The body, the brain, and dealing with pain with Matt McClanahan

Interview by
Dr. Chad Prevost
Dr. Shelley Prevost
Published on
March 3, 2020

In this episode

On this week's episode, we have a wide-ranging conversation with Matt McClanahan.

Acute, chronic, or auto-immune pain, Matt McClanahan has seen a great deal over the past decade and a half. What do you do when medicines don't work, and diagnoses are tricky to figure out? What's the difference between pain and tissue damage? And even if it's not tissue damage, while pain is in the brain, it doesn't mean it's just made up. At the same time, dealing with pain is very much a mindset.

We deep-dive into stress. Stress is there to protect us. But our bodies have a threshold depending on the input and output--and subjectivity--of stress. He talks about his own personal experiences in dealing with pain, and the processes involved in managing it, as well as the lightbulb moments. And are ice baths a real thing for health and wellness and longevity?

Train you mind and body and autonomic nervous system with us on this week's episode!

Thanks for tuning in to the Big Self Podcast. We are a learning community for people at a career crossroads ready to rejoin their soul and their role. We have long-form conversations about self-awareness, relationships, tapping into your inner genius, and building sustainable habits.

Our Discussion

2:53 Matt tells us a little bit about himself and why he focused his medical practice on Musculoskeletal Medicine
8:31 Matt discusses the questions, "how does pain work?" and "why does it persist in some people and not others?"
13:29 Matt describes how he helps people understand where their pain is coming from
18:29 An important distinction between stress and stressors
22:54 When there isn't an easy cure or surgery for pain, how does Matt help patients still strive to be their best selves?
26:36 Matt explains his approach to treating pain when it's related to psychology and shares his own personal experience with this issue.
35:20 What happened when moms reacted with no emotion or response to their babies during the Still Face Experiment.
38:39 Shelley discusses the detriment of disconnection
41:58 How giving up the judgment lens and replacing it with a curiosity lens equals a growth mindset that can actually alter your physical health
44:34 We discuss the cold plunge made popular by Tony Robbins, and whether there's any real benefit to it according to Matt.
51:11 Matt answers our 3 Big Self podcast questions. Find out what he's reading, what his morning routine looks like, and what "Big Self" means to him