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

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

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.

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


Musings on the 2016 SDPain Summit (part 2)

This is part 2 of my initial musings on the 2nd annual San Diego Pain Summit, it has to be two parts because there was so much good stuff it was way too much to include in one post. Here’s Part 1 if you missed it which went over stress, motivational interviewing, acceptance, creativity, and being human. Awesome, right? On to

Musings on the 2016 San Diego Pain Summit (part 1)

I am just a few days home from the San Diego Pain Summit (check out #sdpain on various social media sites to check out the action!) and my mind is awhirl with thoughts, ideas, reflections, questions, people, pain, approaches…so much so that I don’t know what to write right off! But I do want to get some thoughts down that I


Labels, narratives, identity, and chronic pain

I have been thinking about the language we use with ourselves lately, particularly our self-talk and our labels. I’ve been thinking a lot about the words chronic, pain, and patient in particular. How does continually using, or hearing, these words reinforce our pain? Does being identified as a ‘chronic pain patient’ become an integral part of our identity that then makes it more difficult to change our

Pain: musing on language, motivation, and meaning

I’ve been away from writing for a while because life is happening all around me and I haven’t made the time, but a recent blog post by Dr. Bronnie Lennox Thompson got me thinking (as they usually do!) on a whole lot of topics. Appropriately, her post was titled “Musings on New Learning” and those musings got me onto plenty

Improving communication, giving voice to those with chronic pain

In the last few months my readership has jumped a bit (thank you to everyone who has shared my posts or had recommended my blog to a patient, client, family member, or friend) so I wanted to take a moment to explain a bit about what I’m trying to do here. I’ve also been living without internet for nearly two