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

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


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

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.


Successful living: redefining living with chronic pain

I would like to make a plea. A plea to stop framing pain as the enemy, a thing to be battled, defeated, beat, eradicated. A thing not to be tolerated, to be vilified and stamped out. Perhaps our emphasis on pain as evil, pain as punishment, pain as suffering is only serving to make pain worse. Perhaps using warlike, military

Trail running: imperfect steps to getting back at it

I started this post about trail running just over a year ago. I thought I was on track to being back at it. I thought trail running was going to be a regular part of my life again. It wasn’t. I didn’t finish the post because that whole being a runner again thing didn’t quite materialize. I’d flare-up, I’d feel the

Why do I have pain? Searching for meaning beyond a diagnosis

The question of why people living with pain seek a reason for why they have pain recently came up in a Facebook group I’m in. It’s a good question, one I used to struggle with myself. Not the why of what’s causing my pain (that’s really more ‘how’ question, isn’t it?) but rather why do I have pain at all? The why


Connection, disconnection, and chronic pain

Many of my recent conversations, with both practitioners and patients, have come around to the idea and importance of connection. Connection with others, connection with the world, connection with ourselves. So it’s perhaps unsurprising that there have also been a glut articles of late about the importance of social connections in everything from all-cause mortality to addiction to physiotherapy. But

Managing thoughts and behaviors when living with chronic pain: lessons from a road trip

A lot has changed for me this past year, I’ve experienced successes I wouldn’t have imagined possible 6 years ago (heck, 3 years ago, or even just a year ago). But this most recent success is a pretty huge one for me, even bigger than the long hikes, starting to run again, and snowshoeing adventures that have happened in this past year.