Here are links you can follow to learn more about the 5 sources of chronic pain. I encourage you to click one to continue your journey to recovery. If none catches your attention from the descriptions, start with this 20/20 news program segment.

  1. Signals. After you have seen your physician and ruled out things like cancer or torn ligaments or tendons, then a great place to begin is Dr. Sletten Discussing Central Sensitization Syndrome (CSS). Sensitization, as I define the term, involves not only an exaggerated response to signals from the body, CSS, but also the ability of the brain to create the experience of pain without signals from the body as discussed in videos by psychologist Alan Gordon and Dr. Howard Schubiner. Please don’t be confused by the different names for the basic problem that I am calling Sensitization. Alan Gordon calls it Psychophysiologic Disorder. Howard Schubiner calls it Mind Body Syndrome / Tension Myositis Syndrome. It has also been called Chronification, Tension Myoneural Syndrome, Stress Illness and Autonomic Overload Syndrome. With apologies to those who use the different names, I use Sensitization because people in chronic pain easily understand and agree that sensitization is a problem for them. Also, it clearly points to the solution: reducing sensitization.
  2. Thoughts. Professors Lorimer Moseley and David Butler have a great cafe chat video about their new book, Explain Pain Handbook: Protectometer and Explain Pain Second Edition, which is a great tool for exploring your own thoughts that may be contributing to your own pain. David Butler has a wonderful talk about Danger in Me and Safety in Me that can be helpful in guiding your exploration.

    Professor Beth Darnall teaches  “Harnessing the Power of Your Thoughts for Pain Control”

  3. Emotions. Dr. Howard Schubiner’s work on EAET, or Emotional Awareness and Expression Therapy is a good place to start. Professor Beth Darnall has a clear YouTube video on the role of emotions in chronic pain. It is part of Stanford Back Pain Education Day with many excellent talks. Dr. John Sarno really helped me. His 20/20 Segment really motivated me to get started and I continued with his great books The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain and Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection. Many, many people have been healed with this video and these books. As a scientist, I feel compelled to mention that science has moved beyond Dr. Sarno’s mechanism for sensitization: the brain creating chronic pain by depriving tissues of oxygen. But, despite this minor flaw, Dr. Sarno’s books have a unique ability to communicate with the unconscious mind and reduce sensitization.
  4. Benefits. Professor Silje Endersen Reme”s Ted talk Pain, Is it all in your mind?  gives clinical evidence for the role of benefits in chronic back pain.
  5. Associations. Scott Musgrave, MSPT, has a clear video emphasizing how associations to past trauma can engage a state of fight or flight and cause chronic pain.

There are more resources here at