Back in Control with Dr. David Hanscom

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Janet Love  interview’s  her Special Guest, Dr. David Hanscom on the topic of chronic pain from a whole person perspectiveYou won’t want to miss this show, it is a rare opportunity to listen, learn and get answers to your questions from Dr. Hanscom’s unique perspective and expertise!


“This book has relevance for anyone with chronic pain, not just those with back/spine or other orthopedic issues.  I’d like to see it get a wide readership.  I wanted you to know that your book was very valuable in educating me about what was happening  at every stage of my recovery, hence my strong recommendation  that you try to reach as many people as possible.” C. K. 

Dr. David Hanscom, M.D., is an orthopedic spine surgeon at Seattle Neuroscience Specialists with Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, WA.  He specializes in complex spine problems in all areas of the spine, and has expertise in adult and pediatric spinal deformities, such as scoliosis and kyphosis. Many of his patients have had multiple prior spine surgeries.  He has successfully treat hundreds of patients for chronic pain.  He is author of Back in Control: A Spine Surgeon’s Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain.  For more information about Dr. Hanscom and his program, visit

You can call the show at 614-222-3333 or join our Chat Room to get answers to your questions during the show!









0:01 Introduction

Welcome to the Janet Love Show, where the world of intuition is explored through empowerment in health, relationships, and spirituality. Tune up your intuitive awareness with divine insights from Janet Love. Come through the door of discovery, where your own intuitive power is revealed. Call the show at 646-478-3089 or join the chat now as Janet welcomes your questions and comments in this show's topic.

0:42 Janet Love

Welcome everybody! This is Janet Love. It's Wednesday. This is our usual time for our show. For anybody who tuned in last week, we did have some technical difficulties that was something that was happening on the main network and hopefully today that would not happen. If we do begin to have problems, obviously, we will let you know. Hopefully, you gonna be able to tune in and hear everything that is going on. We have another special guest today. I am very excited about this guest. He has written a book and if you have seen the homepage to the Blog Talk Network, it has been profiled and Dr. David Hanscom is his name and he has written a book Back in Control and we will bring him on air in just a moment. In the meantime, I just wanted to do a little housekeeping to welcome you __01:25__. Again, we have several websites that you could go to and and explore all the other different things that we do through this radio program. The focus of the program is to bring you not only great programming and information on the topics of intuition, health, spirituality and how they all integrate. I believe that all of those components together is how to obtain health and maintain it and that was certainly true in my life. So anyone who is new to this show, if you want to check our archives, you will hear other great programs and shows that we have had with other doctors and the people who have kind of the same philosophy and who are in the world in one way or another promoting these philosophies and beliefs and there is every opportunity out there for expansion in these areas. So we want you to stay tuned, I want you to grow with us. So check out our Facebook and our social media sites. We have great comments and information, always looking to educator and listeners and to keep the interest going.

2:38 Janet Love

So we are not gonna spend a lot of time on too much else today because the topic we have is fairly broad and I want to give our guest all the time possible and for any callers or chatters that wanna join in and if you have questions for Dr. Hanscom, we want to make sure that you get time for that and for anybody who ever suffered with chronic pain whether its back pain or other types of pain, I think Dr. Hanscom can bring a lot to the table and can share from his past knowledge. I personally have had a lot of pain in my life, but I have had chronic pain in the past and I do know what that's like. So I think he has a particularly unique insight and a methodology that worked. So we hope you will stay tuned. So I am gonna bring Dr. Hanscom on now and we will get started. So give us just a moment. Are you with me Dr. Hanscom?

3:31 Dr. David Hanscom

I am.

3:32 Janet Love

Thank you. Welcome.

3:33 Dr. David Hanscom

Hi Janet! Thanks for having me on.

3:35 Janet Love

Thank you for joining us. So like I would share with our listeners hopefully we will have some chatters and some calls. So would you share your background just how this book came in to being? How did you come to this? I am sure it is a big story.

3:50 Dr. David Hanscom

Well it bit of a story. I'll try to keep it relatively brief, but when I started practicing in Seattle in 1986, I trained at one of the most significant spine centers in the world at the time in Minneapolis, Minnesota as training for major spinal deformity, but has never trained in chronic pain and I also was trained that surgery was always the definitive answer and it is sort of my responsibility to find something to do and I am one of the few surgeons who spent a lot of time on both side to these events. So for the first seven or eight years of my practice, I would do fusion after fusion after fusion for back pain and I thought the success rate was around probably 70% to 80%. So I remember that would be reasonable for definitive operation, but that that it was a very clear and many patients feel the actual data of doing a spine fusion for back pain is only about 25% or less. In 1993, when we found that data out, I quit and then from 1993 to 2000, I did not really have much to offer people and I also had been hanging around the rehab doctors who look at pain much differently than surgeons do. I learned a lot about medications and sleep etc. in rise that their patients were doing more, they are more successful surgery than I was doing without the rehab doctors. And then around 1995 and 1996, I went into an extreme burn out and chronic pain myself. Now was in a really severe spot for about seven years and the process of the rehab doctors, my surgical experience, plus my own pretty extreme experience with chronic pain allowed me to put this all together in somewhat of an evolutionary way, but I have had chronic pain and severe migraines headache since I was 5 years old, and I have not had migraine headaches now for about five years.

5:42 Janet Love

And did I read you had some kind of neuralgia to the feet, burning to the feet, was that? Did I recall that correctly?

5:51 Dr. David Hanscom

You did. In 1980, when I first started my first year of orthopedic residency, I would go jog and a train in Hawaii and my feet would burn, I go "Oh this is odd, maybe the pavement is hot" and I just did not think about it and then of around three years my feet would burn quite a bit and then when I really went into this pretty extreme phase of my life with personal difficulties, etc. why my feet burning became worse and then in 2001, this became extraordinarily severe. I mean I felt like both of my feet were in a toaster and it was just awful, but again that's when the symptoms has also disappeared.

6:30 Janet Love

And that was true.

