The challenging patient…

My pain didn’t go away as expected. Not as I expected. Not as any of the dozen plus clinicians who treated me expected. Not as the worker’s compensation claims adjusters expected. I was labeled a challenging patient, a “difficult” patient, and punted down the line to the next care provider, the next treatment. The next failure. It was I who


Why Patient Stories Matter at Professional Conferences

This has been a year of presenting or participating in meaningful ways in conferences, and I’m so grateful for the opportunities to share what it is like to live with pain, and to recover, out into the professional conference world. The most recent was the Reforming MSK Practice conference from Jack Chew and ReformPhysio, where I was a keynote speaker

It’s words that I remember ~ language matters

I’m writing about language…again! It’s because this year I have had the great honor to speak at a number of conferences, and it’s come up every time. One of the most important talks I’ve ever given was at the Paincloud Convention. It was the most vulnerable I’ve ever been on stage, probably the most vulnerable I’d ever been in public period (including

Our shared humanity, grief, why I’ve been away, and some musings on pain, biology, life…

I promised a post on the major turning points in my pain experience at the beginning of the year. Then life, and death, happened and it was put on hold. Those posts (there are two, reflecting two major turning points) will come soon, but first I wanted to share why I’ve been away, for those who may be wondering. It’s


Acceptance revisited ~ what has acceptance meant to me?

These days I’m feeling like I’m just a person, not a person with chronic pain, which is an interesting perch to view the past eight years from. I’m trying to piece together how I got here. Granted, I’ve been trying to do so for some time! But never from this vantage point. I recognize how much acceptance has been a part

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.


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


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