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Neuroscience Pain Physiology Treatment Options

Pain and the TMJ: It’s complicated!

It’s really sort of amazing how complicated the working of the jaw is and how little we even think about chewing and swallowing until something goes wrong. I became interested in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and its related dysfunctions a couple of years ago when my mother took a really bad fall. She got a […]

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Neuroscience Pain Physiology Pain Rehabilitation

How does multi-disciplinary pain treatment work?

Understanding pain helps people understand why they feel the way they do. It can be part of a multi-disciplinary approach to treating chronic pain. Here, I talk about the bio-psycho-social model of pain, focusing on different parts of the pain process and how they can be modified. I gave this talk on May 17, 2021 […]

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Pain Physiology Treatment Options

SPG Blocks

The previous post, Ganglia, Facial Nerves, & the SPG, described ganglion structure and function and the relationship of the SPG (sphenopalatine ganglion) and how it’s related to other facial nerves. The SPG is is a focal point for two cranial nerves, covering from the temples forward, down through the jaw, and back to the ears. […]

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Neuroscience Pain Physiology

Ganglia, Facial Nerves, & the SPG

Neurons are made up of cell bodies and finger-like dendrites. A ganglion is a clustered bundle of nerve cell bodies and associated dendrites assembled together to accomplish a discrete function.  For example, the sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) is located deep between the eyes. Among its many functions are regulating blood flow in the turbinates and facial […]

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Pain Physiology

Mind the Gap: Neurons & Synapses

Migraine disease, fibromyalgia, long-COVID, irritable bowel syndrome, and many other chronic medical conditions are all caused by problems in how the nervous system functions. All medications for controlling pain work by changing how nerves – and particularly how neurotransmitters and synaptic gaps – work. So how DO they work? This short introduction provides basic information […]

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Pain Physiology

The Trigeminal Nerve

When we think of nerves going up to and down from the brain, everyone knows about the spinal column. But there are also twelve pairs of nerve bundles that exit the bottom of the skull directly that have nothing to do with the spinal column. These are called cranial nerves.  Cranial nerves are involved with […]

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Pain Physiology Pain Rehabilitation Scientific Research

Pain Is In Your Head. It’s Still Real.

Pain is invisible. That means any time, any place, someone can just kick you in the stomach by telling you that your pain is ‘all in your head’. That’s why it is so important for the people we love to believe us when we describe what we feel and it’s why we so value medical […]

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Pain Physiology Scientific Research

Why the Definition of Pain Matters

In July 2020, the International Society for the Study of Pain redefined pain. It doesn’t sound like a big deal. We all know what pain is, right? Not something that would take a bunch of scientists several years consulting with many different stakeholders. But it is. Here is what they wrote: Pain is: “an unpleasant […]

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First Person Pain Physiology Pain Rehabilitation Resources

We’re on Spotify!

Are you a fan of podcasts? Would you rather listen to the 1step2life blog than read? We will be podcasting many of our essays. Follow us on Breaker, Google Podcast, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Spotify, and Anchor (RSS). We will be adding new content as it comes out and slowly recording our catalog.

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Pain Physiology Pain Rehabilitation

Acute Pain Protects Chronic Pain Harms

It’s hard to believe that pain is ever good. But it is. A friend developed a condition where she was able to move her lower body, but couldn’t feel pain and had no sensation. The biggest danger she faced was injuring herself because her warning system – pain – didn’t work. Chronic pain, on the […]

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Pain Physiology Scientific Research Self Care

Are migraines caused by an echo in the brain?

Many types of pain – including migraines, amplified regional pain syndrome, and fibromyalgia – are caused by a failure of the nervous system. A negative spiral Acute pain protects us from tissue damage – we pull back from flames because we feel pain. Unfortunately, this healthy system can backfire. Many chronic pain conditions are caused […]

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Pain Physiology Pain Rehabilitation Sleep

Sleep & Pain Rehab

Pain Rehab: Building Strength To Push Back Pain People living with pain are most successful at taking back their lives when they take an active role in their recovery. (That’s one of the reasons that 1step2life focuses on emotions, activities, and functioning.) For most of us, there is no ‘magic jelly bean’ that will suddenly […]

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Pain Physiology Pain Rehabilitation

Chronic v. Acute Pain

Why do I hurt all the time? Healthy pain is like a good guardian. It keeps you from hurting yourself and teaches you to stay safe. This type of pain is called ‘acute pain’. Unfortunately, sometimes the acute pain system becomes too sensitive and overprotective. When that happens, you perceive pain as if you were injured, […]

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Caring for People in Pain Pain Physiology Stress Reduction

Pain, Emotions, & the Amygdala

Pain leads to depression. Depression leads to pain. The amygdala mediates it all.

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Pain Physiology Resources

Neuroscience 101

Feeling pain is an essential function of the brain and nervous system. Healthy pain keeps you safe when you touch something hot. It tells you to stop when you’ve exercised and your heart and lungs aren’t providing your muscles with enough oxygen. It reminds you to move when you’ve been sitting too long. Chronic pain, […]

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1step Comics Pain Physiology Pain Rehabilitation

5% of US teens live with life altering chronic pain

Acute pain is protective. With chronic pain, the pain itself becomes the disease.

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About Us App Development Pain Physiology Pain Rehabilitation

Creating Videos To Teach Neuroscience

Creating videos that teach complex topics like how neurons fire is a challenge for content creators. That’s one project that Oberlin College intern Carlos Armstrong faced when working with Nancy Darling on 1step2life – and app designed to help teens living with chronic pain get out of bed and take back their lives.

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About Us First Person Pain Physiology Pain Rehabilitation

Max Kramer models migraine spreading depression

Max Kramer worked with Oberlin Professor Emeritus Richard Salter and Dr. Nancy Darling to develop a computational model of the spreading neurological depression characteristic of the brain during a migraine. Compuational modeling is a way of using mathematical and logical modeling to simulate behavior in the real world. Max used Numerus software, developed at Oberlin […]