Your “Identity” Can Destroy You

Humans spend a good part of their life energy creating and maintaining something called “self-image.” Thanks to parents, peers, and the socialization process, we are conditioned to identify with an “image” of our “selves.” While this conditioning is well-intentioned, it can wreak havoc in our lives. It is only about … Read More

Posterior Lumbar Fusion

posted in: Stage 6: Step 3 | 0

Video animation of a lumbar fusion The purpose of this letter is to explain what is involved when a posterior fusion is performed on your lower back.  We have found that the more knowledgeable the patient, the more successful the surgical outcome.  Patients undergoing this procedure most commonly ask the … Read More

Eight-Level Spine Fusion? No!

posted in: Stage 5: Step 4 | 0

A seventy-three-year-old woman—let’s call her Dorothy for the sake of this story—was understandably apprehensive. She had just been told that she needed an eight-level spine fusion from her tenth thoracic vertebra to her pelvis, so she came to me for a second opinion. Dorothy was a retired National Guard armed … Read More

Trying Not to Be Judgmental

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

Most people have heard of the psychological concept projection, a defense mechanism that allows us to transfer our unwanted feelings or behavior onto another person. For example, a person who is highly self-critical may constantly feel (or fear) criticism from others. When we judge people around us—either positively or negatively—we … Read More

More on Expressive Writing

“I am the biggest ever skeptic. But I thought what the heck. My lower back pain has been very bad and persistent whenever I stand or walk for more than a minute. I read the forward and immediately began using the ‘expressive writing.’ You take paper and pen/pencil and write, … Read More

The Chronic Pain Marriage-Go-Round

I have long asked the spouses of my chronic pain patients to participate in the DOC project (“Direct your Own Care”—my step-by-step method that allows patients to take control of their treatment plan), along with their partners. One reason is that partners of chronic pain patients also experience suffering—they have … Read More

Not Sharing Your Pain – Omega

I have held three five-day workshops in NY at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY with Dr. Fred Luskin, a Stanford psychologist and author of Forgive for Good, my wife, Babs Yohai, a professional tap dancer, and my daughter, Jasmine Yohai-Rifkin who is an expressive arts therapist. The tightly-structured seminar is based on … Read More

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