What is Pain?


  • Pain is not “bad.” Pain is not “good.” It just is. 

  • Pain is a SIGNAL. It is a communication tool to make your brain be aware. 

  • Your knowledge about pain and your understanding of pain REALLY matter. In fact, the more educated you are on pain, the less intense it is. 

Hi, I’m Missy. Thank you so much for clicking on this video. I’ve been studying pain for the last 10 years of my life and it truly is my life’s work.

Today I’m going to go over a really important metaphor when it comes to dealing with pain and what pain actually is. It’s very confusing because pain is actually a signal to do something different.

So how you want to look at your pain is by assuming that you have a threat bucket or you are a threat bucket. However you want to look at this.

We all have a threat bucket and we all have a threshold in which that bucket can be filled. It can overflow or it can just be full a little bit.  As you can see here on this blue dotted line, once that threshold is full, then something will actually come out of that spigot.

That’s the part that you’re going to be interested in, so think of your threat bucket and all the things in your life that are going into it.


So we have something like, I injured my left shoulder, okay, this was in college. And I was 22 years old playing football.

Let’s say you didn’t sleep very well last night. That goes into your threat bucket.

Let’s say you ate or drank something that you shouldn’t have. We’re going to call that nutrition.

Let’s say one of your eyes doesn’t see very well or it’s weaker or it has had external trauma that goes in your threat bucket.

Balance issues, all going in the threat bucket.

You get my drift here, relationships, hydration, everything in your life goes into this bucket and then as it keeps filling and we don’t take care of these things, something happens.


So we’re going to say you’re in your car and you’re reaching behind the seat and you tweak your back. You’re out for six weeks over this stupid little injury and you have no idea why, and that’s because your threat bucket was very full of everything else that maybe you weren’t paying attention to and it set you over the top.

It reached your threshold. And that my friend is when you experience pain, so this is a really interesting concept for most people. They don’t know that this is how pain works and once you know that it is life changing, our job together is to simply take, let’s say your eyes, for example, you work with Ryan or myself.

We take out this one issue and slowly reduce all the things that were in your threat bucket. We work on your balance, boom. All of a sudden your bucket starts to lower.

You get hydrated, you work on your sleep, you work on those relationships that you’ve been meaning to work on for the last couple of years, and then all of a sudden this threshold is not met and you have room to play to live your life – hike a mountain, whatever it is you want to do, and you don’t have this experience because you were actually assessing your life as a whole and everything that makes up you pain is very complex.

It’s also very simple. It’s an individualized experience. It’s based on your history, your interpretation of that history, the magnitude of which it affected your life. If a dancer breaks her pinky, it’s not that big a deal, right?

But if a violinist breaks their pinky, it has a huge impact on everything and their pain experience goes up. Now, if a dancer breaks her toe, huge deal. If a violinist breaks their toe, not that huge of a deal, right?

So your pain is like a thumb print. It is very individual. It’s simple, but also complex. But if you know how to utilize the threat bucket metaphor, you can decrease your pain and your discomfort immediately.

And the best part is your performance goes up, your productivity goes up. It has a snowball effect around everyone around you, just because your ankle doesn’t hurt so much simply because you drank some water, right?

So that’s one of the very first crucial concepts that people learn when working with me. This is my gift to you today. So have an amazing day. Reach out to me if you have any questions.

I’d love to connect with you and always be assessing your threat bucket.

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