6:31 Dr. David Hanscom

I also has a ringing in my ears, tinnitus, it started around 1980 also. I had all sorts of really complicated explanations for the beginning of my years that is an extraordinary annoying symptom and that symptom is gone which really, really had shocked me.

6:46 Janet Love

So is that most of this time, I find it for myself and to keep all that areas in any professional have overcome have their own experiences as you are sharing. So I may right that you applied what you call the DOCC programs to your own symptoms?

7:03 Dr. David Hanscom

Correct. And it took me a long time to figure this out. I had no idea of what I was doing. I tried everything possible that did not work. I was in counseling for 12 years, I took every medication possible, I did my influence, relaxation techniques, etc. but all of them are helpful in a context, but what happened around 1999, I just read a book about sleep. It was the autobiography of William Dement, who started the Stanford Sleep Lab and he reported that only about 5% of doctors dealt with sleep and I simply started giving people Ambien which is a very aggressive medication to get people to sleep and just with this sleep, people will start decrease their pain by 20 to 30%, then I personally read this book called Feeling Good by David Burns, which was a book that single-handedly pulled me out of this extreme burn out and the combination of this sleep plus Dr. Burns' book, I started getting better and then as I pass on to my patients why the ones that would engage in the book plus the sleep was started getting better, then of course I always manage medications which medication management is a big part of the process and then eventually a course of physical therapy rehab is part of the process and then the final part called goal setting really is which our pure ally, is where I call the spiritual journey where people in chronic pain basically lose their sense of humor in a pretty big way. In fact, they are pretty upset and what happens if you lose your perspective, you become very socially isolated and as you become more and more isolated, more and more you __08:33__ this has spoken on pain pathways and these are going into this really deep hole. These are very horrible cycle and I went the whole route. I went the whole bit myself.

8:44 Janet Love

Do you believe or feel that you went that route in part to learn something to share with others?

8:52 Dr. David Hanscom


8:53 Janet Love

Okay, cause I found this fascinating is that as a doctor, but a surgeon, that many of the things that you expressed in your book, which are wonderful, you just don't hear that very often from doctors. You have a really broad view and yet at the same time, I found it practical and I believe I am that way, I am practical, I am spiritual even though I am not a doctor, but for a doctor in that perspective, you know obviously you had your own journey, so you obviously believe that that if something that just have happened?

9:52 Dr. David Hanscom

Right. Well what happened is that the book evolved on the things that worked. In other words, it was not pathway and just said, "Let's just try and see what happens". So we tried everything that did not work and then the question with my patients, I tried things that did not work also and well, we found out that three years ago and learn about this process called mind body syndrome and I did not really know what mind body syndrome when I started my journey about 15 years ago, but when I did found out that inadvertently what I was treating was called mind body syndrome and basically this is the brain terms of pathways not psychology and there is over 30 symptoms of mind body syndrome that are really pretty disabling in a lot of different levels by treating the root cause. Again, I had 16 of these 33 symptoms that everyone of them has got and essentially what you are doing, you are just simply calming down the nerves as if you truly calm it down, your pain threshold changes and at some point, the pain switch is turned off and so when I'm managing chronic pain, my goal is to get rid of chronic pain.

10:30 Janet Love

I like that __10:31__ management of significant symptoms they can look for.

10:36 Dr. David Hanscom


10:37 Janet Love

So tell me what's -- and I mean I have read the book, but let's tell the listeners in a short version, what you mean by calming down the nervous system?

10:46 Dr. David Hanscom

Well, what happened is that they have done studies in people with chronic pain. For instance, there was a study done in 2004. What they did was -- they call it functional MRI scan on volunteers who never had had pain and when I put a pressure on this volunteer's thumb, a certain part of the brain would light up then when I put the same pressure on this people's thumbs who had chronic pain more than three months, which is not that long, five parts of brain will light up. In other words, the brain was 500% more active in chronic pain than it was in people without chronic pain. Additionally, people with fibromyalgia which I will admit that I was one of the doctors who felt that fibromyalgia was somewhat of a gimmicky diagnosis, we did not know what's going on, when they do functional MRI scans on people with fibromyalgia, the entire brain lights up just like a Christmas tree.

11:36 Janet Love


11:37 Dr. David Hanscom

What happens -- the brain is essentially short circuits and what people do not understand and this is the part difficult for me as a surgeon, many times when I say that you don't need surgery, the patient hears me saying that I don't believe you. If they cannot see on a test unless they not real pain when the pain switches either on when the pain switches off and the pain switch could be on from a what you call a structural problem or soft tissue inflammation or the brain literally can short circuit and literally generate symptoms and as a surgeon, I do a lot of surgery. Our surgical success rate is extremely hype. So we are looking for a structural problem which means I cannot see down the test which you also have exact symptoms that match that bone spur or whatever I am looking at. In that scenario, our surgery works wonderfully well. We have the most enjoyable time in our practice doing nice surgery that works. What we don't do is that we don't do surgery on soft tissue pain because obviously, if you put a knife in the scar tissues or just tissue in general which already inflamed plus the brain is hyperactive, the chance of making people worse you know is at least 20% to 30% or more.

12:47 Janet Love


12:48 Dr. David Hanscom

And then of course, if you are doing surgery on mind body syndrome, which is a neurological problem, then of course there is no effect at all. Again, indeed we do a spine fusion which is a bony operation for soft tissue pain on mind body syndrome, the success rate will be zero. The overall success rate of doing a fusion for back pain is only about 22% to 24%.

13:07 Janet Love

That's low.

13:09 Dr. David Hanscom

It's very low.

13:10 Janet Love

That will mean that -- yeah I mean for the risk that you are taking, it is quite low. Go ahead.

