Dr. David Mount

Dr. David Mount

Dr. David Mount would rather listen than talk. It’s not that he doesn’t have plenty to say. But on a patient’s first visit, he wants to hear what led the patient to his office. The neuropsychologist has a keen interest in the mind/body connection and a focus on how...
Peter Staats, MD

Peter Staats, MD

Peter Staats isn’t usually the first doctor anyone with chronic pain comes to see. “I tend to be the guy who sees people after they’ve been to a few other doctors,” says the anesthesiologist and chief medical officer of both National Spine and Pain Centers and...
Pain and Smoking

Pain and Smoking

People with chronic pain are significantly more likely to be cigarette smokers than those without chronic pain. Some smokers with chronic pain report that they use smoking as a pain-management strategy. However, smoking is not an effective coping strategy and has been...
Rediscovering Hope

Rediscovering Hope

    IT IS NOT UNUSUAL FOR PEOPLE WITH CHRONIC PAIN TO REPORT FEELINGS OF DEPRESSION. Signs may include sad mood on most days, loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable, change in weight (gain or loss of 5 percent or more within a month), sleep...
Pain & Wellness Chat 2016

Pain & Wellness Chat 2016

Pain & Wellness Chat 2016 Transcript Highlights Dr. Peter Abaci October 27, 2016 Welcome! Thank you for joining us today for “How to Manage Pain and Improve Life.” This Facebook chat will be hosted by Dr. Peter Abaci and will cover topics such as: -tools to manage...

For Grace’s 9th Annual Women In Pain Conference

“Pain Takes a Vacation: Actions and Strategies that Get Us Away “ Registration is NOW OPEN “Pain Takes a Vacation: Actions and Strategies that Get Us Away” will focus on self-management techniques that take us away from pain (e.g., sleep, creative arts, sex, travel,...
Loss

Loss

One of the most difficult aspects of chronic pain management is dealing with the losses that may accompany pain. Your roles may have changed. Your role as spouse or partner, friend, worker, mom or dad, brother or sister, athlete may be modified or lost. You may no...
Sleep + Pain

Sleep + Pain

  A pain soother is anything that you can do that reduces your pain somewhat. The key is realizing that although being pain free would be great, pain reduction is a worthy goal that will help you feel more comfortable. Heat, cold, stretching and a hot bath can all be...
Rewiring the Brain to Heal

Rewiring the Brain to Heal

Neuroscientists estimate that it can take as little as a tenth of a second to notice a threat—an aggressive face, for example, but much longer to recognize something pleasant. This is compounded because threats are reacted to virtually instantaneously and go straight...
Don’t Give Up on Goals

Don’t Give Up on Goals

    Life is richer when you can pursue the things that matter, such as love, work, feelings of competence, being part of a caring social network of family and friends, growing as a person.  Chronic pain makes goal pursuit more difficult. Pain can interfere with...
Food & Pain

Food & Pain

Most of us have heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and many of us grew up with mothers telling us to eat our vegetables. Even though we rolled our eyes, increasing evidence suggests that Mom was right about the virtues of fruits and...
Two Types of Coping

Two Types of Coping

    From birth, we are all faced with two basic questions: “What do I want or need?” and “How do I get it?”  Of course, we start out wanting the same kinds of things: to eat, to sleep, to be safe, to sit up, to crawl, to walk… Throughout life, our goals become more...
Stop Worrying

Stop Worrying

If you have been living with chronic pain, you may have found that you worry about yourself. What if your future is one of loneliness and isolation? What if you can’t get the help you need? What if your relationships suffer? What if your pain gets so bad that you...
Pain and Depression

Pain and Depression

Winter can be especially tough for people with chronic pain. Cold, wet weather can aggravate pain. Snow and ice can make socializing and staying active a challenge. Darker days can trigger sadness or even depression. Before depression or other psychiatric conditions...
Living with Pain: Lean into it

Living with Pain: Lean into it

    Most of what I write about in this blog is derived from the science of pain management. But, I also find lessons about coping with pain in daily life. Those lessons often correspond to science-based recommendations. Today I want to talk about something I have...
Talking About Chronic Pain

Talking About Chronic Pain

    People with chronic pain often say that their partner, family, friends, co-workers, or boss don’t seem to understand their pain problem or what it is like to live with pain. You may wonder if  others understand the impact of chronic pain on daily life, whether...
Don’t Let Pain Derail You!

Don’t Let Pain Derail You!

