Have you or a loved one been told spine surgery is the only option left?
Have you ever considered back surgery because you were in such excruciating pain it made living an active life impossible?
Or have you already gone under the knife — only to find you have more back pain than ever?
Then you may be very surprised by what you’re about to hear from the one person ANYONE considering back surgery should listen to before they think about going under the knife.
Allow me to introduce you to one of America’s best spine surgeons…
Dr. Hanscom is an orthopedic spine surgeon at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle, Washington.
He’s also the author of the best-selling book, Back in Control: A Surgeon’s Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain.
As a surgeon, his list of accomplishments is impressive.
Dr. Hanscom received his medical degree from Loma Linda University in 1979.
Since 1986, Dr. Hanscom has performed hundreds of spine surgeries.
In 1987, he founded the Puget Sound Spine Spine Society, a non-profit group dedicated to sharing information about optimum spine care.
Dr. Hanscom is also the co-director of the Swedish Neuroscience Specialists spine fellowship.
In addition, he’s also a member of Best Doctors of America.
And the list goes on and on.
Why am I telling you all this?
Because you might be shocked to discover that despite being one of the world’s most respected spine surgeons…
Dr. Hanscom recommends most people AVOID spine surgery like the plague!
In fact, he actively advocates AGAINST going under the knife (except in very rare cases).
You see, back surgery is EXPENSIVE. And most surgeons are happy to cut you open because it’s an excellent payday.
But Dr. Hanscom discovered years ago that back surgery is a TERRIBLE idea for most people. Now, he only operates on patients under extreme conditions.
He says that most people can relieve — and even eliminate — back pain simply following a tried-and-true protocol he’s used over the years to help thousands of folks get out of pain… including himself.
I had the good fortune to interview him for our monthly Live Pain Free® newsletter.
Today, you’ll be able to access a short excerpt from that interview — completely free.
So, if you have back pain, have had back surgery or if you are even considering spine surgery…
Please — for your sake — listen to or read Dr. Hanscom’s advice below before you take the plunge. Then be sure to look below the transcript to see how to listen to the entire interview free!
Jesse: Hello and welcome Jesse Cannone here from the Healthy Back Institute and LoseTheBackPain.com back with another monthly audio interview.
I’m excited today to be speaking with Dr. David Hanscom who’s a leading spine surgeon in Seattle. You’re probably wondering why I’d be speaking with a spine surgeon since much of what we teach is how you can avoid surgery. I would say Dr. Hanscom is one of the few and my favorite spine surgeons and that’s because he actually has written the book on how to avoid back surgery and how many people who actually end up having surgery shouldn’t have had the surgery to begin with.
So, Dr. Hanscom, thank you for joining me.
David: Thank you and I’m very happy to be on board this morning.
Jesse: I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me. Before we jump into the conversation I want to mention your book because, as I said, you’ve written a book all about how the majority of people who are receiving surgery shouldn’t be getting surgery, and I think, like I said, definitely one of the reasons I wanted to speak with you.
I’m sure you’ll speak to this later, but as I said you’re one of the few out there who are actually saying such a thing. Most surgeons, and really not just surgeons, but most healthcare practitioners all tend to think that their thing is the only thing needed. So whether that’s a surgeon prescribing surgery or a chiropractor recommending spinal adjustments and manipulation.
So it’s called Back in Control: A Spine Surgeon’s Road Map To Getting Out of Chronic Pain and it can be found on Amazon as well as, I believe, your website. Is that right?
David: Reading the book, of course, isn’t going to change your pain but the website is www.Back-In-Control.com and basically it’s an action plan that evolved from a piece of successes. So the whole process is about 90% self-directed.
Jesse: Right. First, let me ask before we get into the specifics… how did you, a spine surgeon, end up writing a book about avoiding surgery?
David: I started practice in 1986 in Seattle. I came out of my spine fellowship with a zeal to do spine surgery. We had a new plate called a Steffe Plate at the time. Seattle was doing nine times the rate of spine surgeries as anyone else in the country. We were on fire and we were doing fusion after fusion after fusion for back pain. The screws and plates would allow us to get a solid fusion and historically without the screws and plates the fusions wouldn’t heal so we thought that was the problem.
I spent about eight years doing fusion after fusion and then I started slowly realizing they weren’t working very well. Then in 1993 a paper came out in the State of Washington showing that if you’re an injured worker that the chance of success of going back to work one year after the spine fusion was 15% and at two years follow up was only 22%. At that point I quit doing them.
I looked at my own data and was getting about a 45% success rate. And when you’re doing a major spine fusion you really want to be in the 85 to 95% range because it’s a major operation, so I just quit. I didn’t have much to offer my patients and felt pretty good when I was doing the surgeries because I felt like I was doing something and then around 1995 or 1996 I went into a horrible burnout with chronic pain myself.
I had been in chronic pain for about 15 years and the last several of those years were absolutely intolerable. Through a fortunate set of circumstances I came out of the burnout around 2001/2002 and by 2003 I was fine, but I got very lucky.
