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Managing Pain and Your Behavior with Dr. Harry Adelson

Dr. Adelson was one of the very early adopters of stem cell therapy for the treatment of chronic spine pain. He has performed over 5,000 stem cell procedures and has injected stem cells into over 700 intervertebral discs, placing him solidly among the most experienced in the world with the use of stem cells for the treatment of chronic spine pain. He opened Docere Clinics in Salt Lake City in 2002.


"Tell yourself: 'I’m not going to allow pain to control my thoughts and behavior.'"


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  • Harry had a shoulder injury that threatened his rock climbing career, then found out about regenerative injection therapy—the injection of natural substances which trigger the body’s natural healing response.
  • Later, he learned how to use stem cells to help the body heal itself.
  • Pain affects your mood, sleep, memory, concentration, and relationships.


  • Pain is perceived in a section of the frontal cortex, the same area where we perceive emotion.
  • A small study was conducted on teenagers who had just been through a breakup that found Tylenol could be helpful with heartbreak.
  • When the area of your brain that perceives pain is constantly firing, it does not get an opportunity to rest. This can wear out the receptors and lead to brain damage and a decrease in the volume of gray matter.


  • Pain can keep you up at night and disrupt your sleep. Insufficient sleep will then throw your body function off in other ways—everything becomes impaired.


  • A Northwestern University study was conducted on people with chronic back pain vs people with no pain. They were asked to undergo a functional MRI while performing certain tasks.
  • The brains of those people with low back pain found it difficult to find alternate brain pathways and light up other areas of the brain.
  • Pain affects what is known as ‘cooperative equilibrium’ or the ‘resting state network’. This means that when you’re doing a task, one area of the brain will activate while the others quiet down.
  • When you are in chronic pain, your frontal cortex will be constantly firing and disallow other equilibrium areas from lighting up.


  • If your mood, sleep, and ability to think are impacted by pain, this will impact the way you interact with other people and impact your life.
  • Sometimes people with chronic pain start catastrophizing, which means putting your pain into the most important role in your life. It can also mean you make up stories about it, e.g. my life is ruined.
  • These stories can be self-perpetuating, and end up making the problem much worse.
  • Tools to deal with pain: acknowledge you have the pain, tell yourself it’s not going to kill you. Concentrate on some other activity, and tell yourself “I’m not going to allow it to control my thoughts and behavior.”


  • Stem cells exist in all the tissues in our body, and their job is to maintain the health of their microenvironment.
  • Naturopathic medicine involves using the healing power of nature by using the body’s own natural ability to heal itself.
  • Stem cell therapy means taking stem cells from an area of your body where you have a robust population (e.g. marrow, fat) and transferring it to the area where you’re experiencing pain.
  • As people get older, their stem cells age and lose their ability to manufacture exosomes (the active ingredient of stem cells).
  • Results of stem cell therapy can take 2-6 months to work and start kicking in.
  • Pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. If you’re unable to work and contribute to society and having a sense of purpose influences longevity, chronic pain can literally threaten your purpose in life.


  • Take a screenshot of this episode, tag us on social media (@jimkwik & @docere_clinics) and share your greatest “aha!” moment from this episode with us!

*Please note, this episode is educational only and is not intended to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.*

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