    Your chronic pain problem may have knocked you off course. Your personal, family, work, health, and social goals may have been derailed. You may feel as though you are simply stuck, unable to go forward and incapable of going back to your old life. Sometimes it...
Music Therapy

Music Therapy

WHAT is it ABOUT music THAT DRAWS AND FOCUSES OUR ATTENTION, SHIFTS OUR MOODS, RESTORES ENERGY OR LIGHTENS OUR STEP? MUSIC CAN ALSO BRING DISTANT THOUGHTS AND MEMORIES INTO CLEAR VIEW AND, MOST IMPORTANT TO THOSE IN PAIN, CAN DISRUPT THE PAIN EXPERIENCE. Like other...
Living with Pain: Learning Resilience

Living with Pain: Learning Resilience

    WHAT IS “HARDINESS”? OVER 30 YEARS AGO, DR. SUZANNE KOBASA OUELLETTE INTRODUCED THIS CONCEPT. SHE STUDIED EXECUTIVES WHO LIVED WITH HIGH LEVELS OF STRESS AND FOUND THAT THOSE WHO FLOURISHED DESPITE THE STRESS SHARED THREE CHARACTERISTICS:   (1) the belief that...
Living with Pain: Goals Matter

Living with Pain: Goals Matter

    Chronic pain can make your goals seem unimportant or unreachable.  Your pain may interfere with your social goals, career goals, or family goals.  Personal goals like exercise, hobbies, reading, or learning something new may have fallen by the wayside too....
Pain and Anxiety: Rinse It Out

Pain and Anxiety: Rinse It Out

  In spin class, I have frequently heard instructors say  “rinse it out” after a particularly intense bout of cycling. I have always supposed that they are encouraging us to slow down and recover a bit and get rid of anything “toxic” in the muscles before we start...
What Are The Barriers To Sex?

What Are The Barriers To Sex?

    Paul Karoly, Aaron Taylor, and I conducted a study of over 2,000 people with different forms of chronic pain from across the United States and found that 63%reported that pain interfered with sexual functioning. Other researchers have found similar results; some...
Improve Your Sleep

Improve Your Sleep

    Sleep plays a crucial role in the daily experience of people with chronic pain.  Of course, research (and probably your own experience) has demonstrated that pain can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. In a study involving people with fibromyalgia, Dr....
Notice the Positive

Notice the Positive

    It is not uncommon for chronic pain to be linked to depression. For example,  35% of the participants in one study who reported chronic pain were also depressed. Risk of depression was not associated with any particular pain type or site. Pain and depression seem...
Rebuilding Intimacy

Rebuilding Intimacy

    One of my first research studies involved examining the significance of the three most important people in one’s life to psychological well being and distress. I asked study participants to identify the most, 2nd most, and 3rd most important people in their lives...
Anger, Pain & Relationships

Anger, Pain & Relationships

    Living with chronic pain can be very frustrating. Not surprisingly, people with chronic pain tend to report greater levels of anger than those without pain. Expressions of anger differ, with some people being more likely to suppress and hide it, turning it inward...
Talking to Your Boss About Your Pain

Talking to Your Boss About Your Pain

    If you are like many people with chronic pain, you maintain a full- or part-time job, despite your pain. Working with chronic pain can be challenging. Sometimes your performance may be reduced or you may miss full or partial work days. You may operate on less...
Helping Family Cope with Your Pain

Helping Family Cope with Your Pain

      Your family lives with your pain too. Although they can’t feel what you feel, they suffer from knowing that you suffer. They may feel helpless and lost at times, not knowing how to help or what the future holds. They may struggle with feelings of depression,...
Making a Fresh Start

Making a Fresh Start

    The start of the new year is often a time to reflect on where you have been and where you are headed. You may even have made a resolution or two.  Working towards goals can make a difference in how you feel about living with chronic pain. If you would like to make...
Living with Pain

Living with Pain

    These information structures are called schemas. For example, a toddler learns that a furry, four-legged animal is a dog. Upon seeing a cat, the child might refer to it as a dog, only to be told that it is a cat. So the schema for dogs changes (to exclude cats)...
Relieve Stress Now

Relieve Stress Now

    It is hard to believe that 2012 has nearly come to an end. I wish you all a very happy and healthy new year. I thought this would be a good time to review my blog posts for 2012. Take a look at the most popular posts. What was your favorite? Number 1: Living with...
Finding a New Path

Finding a New Path

Your chronic pain problem may have knocked you off course. Your personal, vocational, and social goals may have been derailed. You may feel as though you are simply stuck, unable to go forward and incapable of going back to your old life. Sometimes it may feel like...
Cultivate Friendship

Cultivate Friendship

Last week I talked about cultivating yourself: rediscovering and building the parts of yourself that you value. This week I want to talk about cultivating friendship. Chronic pain can really get in the way of friendship. Whether you have fibromyalgia, headaches, back...

Ask the Doctor

Ask the Doctor Deitra Toone, MD, and clinical psychologist Michele Gargan, PsyD are available to answer your questions in our quarterly Ask the Doctor feature. Complete the info below and your submission may be printed in an upcoming issue of PainPathways. Name* First...
Personal Pathways: Marianne Jordan

Personal Pathways: Marianne Jordan

Marianne Jordan: Back to the Skies after a Spinal Cord Stimulator Giving up favorite activities can be one of the most difficult aspects of dealing with chronic pain. Often, pain and medications have already restricted one’s lifestyle, so when professional or...