13:17 Dr. David Hanscom

Well, we also found out if -- let's say we did the surgery and it did not work, but of course, there are some risks have asserted that the operation rate is 18% within a year. So the operation rate is almost as high as the success rate. Number one, __13:31__ reason why I quit in the surgery is __13:33__ which called a salvage surgeons, those were people have had multiple surgeries before they come to me and what I started to see was that the spine was solidly fused and then they put stress above or below the fusion, the spines also break down and those are major destructible problems so it starts out as a relatively minor problem now the spine has not been surgically assaulted now you have changed the mechanics and the break down is pretty extreme. I see people in wheelchairs after these operations __14:04__ commonly, like a well woman who had surgery in 1990 and ended up in wheelchair for 20 years. It took us two and half years working through the DOCC project with the sleep and stress. We did two major operations. She is on over 1000 mg of oxycodone a day and she is now off on narcotics. She is standing up straight. She is out of the wheelchair and so I am a pretty good guy right?

14:29 Janet Love


14:30 Dr. David Hanscom

Well, I am happy I contribute but I don't feel like about this what I don't like is that in my profession, this woman is 60 years old, so from ages 40 to 60 in the prime of her life, she was stuck in a wheelchair in chronic pain. That is not okay with me. That's why I wrote the book.

14:48 Janet Love

A good reason to write it. The patient you just mentioned, she sounds like one of your most challenging. Do you have any other story that you could share that would be similar to her. It could help people who are in these situations often I know I had chronic pain for years, different reasons of back pain, but you do feel like your pain is unique, there is no one else, its never gonna go away and I think it helps people to hear this really extremely cases. If you can help somebody that severe and you are right, you should not be in the point of your life and have your life taken away from you, especially if its being challenged or at least caused by any kind of medical treatment, but you know it does help people who have those kind of conditions to hear those stories that if it can happen for them, it can happen for me.

15:39 Dr. David Hanscom

Right. Well, again we have had probably 600 to 700 patient go to pain-free and I am asserted every time this happens with or without surgery I am always somewhat shocked and I go "What?" and I think this whole process is like a __15:57__ in 50 years. I think we are just starting to learn about the neurological system, the functional MRI scan, I think I would become much, much more sophisticated over the next 10 years, but even then we are so very, very excited. So when you find out if a person decides to engage and by definition, they have to simply take responsibility for their care, that's the starting point and that's why the book is called Back in Control. Once you decide to take responsibility, it's not a matter of, if you get better, it really is a matter of when. One gentleman who was about 30 years old and he was disabled. He had been in Law school so he cannot work due to numbness in his feet, tingling in his hands, back pain, not sleeping, really high anxiety. I talked to him __16:45__ very athletic guy, very likeable, very nice basically on medium dose of narcotics, some sleeping medications and then some counseling. I only saw him twice and maybe another two phone calls. He is from out of state and I just heard that about a year after we started the process with them, again this is mostly self directed, he basically quit to go to pre-law school, but is now going to pre-med school and I think he is enrolled in a medical school, pain-free, fully functional, no limitations. So when we talked about pain-free. It is not just pain in his back in the gym __17:17__ turning back the clock really moving forward without any medications and no disability. That's our goal.

17:24 Janet Love

That's huge.

17:26 Dr. David Hanscom

I had another woman who come in who had been in chronic pain for two years. She is a photographer. Again, her spine looked pretty good. She came to me from an injection doctor who was familiar somewhat with what I was doing. She was in four weeks which is pain-free. I was just absolutely shocked. A year later was absolutely pain-free doing the spine. On my website, on the homepage, there is little section called Getting Started. There is a little video link which says Charlie's Story and he was a gentleman who saw me about six years ago. This was at the beginning of the project. He had seen 16 doctors in six months. He was given 35 prescriptions. He came to me for a neck surgery. He had headaches, shoulder pain, upper back pain, numbness in his hands, but his neck didn't look that bad to me. I looked at them. We talked about sleep, we talked about stress, we talked about engaging in the project. He is one of the people who eventually told me quite a bit about the project, but I give him pain medications, I gave him anti-anxiety medications, we give him sleep medications. One of the basic part of the entire project was support writing exercises where you write down your negative thoughts and throw them away. He started to write like crazy, he read a feeling good book, he read a couple of other books and over about six months, he went to pain-free. He tells a very awkward story on the video on the website about how these nurses have simply calmed down, started to sleep, less anxiety, less pain. He is a big time radiographer down in Southern California, but he has been pain-free for at least six years playing golf at a very high level, fully functional taking on massive projects and he does not look of pain. (Crosstalk) Yeah, but it is also very standard story.

19:13 Janet Love

For you, when you are at the practice.

19:17 Dr. David Hanscom

Yeah, I know we'll say that there the pockets of mind body medicine. I don't __19:24__. I came to my own route of discovering mind body syndrome medicine, but __19:28__ Dr. Schubiner in Detroit, who wrote a book called Unlearn Your Pain, which beginner will have their basic approach of chronic pain and then Dr. Sarno back in the 1970s, basically described this concept called tension myositis syndrome and he figured it out. He found out that pain was linked with anger and frustration that somehow unlinking those made a huge difference and then any doctor that practices his principles which will begin inadvertently as I do has very similar results. My deployment on the scene is that if you take a structured approach that deals with all aspects of pain and the patient takes full responsibility, those are the ingredients. What I think my book offers people is I went through the process in a horrible way, I mean, not only did I have 16 extreme symptoms of mind body syndrome. What my patients have gone through, I have already been there and they can have it as bad as I had it, but I have already been there. That's why I am able to talk to him really in a fairly direct level about where they are at, what we can do, how he can get out of the hole. My contribution I think to the whole mind body syndrome process is my story and then the framework is their framework and then every person that gets better, we can take more responsibility, then take charge then a number of coach and a cheerleader more than a physician in the way. Of course I adjust medications and if this starts a problem, I am a spine surgeon at the end of the day, and when we combine the mind body syndrome concepts with the surgery, that's where success rate surgery comes up almost 100% because we do have the pathways as well as the structural problems.

21:14 Janet Love

Would you mention other doctors that was one of my questions is who else in the field, I mean how many people come to you from other parts of the country of the world for what your unique knowledge and are there other doctors out there that do what you do or similar?

