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Recent Posts

Stay Out of the Surgical Scrap Heap
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Objectives: Although there is no question about the dedication of physicians to providing excellent care, the rigors of training, the demands of practice, and the business of medicine have made it increasingly difficult to treat... Read More

My Descent Into The Abyss
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Objectives There are many different physical and mental symptoms that are possible when you are in sustained flight or fight physiology. At my lowest point, I was experiencing 17 of them. No one could tell... Read More

Dynamic Healing
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A new, data-based dynamic approach is needed for medicine to successfully deal with our epidemic of chronic disease. It must acknowledge the interaction between circumstances and your body’s capacity to process them, which determines the... Read More

Stress Kills – Threat versus Safety
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Lesson Objectives Consider ongoing environmental input separately from your body’s responses. Understand the essence of illness/ disease is sustained exposure to real or perceived threats. It creates an adverse chemical profile that increases metabolism (your... Read More

Important Posts

Dynamic Healing
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A new, data-based dynamic approach is needed for medicine to successfully deal with our epidemic of chronic disease. It must acknowledge the interaction between circumstances and your body’s capacity to process them, which determines the... Read More

“Anger Academy”
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The only way to stop the anger connected with chronic pain from dominating your life is to look at it with an unflinching eye and separately examine its three aspects: 1) output–final reaction 2) the... Read More

Essence of Illness
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The burden of chronic disease is crushing us while we have the answers right in front of us. A recent summary reported that the total cost of chronic disease in the US is 3.7 trillion... Read More

Do You Really Need Spine Surgery?
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Do You Really Need Spine Surgery? Take Control with Advice from a Surgeon considers all factors affecting your perception of pain and organizes them into a treatment grid that allows you to make a good... Read More

Anxiety Basics
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Anxiety is the body’s neurochemical reaction to a mental or physical threat. Without it you can’t survive.     It’s the sensation created by elevated levels of stress chemicals. Adrenaline – increases sensitivity and alertness... Read More

 

 

 

 

 

Expressive Arts Gallery

Shadows Dancing in the Fire
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  Dancing through the ring of fire.                           Dancing through the ring of fire.   Related posts: Fighting a Forest Fire – Address... Read More

Emotional Turmoil
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A great life isn’t just about waiting for the storm to pass, It’s about learning to dance in the rain. Related posts: Physical versus Emotional Pain Read More

Somatic energy
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I am a Registered Art Therapist in Victoria, BC. My husband is your big fan and introduced me to your website. I wanted to send this image that I created using colors and symbols to... Read More

With or Without
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Without or With Without desire I die Without touch I die Without conversation I die Without inspiration I die Without passion I die Without worthiness I die Without listening I die Without song I die... Read More

“Compassion”
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As I grow through my journey of coming to peace with chronic pain, I see the need for deep self compassion. So this painting depicts a woman connecting her belly to her heart, bringing awareness... Read More

Autumn Leaves
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I find such tranquility in nature & creating these hidden lid gourd containers helps me feel that I am in harmony with my universe. Gourds are a living medium, and when I am touching &... Read More

Love
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I made this doodle at the beginning of quarantine. As a social person, it’s been hard to be isolated from those that I LOVE. I’ve realized that there is no way we can do this... Read More

A selection from my mask project
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The range of expressions tell the story. The wall in the studio is from 1972-72. They are collage friends. The found objects are photographed uncleaned or retouched just as they “spoke” to me. The blue... Read More

The Lone Ranger
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My Mask project is part of my fie art practice that began around 1970 and continues today. The series includes found objects that “speak to me” and numerous collage works. They are friends, protectors, moods,... Read More

Six Feet Apart
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“Six Feet Apart” Oil 9×12″ Currently in literal terms, this is the kind of mask that has center stage right now. When the pandemic began I hadn’t painted for quite a while. But through expressive... Read More

The Cellist
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When I saw this man playing on the street so he could make some money, I saw the expression on his face. He was in his own world and not only enjoying his music, but... Read More

Lost and Found
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I keep coming back to this idea that there are two sides to every coin. In this time of global pandemic, masks hold a duality of both safety and fear. I’m now used to wearing a... Read More

Caught in a Swirl of Change
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This mask represents the feeling of being separated from normal life. The Coronavirus has caused the government to close my studio/gallery in Pt Reyes. I now find my life cast adrift, in a constant state... Read More

Florentine Mosaic
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Mosaico Fiorentino Fragments like colored glass Segmented memories Names of streets Distant ricordi In a flash my thoughts translate into Florentine tongue Connecting chards of glass like dots on a page my memory comes into... Read More

Me
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Becoming myself through Balinese masks, rhythm tap and rumba. (Click the mask to see the video.) No related posts. Read More

