David A Hanscom MD

Talk Description

Solving pain by breaking it down into its component parts

Chronic pain is a maladaptive neurologic problem and must be treated as such. Pain pathways become permanently etched into the brain and intertwined with the emotional circuits. The solution lies in the sequence of: awareness, hope, forgiveness and play. This approach dampens the body’s chemical response to the stress of pain and causes the nervous system to shift away from pain pathways to pleasurable circuits. The process involves learning specific tools and systematically applying them. All factors must be simultaneously addressed including: sleep, stress, medications, physical conditioning, and life outlook. Breaking pain down into its component parts allows the patient to solve his or her own pain. There are four stages and the first stage will be presented in some detail.


David A Hanscom is an orthopaedic surgeon who has been performing complex spine surgery since 1986. In this time, he has amassed significant expertise in treating both adult and paediatric patients with a wide range of spinal conditions, including deformities, fractures, tumours and infections. Currently working for Swedish Neuroscience Specialists in Seattle, David practices as part of a team to optimise nutrition, mental approach, medications, physical conditioning, and overall health.

He also spends a large part of his practice devoted to helping patients who have suffered multiple failed spinal surgeries. Through his observations, David learned that the central nervous system is the key player in the development of chronic pain and that most spine surgeries should never be performed. Combined with his own personal experience of chronic pain recovery, David developed his own five-step recovery programme and a new treatment paradigm was born, which is explained in his book, Back in Control: A Spine Surgeon’s Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain. His goal for patients is not just to live with pain or manage it, it is to be pain free, which he has now helped become a reality for hundreds of his patients.

Visit David A Hanscom’s website