Dear Dr. Sarno,
In 2003 I began to experience chronic back pain that was so severe that it kept me from sleeping at night.
I immediately contacted my physician, who did a full work-up, with MRIs, CT scan, bone scan (because the pain radiated from my sacrum area), and physical therapy. He supplemented this treatment with (at different times) opioid painkillers, neurontin, Lyrica, and NSAIDs.
The workups showed two herniated discs but nothing else that was exceptional. The PT temporarily relieved my pain, but it returned all too soon. Chiropractic had a similar result, as did cranio-sacral therapy. I increased my daily exercise regime and added stretching. Still no relief from the chronic night-time pain.
I continued to take an exploratory and proactive approach to my chronic pain. I began to attend yoga classes and received acupuncture. I underwent a full series of Rolfing sessions as well as a six-month long course of weekly shiatsu massage. All of these ‘alternative’ treatments were wonderful because of the relationships that formed around them, and they were very emotionally revealing, but they didn’t vanquish my back pain. I stretched, I learned to release trigger points, I read all the books I could find about back pain.
Still no lasting relief from the chronic pain.
My PC doc and my ortho specialist arrived at the conclusion that surgery would be the next step, but they warned me that it is often ineffective at relieving chronic pain.
One day, I found *Healing Back Pain* at the library. I checked it out, went home, and read it in one session. I realized almost immediately that this approach applied to me and my situation.
I entered treatment with a psychologist and began to practice gentle stretching exercises (Chinese qi gong). Within a few days my pain was drastically reduced, and within two months it had entirely gone away. I no longer had to take painkillers or lose sleep. Best of all, my emotional life became more satisfying and well-integrated. I became a happier and (I hope) better adjusted person because of this learning experience.
I continue to be free of back pain ten years later. Every once in a while, when I feel a twinge in my back (or a stomach upset or a skin problem) I turn my attention to factors in my emotional life, and that does the trick. I’ve helped several friends and relatives arrive at the same resolution for their issues, including orthopedic pain, gastrointestinal issues and fibromyalgia.
I believe that many people find secondary gain in TMS pain and are unwilling to confront the psychological issues that cause it. I only hope that one day, physicians and other health-care practitioners embrace your approach more readily. It has the potential to save them, their patients, and the health-care system from the disastrous effects of chronic TMS pain.
I have been suffering from recurrent episodes of chronic back pain over the last 10 years.
The intensity of the pain has been ranging from moderate to intense in relation with my life style and working activities. Over the year the problem turned into a regular 2 weeks pain over the space of a month. I have seen numerous doctors and was diagnosed with all sort of conditions. Shorter leg, spine disorder, L4 stuck to L5…
I have been very fortunate to come across your book “Healing Back Pain” which has had a very strong and immediate impact on the understanding of my underlying problem.
Within a matter of weeks I have rediscovered full physical activities without any restraints or compromise.
I am very happy to enjoy again running and my new life in charge of my body.
And for this I cannot be thankful enough.
Dear Dr Sarno,
It was back in 2007 when my then boyfriend (now husband) and I, in a rather stressful professional moment, started having pain in our hands.
The pain increased for both of us day after day, reaching our necks and backs. Yet we didn´t dare to complain, we were young, we were in love, we had friends…How dare we say anything was wrong?
I still remember the day when we really accidentally learnt about your work. It was the first day I had to leave work early out of pain, my husband had been at home for over a month by then. We thought we had googled everything, we thought that that was it, our life as we imagined it was over, we were destined to perish with our RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury)…
And then we stumbled upon a random, rather basic website of graduate students who were “saved” by you. We thought of giving it a go, Funnily enough, we were booked to go to the annual RSI conference in London the day after, where we met some people who were volunteering presenting your work. We looked for them (they weren´t given any visibility) and had a long chat. Possibly the most important chat of our lives.
Well, after that chat something clicked in my mind and I was pain free within hours. My husband took a bit longer, but within 14 days he was back working more than full-time (he had to make up for the time lost). Since then we have started a mind-body journey. We know a lot more about ourselves, whenever we have some pain or a cold that takes a bit too long to go away we ask ourselves where we are mentally and emotionally.
I haven´t stopped reading literature related to the mind-body connection since then, and my curiosity cannot be satiated. I am young enough to think that I can change career and if I do, that would probably be my area of work.
I credit you for our health and I admire you for your intellectual honesty, courage and humanity to challenge mainstream knowledge.
I am so glad I found this website, I hope this message reaches you.