Stories of Hope

A Physician’s Story of Healing
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The solutions to breaking free from the grip of chronic pain have become increasingly clear. The answers are coming from several different sources that include the research on patterns of brain activity, the role of... Read More

Freed by Persistence and Play
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I first met Mark at our 2017 three-day “Rewiring Your Brain” workshop at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. He had flown in from the Netherlands. His main problem was chronic low back pain that... Read More

Never Too Late for Hope
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This letter was sent to me by a woman that I have corresponded with a few times but I have never met or worked with. One of most powerful aspects of the DOC process is... Read More

What Makes Your Book Different?
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This is a followup letter from a woman who emailed me about four years ago. I had never met her and she shared a remarkable story of recovery. Her story is one that has led... Read More

Moving Forward by Being with her Anxiety
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Lisa is a 58 year old high-level professional who developed chronic neck pain about 5 years ago. It began around the time she was facing some major career challenges. The pain became severe enough that... Read More

A Couple Re-united
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Our team has become extremely aware of the effect of chronic pain on the family and the family dynamics around pain. The patient is in a survival mode and loses awareness of the needs of... Read More

How I Cured my Migraine Headaches
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Migraine headaches are brutal and often incapacitating. They are also one of the symptoms of a chronically stressed nervous system. Adrenaline decreases the blood supply to the frontal lobe of the brain and when you... Read More

Life Sentence
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  After my fourth L3-L4 surgery the neurosurgeon sat me down and said “…you are not going to get better but rather worse as you grow older. You have a life sentence of pain.” I’ve... Read More

My Story of Hope
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I had a rough start living in a chaotic household with an angry mother who suffered from chronic pain. I did not figure out for 50 years that the migraine headache I suffered at age... Read More

Healing With Support from her Community
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Hi Dr. Hanscom, It’s Donna, a former patient. I just wanted to write and tell you some good news regarding my back situation. You were right about forgiveness as well as the emotional aspects of... Read More

Out of the Valley, with Dolls
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When I first met Sarah, she was close to 75 and had been experiencing debilitating pain for decades. But, since her spine x-rays revealed only normal degeneration consistent with her age, I set her to... Read More

The Pain of Social Isolation
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Many people suffering from chronic pain are socially isolated. When you are trapped in pain you have a difficult time reaching out. Others do not necessarily want to interact with angry people. The problem becomes... Read More

Out of the Abyss After 25 Years
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I received this email from someone that I had never met. I’ve now gotten to know her and she is delightful. A physician had recommended my book and here is her story. A rough road... Read More

Optimizing (Avoiding) Spine Surgery
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About three years ago my staff noticed that our surgical patients who participated in the DOC project principles were doing much better. The outcomes were better and we were having fewer failures. The postoperative pain... Read More

The Power of Love – Anthony
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  Anthony was a patient who I saw just a couple of times in his early 20’s. He was experiencing low back pain that was significantly impacting his quality of life. His MRI scan showed... Read More

To Become Strong – “ILOHLA”
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My creative artist friend, Ernesto, endured a rough couple of years and for a while he “disappeared”. The details are not important. What is important is that he is back and thriving. This piece is... Read More

My Migraines
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Fourth of July fireworks I was 5 years old and lived in a small town in New Hampshire. Our house was right across the street from the town common. I was so excited in that... Read More

Can Your Body Language Change Chronic Pain?
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Dr. Gordon Irving was in charge of Swedish Medical Center Chronic Pain Program for many years. His group has embraced the treatment principles of the Neurophysiologic Disorder (NPD. Although each of us have different tools... Read More

“Finding Health by Letting Go of Hate”
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The common thread of those who successfully heal from chronic pain and other symptoms of Neurophysiologic Disorder (NPD) is letting go of anger through deep forgiveness. Anger and pain are inextricably linked. For many of... Read More

My Feet on Fire
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I began my orthopedic surgery residency in 1981. I had an unusual path into this specialty in that I had completed two years of internal medicine residency in Spokane, WA prior to moving to Hawaii.... Read More

Ron Salvages His Own Spine Surgery
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A letter from a case manager Dear Dr. Hanscom: You may not receive these kinds of letters from nurse case managers very often. I thought I would advise you of the above captioned patient that... Read More

A New Life at 72
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Crystal is a woman from the southern part of Washington. When I first met her, she was over 70 years-old and lived on her own. She had severe spinal stenosis in her lumbar vertebrae at... Read More

Depression Masking as Pain
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Patient’s Letter Hi Dr Hanscom, I have been meaning to check in with you for a while now and let you know that the DOC program seems to have worked for me. My lower back... Read More

Bipolar Disorder Broken
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Debbie was a 45 y/o woman who I had been working with for about four years. She was diagnosed with a severe bipolar disorder at age twelve. Unsuccessful Surgeries About 10 years ago, she had... Read More