Dear Dr. Sarno,
For over 20 years, chronic back pain has dogged me, sitting has been a nightmare, and exercise has been severely limited. But, thanks to you and your books, all that has changed.
Recently, I retired from teaching and moved with my husband to a foreign country. Shortly after our arrival, my pain escalated to the point that I could barely walk. I tried cortisone shots and chiropractic, even though they had never helped much in the past. They did not help this time either. Fear set in: Would I be an invalid in my mid-fifties—in a foreign country? In desperation, I searched the internet and found your books. I downloaded The Mindbody Prescription and The Divided Mind onto my Kindle and began to read, re-read, and devoted myself to therapeutic journaling—sometimes up to two or three hours a day. Because I had no access to English-speaking psychotherapists, I was on my own with only your books, the success stories written by your patients, the TMS wiki site, and my husband’s support. Finally, after two months of persistent study and journaling, the pain was 95% gone.
As a young woman, I had been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. At that time (1978), I found life-saving help in a new book by psychoanalyst Hilda Bruch who explained how perfectionism and goodism were integral aspects of the illness. I accepted the psychosomatic diagnosis and got better with the help of psychotherapy. When I regained my weight, I left therapy feeling quite proud of my ability to overcome this serious illness. But soon I began to develop a string of other symptoms: interstitial cystitis, skin problems, IBS, odd aches and pains, and finally— out of nowhere—crippling low-back pain. My doctors and I were utterly blind to the connection between these symptoms and the earlier eating disorder. Now I see this series of unexplained illnesses as nothing more than the “symptom imperative” at work. Your books helped me see this pattern and finally uncover the long-repressed anger that was fueling the need for all these crippling symptoms.
Today, I walk rigorously up and down hills, swim, and sit as long as I like. I feel stronger, healthier, and more alive than ever before in my adult life. It is liberating, to say the least. I owe this freedom to you. Thank you, Dr. Sarno!
Thank you, Dr. Sarno!
For years I have wanted to thank you for changing my life for better. This is a minimal way I feel I can communicate with you and share my appreciation.
I am probably the most fervent advocate of your teachings in the Dominican Republic. I have purchased and continue to purchase several of your books and frequently lend them to friends here.
My story… For two years I suffered from acute pain and had ups and downs… carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, bursitis, etc. I visited a wide range of traditional and non-traditional practitioners (Chinese and Japanese acupuncture, osteopathy, Feldenkreis method, cortisone shots, pain killers, Ceragem Korean massage beds, Inverter table, etc.). I had been seen by rheumatologist, orthopedist, geriatrician, endocrinologist, etc.
None could give me a clear diagnose of what was causing this terrible pain. Most provided temporary relief. But the pain would recur. The pain got so severe I had to work standing up. I could barely sit.
I was in severe pain when a friend noticed my acute discomfort when having dinner at a restaurant and said he would help. The next day he lent me two of your earliest books. He explained the books had been lent to him by a friend who had consulted with you in New York and had been cured. My friend had also been cured by reading the books and today is a triathlete.
As many others have written, I saw myself (unforgiving perfectionist personality) reflected in the explanations in the books and recall curing myself by reading and re-reading the chapters in less than a week.
I have had several recurrences and have just gone back to reading your books. The latest was when I noticed a close friend suffering from TMS. I had to retake the reading to get cured again.
The books are like bibles to me. When cured I have felt like the biblical Lazarus: I got up and walked. I now understand miracles. And I understand one has to believe to be cured.
I cannot thank you enough for your brilliance and sharing your knowledge. You should have already won the Noble Prize for helping so many people.
I will do all possible to continue to spread this knowledge.
Dear Dr. Sarno,
About a year ago I was in the worst state physically and mentally. I was in the process of interviewing surgeons to have surgery on the discs in my neck, which were believed to be causing the excruciating pain that radiated down my shoulder and arm. I was unable to sit, walk, and drive, which basically meant I spent a lot of time on my back, medicated. This was no easy task with two small boys. I was no stranger to chronic pain and had suffered for most of my adult life. My diagnoses ranging from irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, herniated discs, migraines and high blood pressure just to name a few.
As I lay on my basement floor, unable to move and realizing I couldn’t live my life like this any longer I was reluctantly going to pursue surgery. Then, enter my brother-in-law who had been suggesting your book to me for several years after his success with your TMS theory. This time I had finally agreed to read it. As I read the pages I began to wonder could this book be written about me. Of course it wasn’t, but I represent so many others who are struggling with chronic pain and desperate to find relief.
Your words resonated with me and I began to open up to the possibility that my pain could be emotionally charged. I especially found comfort in your words explaining that the pain I felt was very real, but originating from a psychological concern rather than a mechanical one. I had done every conventional and alternative treatment recommended that should have cured my pain and none of them worked. Now I know why, the pain was not being caused by a physical problem. Within six weeks of reading your book and subscribing to your theory of TMS, I was able to walk my kids to school, do hot yoga and drive a car without pain. Fast forward to today, it has been just over a year and I have been pain free and feeling better than ever! When life begins to stress me out, I reach for your daily reminders and I’m able to manage my mind and body as a whole and keep chronic pain away for good. I am eternally grateful for your dedication to TMS and hope to continue to see your work and legacy provide the shift our culture needs in the treatment of chronic pain.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Dear Dr Sarno,
I was trying to find a contact for you, when I came across this site. I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for changing my life. A few years ago I was going in to hospital for back surgery when I came across your book “Healing Back Pain” in a local bookstore. I live in Ireland. I had never heard of you. I had tried everything else.