Thank you very much from both of us.
I suffered constant, debilitating back pain for two years. Then my wife discovered “Healing Back Pain” and had me read it. I was extremely skeptical but gave it a try out of desperation. (My orthopedist had just recommended spinal fusion surgery.) Within two weeks I was noticeably better, completely cured in a month. Dr. Sarno virtually saved my life.
I’ve had occasional equivalent symptoms in the two decades since then, but I pull out one of his books, work on the process, and they go away within days. I’m 65 years old and happily healthy. Thank you Dr. Sarno!!
Dear Dr. Sarno,
I read your back pain book while recovering from my second c-section, and fighting off very unpleasant back pain. I was seeing a physical therapist at the time. As an older mother, I really thought my days as an active person were over. Reading your book restored my back completely, no more physical therapy needed. Also, it gave me profound insight into the power of emotions, primarily anger, to affect the body. Now, I am a boxing student and my back is great! Many thanks for the inspiration and exciting life!
In 2006 I was injured at my job of 2 months at a school for the developmentally disabled. Ruptured L4/L5. The pain was so bad I could not sit even to use the bathroom. I was devastated as I had just moved into my 1st place, a 3rd floor apartment! In the few years before the injury I had left an abusive/alcoholic husband of 20 years then got involved with a man just like him and had finally left him, I’d quit my very stressful job at a dialysis clinic, went to college at 40, graduated with a 3.99 GPA, and got my dream job! After the injury the Dr. told me if I didn’t get a discectomy/laminectomy I would lose the use of my left leg. He asked me if I wanted to look like the lady in the waiting room with a brace on her leg and a cane! Of course I didn’t! I hiked and danced for fun! So I had the surgery and before long I had more pain, weakness, and numbness then before. I was told a fusion was the only option. Of course that made things worse.
I went to a thrift store one day and your book, “Mind Over Back Pain” was lying on the floor. I asked my Mom to pick it up and hand it to me as I was unable to bend. She did, I bought it and devoured it. At first I thought, “This guy is nuts! I know why I have back pain and it’s not because of me! How dare he!” But I read on and you got me! I was a believer! I read your other books and saw myself there too. I stopped going to Dr’s. Stopped taking pain meds and started doing the inner work that was needed. I read the TMS Wiki posts where I learned about Michael Brown’s “Presence Process”. I attempted it many times and finally completed it. I started hiking and dancing again and began volunteering for Hospice and then got a job caring for an elderly couple on a beautiful horse farm. On 11-11-11 I married a man I met 2 weeks after my injury. He’s taken care of me, taught me to do yoga, meditated with me, and most importantly showed me that I deserve LOVE.
This pic was taken when he and I took a trip to Washington and hiked at Mt. Rainier National Forest. I could never have done that if not for YOU! I don’t even want to imagine what my life would have been like if not for YOU! Thank YOU from the bottom of my integrated heart!
I read Healing Back Pain in the mid-1990′s, saw myself on every page, and it changed my life. I have never met you, but I owe you the a great debt for saving me from a life spent in pain in doctors offices. I had knee pain at that time that cortisone shots and physical therapy could not heal when a woman who had had severe back pain (including 2 operations) and was swimming 2 miles a day suggested I read Healing Back Pain even though my pain was in my knee. The next day I had a appointment with yet another doctor who told me I had fibromyalgia. I got off the exam table, thanked him, paid my bill, and never looked back.
Now when I have pain, I talk to/yell at my brain and reread your books as the basis to think about things that are bothering me. It has really helped to understand what is actually happening physically. For example, when I had recurring urinary tract infections, it helped to understand how the brain causes infections and allergies by suppressing or increasing the immune system. Once I understood this, it confirmed for me that this was a TMS equivalent, and I my last infection literally disappeared overnight.
I must also thank you for describing the subtle childhood emotional abuse of some TMS sufferers in the Divided Mind. I felt like you must have been sitting on the couch of my childhood home. I cried for an hour knowing I was not alone and did not imagine it. I have reread that section many times and it has been a great comfort.
Thank you, and I wish you peace and health in your life. I know you have brought a great deal of that to mine.
Thank you so much for eliminating my chronic back pain. I am deeply indebted to you. This doesn’t have to be posted; I can’t be bothered to add pictures, etc… but I just wanted to give you this message.
I often mention your technique to others, but it’s mostly fallen on deaf ears. I can’t understand why.
I went to other “specialists”, but nothing worked, until I did your program and I also used it for other pain.
Thank you so much.
Love Avnita x