21:30 Dr. David Hanscom

Well, my personal goal is to bring Dr. Sarno's concept in the mainstream medicine, I mean I am just __21:36__ who spent over trillion dollars a year treating those symptoms and the root cause essentially nothing to treat is unbelievably easy to treat cause this is not hard. Again, it is very patient directed. Once I figure out the variables that affect pain and the position become their resources not people told them what to do so. When the patient takes a very active role in their care, I suppose to a passive role, they started moving forward, is that moving forward that makes the difference and that is why is time after time after time but in Seattle, we are probably about 15 physicians now that have that type of energy. One of my best friends, David Tauben is in charge of the University of Washington Pain Clinic, one of my best friends, Jay Robinson also works over there and they basically put the whole paradigm into this concept of mind body syndrome medicine. Dr. Schubiner had come to Seattle and actually there are tons to learn about this process. I just started with Dr. David Clarke in Portland who now is out of practice, he is a gastroenterologist. By the way, irritable bowel syndrome is a classic symptom that responds extremely well to these principles, but there are resources all over the country that are now starting to come to life that are usually his principles.

22:49 Janet Love

In other fields besides spine and back.

22:52 Dr. David Hanscom

Well, again this has used the concept of mind body syndrome. I will just give you a bit of a list of my 16 symptoms. It goes migraine headaches, ringing in the ears, anxiety, obsessive thought patterns, obsessive compulsive disorder, PTSD, ADD, you know obviously chronic pain, back pain, insomnia, burning sensations around the body, spastic bladders, spastic bowel, everyone of those has remained sensitized nervous system. What are the metaphors have been using here recently which has resonated with different people is a concept of a photovoltaic cell which is a type of solar energy that converts sunlight directly into electricity. It really what happens your brain is simply taking stress and converting it into a chemical reaction and each person will respond to that chemical reaction differently (if you are walking on the street and a pitbull jumps out at a fence, but does not bite you, always your heart starts to race, you sweat a little bit, obviously you are anxious, well remember the dog did not touch you, he simply jumped out at you.) Why does that happen? Your body gave a chemical response. Well, you think in terms of chronic stress, your body is responding the same way. It is not as dramatic as that pitbull. That chronic stress is really what beats up the body long term. So you are lying on the beach in the sun, relaxing on vacation and your body feels good. The reason why you feel good is because your body is secreting chemicals that are similar to valium and if you're lying on the beach thinking about your boss who just shoot you out last week, it is not the sun that is allowing you to relax as your thoughts have been in the sun and being present in the sun and the beach causes you to relax but your body has a chemical response to that whereas your are going to think about boss that was yelling at you last week, why your chemical response is the opposite, your heart is still racing, you're frustrated, you're not having a good time, but you're still in the exact environment that you should be relaxed. It's your nervous system that allows your body to relax or not. So as far that nervous system could create almost any symptoms that it wants.

25:11 Janet Love

And we've got people that we deal within the same way and there is a mind, body, spirit approach that works very much like you are saying, but I have found that people that have the back issue and maybe if you can speak to this, it turns it on in a different way which you are talking about the hyper reactivity to the nervous system. Is there a particular reason _25:36_ fact that the spine connects to the whole body. It is because it perhaps triggers even emotions or memories in some way. Do you have any insight on that?

25:51 Dr. David Hanscom

Yes absolutely. I think one of the problems of back pain is sort of disabling is because it really hurts. I have had two back surgeries myself. I used to do heavy construction work and I completely destroyed my back. Of course, I have not had back pain for a long period of time, but I ruptured my own disc. I had a surgery. I end up in a postoperative correction requiring a second operation. I ended up with ringing in my ears starting then from the antibiotics, I had ulcers, I got kidney failures, I lost my job, I went to that process and back just really hurts. So I think the insult to your nerve system was just the degree of pain that you experienced with either a pinched nerve or back pain or both. It is pretty extreme, that is why I think back problems are somewhat to a problem compared to the symptoms, I mean, if irritable bowel is not great, but its not like a screaming horrible back pain or even worse, nerve pain and there is probably no other phenomenon in this universe worse than ongoing nerve pain. If the problem does not get better, it probably doesn't get worse than that.

26:54 Janet Love

One of the worst. Yes. Right I do speak to people, I like that. Things like the fibroids that grow post surgery, have you had experience with that. I mean, is that something that can come out of--maybe not escalated surgery itself, but something that's again dormant at the system as the surgery activates it. Do you ever have instances where you are seeing that.

27:20 Dr. David Hanscom

Yeah. Yeah I'm sorry I missed the first part of that question.

27:22 Janet Love

Like some kind of--I seen a fibroids that grow, __27:25__ may not be saying it correctly but something grows or wraps around the vertebrae or wraps around the nerve after the surgery. It can be caused by infection but--and the questions is where and why does that grow? Is it provoked by surgery? Is it something that the body is remembering? You ever had instances where you have patients that have these unusual unique things--specifically the spine area that you may not seen in any other type of pain--chronic pain issue.

27:55 Dr. David Hanscom

Well I think there is a misnomer about spine surgery and that people think that scar tissue causes nerve pain, etc. I disagree with that because every surgery, we do have scar tissue. If you do a surgery to remove scar tissue, _28:10_ six weeks later the scar tissue has now re-grown. A 100% of patients have scar tissue around their spine, but not everybody has pain. Most people don't have pain after surgery. I just took--I can find the scar tissue argument because it begins just with everybody. What I can buy is that I think __28:27__ Dr. Schubiner by these pain pathways are permanent. What I am learning __28:32__ successful operation on seven to six months ago, they come in with the exact same symptoms down their leg, same sciatica, historically I would do another MRI scan, taken back to surgery but what really happened is some stress or trigger in their life picked up the same pathway. What I have learned to do is that I will now first say, "Hey what is going on" and variably there is some real pre major stressor that just hit them out of the blue and when we look at from a pain pathway standpoint, 95% of the time we can calm it down in two to four weeks just going back to the tools and that is why we now are at the point where we just won't do surgery until people are familiar with the tools to calm down their nervous system because first of all, the postoperative pain is much less, the rehab is better and then when the pain pathways kick up again, we have tools actually come on back down and that has been very helpful.

