Nicole Understands Chronic Pain

Nicole Hemmenway understands chronic pain, living half her life with the neurological and chronic pain disorder, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Although the disease went into remission for nearly four years, it returned with vengeance during the beginning of her senior year of high school. A fluke incident causing her to pull two tendons in her right hand resulted in a long and painful nine-year journey through the medical system.

While life became lonely, tiring and redundant, she refused to believe she would be sick forever. She refused to accept the medical profession had explored all avenues and hope in a greater, pain-free future was lost. By no longer allowing the pain to define her identity, Nicole empowered herself to become proactive. Taking control of her own life was the reason she found treatments that fit her lifestyle and body. She overcame her disability to prove miracles happen.

By experiencing firsthand the great strides and pitfalls of the medical profession, Nicole gained valuable life lessons of expectations and rejections. She has lived through the pain, the struggle, the hell. She overcame what doctors told her was a hopeless situation and became a survivor.

In her memoir, No, It Is NOT In My Head: The Journey of a Chronic Pain Survivor from Wheelchair to Marathon, Nicole shares her experiences navigating through the medical system. It is a hope-filled masterpiece for the 100 million Americans suffering from pain in the USA. No, It Is NOT In My Head is a raw look at suffering with pain and how it affects everyone. It also shows how to triumph over the odds and find your own voice.

For many years during her pain journey, Nicole worked with the National Pain Foundation to help raise chronic pain awareness. It was during this period that she realized the power of her voice. She finally saw that her story mattered. She supports various organizations that provide hope and help to those living with pain.

In 2010, Nicole’s dream to form a patient-focused organization for those with pain came to fruition when she met Paul Gileno, founder and president of U.S. Pain Foundation. She immediately wanted to become involved in this organization that understood the challenges those with pain regularly endure while working to help those suffering find empowerment, community, hope and information. She is honored to have an active role in creating programs that are not only needed, but also beneficial, to the entire pain community.

Nicole created the now U.S. Pain-sponsored online site, Heroes of Healing,, where caregivers and those with pain can share personal stories of struggle and triumph. She is proud to serve as Vice President of U.S. Pain Foundation as well as Director of the INvisible Project and Co-Director of Take Control Of Your Pain.

Nicole Hemmenway is a leading voice in chronic pain awareness and an advocate for patient rights. It is her continued mission to inspire other pain warriors, while empowering them to become proactive in their personal pain journeys.

Nicole lives in the Bay Area with her husband, son and three lively animals. After fighting so hard to find treatments that fit her lifestyle and body, every day is a gift. She enjoys being active, eating clean and embracing the little moments in life.

Healing Remedies
Wellpatch Migraine / Be Koool

Both of these soft gel pads have worked wonders at relieving some of the worst pain associated with my headaches and migraines. My mom would keep them in the refrigerator so they would be cold whenever I needed them. Even today, I keep these pads on hand. Wellpatch Migraine and Be Koool are found in most grocery stores and pharmacies nationwide.


Emetrol is an over-the-counter liquid nausea medication for children. It has no salicylates, antihistamines, alcohol or caffeine. Although I am not a fan of its taste, Emetrol calms my upset stomach. It has helped me tremendously.

Yogi Bedtime Tea

Just like the majority of chronic pain survivors, I had terrible insomnia. I could not sleep at night because the pain was so agonizing. That changed when I discovered Yogi Bedtime Tea. While I must admit that it does not always put me to sleep, the unique blend of roots, flowers and plant leaves relaxes my body. I seem to sleep sounder and more peacefully after drinking Yogi Bedtime Tea.

To quote Oprah, "here is a list of my favorite things." These are just a few of the books and healing solutions that worked for me and helped me stay positive. Remember, this is my list. What I am really interested in knowing is what has helped each of YOU. Since I will be updating these sections monthly, please contact me with your own personal tips. I would love to feature your ideas too!

Nicoles Reading List
The Empowered Patient
The Empowered Patient
by Dr. Julia Hallisy

To purchase
The Empowered Patient
visit or
This is a must-read for anyone navigating through the medical system. I gained insight, knowledge and a better understanding of my rights as a patient. Just as the book title states, I felt empowered to become more proactive in my recovery. I highly recommend reading this well-informed book.

The author, Dr. Hallisy, is a practicing dentist in San Francisco, California. In 1989, Dr. Hallisy’s late daughter, Katherine, was born with bilateral retinoblastoma. Dealing with Kate’s life-threatening diagnosis, the many recurrences of cancer, and the unanticipated challenges of hospital-acquired infection and misdiagnosis has afforded Dr. Hallisy her invaluable insight as an advocate for patients. The many lessons she learned during Kate’s life became the foundation for her book, The Empowered Patient: Hundreds of life-saving facts, action steps and strategies you need to know.
The Empowered Patient
The Four Agreements
by don Miguel Ruiz

To purchase
The Four Agreements,
visit or Barnes and Noble
Reading The Four Agreements transformed my life. It changed my attitude about my disease, my relationship with the medical community and my ability to cope with the unknown. I learned how to live my life honestly; I found my authentic self.

In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz reveals how self-limiting beliefs rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, these agreements teach us how to transform our lives so we can live happier and fuller. The Four Agreements are: Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don't Take Anything Personally, Don't Make Assumptions, Always Do Your Best.