Share your story of hope.

One of the most important aspects of healing is regaining hope and optimism. When you are trapped without any hint of a solution, the darkness you feel is impossible to put it into words. It is inevitable that you will begin to despair and remain justifiably angry. In turn, you will have elevated levels of stress chemicals, which has devastating effects on your mental and physical health.

 

 

The losses and indignities of chronic pain are endless and include:

  • Loss of financial independence
  • No one believes you are suffering as much as you are. The more you try to explain it, the less sympathy you’ll receive.
  • You are labeled by your medical providers and not given full attention.
  • Your hopes are repeatedly dashed being offered promises of relief and nothing changes.
    • Repeatedly being disappointed is a classic way to induce depression (1).
  • You are in pain and the attendant anxiety is often worse than the physical pain.
  • You are often on multiple medications with side effects.
  • You are labeled as having “psychological issues.”
  • Loss of intimacy with your partner.
  • Family life becomes tedious and reactive. Joy has disappeared.
  • It’s not much fun being angry and upset all the time. You may have even forgotten what it is like to enjoy life.

The price of pain

Several research papers have documented that the impact of chronic pain on your quality of life is similar to having terminal cancer. (2) Additionally, people die earlier (3), have higher incidence of heart disease, anxiety, hypertension, and diabetes (4). There is a higher incidence of autoimmune disorders (5) and also a high rate of people becoming addicted to medications. It is truly a miserable existence.

But the worst part of it is having no hope. For many patients, almost every doctor has told you that there is no cure and the best you can do is learn to live with your pain. They are wrong.

Dr. Viktor Frankl, who was an Austrian psychiatrist that was imprisoned and survived the German concentration camps, has a dramatic story about the power of hope. He lost almost all of his family. He describes unspeakable acts of horror in detail. But he says the worst part of the ordeal was not knowing if and when it would end. Obviously, this is almost an exact parallel to the plight of someone trapped in pain (6).

Abandoned

Many physicians are not comfortable treating chronic pain and many clinics refuse to see patients suffering from chronic pain – especially if they are on opioids. (7) They are taught that pain is to be managed and not solvable. However, current neuroscience research has revealed the nature of chronic pain and also the keys to treat it. This knowledge has not yet penetrated into mainstream medical care, but I believe big changes will happen soon.

Hope and optimism have been documented to be important factors in healing. (8) Different areas of the brain are stimulated and the body’s chemical makeup is more favorable. I have personally witnessed hundreds of patients break free from the grip of chronic pain, and my practice routinely treated the most difficult of situations. Chronic pain is a treatable and solvable diagnosis.

References:

  1. Blum, Deborah. Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection. Perseus Publishing, New York, NY. 2002.
  2. Fredheim OM et al. “Chronic non-malignant pain patients report as poor health-related quality of life as palliative cancer patients.” Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica (2008); 52: 143 –
  3. Smyth, J, et al. Stress and disease: A structural and functional analysis. Social and Personality Psychology Compass (2013). 7: 217-227, 10.1111/spc3.120.20.
  4. Cohen, S., Janicki-Deverts, D., & Miller, G. E. (2007).Psychological stress and disease. Journal of the American Medical Association, 298, 1685–1687.
  5. Song, H et al. “Association of stress-related disorders with subsequent autoimmune disease.” Journal of the American Medical Association (2018); 319: 2388 – 2400.
  6. Frankl, Viktor. Man’s Search for Meaning. Beacon Press, Boston, MA, 1959,1962, 1984, 1992, 2006.
  7. Lagisetty, PA, et al. Access to primary care clinics for patients with chronic pain receiving opioids. JAMA (2019); 2. (7):e196928 doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.6928.
  8. Johnson, AC, et al. Stress-induced pain: A target for the development of novel therapeutics. J Pharmacol Exp Ther (2014); 351:327-355.

Share your story of hope.

 

Here are some of their stories.

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 those close to them. Conversely, the family is often worn out from being around someone … Read More

Spastic Bladder Resolved – Being with Anger
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This is a letter I recently received from a young woman with interstitial cystitis or spastic bladder. It is a common condition that creates a lot of misery. I don’t have much experience treating patients with this problem, but it’s felt to be one of the symptoms of the Neurophysiologic … Read More

Mark Owens’ Story – Breaking Through
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Mark Owens’ Story This is a video that we shot of Mark Owens, who wrote the Forward of my book. I’d like to give you some additional background to his story, both from his and my perspective. He is a PhD scientist who has spent his life addressing environmental issues. … 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 relax the vessels re-expand and then you have a screaming headache. Often it’s accompanied the … Read More

