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Dr. Hanscom's Blog Overview of Healing Chronic Pain – A New App

Discussion in 'Mindbody Blogs (was Practitioner's Corner)' started by Back In Control Blog, Oct 11, 2021.

  1. Back In Control Blog

    Back In Control Blog Well known member

    It is well documented in the medical literature that chronic stress kills. Why? It is because when you are exposed to threats in any form, your body goes into a defensive survival state of “flight or fight” where you are consuming energy. When this is sustained, your body utilizes energy from your own tissues, including tendons, ligaments, fat cells, internal organs, brain cells, and breaks them down. This response also includes the powerful immune system, which is intended to ward off cancer cells, viruses, bacteria, and any foreign invaders. However, when it remains fired up, your inflammatory cells will also attack and destroy your own tissues.

    It is necessary for your body to be in a safe state in order to rest and regenerate to build up your reserves for inevitable daily threats. When you are in a “rest and digest” state, you are repairing tissues and storing fuel.

    The essence of chronic mental and physical disease is sustained exposure to threats. The foundation of sustaining life is minimizing your exposure to fight or flight chemistry and maximizing your time in safety.

    Since the survival reaction is hard wired in every living creature, it is not responsive to rational control or interventions. How can you effectively deal with it?

    Two aspects of healing

    The DOC Journey guided course and the upcoming app break down treating chronic disease, including pain, into two separate parts that are dynamically in play.

    • Efficiently processing the hardwired reactions that humans call anxiety and anger
    • Moving into your life’s vision of what you desire

    Picture your life as a bathtub. The water flowing through the faucet represents the enjoyable, rejuvenating parts of your life. Then visualize an unusually large drain that represents anxiety and anger. If you’re agitated, that means the drain is wide open, and it won’t matter how much water you pour into the tub, it will never fill up. It will be impossible to build up your energy reserves to the level you need to fully enjoy your life. There are many ways of plugging the drain and filling up your life with pleasures is not one of them. You can’t keep up.


    Now imagine running the bath water with the drain closed. You’ve learned how to effectively process your stresses and now you can relax in the tub and enjoy yourself.

    Processing stress – plugging the drain

    Here are some basic concepts you’ll learn regarding the nature of threats and how to process them.

    • Anxiety and anger are automatic hard-wired reactions to any real or perceived mental of physical danger. They are powerful, are the gift of life, and cannot be changed. But they can be reprogrammed.
    • They are intended to be so unpleasant that you are forced to take action to survive. However, the unconscious brain is not who you are and should not be taken as part of your identity.
    • Since you cannot live without anxiety and anger you must develop a “working relationship” with them in order to heal. You can’t take them personally.
    • You can minimize your time in the flight or fight state from three different portals, all of which are useful and necessary every day.
      • The input – what is loaded into your nervous system
      • The state of your nervous system – calm or hyper-reactive
      • The nature of your body’s response – you can directly lower your stress response.

    The first five legs of the guided course are focused on “plugging the drain.” This is accomplished by learning skills in all three of these domains. It requires awareness and repetition to embed and apply them. As you become more proficient, you’ll have more energy to create and execute your vision. The final legs of the journey are learning to develop an organized approach, build a strong foundation, and build your life. The metaphor is a new home.

    Moving forward towards your vision

    Your brain is composed of about 80 billion nerve cells called neurons. Each neuron is connected to 10,000 other neurons. None of the neurons touch each other. There is a space between each one of the called a “synapse.” The communication between each cell is through chemicals called neurotransmitters. There are excitatory and calming ones. Your brain is not just a circuit board. It is an organ that is a control center receiving input and sending out commands to respond to your circumstances. It changes every second and will evolve wherever you place your attention.

    The definitive solution for healing is moving towards and creating neurological circuits (neuroplasticity) that are functional and enjoyable. As you spend more time in this part of your brain, your pain circuits will atrophy from less use. If you spend your time trying to “fix” your mental or physical pain, you’re reinforcing the problem and you’ll continue to spiral down.

    Solving chronic pain lies in creating your vision of what you want your life to look like, developing a game plan, consistently executing it, and using your expertise to deal with your automatic stress response. Like any skill, it requires repetition and persistence to acquire. Just reading a book or rushing through this course will not accomplish this.

    Legs six and seven turn your attention to moving into wellness, while at the same time encouraging you to sharpen your stress processing tools. You will be armed with weapons to better deal with adversity and move towards your vision.

    Basic healing concepts

    • The human organism has but one function and that is to survive. It is not intended to provide you with a good time. The only reason living creatures rest and play is to regenerate. Humans do have the option of learning to enjoy life, but it is a learned skill.
    • The unconscious brain processes about 20 million bits of information per second where the conscious brain can deal with only 40 bits per second. Trying to rationally control the automatic survival reaction is impossible.
    • Physiology is the term used to describe how the body functions. It is your body translating internal and external cues into action to ensure survival.
    • Anxiety represents the bodily sensations created as a result of real or perceived threats. It is the result of stress and not the cause. It is also just a descriptive word and not a diagnosis.
    • You cannot take what humans call anxiety and anger personally. They are basic to all life forms, but we have language to describe these reactions. Your body via your nervous system is just doing its normal job.
    • Mental pain is a much bigger issue than chronic physical pain. We cannot escape our consciousness and unpleasant thoughts. Anxiety, depression, bipolar, and obsessive-compulsive disorders are all inflammatory and respond to the strategies outlined in this course. As your mental health improves, your physical symptoms will resolve.
    • It is critical to spend only about 15 minutes a day on the guided course and then spend most of your efforts on sharpening your skills to deal with adversity.
    • At some tipping point, creating the life you want will become your focus, and you’ll move away from pain.
    • Not only do patients break free from the grip of chronic pain, but they are also able to thrive at a level they never knew was possible.

    The DOC app

    The DOC Journey guided course provides a foundational set of tools to process stress and move you forward towards your vision. The DOC app will be released this fall and will additionally create experiences that will help you relax and relearn to play. The ultimate chemical composition for your health is when you are laughing and connected to the present moment. The sequence of the app is based on the following concepts.

    • Awareness – necessary for solving any challenge
    • Hope – an anti-inflammatory powerful healing force
    • Letting go/ processing anger – you can’t move forward while holding onto the past.
    • Moving forward/ Play – your brain will develop wherever you place your attention.

    The app is also educational and has a toolbox you can refer to anytime. The best part of it though, is that you’ll learn to “wake the fun up.”


    We just launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign – click here to visit the campaign. The app is in final beta testing and early users are excited about its effectiveness. Our launch is slated for late November. We are asking for your help in completing the last leg of our journey to finalize engineering, improve the flow of the app, and bring it to market.

    This app has evolved into a joyful experience, and it has been an unexpected privilege to be a part of so many stories of healing. Please help us in our efforts and thank you for your consideration.

    – David and Babs


    Visualize trying to cross a large scenic mountain lake while rowing a boat with a big hole in the bottom of it. The boat is slowly sinking, and you can’t easily both bail and navigate. Most of your efforts are focused on trying to stay afloat, and you don’t much energy left to enjoy the beautiful view and quiet.


    Again, the hole represents the drain created by ongoing anxiety and frustration. Once you can efficiently plug the hole, you’ll have the energy to live and enjoy your journey. Trying to outrun your automatic survival reactions can’t and doesn’t work. Processing stress and creating your vision are two separate but intertwined aspects of healing. Prepare yourself to better navigate your life. You have only one shot at it.

    Related posts:

    1. The Evolution of Chronic Pain
    2. Dynamic Healing
    3. 1 – Three Sources of Chronic Pain

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