“Following my freshman year of college, I underwent surgery to fix a deviated septum.
The surgery did not go as planned, and I was left with severe facial pain for the next 15 months. The pain was so bad, I was unable to do daily activities such as working out, hanging out with friends or just enjoying college life. After seeing specialist after specialist, no one could figure out why I had such terrible pain. Then I met Dr. Bobrow who confirmed that sometimes, despite extensive testing, the medical profession isn’t able to find a “physical” cause of pain. He explained that the pain is real but sometimes our mind can amplify it—but it is possible to "reset" the way we feel and react to pain. He told me to go for a run and start playing basketball again if that’s what I enjoy.
After resuming my regular activities, my pain level began to gradually reduce, and I was able to resume college for my junior year. Since then, I have made great progress in my life. I am able to do all the things I love and even began working at my dream job. My experience with chronic pain taught me that you don’t have to live in pain. With just a shift in mindset, we can control chronic pain. Don’t let your pain control you!”
“I am an attorney, an active person and mother of three kids all in their 20s.
I had been suffering with lower back pain for over a year and it really changed my outlook on every aspect of my life. The pain was miserable, and I had been taking a lot of medications which failed to help my pain. I stopped playing tennis which was my favorite activity. My doctor ordered an MRI of my back and recommended physical therapy, which didn’t help. I was then sent to a pain specialist who performed a series of epidural pain injections which also did not give me any significant relief. The pain specialist recommended I see a neurosurgeon who then advised surgery. Just prior to my scheduled surgery, a friend, who had gone through a similar bout of pain, recommended I meet with Dr. Bobrow at The Pain Project. He spoke with me about my pain and everything that was going on in my life, including my attitude towards my pain.
I did not realize how profoundly the hectic events in my life (my grown kids having their own personal struggles and the recent loss of my closest friend) were affecting me physically. He explained to me that focusing on my pain and what I believed I wasn’t able to do was perpetuating the pain. I began to get back to my routine, including tennis, and I focused on trying not to worry about the things in my life that I am not able to control. In a matter of weeks, I was feeling significantly better. I am grateful that Dr. Bobrow helped me see my pain in a different way which helped reduce the pain without surgery.”
San Diego, CA
“My pain began July 4, 1991. At that time, I was an avid jogger for 20 years.
I was running sprints at the local high school track when midway through a sprint I felt a severe pain, as if I was being stabbed behind my right shoulder blade. The pain continued and moved across the outside of my shoulder. Initially I’d notice the pain after physical activity such as jogging, cutting grass, lifting items or even working in the garden. My pain was so bad that the pain in my shoulder would wake me up in the middle of the night with a neck and/or headache. The pain continued for three years and eventually I was in pain all the time. I couldn’t sleep more than three hours a night due to the pain, and I was always exhausted.
I’ve always been a healthy person and am not one to complain about minor ailments, but I became obsessed with finding the cause and a cure for my pain. I saw specialist after specialist, underwent every test imaginable, and even had multiple surgeries. One doctor diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. Throughout the years I tried massage therapy, traction, steroid injections, acupuncture, chiropractic treatments, IV infusion therapy and various nutrition programs.
I was in constant pain. It took me a long time to accept that I could no longer be the active person I once was. It changed my life dramatically. Jogging was always my stress reliever so giving it up was difficult. I couldn’t participate in family activities which really affected me emotionally. It was hard for my family to understand why I couldn’t do basic things with them.
I knew my limits but always tried to push past them so I could lead a normal life. I didn’t accept that my pain controlled me. I limited the pain medications as I knew they had long term consequences. Having a supportive spouse helped me remain positive and try to see beyond the pain.
After 25 years of suffering I met Dr. Ben Bobrow with The Pain Project. We discussed how self-management strategies that focused on increasing my function and activities will help reduce my pain. More specifically, how a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program can be helpful in dealing with chronic pain. He was compassionate and patiently took me through several steps of the program, which I continue to do. He also met with my wife to help her understand how her support is critical to my success with the program.
Dr. Bobrow and The Pain Project have been instrumental in my healing process. I am no longer searching for physical causes of my pain but rather realizing that I have control over my pain. I have also reduced the pain medication I am taking. Dr. Bobrow still stays in contact with me and continues to encourage me. He is truly caring and wants to help everyone with chronic pain. Thank you Dr. Bobrow!”
"Having a child with a chronic illness can be quite stressful because of all the worry, home treatments, doctors' appointments, medical costs, etc.
My husband and I are parents to three kids, one of which suffers from a relatively rare medical condition called Hirschsprung’s Disease. When our son was born, he needed major surgery and spent 10 days in the Neonatal ICU. I somehow managed to deal with all the stress (or at least I thought I was managing the stress) until my son was 2.5 years old and became critically ill from a serious complication of his illness. It was a terrifying experience and I suffered some PTSD as a result. The memories of my son's hospitalization and the fears for the future were overwhelming at times. One day soon after my son was discharged, I spoke with Dr. Bobrow.
He was very compassionate and validated my fears and emotions. He suggested I practice mindfulness daily. I'd tried mindfulness in the past but never bought into it. This time, I knew how much I needed the stress relief and I took the practice of mindfulness very seriously. It provided me great stress relief. I learned to use mindfulness practices such as deep breathing during everyday life (e.g when I was feeling worried or overwhelmed). In addition to the mindfulness, I also made a conscious effort to exercise more even if that exercise was only in the form of walking to the grocery store many days. Although not consciously, I now realize that I put into practice many of Dr. Bobrow’s other recommendations. I experienced extreme gratitude for the medical professionals that provided my son remarkable care and to the friends and family that were incredibly supportive. I put my gratitude into action and raised funds for the family services department at our children’s hospital, which in retrospect, provided me some healing as well. I also fostered friendships during this recovery time. I was lucky that my friends reached out to me because I may have otherwise isolated myself. I am fortunate that I am tremendously more emotionally stable now and am grateful to Dr. Bobrow for his role in my emotional healing.
I have a couple close friends whose children have suffered critical illness as well. Both friends have similarly experienced PTSD. My eyes have been opened to the degree that parents suffer when their kids are critically ill and I hope that many parents can experience relief through practices like mindfulness, exercise, gratitude, friendships, etc.