Intrusive ThoughtswithDavid Hanscom

Books Mentioned In This Interview

David Hanscom, M.D. is author of, Back in Control: A Surgeon’s Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain and Do You Really Need Spine Surgery?: Take Control with a Spine Surgeon’s Advice. Dr. Hanscom is an orthopedic complex spinal deformity surgeon who quit his surgical practice in 2019 to focus on teaching people how to break loose from the grip of chronic mental and physical pain – with and without surgery. His insights arose out of escaping from his own 15-year ordeal of suffering with severe chronic pain. As he began to share his approaches with his patients, a predictable sequence of learning evolved. It is reflected in the self-directed action plan that he created, The DOC (Direct your Own Care) Journey. His website is

Dr. Hanscom went from being a fearless spine surgeon to depressed and suicidal. He describes his own journey out of chronic pain and anxiety. He describes anxiety as an ‘activated threat response.’ Unpleasant repetitive thoughts can keep a person in a state of threat, cause inflammation, compromise the immune system, and cause physical and emotional pain. Sustained stress can cause physical and mental disease. Repressed thoughts and emotions are more of a threat than ones that are expressed. He offers ways to lower an activated threat response by diverting thoughts, calming down the nervous system, and engaging in activities that are pleasant and enjoyable.

New Thinking Allowed Guest Host, Emmy Vadnais, OTR/L, is an occupational therapist and integrative medicine practitioner based in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is the author of Intuitive Development: How to Trust Your Inner Knowing for Guidance With Relationships, Health, and Spirituality. Her website is

(Recorded on July 11, 2022)

Published on August 10, 2022


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