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Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can transcend the purely physical cause that set it in motion and turn into a crisis that envelopes the entire person. Learn more about how to manage it without letting it manage you.

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Brain & Pain

The brain is a very dynamic organ and can play an important role in managing health. Protecting your most valuable resource—your brain— is an important part of a winning pain management plan.

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Lifestyle & Habits

Becoming healthier is a key to helping manage pain.Carefully decide how you spend your time each day and what habits you cultivate. Learn more about the key traits of highly successful chronic pain sufferers.

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We see ourselves as machines: If a part is broken, we fix it. Chronic pain doesn't follow this recipe. Standard medical treatments can certainly help, but if you are not careful, they can also stand in the way of progress.

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12 Jun

Four Reasons Why You Should Skip Back Surgery

By Dr. Peter Abaci

As you may have read in the news, Tiger Woods is recovering from a recent back surgery – his fourth back operation in the past few years (this one being a fusion). Once the greatest golfer in the world, Tiger had his first surgery in 2014, but since then, even after two more surgeries, has not been able to successfully return to the pro tour. No doubt he is hoping that this recent operation will eventually get him to a place where he can compete at the highest level and without debilitating pain.

Tiger is among many pro athletes who, eager to get back to the game quickly, opt for surgery instead of just waiting for things to heal. Unfortunately, as many of them find, quicker may not equate to better. 

Steve Kerr, a former NBA player, and current NBA coach continues to struggle with the complications of his low back surgery and issues a strong warning: “…if you have a back problem, stay away from surgery. I can say that from the bottom of my heart. Rehab, rehab, rehab. Don’t let anyone get in there.” Is this sage advice or just the sentiments of an unfortunate individual with a rare bad outcome?

And, more importantly, where does spine surgery fit in for the rest of us who are not professional athletes? What do you do if you are a construction worker, nurse, or landscape gardener with a bad back who is trying to get back to work but can’t tolerate the bending and heavy lifting? Even office jobs can be impacted by back pain if prolonged sitting causes too much aggravation. Or maybe you just want to get back to golf with your friends, playing ball with the kids, and doing chores around the house.

How do you navigate dealing with the pain, concerns about pain-killer addiction, and deciding on whether surgery is the right choice or not?

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Featured Experts

Sarah Wenger

Drexel University

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Dr. Vijay Vad

Physiatrist, Hospital for Special Surgery

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Dr. Natalie Strand

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Dr. Rajiv Parti

The Pain Management Institute of California

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Sue Hitzmann

Creator of the MELT Method®

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Carla Hernandez

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Beth Darnall

Clinical Associate Professor in the Division of Pain Medicine at Stanford University

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