Unclench your fists, and let your fingers curve naturally.

Relax your wrists; let your hands hang loose. Relax your biceps, and rest your forearms at your sides.

Unknot the tense muscles in your shoulders. Lean your head backward against the seat, and rest your neck.

Notice all the tiny muscles around your eyes, and relax them. Unclench your teeth and let your jaw hang open slightly.

Continue doing this same thing down the rest of your body, relaxing every muscle, until they all are as relaxed as possible, from the top of your head all the way to your toes.

Now, in your mind’s eye, imagine the numeral 10. Hold that image for five or ten seconds, then let it slowly fade out into the number 9.

Count slowly down until the number 1 fades out. When it’s gone, don’t replace it with anything; just let that space in your mind remain empty, and sit relaxed for a while.

I don’t claim to be an expert, but I did have some experiences with a hypnotist/MD who taught me self-hypnosis. It was a skill that one learns to master. You may need guidance the first several times, until you learn how. You probably will NOT be able to self-hypnotize yourself if you’ve not done it before and you’re in pain; you’ll be too distracted the first time. That’s my guess.

My sessions involved emptying my mind (hah!) and concentrating on a single object or point in the room, to the exclusion of all else… and using self-relaxation techniques, as well.

Infection in leg and high fever and mounting headache pain? You said you had a headache prescription from a doc that was ineffective – does the doctor know all the other symptoms? did you call him/her to tell him the vicodin wasn’t effective? Try that first, eh?

Okay, here’s the update (and thank you all so much for your input):

Omniscient: I think the Jenna Jameson tactic might be effective through drawing blood away from my head, but my in-laws are here for a visit and the VCR’s in the living room, so…

Abe: Your ideas sound good in general, but some wouldn’t work on me (the joint for example–never had any effect on me) and some are out because of my infected leg – I’m required to keep it elevated as much as possible. I am abstaining from alcohol and drinking gallons of water, and I will try the massage if I can get my wife to do it.

AuraSeer: Thanks for the helpful tips! I was all the way down to “two” and my wife leaned over the couch and loudly asked me if she could get me anything. Sigh. I’ll try it tonight in the tub.

CDext: Yes, my doctor is aware of my other symptoms. The pain pills he gave me as of yesterday; I called his office today to say they weren’t working and he called in a stronger prescription. Now I just need to get one of these angels of mercy to drive out and pick them up.

Live a Lush Life
Da Chef

The worst pain in my life was a ‘bowel spasm’. I managed to get to hospital once the pain first stopped and was on a trolley waiting for a doctor (we have an overstretched National Health Service) when the second attack came.
It appears that banging a trolley continually against a wall (I wasn’t doing it deliberately - I was just threshing about in agony) will bring medical attention quickly!
I don’t remember much else about the day, but apparently this condition usually clears up quickly - no repetition since, thank goodness.

I just had deja vu, and I’m sure it’s happened before…