Hoffman’s Role in Solving Chronic Pain
By David Hanscom, MD
The tools learned in the Hoffman Process can have a major impact on solving chronic pain if they are utilized in the right context, consistently.
I am a Process graduate and an Orthopedic Surgeon who specializes in complex spine surgery. Much of my work involves treating patients who have had multiple failed surgeries, suffer with severe chronic pain, and who struggle with depression and anxiety due to their on-going pain. My experience at the Process years ago changed my life profoundly. It also changed me professionally.
Solving Chronic Pain with Neuroplasticity
The essence of solving chronic pain is about stimulating the formation of new neurologic patterns of activity in the brain, separate from the chronic pain regions. The term for this is “neuroplasticity.”
Research has shown that chronic pain can have the same effect on quality of life as terminal cancer. It cuts a wide swath – over 100 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from various forms of chronic pain.
Three Aspects to Solving Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is curable. There are three aspects to the solution:
- Awareness of the physical, emotional, and neurological aspects of chronic pain has the same effect on the body’s chemistry.
- It is a complex problem and all aspects of it must be addressed simultaneously.
- The patient must take control of his or her own care.
Even as a surgeon, I suffered from severe chronic pain for over 15 years. The Hoffman Process was part of my journey to healing. I slowly pieced together my story, my patients’ experiences, and neuroscience research and came up with a framework of care. My concepts are presented in my book, Back in Control: A Surgeon’s Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain, 2nd edition. My website, www.backincontrol.com, is the self-directed action plan of the book.
Process Tools Stimulate Change
Hoffman wasn’t necessarily created to deal with chronic pain, but the tools taught at the Process are ideal for stimulating the brain to change. What might normally take years of work can be accomplished in the weeklong Hoffman Process.
At Hoffman, you learn to identify and disconnect from negative ways of being and thinking that developed unconsciously in childhood. The essence of solving pain is that you can’t solve it. However, you can separate from it and move forward by creating new neurologic pathways. Think of the Hoffman Process as a three-dimensional version of my book, Back in Control.
Working Toward Improvements
Reading Back in Control and working through the first two stages of the website is an effective preparation to allow you to take full advantage of the Hoffman Process. Ideally, your sleep should be improved, anxiety decreased, reactivity calmed down, and you should have some noticeable improvement in your pain.
The Hoffman Process will consistently change your awareness and you’ll move forward. Wouldn’t it be great to live a full life free of pain?
Other links regarding Hoffman:
Dr. Hanscom is a board certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in complex spine problems in all areas of the spine. He has expertise in adult and pediatric spinal deformities such as scoliosis and kyphosis. A significant part of his practice is devoted to performing surgery on patients who have had multiple prior spine surgeries. He works for Swedish Neuroscience Specialists in Seattle, WA.