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

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


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

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.

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.

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