29:28 Janet Love

Can you give us an example of some of those tools might be, I mean I have read it in the book, but give us a few examples to the listeners and that part of your DOCC program, correct? That you...

29:38 Janet Love

Require your patients to be a part of.

29:38 Dr. David Hanscom


29:41 Dr. David Hanscom

The DOCC program is D-O-C-C. It stands for Defined Organized Comprehensive Care _29:48_ to non-operative spine care is a little different or this chronic pain in general is that I am a surgeon and I was an intern for a couple of years. I did two years of internal medicine training prior to doing surgery and my mind says very surgical, if I wanted to put somebody to asleep I say look here is the medication I will see you back in three to five days or call me you either sleeping or you are not, whereas in my non-surgical days, I say what here is the list of prices of sleeping medication and I will see you back in a month. Well, if we are getting you to sleep, I want you to sleep now and the same thing with pain medications, I am going to address your pain but get the pain medications adjusted now. I also take a different approach in that I think pain medication should be the last to go with some acceptance to that because what happens, you are trying to decrease the pain load to the brain, you are trying to decrease--you try to calm down the nervous system and you're fighting off anxiety, not sleeping and fighting off the pain, your nervous system is so busy dealing with that it does not really have time to heal. When I say defined organized comprehensive care, I think I do a structured approach, again if you look at the parts of the process, there is nothing new, but everything is organized and whether if you can understand them then the other answer is not one answer to chronic pain, you stay with every aspect of pain, you chip away at it, at some threshold, the pain goes away. For instance, let's take acupuncture which I historically not really been pretty much in favor of because it does not really solve things. Well guess what, if you calm the nerve system down or some people acupuncture a wonderful thing. There is three parts to this whole nervous system process. There is awareness, detachment and reprogramming. So the first thing is sleep, the second this is calming down the nervous system which is these three tools of awareness, detachment, reprogramming and remember, pain pathways are permanent.

31:45 Dr. David Hanscom

Once you have a pathway in your brain, it's like riding a bicycle as your permanent pathway. Unless you can create alternative pathways around those permanent pathways, you can't move forward. When you use things like acupuncture, __31:58__ meditation as a starting point, it does not cut through the circuits. I mean a highest __32:02__ meditator could cut through the circuits, but most of us can that is why we are starting a simple writing exercises, or simply writing down negative thoughts and throwing them away. It actually came out of a harrowing experiment back in 1987 where Dr. Wagner showed that if you try not to think about something, you think about it more or by actually saying or writing down the actual thought you are trying to suppress breaks up the circuit and what I found out that the sequence is really critical is that you became of the negative thought or the frustration, you write it down, you created a distance between you and that thought so that's a detachment process which you connected that space with vision and feel. Then after that you can do almost anything whether it is art, __32:44__ music, I was interested in your website by the way with the things that you have to offer because that is the phase where your tools become very powerful once you basically lay--something like digging digits, you are just laying the foundation from the rest of the process. I have not seen anybody get better without doing the writing exercises.

33:05 Janet Love


33:06 Dr. David Hanscom

And every physician that I see that does my mind body syndrome medicine inadvertently or maybe by design, structured the writing. It has been very frustrating.

33:16 Janet Love

Yeah I did the same thing and _33:18_ I did the vision board _33:20_ the vision journals as well can be done one piece at a time this actually would overwhelmed dig through the subconscious for some people is monumental facts and this can be _33:32_ and so you kind of do it in a way that some people are threatened even by writing, so sometimes just cutting on a picture in a magazine can process. I understand I was just kind of reviewing the book and what you said was detaching from the circuit and the spine itself is just the big circuit into the whole body. So each of those, do you find that each of the vertebrae represent and this maybe to, I don't know if it is, just tell me represents the set of emotional patterns that goes _34:05_ because we know for instance liver can hold anger and do you find that some people have maybe the lower lumbar have different set of emotional consideration versus somebody with a neck or cervical pain if that of a relevant observation.

34:20 Dr. David Hanscom

You know, I think it is, I honestly don't know. Actually it does not work -- let me ask you--can I ask you a question for a second? I am guessing you probably had a fair amount of success using your approach in probably helping a lot of people in chronic pain. Correct?

34:34 Janet Love


34:36 Dr. David Hanscom

I mean. If I look at you separately very carefully, I was impressed with the processes that what _34:43_ trying to do, again my book is not a form, which you are trying to shift the nervous system from pain pathways from into a different realm. In a literature intuitive website and that's my whole goal at this stage five is the spiritual journey is that people chronic pain become very socially isolated. Their nervous system actually shrinks. I think what happens our brain just consume to these obsessive thought patterns and what they are doing with the intuitive work as you shift into a more social open world to the conscious breaking really want to do one thing at the time as you shift your nervous system into these new pathways, that is when the pathways simply snap shut and they are off.

35:27 Janet Love


35:27 Dr. David Hanscom

But also the fun part for us has been, I am sure just for you also in that level of __35:32__ the life just really transforms. It is not just the pain disappearing. They actually get our life back as more powerful than they ever dreamed.

35:49 Janet Love

Correct! Well, I have that myself and I think that is what you and I share in common. I appreciated about your book with the -- well it is because you are a doctor and you have the detail that goes into the physiology of it. From my point of view, I got more into the __35:57__ because __36:00__ have to do, I basically got myself well. I could not find a doctor to help me get well. I was sick for 15 years.

