Back in Control: A Spine Surgeon’s Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain

UPDATE:  Order the print version on Amazon or Barnes & Noble today!  You may also order the Kindle version on Amazon and the Nook version on Barnes & Noble.  Other e-book versions will be available soon.


back-in-control-frontPain always is perceived in your brain. Unless pain centers in your brain are stimulated you will not feel pain. “Back in Control” looks at both the source of the pain and the brain as relevant. The nervous system aspect is viewed in terms of pathways not psychology. Once a pain pathway is formed it is permanent. The solution is to utilize methods that create “detours” around these established circuits. With engagement the decrease in pain is consistent.

It is important to “calm down” the nervous system in addition to creating the new pathways. “Back in Control” offers many specific tools as well as illustrative stories to learn these methods. The author is a spine surgeon who has found relief from chronic pain. It was from sharing his own journey with his patients that this whole process evolved.

The reader will also gain an understanding regarding the role of spine surgery. Surgery is only indicated for a clearly identifiable structural problem with matching symptoms. It is not helpful for generalized back pain.

The Elevator Pitch

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Comments by Dr. Howard Schubiner, author of Unlearn Your Pain.

Author Bio

David Hanscom MDDavid Hanscom, M.D. is an orthopedic spine surgeon who trained in orthopedic surgery at the University of Hawaii. His spine fellowship was in complex adult and pediatric spinal deformity. He completed it in 1986 at the Twin Cities Scoliosis Center in Minneapolis, MN. He currently practices at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, WA. He is a member of Swedish Neuroscience Specialists and has eight neurosurgical partners.

A large part of his practice is to salvage situations in which patients have undergone multiple failed attempts at surgery. A consistent theme is that the first operation should never have been done.



Chapter 1: The Path to Chronic Pain

Source of Pain · Undetected Injuries · Mind Body Syndrome · Pain Sensitization · Memorization of Neurological Circuits · Memorization of Negative Thoughts · Suffering, Suppressing, and Masking · The Modifiers: Sleep, Anxiety, and Anger

Chapter 2: Reversing the Chronic Pain Process

Diagnosis · Calming the Nervous System · Sleep · Medication Management · Education · Goal Setting · Gaining Perspective

Chapter 3: Stress Management

Reactions to Stress · The Terrifying Triad: Pain, Anxiety, and Anger · Basic Concepts · Programming

Chapter 4: Anxiety

The Creation of Anxiety · The Natural Progression · Social Reinforcement · Marketing · Familial Imprinting · Cultural Programming · The Myth of Self-Esteem · Halting the Progression

Chapter 5: Anger/Victimhood

It’s Not Them, It’s You · Waking Up to My Own Victim Role · The Disguises of Anger · Choosing to Remain a Victim · Validation · Perfectionism—The Ultimate Victim Role · Victimized by Pain · Anger: the Block to Regaining Your Life

Chapter 6: Anxiety-Fueled Anger, the Highway to Hell

Facing Up to Your Anger · My Doctor is Missing Something · Why Don’t You Know You’re In Hell? · The Abyss · Your Family and Abuse

Chapter 7: Reprogramming the Nervous System

The Talent Code · Programming/Reprogramming · Increasing Awareness of Patterns of Thinking · Detaching from the Circuit · Etching New Pathways · The Tools: Writing, Awareness/Meditation, and Visualization · The Difference Between Programming and Psychology · Mind Body Syndrome

Chapter 8: Awareness

Meditation · Levels of Awareness: Environmental, Emotional, Judgment/Storytelling, and Ingrained Patterns · Becoming Aware of Your “Unawareness” · Unawareness and the Essence of Abuse · Putting the Awareness Model to Work · An Awareness Mantra

Chapter 9: Solving Stress, the Homework

Address Anxiety · Deal with Anger · Go From Reactive to Creative · Take Back Your Life · Live Life to the Fullest

Chapter 10: Excellent Rehabilitation

Demand the Best · Desensitizing the Soft Tissues · Education · Assessment · Advanced Soft Tissue Skills · Long-term Conditioning

Chapter 11: Do You Really Need Surgery?

Additional Information

Pages:  240
Format: Soft cover
Trim size: 6×9”
e-book:  Kindle, Nook
Available:  September, 2012 on Amazon and bookstores everywhere

What Patients Are Saying About Back in Control

“I found this book invaluable in understanding the implications of spine surgery. Reading it was an empowering experience.”
–Dan I.

“Your book is very inspirational. The hardships you have been through and overcome kind of puts things into perspective. Thank you for the quality care you provide, you definitely seem to care about your patients more than other specialists/surgeons. .”
–Brendon M.

“I’m finding this book fascinating. I am beginning to understand what kind of situation I’m in and understand my “odds” better. Thanks — I’m so glad you wrote the book.”
–Tammy W.

“I found it to be very informative. The book is written so a layperson can understand it. Your book gave me a better understanding of why you think surgery is not the best option.”
–Bob F.

“I’ve found [the book] to be very interesting and helpful. I’ve shared the information with friends, family and others.”
–Rhonda J.