So I had chronic pain myself for about 15 years. The book evolved out of my successful experience out of chronic pain. I now have watched hundreds, over 600 to 700 patients now, get out of chronic pain just using these simple sematic tools.
Jesse: What a story! First, thank you for sharing that. I think and I’m sure you’ll probably get into this but it sounded as if you had chronic pain while you were working and feeling burnt out. But then once you got through that the pain went away?
Jesse: How much of that do you think had to do with the mindset, your emotional state due to the stress of your work and being in that burnt out place?
David: What I found out afterwards is I came out of it not really knowing why I did it. In 2011, I was introduced to a diagnosis called Mind/Body Syndrome which was originally brought to consciousness by Dr. Sarno back in 1970. He called it Tension Myositis Syndrome or TMS and now we call it Mind/Body Syndrome.
What I didn’t realize at the time is that there are over 30 symptoms of Mind/Body Syndrome and at one point in time I had 16 of those at the same time. Basically, there are two ways that Mind/Body Syndrome can be reciprocated is that I think personal anxiety drives the whole thing. I think anxiety is basically a neurological reflex that creates a chemical reaction.
What happens when you’re anxious is your body has cortisol and adrenaline secreted, which starts firing up your nervous system. It’s a survival mechanism and when you lose control of a situation that causes anxiety you become angry which really fires up your nervous system. So in retrospect, which sort of got me through residency and medical school, was this sort of fired up nervous system pushing through everything. And that same energy that made me successful took me down the other side.
What took me out was actually anxiety. And then the other symptoms that come along with Mind/Body Syndrome are things like migraine headaches, ringing in the ears, back pain, neck pain… I had these skin rashes popping up here and there, burning in my feet. I had 16 of these at the same time and had no idea what was going on.
I actually became a spine surgeon by being so effective in suppressing anxiety I didn’t even know what the word was. I had a patient come into my service when I was 28 years old with an anxiety disorder and I had to go to my medical school textbook and actually look up the word “anxiety.” I didn’t even know what it was.
So my first clue that anxiety even existed was when I started having panic attacks and going what the heck is going on.
Jesse: Actually it’s funny you say that and it’s not funny that you had to go through that but funny you bring it up because I was just thinking myself, I don’t think I’ve ever had anxiety and in recent years, as I was going through some personal struggles in my relationship and so on, I was asking myself the question… what is anxiety? I think, as with anything, there are different levels of it, levels of intensity.
Can you give your description or definition of what is anxiety? What does it look like?
David: I know what it feels like. My concept is anxiety is really a mental reflex. It’s really not a psychological issue. It’s the same thing with pain it’s also a neurological process with the pathways issue. Something causes anxiety and you react and that connection to the stimulus that causes a reaction is anxiety. Basically, your muscles tighten up, your heart races, you swell a little, your stomach tightens up, and you start going into a fight or flight response. You become nervous, anxious, hyper alert and hyper vigilant and anxiety is what essentially 100% of our human behavior revolves around avoiding anxiety.
That’s why it’s so unpleasant because it’s the ultimate thing that all of us want to avoid. Then I think there’s a play on words where you can go anxiety, fear, terror, paranoia it goes up the line about the levels of anxiety, but it’s all around fear and it’s the same word to me.
So that is the link to human behavior that allows us to survive. Then again we lose control of the situation causing anxiety. Anger is loss of control. What causes the need for control is anxiety. So then if you’re chronically anxious and chronically angry your body is in a different chemical environment, so every organ system is going to respond in a different way.
So what happens is that there are four categories of responses. There’s the smooth muscle system which controls the blood vessels, the stomach, etc., so things like migraine headaches, irritable bowels, spastic bladder are all what you would call smooth muscle symptoms.
Skeletal muscle symptoms are like tension headaches, back pain, neck pain, that type of thing. The central nervous system is the third thing that goes sour and you get burning in the feet, ringing in the ears, anxiety, insomnia, depression and all those are driven by anxiety and there’s a chemical response.
What is exciting in chronic pain comes into the neurological category because the pain system is incredibly balanced. There’s literally one million pain receptors per square inch in the soft tissues. So the pain system is incredibly rich and there are about five different types of pain receptors for touch, feel, pain, sharp, dull, etc. So when the pain system goes out of balance, all sorts of things take off. For instance, fibromyalgia which is a total body pain and probably neurological issue is when they do functional MRI scans of the brain, the whole brain lights up. It’s like a Christmas tree.
We used to think fibromyalgia was sort of a psychological diagnosis and it’s really neurological problem where literally your brain is short circuiting.
Think about that… all of that pain, overcome without spine surgery. Chances are you can avoid spine surgery, too.
Of course, this is just a sample of the many golden nuggets Dr. Hanscom revealed in this Live Pain Free® interview. In the full interview, he goes into much more detail about how to use the Mind/Body connection to stamp out back pain.
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