WSFA/NBC - As the nation struggles with a sweeping opioid epidemic, mental health experts say they have found a possible solution. It's a way to kick a painkiller habit before it even starts.
Cathy McNeilly says hypnosis helped block out her pain following her knee surgery.
"I just used it to do relaxation and visualize myself healing," said McNeilly.
She says her goal was to minimize her potential for using prescription opioids during her recovery. So a specialist helped her get started with hypnosis and a custom audio recording to use at home.
Mental health professionals say hypnotherapy may also help people living with chronic pain which impacts an estimated 100 million Americans.
"Sometimes it's a matter of adjusting to the pain or the sense of accepting it, but not being so bothered by it," Dr. Lisa Lombard, a licensed clinical psychologist said.
The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis says the treatments can be used for gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, and high blood pressure. Also, if you're struggling with an opioid addiction, experts say hypnotherapy could help pave the road to your recovery.
"I don't know that everybody gets the same results, but for me, it was absolutely wonderful and successful," said McNeilly.
Experts say hypnotherapy doesn't actually cause pain to leave your body. It simply allows the brain to adjust the sensation of pain.