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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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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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Diet and nutrition Self Care

Is Tyramine Intolerance Triggering Your Brain Fog Headaches & Vomiting?

Tyramine is a naturally occurring amino acid present in many common foods. Cheese, sausage, lentils, snow peas, and soy. Deli meats, sauerkraut, nuts, wine, and beer. Yogurt and Cheetos. All have high levels of tyramine. Because tyramine occurs when proteins age, virtually ALL leftovers are high in tyramine. For example, I might cook fresh chicken […]

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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 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, […]