36:07 Dr. David Hanscom


36:08 Janet Love

And so I had to do it myself, but regardless of that, it was true all the work using a variety of the tools, I have stacks of journals, stacks that kept from when I'm really, really sick and the only way I could walk out of that a bit was walking through it. So, I again everything you said in your book other than again some of the more technical things and the perspectives you have are very similar and right on with the philosophy that I have that I know that will works for people of all different types and people who came to see me, like you I have done the work and that's the story and I loved that about your book as well, as you tell your story you are authentic and that's what, I think most people are looking for but it is so refreshing to see it in a doctor because most patients who see me or clients to me patients to my partner who is a doctor but they are still used to being turned down and turned off. There is no acknowledgement that they are entire being and an entire person and you have to address the whole person. You have to give that respect in that honor and the intuitive body will not respond without it and that's really what is you are supporting that I can see from my terminology. We just have a little set of different terminology but I think we say the same thing.

36:26 Dr. David Hanscom

Well, absolutely correct. Right. There's a light.

37:28 Janet Love


37:38 Dr. David Hanscom

Absolutely I mean one thing that I find out is that one of my conscious that come out for the last couple of months and this probably not with you is that your pain pathways are permanent and that sounds very discouraging and then you can't create pathways around the pain pathways that are very effective and the pain would just drop down. What hit me about three months ago is that pain pathways are permanent, but play pathways are also permanent. I mean all of this at some point of life had some sense of play. Those pathways are there, life tends to wear us down and bury those pathways but they are there. One __38:09__ patients who -- a conversation with a patient this afternoon which did a phenomenal job, she has been through a lot of surgery I just asked her __38:21__ why it do so much better and something quick in her to become creative we get and that questions the essence of spiritually the way it is being creative. One of my website post as you know talks about going reactive to creative. We take the word reactive, we take the letter C out of the word and put it at the beginning, the word become creative. You cannot be creative when you are reactive of course when you are reactive you are angry of course your chronic pain, there is a lot of frustration and chronic pain. By definition, if you are reactive you simply cannot be creative. So, if you can "C" first put the C at the beginning, is kind of a stimulus automatic reactive response -- you know those stimulus choice of response as you make the different choices, you bring such creative new pathways. What does not work is positive thinking, in another words, positive thinking just suppresses negative thinking.

39:13 Janet Love


39:14 Dr. David Hanscom

But I am in the positive experience it and once you shift your pathways into this positive experiences being rewarded back to those pathways. People can get better very really quickly. It does not take very long in a way.

39:30 Janet Love

__39:30__ really I mean __39:31__ biofeedback work as well and strictly, we are talking about just from a different perspective. I may use the horizon of other types, but you really, really re-programming exactly understand that much, much better, but what I find interesting and I want ask you the question to give your website that again, the one that people can go to and what it would be like for a patient let say that they are coming in to see you, maybe they have come across the country. What would be their process? What would they have to go through to see you and what, how long would it would take them that kind of things, just on a practical level. Somebody is going to listen to thing or come to our archive. What would they need to do?

40:08 Dr. David Hanscom

Well, first of all I'm a little embarrassed about this. I work about 80 hours a week. So my capacity for -- I did primary chronic pain for about five years. I was in __40:19__ myself. Now, I'm in major medical center doing very complex surgery. The actually ability for me manage campaign right now is almost zero. However, I now have about five physicians on campus who are excellent. As Swiss Health Services or Swiss Medical Center why there is a lots of pain resources that are readily available and we work as a team. So my pain doctors need a surgical consult. What this certainly needs to be done or not, I simply define the problem surgically. What I've done is develop a key around me, it is not quite formalized what we want but I think you will be much better. I have a website called I always found that I keep it in __41:04__ all over the country that reading a book is helpful that is a starting point, but reading a book is not going to solve your pain problem. Chapter 9 of the book is the actual play of the book. The website matches chapter 9.

41:20 Janet Love


41:28 Dr. David Hanscom

There are five stages, five steps each and each stage is about 8 to 10 weeks. One patient goes to through the 3 to 5 stages in about two days and it goes why still hurts. So, remember reprogram the nurses take some time in repetition it always starts to writing exercises. There is a series of other books to read with the anxiety first and then frustration is second. When we unlink the anger and pain pathways that should people get better is in stage two. Stage 3 is one of the __41:52__ meditation phase and lifestyle __41:57__ pretty quickly at that point. Stage 4 is just giving yourself re-organize __42:02__ engage with friends, with family moving forward is a process to say refer to called the __42:07__ process which is a process that does about five years of this reprogramming in about eight days. I have about 10 patients go down there and you have to be ready for it. It is not one that you go down to solve your pain problem and __42:23__ right now is to develop a pre-hopping pain process, but has had a patient died on the surgery on about 18 years ago. She has had a scoliosis that had got infected. I took out the rods and I did not know anything about chronic pain back then. Nothing. And I thought things were fine. Well, she went on for 18 years to have chronic pain, but episode back then was so traumatic I had no idea. She came to my office about a month ago. She says "I read your book. I'm excited I'm going to Hoffman" and she is doing a bit of Hoffman for about 10 days and she is absolutely pain free for the first time in 10 years. But in Hoffman did not solve it. Hoffman is an integration process __43:02__ done and integrated it. So again you did not have got to Hoffman to get fixed, but it is one of the final phases that takes you into the spiritual route. It really just changed your perspective dramatically. Then, in the stage 5 I call it spiritual journey, which means giving back, etc and really just engage in a very much bigger perspective then just __43:21__ carefully if you try to fix yourself the harder you try to fix yourself, the worse it gets in a way. No words are getting just quite out of formula. That's not going to work.

43:35 Janet Love

Do you find there...go ahead I'm sorry to interrupt. Go ahead.

43:39 Dr. David Hanscom

So, the bottom line is a very, very 95%, this is a self-directed process.

43:47 Janet Love

Do you find that there are people that resist and I think I know the answer, but that resist just like come to see you that -- you know I think there is still a way to fix this through some other means.

