Moving Forward – A New Horizon

posted in: Stage 4, Stage 4: step 5

I have stopped doing spine surgery and active clinical care to pursue the Back in Control project full time. This link explains my position: Why I am Leaving My Spine Surgery Practice.

My vision is to bring the DOC (Direct your Own Care) principles into mainstream consciousness. It has become clear that the DOC project is one that is best implemented by primary care physicians. Back in Control is a wellness book, not a “solving chronic pain” one. Most of you know that you can’t solve chronic pain because your attention is still on your misery. You have to move toward your vision of how you want to live your life with or without your pain. Paradoxically, as you become healthier, your pain will abate or resolve. We have witnessed this phenomenon hundreds of times. I also practice these concepts daily.




My focus will be in several areas:

  • Building a business structure that scales the DOC process to reach a much wider audience.
  • Teaching medical providers in any realm how to treat chronic pain. Only about 20% of physicians are comfortable treating chronic pain and less than 1% enjoy it. We aren’t trained correctly in spite of recent neuroscience research providing many answers.
  • Educating the public to take responsibility for their own care. This requires learning about chronic pain.
  • I am writing three more books:
    • Do You Really Need Spine Surgery?
    • Chronic Pain and Your Family
    • Optimizing Performance In and Out of the OR Applying Athletic Performance Principles
  • We are scaling the workshops that we have held at the Omega Institute. It turns out that the group setting is a powerful resource we have seen to move people out of pain.
  • I am starting a movement around physician wellness. The burnout rate among physicians is between 50-60% and steadily rising. It has a tremendous impact on patient care. The DOC process is just a framework of care that allows productive discussions to occur and the patient is able to create their own solutions. However, the doctor/ patient relationship is a critical piece of it. It is hard to reach out to patients when you are trying to personally survive. Physicians have 2-4 times the suicide rate of the general population depending on gender and specialty.
  • Finally, my biggest focus is on changing the fee structure for medical care. Many recommended interventions in spine care and other specialties have been documented to be ineffective while most effective treatments are generally not covered by insurance. The most necessary part of care is for your physician to listen and you to be heard. It is the one aspect of care that that has been taken from all of us. Creating a fee schedule that allows providers to take the time to get to know you will change the nature of medical care.

Grassroots effort

I am asking for your help. It’s clear that change is going to have to occur from the ground up. The business of medicine has firmly embedded a production approach to your care. It is not going to change. Here is a quote sent to me by one of my mentors.

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light; but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

–Max Planck

How can you contribute?

People often ask me how they can pass on what they have learned. Here are some suggestions that would be of great help to my efforts.

  • Continue on your own healing journey. The concepts presented in the DOC process are ones that need to be practiced for a lifetime. Patients often feel well enough that they stop at Stage 2. Stages 3 and 4 are the creative parts of it and where it all really happens. Don’t stop.
  • Your personal transformation will have a strong healing effect on those you are close to. There is a direct mirror neurons effect.
  • Encouraging friends and family to sign up for the weekly email updates on
  • Share links on social media.
  • Write a quick review of Back in Control on the Amazon or Barnes and Noble websites.
  • Let your providers know about the DOC concepts and that they can contact me. My intent with the combination of the book and website is to enable the patient to take control of his or her own care and form a partnership with your physician and other medical professionals. Not only are your visits productive, but are more enjoyable. There isn’t a day in clinic that I don’t emerge more energized and inspired.
  • Share your personal success on the “Stories of Hope” section of this website. Hope is a powerful force in healing pain.

Thanks to all of you for your interest and support. It’s what keeps me moving forward. For me, it is truly a new horizon and adventure and I am looking forward to seeing how it evolves.