Pain & Passion

Pain is experienced as a community.

On a pediatric rotation I met a beautiful nine-year-old girl with a complaint of shoulder pain. I questioned her trying and find a cause. There was no trauma associated with the pain. There was no bruising. Every movement was painful during the physical exam.


She had come to the visit with her father who was anxiously sitting in the room. It was obvious that his daughter's pain was affecting him as well. I asked the father, "What's going on at home?" The father explained that he and his wife were getting a divorce. Suddenly, the story made sense. This girl was literally carrying the weight of her parent's stress and pain on her shoulders.


We began to talk about the situation together. There was tears and laughter. While talking about the hardships at home I treated the girl with an osteopathic technique to relax the muscular tension in her shoulders and neck. I then taught them breathing exercises for relaxation and showed the father how...

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Humble Heart - Open Mind

We only grasp a small amount of this world. This is well known, and it gives us a great sense of humility.  Every decision that we will make in our life is based on our limited ability to observe and understand the world. This is an indisputable fact, yet harsh judgments among people and institutions occur on a regular basis. Confusion becomes frustration when we observe with judgment.

Historically, judgment has been a pillar of the scientific process. When people present new ideas they are often met with shame and rejection. Einstein was not immune to judgment. At the end of his life many scientists believed Einstein to be out of touch with reality. Amazingly, decades later we are only beginning to grasp that some of his theories may be correct.

There will always be unknowns in this world. Disturbingly, there will also be unknown unknowns. The unknown unknowns are the questions that we don’t even know to ask. Unknown unknowns are not on our radar.

How can we answer the...

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The Cure to Back Pain

This is an audacious title for an article as back pain is the most common cause of disability in the United States. If there were a cure wouldn’t everyone know about it?

Research for chronic back pain consistently states that there is strong evidence for the use of manual medicine (osteopathy), exercise, and psychological support. There are many treatment options that vary from conservative too aggressive. Unfortunately, it seems that the treatment of back pain is approached with a trial and error mindset. As a result, people end up spending a great deal of time and money to find relief without a clear understanding of what caused the pain.

We are looking at back pain as only one problem. We are treating back pain as an end result, while ignoring the question, “Why did this occur?”

When we lead with “Why,” we find personalized solutions that address an individual’s unique medical history. Back pain can occur for a number of reasons varying from...

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