Chris Grosso – The Indie Spiritualist – Ep. 65 – Dr. David Hanscom

Chris Grosso - The Indie Spiritualist - Ep. 65 - Dr. David Hanscom

Chris sits down with author and orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Hanscom to talk about how we can manage physical pain by reducing our stress and anxiety through different practices.

Dr. David Hanscom is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in complex spine problems in all areas of the spine, with expertise in adult and pediatric spinal deformities. While a significant part of his practice is devoted to performing surgery on patients who have had multiple prior spine surgeries, Dr. Hanscom also practices a groundbreaking approach for conquering debilitating chronic pain without surgery that focuses on the state of mind, an aspect of chronic pain that today’s medical establishment has largely ignored.

Show Notes

Mind Over Matter (Opening) – Dr. Hanscom discusses the role that anxiety and stress play in the experience of pain. He talks about how mindfulness practices allow us to better manage pain by controlling sensory input.

“What happens with chronic pain is that everything works at a certain spot. So what mindfulness does is switch sensory input and decrease adrenaline, and remember anxiety is the adrenaline.

Animal studies show that when you have stress chemicals in your body that nerve conduction doubles and you feel the pain more. As you lower adrenaline with mindfulness you are lowering nerve conduction and feel the pain less. So this isn’t a psychological issue, you are basically working with the body’s chemistry.” – Dr. David Hanscom

Explore the science behind Loving-kindness practice with Sharon Salzberg and Stephen Cope on Ep. 65 of the Metta Hour Podcast.

Mindfulness on the Go (7:15) – While a dedicated daily practice brings us deeper, quick moments of mindfulness have the power to bring us back to the moment and have a dramatic effect on our physical state. Dr. Hanscom speaks more about the way that mindfulness reprograms our experience of pain.

“If you are using meditation to combat pain, you are not going to succeed. But if you use it as a redirecting and calming down tool, it is actually very powerful.” – Dr. David Hanscom

Anxiety and Addiction (20:10) – Chris and Dr. Hanscom talk about the way that drug abuse aims to escape anxiety, even though it always fails in the end. They discuss why different practices, like Dr. Hanscom’s approach, succeed in relieving anxiety and emotional pain where escapism fails.

How Our Pain Affects Others (30:30) – Dr. Hanscom shares what he has learned about how our pain dramatically affects more than just ourselves. He illuminates different ways that chronic pain can wear away at relationships.

“I didn’t realize until I started these workshops that people talk about their pain a lot and they simply wear out their family. People get really tired of hearing about the pain. They don’t like to see their loved ones suffer and there is nothing they can do, so they feel frustrated and helpless.” – Dr. David Hanscom  

Find resources and more information from Dr. Hanscom at

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