Chronic Neck Pain Gone – DOC Prevents Relapse
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This story is from a woman, who I met at our first Omega workshop in 2013. I was holding the workshop with Dr. Fred Luskin, who is a Stanford psychologist and author of Forgive for Good and also my wife, Babs Yohai, who is a professional dancer and taught rhythm to the … Read More

Positive Thinking vs. Real-time Reprogramming
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I’m a positive-minded person. I endeavor to never give up since I always think I will prevail over all adversity. Twenty-plus years of chronic LBP were not overcome by positive thinking. In fact, my almost exclusive reliance on my positive thinking added to my anxiety and fear of ever being … Read More

Using New Tools to Reclaim My Life
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    Beginning in 2003, I suffered low back pain in the L4-5 region. I saw a chiropractor from time to time but in 2009 my treatments began to be on a regular basis and he advised that as long as I stayed at my current desk job and it … Read More

A Little Merrier Christmas – Letting Go of Blame
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People trigger each other and the closer the relationship, the stronger the reactions. When you become anxious or frustrated, you’re in a survival mode that’s impossible to control. It’s ironic that our most important relationships are also often a source of frustration. You can undergo many medical treatments for your … 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 had 6 spinal surgeries and 20 additional surgeries. I know chronic pain intimately. After 25 … Read More

Chronic Pain is Solvable -Take Back Your Life
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It has been my observation that suffering from chronic pain affects almost every aspect of your life, especially trying to enjoy yourself. Every enjoyable experience is lessened in the context of pain. You may be able to successfully distract yourself for a bit and not even experience the pain, but … 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 five would be the beginning of a lifetime filled with chronic pain. I eventually experienced … 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 back pain–at least in my case. After following the physiological recommendations and taking the various … 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 work on the DOC process. After about a year of working diligently through the tools, … Read More

The Pain of Social Isolation
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Many of my patients 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 greatly magnified in that it has been shown that social rejection shares the … 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 I have read your book Back in Control many times (which I refer to as … Read More

Remarkable Healing Stories – Dr. Bernie Siegel
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I have had the distinct privilege of getting to know Dr. Bernie Siegel, who is a retired pediatric general surgeon and author of several books, including Love, Medicine and Miracles. He has looked extensively at the stories of patients who are survivors of advanced cancer and documenting common traits in … 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 seemed less and more easily controlled. Patients were moving forward quickly with rehab while re-entering … Read More

The Enlightenment Light and Judgment Mirror
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I had a patient come into my office recently who represents one of the most remarkable turnarounds I have witnessed and she definitely has the record of being in pain for the longest time before she pulled out of it. She had been in pain for over 55 years when … 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 some mild degeneration at L4-5 and was not a problem that would respond to surgery. … Read More

The Gift of Pain – Thanksgiving 2013
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Pain, The Gift That Nobody Wants is a book written by an orthopedic hand surgeon, Paul Brand. Through his work in India with lepers he discovered that the reason why they had such severe hand, facial, and foot deformities was that the bacteria resided in sensory nerves and destroyed protective … Read More

Never Give Up – Breaking Through After Six Years
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Terry was a middle-aged mother of two children whom I met many years ago. For reasons that are unclear, her spine just tipped forward in her lumbar area. She came into my office severely bent forward and tipped to the left side. She had understandably developed chronic pain over the … 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 a statement of his time in the “Abyss.” I spend over eight years in darkness. … 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 the fourth of July fireworks were going to be launched in the common within just … 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 and styles, the essence of our approaches is similar. One of them being you cannot … Read More

Leg Pain Gone with NPD Principles-Carol’s Story
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Carol is one of my favorite patients and success stories. It is one that surprised both of us. Her turnaround occurred a while back but I wanted to make sure she was stable and ready to relate her experience. Background She is a middle-aged mother. She historically had been very … Read More

Charley’s Story: Pain Free After 17 Doctors
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This is a story of a middle-aged gentleman who became pain free using DOC Process principles. Although, he saw me primarily for back pain, it turned out that lack of sleep and anxiety were the more pressing issues. He had already seen 16 doctors in a span of eighteen months … Read More

“I Am Not Letting Yesterday Ruin Today”
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I had been working with Anne for a while and she had been experiencing chronic pain throughout her body for a many years. Her once productive life had fallen apart and she now depended on welfare for her sustenance. She had undergone a lumbar disc surgery a couple years earlier … 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 you performed a redo L5-S1 microdiscectomy about a year ago.  Ron got quite discouraged when … 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 multiple levels. Stenosis is a condition where bone and ligaments grow around the spinal canal … 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 & leg pain has disappeared and I’m a firm believer in the process, especially the … 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 a lifting injury at work and developed chronic low back pain. Over a series of … Read More