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Learn to Recognize What is Bothering You
February 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 Ninth Edition of "Yes You Can", #0009

Well, here it is another edition of "Yes You Can". Have you ever considered hypnosis or self-hypnosis as a way to control what is bothering you?This month in the Tough Talk section I try to explain what I learned in a self-hypnosis class and how it can help you manage your discomfort.

Our distraction this month is another mind game with a twist. These things really do help to reduce your discomfort but only if you do them.

From the web we have travel advice and some good ideas on handling luggage and protecting your back beyond the usual "bend your knees and lift with your legs".

Our latest addition to Living with Back Pain talks about your sciatic nerves and reviews some danger signals that people with sciatica need to be aware of.

I hope you enjoy it.

"Yes You Can" live the life you want.


Tough Talk About a Tough Problem

Acknowlege Your Discomfort

Many years ago I took a course about self-hypnosis and chronic pain. The leader of the group taught us to get outside of our bodies and examine yourself and your situation from a 3rd person point of view.

Similar to meditation, self-hypnosis requires finding a quiet spot and gradually relaxing all of your muscles. As you become more relaxed you can imagine yourself as a 3rd person looking in and knowing everything you are feeling. In this way you can examine your discomfort objectively.

Look at things Objectively

Think about what you are feeling. Without emotion, objectively acknowledge that it exists. What does it feel like? How would you describe it to someone?

(Remember you are in a impersonal and detached state of mind)

What kinds of activities make it stronger? What positions or actions make it bigger?

Think about things you can do without problems. Think about things you can only do for a short time without developing an issue. Think about things that you should probably avoid.

Next start to think about the rest of your day. What will you be doing when you are done here? How will that affect your discomfort? Acknowledge it. "Yeah, I am going to be feeling it" or "this should be okay".

(Remember you are in a impersonal and detached state of mind)

What if the bother starts to get worse? How will you handle it? Can you change the way you are doing things? Change your position? Take a break? Come back later and finish?

It is only Pain

Grit your teeth and keep going, after all it is only pain. Is that an option?

Return to thinking about your breathing and gradually open your eyes and become more aware of your surroundings. When you are ready you can get on with your day.

As you get back to whatever you are doing and "the bother" starts bothering you you can think back and remember how you described your bother. Keep it in a unemotional detached kind of perspective(kind of like it is someone else's problem) and it will lose its power over you.

We know Nothing makes it go Away

Oh yeah I know it is still there. Nothing is going to take it away. But you can take away the power it has over you. You decide how it will affect you. You decide how you will react to it.

A wise person once said: You cannot always control what happens to you. But, you can always control how you react to what happens to you.

What I feel

I don't think I have ever said it out-loud to anyone but I think of my back pain as the rounded end of a broomstick being pushed into a spot just a little to right of the middle of my mid-back.

This spot just happens to be the location of a big overgrown deformed facet joint on my x-rays at the level of my two compression fractures.

My back pain goes all across my midback but it is the worst just a little to the right of my spine where that arthritic facet joint is.

It just is what it is.

Enough about me. When you think about your pain how do you imagine it? Is it big and scarey? Is it dull and boring? What color is your pain? Does it have a color? Does it ever change color? Can you change it to a more comfortable color?

I would be interested to know how you frame your pain. How do you think about it? What is it like? Seriously, I would like to know. Shoot me an email at and tell me about it.

People must choose to suffer.

"Yes You Can" live the life you want.


What Is In A Distraction?

Here is another Mind Game You can play to Manage Things

It is all about getting your mind focused on something besides your discomfort. The stronger your mind, and the more you practice, the better you will be at it.

Scientists have proved it.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin instructed people to fantasize about food while holding their hand in icewater. They found that people were able to tolerate the freezing cold water longer when they vividly fantasized about their favorite food.

Focus Your Mind

Strongly focusing on feelings and flavors and aromas and sensations can make your discomfort less.

What is your favorite food? Think about the feel of it in your mouth and how it tastes. Concentrate on the smell. Can you almost really smell it? Imagine the feeling when you bite into it and begin to chew.

Take a minute and try this little exercise. Because it really does reduce your discomfort.

You need to do it, No one can do it for You

I know most of you will probably just read this and say, "Oh, isn't that interesting", and move on to the next section. That's okay. All I can do is throw these ideas out here. It is up to you to pick them up and make them work.

Well that is my distraction for this month.
How much pain relief do you really want?
It is up to you. No one can do it for you.

"Yes You Can" live the life you want.


Latest from the Web

This brief article has some excellent ideas on how to protect your back when you are traveling.

5 Simple Steps to Avoid Back Pain When You Travel

Yes, he does have some good suggestions and I would add 1 more. This is the advice from a surgeon that I used to work with. The best way to protect your back is "Get someone else to carry it" :)

"Yes You Can" live the life you want.


Latest News from

This latest page on Living With Back Pain discusses some of the different ways that sciatica can present itself. We also point out some red flags that everyone with sciatica should be alert for. If these dangerous signs are ignored you are risking permanent disability.

Check it out at Sciatica Nerve Pain.

"Yes You Can" live the life you want.


Well, that is it for this month.

Here's hoping everyone stays well. Learn to use your brain and you can control whatever is bothering you. Be thankful for the good things in your life and do whatever you can to help others.

Shoot me an e-mail at and let me know what you think. Good or bad I read them all.
Stay busy and enjoy your life because "Yes You Can" have the life you want.


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