After reading your book I cured my back completely. It was astonishing. I understood exactly what you were saying and it worked 100%.
Over the years since then I have had chronic neck pain, an ulcer and chronic knee pain. I suffered these for a while until I remembered your book, and was able to heal every one of them, instantly, once I realized it was TMS.
I recently fixed my severe ankle pain, again instantly, when I remembered what I had learned from your book.
I have bought all your books and with the input in them from all the other specialists, I have been able to address many of the underlying issues that brought on my TMS.
You are an amazing man. Thank you so much. The world needs you. You are so far ahead of your time, that we will all have passed on, before your books are compulsory on all medical courses, which they will be.
Sean Mac Oisin
Dear Dr. Sarno,
You had diagnosed me with TMS in 1995. Thank you. You gave me the knowledge I needed to recover from a variety of physical ailments namely severe back spasms and a very embarrassing condition that I refer to as my “personal pain problem” for which I’d sought help from gastroenterologists and gynecologists, underwent a battery of “tests” and then “exploratory surgery”: all of which revealed nothing, leaving my doctors and surgeon completely frustrated and baffled. I am a very conservative person and revealing this “personal pain” to anyone (even the doctors) was very embarrassing for me. They knew I was not making this bizarre pain up!
It wasn’t until I met you that I discovered the problem behind my “personal pain problem”! You informed me that as I worked through the process of healing from my back issue, that I would also heal from my personal pain problem! I am thrilled to inform you that I have!
I think what really solidified my belief in your TMS theory was the fact that my pain would intensify drastically each time I had an appointment with Dr. Fran Anderson! I’d be sitting in the back of a cab, on my way to her office and, like clockwork, the pain would escalate so quickly! Suddenly I would experience pain where I never even had any before! It was amazing! Like my subconscious knew what I was about to do and was screaming “NO! STOP!” The escalation of pain did not surprise me though because I had read in your book to expect this to occur when we first begin the process of healing. For me, the intensifying pain was simply an affirmation of your theory being absolutely confirmed!
Dr. Sarno, before I met you and attended your lectures my life was really falling apart. I was on the verge of losing my job of 25 years, I had ceased all of my sporting activities for fear that I was going to hurt myself even more. I was so depressed.
You gave me my life back! You gave me the gift of knowledge about what was going on in my mind and to my body. You have educated me and given me all I need to know to live out the rest of my life free from the many manifestations of TMS. I will be forever grateful to you Dr. Sarno!
I thank you for having been a very significant part of my life experience!
May God bless you as you have been such a blessing to me!
With long lasting gratitude,
Dear Dr. Sarno,
I have never met you, and I am sure you have lost count of the number of times you have heard this, but I would like to sincerely thank you for showing me the way to heal my 30-year chronic low-back pain! I’ll try and keep my story short, but my back pain started when I was an active 17 year old, after which began a 30 year long saga of pain and suffering.
I was initially diagnosed with a bulging disc on the sciatic nerve which began “my life with a bad back”. After decades of seeing numerous medical specialists and receiving numerous treatments which included surgery, acupuncture, physio sessions, epidurals, and facet joint injections my pain persisted and increased. All of these only gave me temporary relief, if that. Gradually, I slowly but surely lost the ability to lead a normal life. The last 10 years in particular were quite bad as I was living with an average level of 8/10 pain, not being able to sit for more than a minute or two without extreme pain, and avoiding many of the activities one takes part in as part of a normal life. Somehow though I soldiered on by continuously adjusting my life, but the effect of the pain was really starting to take its toll mentally, no different really than being in a torture chamber. Eventually I reached the stage where I had given up any sort of hope of reducing my back pain and became resigned to the fact that I would just have to somehow live a life of taking prescription pain killers, and avoiding anything that caused my back pain to increase above the already ‘normal’ but high pain levels. In the end, no other treatment seemed to give me even a slight reprieve from pain, not even as a placebo. Even the pain killers slowly started to become ineffective requiring higher dosages. Looking back it is clear all of these treatments were aimed at the symptoms rather than the cause. I, as well as my family, had become a prisoner to my back pain.
