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

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

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

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


A moment to reflect: how changing my environment changed my pain experience

I recently attended a writer’s camp in Big Sur, California, a stretch of rugged coast, and afterward took six days to drive from there to Colorado. I wanted to keep myself immersed in nature to let all that I’d learned percolate. I wanted to reflect, to think without distraction, particularly of the digital sort. I didn’t have cell reception for most

Regret and facing that which is not easy

My grandpa Fred died earlier this month. I went home to help my mom out a bit after his passing and have had time to reflect on life, meaning, happiness, compassion, regret…I think death tends to make us philosophers, does it not? Especially when we have regrets. Regret I told my mom that I felt guilty for not coming home


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

I didn’t follow through, does that mean I failed?

I have been meaning to write this post for a while, but the post I thought I was going to write isn’t the post that I am now writing. This post was supposed to be a follow up to the post I wrote two months back (two months!) about how Simon Roost Kirkegaard helped me to change my pain by gently challenging some