Dr. Sean Mackey: Tools to Reduce & Manage Pain


Huberman Lab

In this episode, my guest is Dr. Sean Mackey, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of the Division of Pain Medicine and Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine and Neurology at Stanford University School of Medicine. His clinical and research efforts focus on using advanced neurosciences, patient outcomes, biomarkers and informatics to treat pain.

We discuss what pain is at the level of the body and mind, pain thresholds, and the various causes of pain. We also discuss effective protocols for controlling and reducing pain, including the use of heat and cold, acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, nutrition, and supplementation.

We also discuss how pain is influenced by our emotions, stress and memories, and practical tools to control one’s psychological perception of pain.

And we discuss pain medications, including the controversial use of opioids and the opioid crisis.

This episode will help people understand, manage, and control their pain as well as the pain of others.

For show notes, including referenced articles and additional resources, please visit hubermanlab.com.

Thank you to our sponsors​

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(00:00:00) Dr. Sean Mackey

(00:02:11) Sponsors: AeroPress, Levels & BetterHelp

(00:06:13) Pain, Unique Experiences, Chronic Pain

(00:13:05) Pain & the Brain

(00:16:15) Treating Pain, Medications: NSAIDs & Analgesics

(00:22:46) Inflammation, Pain & Recovery; Ibuprofen, Naprosyn & Aspirin

(00:28:51) Sponsor: AG1

(00:30:19) Caffeine, NSAIDs, Tylenol

(00:32:34) Pain & Touch, Gate Control Theory

(00:38:56) Pain Threshold, Gender

(00:44:53) Pain in Children, Pain Modulation (Pain Inhibits Pain)

(00:53:20) Tool: Heat, Cold & Pain; Changing Pain Threshold

(00:59:53) Sponsor: InsideTracker

(01:00:54) Tools: Psychology, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Catastrophizing

(01:08:29) Tool: Hurt vs. Harmed?, Chronic Pain

(01:12:38) Emotional Pain, Anger, Medication

(01:20:43) Tool: Nutrition & Pain; Food Sensitization & Elimination Diets

(01:28:45) Visceral Pain; Back, Chest & Abdominal Pain

(01:34:02) Referenced Pain, Neuropathic Pain; Stress, Memory & Psychological Pain

(01:40:23) Romantic Love & Pain, Addiction

(01:48:57) Endogenous & Exogenous Opioids, Morphine

(01:53:17) Opioid Crisis, Prescribing Physicians

(02:02:21) Opioids & Fentanyl; Morphine, Oxycontin, Methadone

(02:07:44) Kratom, Cannabis, CBD & Pain; Drug Schedules

(02:18:12) Pain Management Therapies, Acupuncture

(02:22:19) Finding Reliable Physicians, Acupuncturist

(02:26:36) Chiropractic & Pain Treatment; Chronic Pain & Activity

(02:31:35) Physical Therapy & Chronic Pain; Tool: Pacing

(02:36:35) Supplements: Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Vitamin C, Creatine

(02:42:25) Pain Management, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Biofeedback

(02:48:32) National Pain Strategy, National Pain Care Act

(02:54:05) Zero-Cost Support, Spotify & Apple Reviews, YouTube Feedback, Sponsors, Momentous, Social Media, Neural Network Newsletter


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