Community//

“The power to heal, thrive, and overcome lies inside each and every one of us” with Dr. William Seeds & Dr. Peter Abaci

As I say in the book, you are your transformation. The power to heal, thrive, and overcome lies inside each and every one of us, once we learn how to unleash it. I had the pleasure of interviewing Peter Abaci, MD. Dr. Abaci is one of the world’s leading experts on pain and integrative medicine. He […]

As I say in the book, you are your transformation. The power to heal, thrive, and overcome lies inside each and every one of us, once we learn how to unleash it.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Peter Abaci, MD. Dr. Abaci is one of the world’s leading experts on pain and integrative medicine. He is the author of Conquer Your Chronic Pain, A Life-Changing Drug-Free Approach for Relief, Recovery, and Restoration, and Take Charge of Your Chronic Pain: The Latest Research, Cutting-Edge Tools, and Alternative Treatments for Feeling Better, as well as a regular contributor to WebMD, Pain Pathways Magazine, and PainReliefRevolution.com. As the Medical Director and Co-Founder of the renowned Bay Area Pain and Wellness Center, his innovative strategies for integrative pain treatment have helped restore the lives of thousands struggling with pain.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?

When I first decided to specialize in pain management, it was a new and emerging field. One of the things that attracted me to it was a sense that I could do something, like performing a procedure or delivering a certain medication, that could instantly wipe out somebody’s pain. At that time, becoming that kind of doctor seemed like the coolest thing in the world, but little did I know that my career would take a much different turn. After a few years in the trenches, I learned that treating pain was more about working with patients with very complex chronic conditions through carefully crafted interdisciplinary care models, and not the quick fixes that I thought I was signing up for. My career is now about helping people struggling with devastating pain problems at a much deeper level turn their lives around.

Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?

While I was in the middle of writing my second book, I sustained a truly devastating spine injury of my own, that not only caused me severe pain, but a whole host of neurologic problems. For a period of time, I was quite incapacitated to the point that I could not sit, sleep, drive, put on my own socks, or walk around the block. After treating low back injuries for so many years, suddenly I was that guy whose life was falling apart. That put into motion a lengthy recovery process that taught me all I could ever ask for about suffering, resilience, gratitude, and grit. I think my back injury has made me a better healer and a better person.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I was an anesthesia resident at USC/LA County Hospital in Los Angeles, I used to handle a lot of emergency trauma cases. One night on call, they wheeled a male patient into my operating room who had a large machete blade split through the front of his skull. As the anesthesiologist, it was my job to secure his airway with a breathing tube but intubating him looked like a real challenge because of this large blade emanating from out his forehead. Assuming he was in some sort of unconscious state, I started poking and prodding him to try to figure out what to do, until he sat up in the gurney and yelled “what the heck is going on!” Well, that scared the holy crap out of me as I almost jumped out of my shoes. Really, what I learned from that episode was that in medicine you can’t assume things. Don’t let your biases taint your judgement about a situation, and never lose sight of the bigger picture.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I have been working on two really new interesting projects this year. One has been with a start-up virtual reality company aimed at treating complex chronic pain problems. The technology creates a pain avatar for the user that represents the look and sounds of how each person views their own pain. As they start to see and listen to their pain, they can eventually start to use this image as a way of modifying how they feel and relieve their pain. This approach is very much in line with my philosophy of helping patients overcome their pain by creating lasting neuroplastic brain changes.

The other project has been the launch of a new program designed to treat patients with PTSD with a holistic group approach that combines lots of different modalities including exercise, art therapy, yoga, meditation, and group processing. So far, the results have been really promising.

What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a great writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study) Can you share a story or example?

For me, the secret to writing is creating two different brains for myself. My doctor brain, which sticks to a tight schedule, and interacts with patients all day, is not able to write — I mean not at all! So, when I want to write, usually on weekends, I build a more creative and thoughtful brain for myself. Because I am a morning person, this typically starts very early in the morning with a cappuccino and classical music like Mozart streaming in my ears. I have a special writing routine for myself that I try to stick to, and I am also really into revisions. I am never satisfied with a first draft of anything that I do.

