Pain education – educating patients or making sense of pain together?

In my last post I shared some thoughts on pain education and the phrase ‘pain is an output of the brain‘. I compared pain as output to pain as a lived, conscious, complex experience that people feel. From my perspective, describing pain as an output robs the experience of pain’s harsh, all-encompassing, life-changing reality. We are not machines producing outputs.

Pain – output of the brain or lived conscious experience?

This is something I have been thinking about for quite sometime and recent conversations pushed me to finish this post. I’m not a fan of saying pain is an output of the brain, and I’ll lay out why (please hear me out). I do anticipate some pushback, based on previous chats. Because of that, I want to make it clear

Where I’m coming from when I talk about pain..

So where the heck am I coming from? Part of why I write this blog is to bridge the gap between the science of pain and the experience of pain and between clinicians’ and patients’ understanding of pain. I’m at an interesting intersection in the pain world. I have lived with pain, so view pain science through that lens. I try


Nature photography as chronic pain strategy/therapy

My buddy shared a video on nature photography yesterday and said it reminded him of me and Buster and my picture taking. I loved the post and the video as this has been my experience, too. It’s a video about techniques but it’ll start halfway through where the photographer talks about his story and why he shoots woodland photos and

Stress, allostatic load, homeostasis, attention and pain

On a 4-mile run the other the day I ran my fastest first 2 miles in over 7 1/2 years. My fastest first mile, too. And I did it on asphalt and concrete in heavy sneakers I didn’t buy with the intention of running in. Factors that would have made me avoid running in the first place just 6 months

Psychological: Let’s talk about the P in BioPsychoSocial

Psychological. What do you think when you see that term? Be honest with yourself, what’s going through your head right now? When you think about the word psychological or the phrase ‘psychological factors’, what comes to mind? I ask because I have seen misconceptions abound when it comes to the P word. Misconceptions about the term ‘psychological’ I have seen


Tell me your story: the power of dialogue

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the last few weeks. Thinking about it ever since Peter O’Sullivan asked me to tell him my story when I was a patient demo during his Cognitive Functional Therapy workshop at the San Diego Pain Summit. And every time I think about it, I get teary. It touches something deep within me

Relax! Running, pain and my CFT experience

In the last week I’ve gone on 2 runs. This is a big deal for me! I love running. Running has been one of the things I’ve missed most these last 7 years. I’ve given it a go a few times, and was quite successful last summer (read about it here!), but I started experiencing new pain in my left hip

Posture and movement habits – my CFT experience

I’ve had a bit of a revelation. I actually started this post a year ago but after my recent experience as a patient demo for Peter O’Sullivan at the San Diego Pain Summit, I started to actually understand it all a bit better and see postural and movement habits a bit differently. This will be one in a series where I try to


Cognitive Functional Therapy with Peter O’Sullivan

I recently attended the third annual San Diego Pain Summit (I’ve been to all three!) and was fortunate to be the patient demo for Peter O’Sullivan‘s Cognitive Functional Therapy workshop. (for a review of the whole workshop, check out Diane Jacob’s post.) Funny thing was, heading into it I thought I was going to be the wrong kind of patient

Trying to get better while having to prove we’re in pain

How do we get better if we have to constantly prove we’re in pain? And does that constant need to prove we’re in pain prevent us from getting better? In recent posts I wrote about the shame I felt after developing chronic pain and how I’ve been working through that shame. They were the hardest posts I’ve ever written, my most vulnerable by far. But

Unashamed and unafraid: living well with pain

My last post, on shame, resentment, hurt and pain, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever written. It was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever published on this blog. It’s scary to let our truths out, to expose our cracks to the world. But it’s also been my most resonant post, by far, based on the reactions and the


DermoNeuroModulating course review

I attended Rey Allen’s course on DermoNeuroModulating (DNM) in Boulder, Colorado last month and have been processing all that I learned and experienced there, with much more processing to do. But while it’s still fresh I want to share some of my initial thoughts and impressions. I’ll start with that I highly recommend the course. It was thought-provoking, engaging, interactive,

Shame, resentment, hurt, and pain

At my first ever Writer’s Camp this summer we were given a writing prompt about shame. Shame is a tough thing to write about, it’s something I’ve wanted to write about for quite a while but I’ve been ashamed to. It’s hard to be that vulnerable, that bare. It’s hard to let the world see into those deep dark places.

Goals. Whose goals are they, ours or theirs?

I went for a walk today and took pictures, a favorite pastime of mine and one I’m very grateful for. As I was perched on two rocks, squatting to gain a better perspective for a photo, I started thinking about a few things, namely goals and motivation.  For a long time I couldn’t squat, at least not with any comfort.