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Turns out that "Don't get so Emotional" really is the answer.
March 01, 2015

"Yes You Can"
Living with Back Pain Newsletter

Hi Everyone,
My name is Dave and I run the website at Just like you, I am living with back pain and have been for many years. I started his website to try and help people, like myself, who are living with pain that will never go away.

"Yes You Can" live the life you want.


The Tenth Edition of "Yes You Can", #0010

Well, here it is another edition of "Yes You Can". I have been trying to use this space to kick around some ideas about ways to think about or approach living with your pain.

This month we are discussing a different aspect of pain that I have never considered before. This professor says that "Pain is an emotion". I am not sure that I agree with that completely. But it is an interesting point of view to consider, and it does support my idea that pain is what you make it.

We kind of carry that same thinking into the Distraction section by presenting an article on distraction and then discussing the nasty comments that some people made in response to the article. I certainly seems that some people insist on suffering.

From the web this month we have an exciting new treatment that is reportedly very effective for relieving knee pain for up to 6 months. If you have knee pain that is keeping you from being active this is something you need to see.

The latest webpage on Living with Back Pain has a little fun with a common term that nobody can explain, "slipped disk". I try to figure out exactly what slips. The intervertebral discs in your spine can do a lot of things but they cannot slip. I think :)

Anyway, that is what we have for you this month, I hope you enjoy it.

"Yes You Can" live the life you want.


Tough Talk About a Tough Problem

Exactly What is Pain??

Learning to live with chronic pain is a very personal experience and I definitely do not have all of the answers. The problem with discussing pain is that it is so subjective in every way. You can use words to describe your pain. But, does "sharp" mean the same thing to you that it does to me? Or, what about "severe", or "dull", or "burning".

Nobody really knows what you are feeling or experiencing, not your mother, not your spouse, not your children or the other people around you.

Pain is what "You" say it is.

Pain is what "You" make it.

I have always thought that what we experience as pain happens between our ears. It is our brain that makes it what it is. It is our brain that transforms that nerve signal, that sensation, into "HORRIBLE PAIN", annoying discomfort, or just another sensation.

Pain is an Emotion?

Well this guy, a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, carries it even farther. He says that pain is an emotion. My back pain is just an emotion? Wait a minute. I always thought my back hurt because of the two crushed vertebrae. You can see those on an x-ray. There ain't nothin' emotional about that.

An x-ray is objective evidence of an injury but it is not objective evidence of pain. There are a lot of people with pretty bad looking x-rays that are getting along pretty good. When you ask them about it, they say, "Yeah, its not like it used to be but I can still use it", or "Yeah, I knew something was wrong but it didn't feel horrible".

In spite of horrible x-rays they are only experiencing some discomfort. So maybe ........

Let's try and think about pain as an emotion.

I still can't quite get my head wrapped around the concept, but I like it. Pain is an emotion. Or at least maybe part of pain is emotional, like sadness or happiness. You can use your will power to focus on happy subjects and make yourself smile. You can use your mind to focus on distractions that make your pain less.

I agree that emotions, positive or negative, can make your pain better or worse.

This professor is quoted on, "Pain is an emotional response, and as such, can be modified by emotions. A positive emotional thought of any type will function as a dampening effect on pain."

Anxiety and stress are also emotions, and they will make your pain worse. This causes more anxiety and stress which makes your pain even worse. This is The Cycle of Pain.

Break The Cycle of Pain

Relaxation is the opposite of stress. Finding ways to relax can be difficult in some situations but to control your pain it is mandatory. Meditation, prayer, yoga, and visualizations are all ways to decrease stress and control your emotions, including pain.

You can practice thinking about what you are feeling as an emotion and using relaxation techniques to calm your emotions and reduce your pain. It will certainly not take away the feeling, but it can diminish the sharpness, the severity, the burning, and the stress that you experience.

You can read the entire article at Pain is an emotional response

Let me know what you think about pain as an emotion
Send me an e-mail at

People must choose to suffer.

"Yes You Can" live the life you want.


What Is In A Distraction?

Can a discussion about distraction be a good distraction? Will arguing about distractions make you forget about the pain you are experiencing.

This article, The Most Powerful Pain Reliever Revealed, written by Christina Lasich, MD, discusses the benefits of distraction as a way to manage chronic pain. I think that she makes a good case and presents pertinent points in a way that can be helpful.

Obviously these people disagree.
From the Comment Section

This lady presents an eloquent and passionate rebuttal.
Comment by Moonie

It appears that some people insist on focusing on how horrible their pain is and how miserable they are. It is all they talk about and all they want to hear about. They choose to stay in their own "little pity party" and they refuse to leave.

"If you had pain like mine..."

We all have pain and I bet mine is 10 times worse than yours!! :) But, how will we ever know. As we were discussing earlier there is no way to measure pain.

I absolutely know that my x-rays are worse than yours!! :) But, there is a poor correlation between findings on imaging studies (x-rays, MRIs, and CT Scans) and how much pain you are experiencing.

And, how do you explain the person with scoliosis and horrible twisted posture
(you know they must know what pain is)
who is running their own company and living a wonderful life.

OH!! That's right, I forgot, your pain is worse and you cannot do anything.
Okay, if that is your decision. I guess you will have to learn to live with it.

Everyone else come with me. We have things to do.
"Yes You Can" live the life you want.


Latest from the Web

This very interesting report from caught my eye because my knees are less than perfect.

This doctor in New York City is treating knee pain with tiny frozen needles that kill the sensory nerves around your knee. While the treatment is not painless, one patient reports that it hurts less than getting a tattoo.

Hard to understand how this could relieve the pain of a torn meniscus or severe osteoarthritis. But, if it works it works. If your pain was keeping you from working or being active, $1000 might seem pretty affordable for 6 months of relief.

You can read the entire article at New treatment instantly relieves knee pain.

Check the company website at Iovera for more information and to find a doctor near you.

"Yes You Can" live the life you want.


Latest News from

Can anyone explain to me exactly what slips when you have a "slipped disk". This latest page on Living with Back Pain explains this common misnomer.

Slipped Disk? What does that Mean?

"Yes You Can" live the life you want.


Well, that is it for this month.

Use your brain and "Don't get so Emotional". I am betting that it will make your pain more tolerable.

Shoot me an e-mail at and let me know what you think. Good or bad I read them all, and so far I have been able to keep up answering everyone's questions. Sometimes it takes me a few weeks to get through them all so please be patient.

Stay busy and enjoy your life because "Yes You Can" have the life you want.


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