That was December of 2013. Then one day I came across your book Healing Back Pain on the internet, and after reading a few reviews, I thought, “sounds too good to be true”, but I ordered the book, as well as The MindBody Prescription and received them a week later. I read the books in a few days and as a goodist, I could see myself all over them. I started to put some of the ideas and TMS exercises into practice, and about 2 weeks later I started to notice some reduction in my pain levels. My progress however stagnated a bit for a while, and then I mustered the courage to seek a psychotherapist. In Australia, TMS-aware psychotherapists (or medical professionals) are as rare as hen’s teeth, but funnily enough one of probably the only two TMS practising psychotherapists in this country had a clinic a few blocks away from where I lived! It took another 4 months or so of work with somatic psychotherapy but I finally started to get in touch with a huge reservoir of repressed anger that I had no idea even existed. It is July 2014 now and even though I am not totally pain free, I have reduced my pain levels significantly (by 70 % or more) and I am starting to do things I never even dreamed of doing before. I can now sit down and watch a movie, go to a theatre show or work in front of the computer, instead of lying down all the time. I have stopped worrying about my back, and have not had a flare up now for 4 months, something that used to happen every few weeks or so. For most of the day now I don’t even feel any pain. I have even jumped back on my bike which was collecting dust for the last 10 years in the shed. I recently even went to an 8-hour training course which involved sitting for most of that time. Focussing on feelings and emotions instead of the physical has definitely worked. It’s like my life has started again.
While I still feel some back pain now and then and have some more work ahead of me, I feel I have the knowledge and tools to completely conquer it and I am confident I will eliminate it in the near future. So once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your pioneering work and your strength of conviction in unravelling the truth about TMS.
Now when people ask me, “How is your back?” I answer, “Really good thanks!”. They look at me a bit puzzled and ask “What did you do to make it better? Special exercises? Swimming?” I smile at them and cheekily say, “I got better by ignoring everything that I was ever told about my back!” It gets their attention, and then I show them a copy of your book. To this day I always try to spread your good work.
The following letter was translated from Spanish to English.
Hello Doctor Sarno,
Although I never met him because I live far away in Peru, I had the opportunity to read his book “The Divided Mind.” I found myself on each page and thanks to the understanding that occurred in my mind I overcame pelvic pain I had with me for 3 years.
I remember having a desperate phone call with my limited English. I asked for help. He told me to read my book over and over and so I did. I felt pain whenever I read it until one day the pain that was 24 hours a day began to dissipate, and started to be 12 hours, then 6 hours a day. And then out of the blue one day I stopped hurting. I remember that day like it was the first and I thank God for coming to you.
I wish him well :D regards
From Lima - Peru.
Dear Dr. Sarno,
In my late teens I began a 10 year journey of one physical ailment after another and it continued until I studied your work. It started with knee pain, mild carpel tunnel syndrome, then lower back pain, severe allergies, asthma, pancreatitis and finished off with severe ulcerative colitis, all with no known cause and most with no known cure other than surgery for a couple of them. I tried cortisone shots in my knee, braces and therapy for my knee and wrist, inhalers and nasal spray for allergies and asthma, stretches and chiropractors for my back, a wheelbarrow of pills, juicing, fasting and diet changes for colitis. I even had a visit at one of the top four hospitals in the United States in search of help for pancreatitis and colitis only to come home with no answers. I was at a loss. In my mind, being in my mid 20’s, I should have been at the peak of health.
As a long time listener of Howard Stern, I heard him mention you several times over the years but always about back pain. I dismissed it because I only had a brief encounter with it but one day he went a little deeper and touched on the mindbody connection. It triggered something and I bought all of your books. I’m now almost 31, take no medication and I’m in the best health of my life. My breathing tests since studying your work have been “perfect” the pulmonologist says and he has taken me off all inhalers. The allergies remain but have been reduced by 90 percent.
During the time period I was studying your work I had an accident and suffered a Type 4 AC shoulder Separation. After I healed up through physical therapy and was feeling great, I put your theory of pain returning to the site of an old injury to the test. I randomly started feeling a severe pain in my shoulder as if someone was trying to drive a nail into it, it did not follow suit to what I had been doing physically and I “talked my self out of it”. The pain tried a couple more times to come back, I immediately shut it down and it hasn’t returned. I can’t thank you enough and as everyone else says, I am forever in debt to you Dr. Sarno.
Dear Dr. Sarno
Five years ago, I was a 24 year old woman that had given up on life after battling immense pain for over a decade. I had vowed to take my own life at the end of that year until I was given a gift that would change my life forever. Someone had known of my pain and gave me your book. Within a month I was pain free and by the end of that year I was able to celebrate my life and the hope that I had gained instead of giving up. I had never even met you but yet, you were the only one that helped me through the hardest part of my life. I can still remember how many tears of joy I cried while reading your book and I still to this day smile every time I hear your name or hear of a story of someone else that healed their pain because of you. I only hope that one day everyone living with pain will hear of you and give your books a chance because so many are in need of healing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything that you have done, I will forever be in your debt because I am alive now. I still battle TMS every so often but as soon as it emerges, I recognize it for what it is and realize that I am in control of my pain and my body and not the other way around. This is has changed my life in so many other ways other than just a healing of the body. My mind is at peace and that is something I never thought would happen. Thank you for giving me my life back.
You are my hero Dr. Sarno.
Dear Dr. Sarno,
You are my hero. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. You literally saved my life. Your incredible dedication & caring is quite simply amazing. I have tried to “spread the word of Sarno” for the last 25 years & I hope that I’ve helped some people help themselves. I genuinely love you. You are an amazing man. I hope you are well. You deserve nothing but the absolute best in this world & beyond!
Thank you so much,