Can you share the most interesting story that you shared in your book?

I think the whole section on the relationship between trauma and pain is really important and is a subject that doesn’t get nearly enough attention in the medical community. So many readers that I talk to tell me that they feel like my books were written about their own lives, and this is one chapter that is especially helpful because so many patients in pain don’t even know that they are suffering so much because of the trauma response that they are going through.

What is the main empowering lesson you want your readers to take away after finishing your book?

As I say in the book, you are your transformation. The power to heal, thrive, and overcome lies inside each and every one of us, once we learn how to unleash it.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming a bestselling author? How did you overcome it? Can you share a story about that that other aspiring writers can learn from?

I remember all of the rejection letters that I got trying to find a book agent to represent me for my first book. Some of them were downright mean, and they didn’t even know me! But it only takes one person who believes in you and your mission to help you take the next step forward. I learned not to take anything too personal and to keep my ego in check.

Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why?

JK Rowling and the Harry Potter series! I am such a huge fan of her work and this series, that even though her genre is completely unrelated to my own world of self-help and nonfiction, she inspires me to write like no other.

How do you think your writing makes an impact in the world?

I think most people in chronic pain are stuck in a rut or in a black hole. They don’t even know what is possible that can change their lives for the better. I want my writing to be that switch that turns on the light in as many heads a possible. There are an estimated 50 million Americans dealing with chronic pain, so there are a lot of folks out there looking for help.

What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an author like you?

Do it because you love what you are writing about. Let your writing be an extension of your life’s mission, whatever that may be. Being an author is a chance for personal growth and a way to reach a deeper understanding of who you really are or want to be.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

When I first considered writing a book about pain, I did not know that you needed a book agent to represent you. The first thing I did was start cold calling publishers to see if they were interested in my book idea, but that didn’t go very far! So, I bought a book on how to get an agent and went from there.

I only sought out book agents that were in California because I didn’t want to do a lot of traveling to meet with them. Little did I know that ten years later, I would never meet my book agent face-to-face. We communicate only by phone or email.

Most agents and publishers don’t think a doctor can actually write a book by a set deadline. They assume we are just too busy to really deliver a successful product on time. Fortunately, I was able to find folks who had faith in what I could do, even though I was an unknown entity. I really appreciate being given that opportunity.

Publishers don’t always put a lot of time and effort into promoting books for their authors. Never assume they will do everything in their power to get you out there. I was not initially prepared to be a self-promoter and marketer, and I feel like I am still learning how to be better at that.

I think the role of social media has also become a big factor for authors. When I first started writing, I didn’t even have a Facebook account. Now a days, how many social media followers you have plays a big role in if a publisher will want to work with you. Spending a lot of time on social media is something I would rather avoid, but it now seems to be a necessary part of delivering a message, whether it be through books, talks, podcasts or other avenues of delivering content.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

My movement is to get everyone to be more love centered. When patients go from one treatment to the other, or from doctor to doctor, and spend a lot of time, money and energy on their healthcare, I think they need to take a hard look at what they are really getting out of it. If whatever you are doing doesn’t bring more love into your life, then I would question why keep doing it. Being in pain can be a very isolating and distressing situation, and I think patients need to gravitate toward whatever will help get them out there and connect with the world, as opposed to staying stuck their rooms.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

https://www.instagram.com/peteabaci/

Thank you so much for this. This was very inspiring!

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

sHeroes: Dr. Iris Orbuch and Dr. Amy Stein are helping women reclaim their lives and raising awareness about endometriosis

by Alexandra Spirer
Community//

Inner Healing Works

by Pirie Jones Grossman
Community//

Finally Pain-Free!

by Katy Trost

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.