Calming your anxiety and fear before
a medical or dental procedure
can reduce pain and help you heal faster
It’s perfectly natural to feel a bit anxious or fearful before your medical testing or procedure, and many of us do. Even a routine visit to the doctor or dentist can cause feelings of resistance or dread if you have had an unpleasant or painful prior experience.
Why? One reason is that your subconscious mind remembers the experience and associates pain and stress with that procedure and/or a medical or dental professional. Another reason may be that your fear is associated with an unexpected complication as a result of an earlier procedure.
Regardless of the reason, your memory and association have created a negative loop in which your subconscious mind creates a stress response that affects your body. This somatic (mind-body) response may include physical symptoms such as an elevated heart rate, headache, low energy, nausea, insomnia, chest pain, and emotional symptoms such as anxiety, depression, moodiness, and feelings of being overwhelmed.
Even though your conscious mind knows that a routine health test is nothing to be fearful of, your subconscious mind will react from an earlier stressful or painful memory and trigger a release of stress hormones causing your body to react with a multitude of unpleasant physical symptoms. We all know the feeling of 'butterflies' in our stomach, clenching our jaw, or the 'jitters'. If the responses are mild, they are usually manageable. But when the stakes are higher, your body's reaction can be overpowering.
The good news is that YOU CAN CHANGE THAT RESPONSE.
Some people have hidden stress and anxiety that appears as White Coat Syndrome. This is when a person has their blood pressure taken by a medical person (often in a white coat) and the results are higher than usual. This is a somatic response in which the body is responding to the emotional stress of the situation.
When it comes to an overwhelming diagnosis or a serious health issue that requires us to go through extensive testing, invasive procedures, or surgery, the heightened feelings of stress and anxiety may become unbearable.
Stress, anxiety and fear negatively affect your mood, sleep, appetite, and most importantly they affect your ability to cope with every aspect of your outcome and recovery after a surgical procedure.
Many clinical studies have shown that fear and stress before a surgical procedure has a significant negative impact on post-operative complications, recovery time, and wound healing.
Patients who experience high levels of pre-operative anxiety and fear are
4 times more likely to experience delayed healing, and are more likely to experience post-operative depression.
Immunology and Allergy Clinics of North America, 2011
Furthermore, fear or distress prior to surgery leads to poorer outcomes, longer hospital stays, more complications, and higher rates of hospital
re-admittance. Your state of mind both before and after surgery has a powerful influence on your body and the outcome.
The benefits of using simple and effective mind-body (somatic) therapies,
can help you reduce or eliminate your fears and anxieties both before
and after medical procedures, ensuring you the best chance for a positive outcome and a speedy recovery.
In 2001, a National Research Council Committee on Health and Behavior concluded that “health and disease are determined by dynamic interactions among biological, psychological, behavioral, and social factors".
There are many life areas to consider such as the financial cost and the emotional and physical impact associated with medical or dental surgical procedures:
time off work unpaid
the cost of prescription drugs
having to rely on family and friends to assist with daily chores
re-admission to hospital
lengthy hospital or home care stays
missing the things you enjoy doing every day
"Meta-analyses of clinical studies show that behavioral stress management interventions before surgery have been associated with improved post-operative outcomes, including fewer medical complications and shorter hospital stays".
"Attention to pre-operative stress and implementation of interventions to decrease stress symptoms could ameliorate the peri-operative process by reducing levels of postoperative pain, anxiety, social and attention problems in the recovery period".
Researchers studied the effects of personal life stress on healing and recovery of dental patients who needed day surgery with general anaesthesia for a dental extraction.
The findings revealed that patients with high life stressors had more post surgery pain, slower recovery time, and increased problems.
The study also demonstrated that post surgery stress correlated with higher pain.
To help you through this stressful time and emotionally prepare you for the best possible outcome
I offer one, three or five sessions. The somatic therapies I use are simple and effective. We focus on the causes of your stress, anxiety and fear in relation to past or present events, rapid healing, and future health.
3 x 75 minute sessions $255 (two before and one after)
5 x 75 minute sessions $400 (three before and two after)
It will be our goal to hear your doctor or dentist say “Wow! You came through that surgery with flying colours. And your positive attitude and lack of stress has helped you recover far more quickly than anticipated.”
Studies on the Benefits of Reducing Stress before and after Medical Procedures
ANXIETY & PAIN
Techniques taught to patients who were scheduled for breast cancer surgery decreased the intensity
of their acute post surgical
pain and need for post operative pain medication.
Medical studies reported in:
Patients who were taught guided imagery and relaxation before surgery had less anxiety before and after surgery as well as a shorter hospital stay, less need for pain medication and felt better about the whole experience.
Studies show how reducing stress before, during, and after a procedure encourages faster healing of wounds.
There is a wide array of acute and chronic psychological stressors that can disrupt the healing processes and wound repair. Therefore, successful healing is linked to the initial events of the procedure.
Stress influences healing and negative emotions such as anger can lead to delays in wound healing or increase susceptibility to wound infection and increase recovery time.
Fear or distress prior to surgery is associated with a slower and more complicated postoperative recovery. Reducing psychological stress can positively influence surgery and post-surgical outcomes.
SHORTER HOSPITAL STAY
Mind-body techniques that modify a patient's emotional and mental responses to illness and surgery have positive effects on their physiology resulting in improved recoveries, shorter hospital stay and higher patient satisfaction.
Depressed patients have a significantly higher rate of complications, therefore focused interventions benefit post-operative problems such as perceived control over life and depression, along with decreased pain.
Patients who receive stress management interventions reported increased emotional well-being, positive states of mind and mood, along with positive lifestyle change and confidence about being able to relax.