43:59 Dr. David Hanscom

Right. That is the hardest part of the process __44:01__ right now is that many chronic patients are very angry. There is a lot of genealogy of anger which is in circumstance that you blame your victim then you are angry. There, I call it perceived victimhood versus real victimhood. Perceive victimhood to me is somebody that trapped in traffic or hurt your feelings nothing there actually physically happen to you there is certain circumstance to blame your victim, then your angry. Real anger is when somebody assaults you or robs you or hurt your child. That is real victimhood. Chronic pain is real victimhood. There is circumstance to blame your victim when your angry and chronic pain is real noxious physical stimulus that really irritates you plus you had on the employer or the doctor who did not do get operation etc had been brushed on the system. There is a certain level of anger I just cannot break through and the hardest part of this process, it took me about 10 years to figure this out is that somebody does not want to engage, the harder I try to convince them do engage the more angry they become. There is nothing that I can do. And in fact, the best thing I can do for somebody who is really angry is just to let go and said I'm sorry I really can't help you out.

45:13 Janet Love

Yeah, because they started to get to the end of it. They have to get to the end of the anger.

45:19 Dr. David Hanscom

Well, I agree with that. I do not know the right answer because one of the symptoms of mind body syndrome is obsessed of thought pattern. So in other words, these circuits become their own circuits. Is that make sense -- I mean quite in lieu.

45:31 Janet Love


45:32 Dr. David Hanscom

So, you come assessed with finding the cause of the pain. The doctor cannot find it. There must be something wrong and the answer is there is something wrong is that your pain switch is stuck on, on and again even if you do a surgery that is correct it does not matter. It's like phantom limb pain where you cut somebody's leg off for diabetes or blood pressure issues.

45:54 Janet Love

Yeah, the pain is still there.

45:56 Dr. David Hanscom

It's a very definitive structural problem while the pain switches completely on. The body still feels the leg and the pain. The same thing here is that you need appropriate operation and that is why we have been so much better in the last five years because we know how to help people trying to pain switch off then we decrease the pain not even more with the great operation, it is really magical, we have great time with that. But if somebody is really angry even with appropriate operation, their pain will not go away.

46:25 Janet Love

And so in that case you would not work with them or refer them out to someone else and tell they ready.

46:33 Dr. David Hanscom

Well, what I do I'd --will talk and evaluate them and say like is structural problem or not we can or cannot do surgery and here some material read, so the first step is simply to unlearn about all the facts __46:42__ back pain. I mean just simply educating yourself about pain is very important that is number one. Let say -- you know you going to come out to couple of weeks we will talk about it they will go to work and about half of the patients, I worked with and I working very hard. My presentation they really just want to kill me and I do not feel good about that.

47:04 Janet Love


47:05 Dr. David Hanscom

But I do not know what to do -- you know so I found out that the harder trying to talk to at that point, now turn me into my administration. They will wrist hate letters to me, they will talk to my nurses and we just have learned that we just cannot help. Anger is a complete disconnect from reality and is not rational. The problem is people a bit angry for so long __47:27__ anger but being strong nationalism, strong patriotism, being right, strong opinion, rigid thinking, structure thinking. These are all disguises of anger which I personally have for the last 50 years and so if anger is your baseline state, you do not recognize not be in at anger. For me personally is very __47:47__ for me is that I am not in an angry state anymore. Right into the mode one day of anger __47:57__ about we have energy out of me. It is really different. (Crosstalk)

48:04 Janet Love

Yeah. Well, a lot of people live like that. Yeah. It is a very parasitical emotion I think. It does. It takes energy straight from you. I was just kind of reading through you're becoming aware of your unawareness. I think that is really, someone who is not angry and I have certainly ran into them myself and there was a time I was angry just like you, I completely understand that phase I get it especially if they had been abused in the system because I was, but I can get over with. If you have choice, you have everything to get on and get over or you are not and they did so. __48:38__ figure out that people will or would not go there but that is an art to learn your unawareness. I love the way you put that because that is one of the things that I will share to people is there is a layers to your pain or there is layers to your health problems whatever it is and you have to peel it back a layer at a time and that is what you have done beautifully with your DOCC program. You done it in a way that is organized and anyway I thought that was refreshing, yes, you're not. You know you are not saying anything that so revolutionary. It is just the way you have organized it and put it together and especially in the area of back pain because it is so prevalent and it makes me wonder too when people have so many back pain issues. If they do not feel the way of the world literally on them. I mean that's metaphor but the back carries the burden of carrying the body upright. If you have a back problem, you have hard time walking through life and it makes everything is difficult. (Crosstalk) Go ahead.

49:34 Dr. David Hanscom

I __49:34__ coached by you for a second. I might try some language here and I think this is more reality than mind, but I mean I always think that the whole thing is about connection. I think as you become disconnected from who you are as a person that things are only build. These patterns build up, this pathways build up, then you become physically fixed and once you reconnect with who you really are, then you really move right passed the pain pathways onto a different light, but I think we are disconnected by our environment, by our family, by our friends, by our express in general and to me, the whole process is really about connection. Once the person connects with who they are is really like opening a door of a cage of a wild animal. I really going to stop them for getting better. I really just want to watch.

50:22 Janet Love

Yeah. I agree with you.

50:24 Dr. David Hanscom

Do you agree with that?

50:25 Janet Love

I agree because once you tune them they get turned on to the process. They take care of it themselves. Its just a matter of...

50:29 Dr. David Hanscom


50:30 Janet Love

Of how -- finding the magic key that works for them and some...

50:38 Dr. David Hanscom


50:39 Janet Love

...people get turned on with one thing, one turns on with it, when I became an artist, I did not know I could paint and I am doing finger paints at first just getting color because I was so gray. I could not feel like, I could not feel color and I just did finger paints and out of that blossom, I have got pieces of art that I have made. I did not know I could paint I have no idea. You do not know what you can do until you start using that creativity and that's what a turn on to me. Other people -- you know it varies to person to person, but I agree with you. You cannot stop them from going what is __51:11__ and yet I have got other people who are stuck, stuck after...

51:15 Dr. David Hanscom


51:16 Janet Love

After years of working with them and they are still angry and I know that and they cannot see their anger. That's 90% of it, so that you are right. It is one of the hardest emotions I think to get over and get __51:28__.

51:29 Dr. David Hanscom

Well, also with your anxiety and anger are the same thing, I mean basically...

51:30 Janet Love


51:31 Dr. David Hanscom

Anxiety is loss -- I'm sorry what anger is a lost of control and what causes the need for control is anxiety only least control the situation that causes anxiety become angry. So, anxiety represents the feeling of being helpless and vulnerable which were all really hate and then anger represents just very powerful feeling which we can't __51:56__ it is now coming to the medical world __51:56__ coming in a chronic pain and then other words chronic pain is a victim mode but it is also very powerful sensation of your victim. The most powerful role ever and it is hard to let it go. And I always tell my patient this is one part of the process that there is no answer to. You are going make a decision or not.

52:14 Janet Love


52:15 Dr. David Hanscom

__51:15__ convince you to let it go. I think I saw your website, the __52:22__. __52:23__ she is also a medical intuitive. But she tells this powerful story of this __52:28__ Indian captured by the Nazis and that video was absolutely a game changer for me because the Indians really said, look get your spirit back or your really do not need to be on this planet they have __52:42__ cold water that was deep. You cannot swim and he had to figure out very, very quickly in the hill and there is something about anger that certainly disconnection from your spirit that you really can't thrive as a human being once you let that go, but unfortunately with chronic pain is such a negative intense force. Every time you are awake in the dark and this screwed up, when the employer just screwed you on the car accident. And every time I get patient make a lot of progress when they get __53:11__ they comes onto that one event that start of the pain that the brain is actually stuck up they cannot let it go and (crosstalk) I am assuming you find these images that one anger thing, I mean it easy to forgive a little angers in life but there is a core anger that you have to let go off.

53:32 Janet Love

Yeah and -- yeah you're right and that at some people, it is mixed with other things, so you addressed that because often it is hidden abuse that they may not have dealt with and typically I find that, that is -- and they either do not remember it, do not want to remember it, could be __53:51__ of reasons behind that but there is almost always hidden pathways you might say, just as to say that pain has those pathways right down they hold energy and they hold time and they hold memory and I had a lot of that come out on me, but I did a lot of body work, I did a lot of mental, spiritual, I did it all. There was a much I did not do and I do find there are people who are limited in what they are willing to do. They are just -- there are going to go so far if it is does not work, they going to stop or they say they going to go further but they really stops that doorway that would really open that -- it is a parasitic energy to me that just keeps that holding on. So, there is not a magic pill. I have said the same thing to my clients. There is not a magic pill. It is choice and it has been action to say one day I am going to wake up and I either balance the wall this way or I can balance the wall that way and I am going to choose this way because this way empowers me. This way does not, but if they are willing to do it, there is not much you can do. You're absolutely right. That's a tough one.

54:59 Dr. David Hanscom

By the way, the book that came into my practice I change I practice also is a book called "Forgive For Good" by Fred Luskin at Stanford and he and I -- he is a wonderful guy. He is a PhD psychology at Stanford. He just received a lifetime achievement award for __55:13__ forgiveness and he and I are doing a five-day seminar back at the Omega Institute in New York, August 18-23.

55:24 Janet Love


55:25 Dr. David Hanscom

And we are very spaced on somatic work, it is going to be about reconnecting. It is not going to be very didactic. My wife is also is a performer. She is going to be in charge of the somatic work. She is a tap dancer and as well as the mind, but anyway it is only a five-day seminar I think it is very entertaining and I think for people that we have done all a bit of work in all the model I think it will be a lot of fun but anyway that is August 18 to 23 at the Omega Institute back in New York.

55:51 Janet Love

Is that on your website as well?

55:52 Dr. David Hanscom

It is on the homepage of the website at the bottom right, it is called your Brain Without Pain.

56:00 Janet Love

Huh. Okay great. I will make sure that we post this on Facebook. It will be on my website so that anybody who either archives this. Normally, we have some callers and they were nearly out of time but today we -- I had a couple of people pool in to the chat and then moved out pretty quickly so we would normally have that but often afterwards we have a tremendous on a people that are pull up at the archive. So, I will make sure that I make note the web or your website for sure this August 18 to 23 seminars and your book will also be there. I will make sure all of these gets noted and so that anybody who wants to either contact you or read your book can do that. You have a lot to offer tremendous life to offer for people really amazing, truly. So for anybody that has tuned in, it is 646-478-3089. We have just a few moments left with Dr. Hanscom so if you have any questions, please tune in now or get onto the chat and let us know. If there is a one final parting take away today besides what he have already given us which is rich. Is there any one thing that you would want to share to someone out there who -- you know a suffer, we talked about a lot of it, but is there is any other additional tidbits that you want to throw out their form?

57:07 Dr. David Hanscom

Well, I really think there is hope. I do not care how you __57:17__ 18 months chronic pains were unstoppable. We have people with 30, 40, and 50 years of chronic pain having disappeared. So there is lots of hope. I still have yet seen a pain problem that has not been unstoppable with engagement and really, the thing with responsibility in engaging is just absolutely most part of it. So I am really grateful that __57:38__ like you are too.

57:41 Janet Love


57:42 Dr. David Hanscom

And so -- you know the really it is your journey that you can take and I think we can help you shortcut it. I think we have learned the hard way that was possible, but usually within -- it took me 15 years, we see people have been through __57:54__ getting better and we were just very excited about it. But there is lots of hope. You do not have to be taken down by chronic pain.

58:00 Janet Love

That is a great take away. Well, I want to thank you so much, I appreciate you coming on air, sharing your story and all of your best knowledge. We will make sure that we make all of your information available to our side of it and I will be sending you a copy of the show. So, thank you so much Dr. Hanscom, we appreciate it.

58:21 Dr. David Hanscom

Well, thank you very much.

58:23 Janet Love


58:24 Dr. David Hanscom


58:25 Janet Love

Bye-bye! Take care. Thank you listeners we will see you again in a week and we have some other special guest. We will post on our website. So please tuned back in to the Janet Love show. We will have additional great programs for you. Thank you. Bye-bye.