In 2000, my back had deteriorated to the point where walking over ten steps was practically impossible. I spent considerable time and money engaged with the ‘cures’ of the day: yoga, chiropractors, acupuncture, rolfing, prolotherapy,etc. Nothing helped. I therefore underwent surgery to correct the diagnosed problem of spinal stenosis. My surgery was deemed a success; within six months I was ambulatory again. It felt good. My instructions were clear: no heavy lifting, bend a certain way, don’t put too much pressure on your back, etc.
About 1 1/2 years later, I started to experience my initial symptoms all over again. The ‘pins and needles’ feeling in my legs returned, accompanied by pain and numbness. I could feel that within a month’s time, I’d be back walking like Groucho Marx. I felt hopeless, depressed and desperate. I got lucky: someone casually mentioned your name and to check out your books. In the Amazon reviews, I encountered a positive reviewer whose diagnosis was the same as mine. I ditched all of my advisors ( you gotta call this new chiropractor, he’s amazing!) and committed myself to your concepts, memorizing them and carrying them around with me. I stopped all attempts at having someone else ‘fix’ me. That was one of the more difficult things that I have ever done.
Approximately three months later, my back pain had ceased. It took about another year or two to conquer the fear of lifting things, but I did it. I’ve had a few TMS equivalents along the way, but thinking psychologically has given me a new lease on life. I’m profoundly grateful for all of your insights and research. Your work continues to have a large influence on my life—thank you for truly opening my eyes!
Your books have changed my life and put an end to two years of extremely sever back pain, thanks to your brave and groundbreaking discoveries, i was able to become totally pain free, go through the pregnancy and birth of my twins, completely free of back pain, and go back to professional belly dancing. it’s 11 years later, i am a 100% pain-free. I will forever be grateful.
I am one more of the many people who are so thankful to you for your books and ideas that have so changed our lives. I suffered with severe neck and leg pain and am now completely pain free and enjoying life as it was meant to be enjoyed. Today I ran the local 10K in my town for the 35th consecutive year. I’m 67 years old.
Thank you does not even come close to acknowledging how much I appreciate all you have done for me. For 15 years, I lived with ever more frequent back spasms and the fear of never knowing when they would happen again. My life was so compromised that I missed out on many opportunities with my family and career. You gave me back the joy of living in six weeks by just reading a book (Healing Back Pain). Before that, I believed that I was doomed to a life of pain because of my so called structural defects. It was miraculous. I have since returned to school, got my masters degree in counseling and presently work as a mindbody TMS therapist.
I am so in awe of your perseverance and bravery in believing TMS to be a mindbody condition. It had to be so difficult to be treated as an outcast in your own profession and still stay true to your beliefs.
I have had chronic neck and back pain since I was in my early 20’s and I’m now 56. I went to a doctor a few times and they offered to have me get an MRI but we didn’t have insurance so they would just give me Motrin 800. I just lived with the pain that I had. Last year (2011) my back got especially bad while doing the exercise program Power 90X so I went to my regular doctor and he suggested a chiropractor or physical therapy. I had tried therapy once before for my back and I got worse. I went to a chiropractor to see if she could do anything. She started manipulating my back and neck. At that time all I had for neck issues was a little crunching. She did five treatments and I was in such pain with my neck I couldn’t stand it. She finally sent me for an MRI on my neck and then my back because my back wasn’t responding to treatment either. She certainly did damage to my neck so that was my last visit to see her. The MRI’S showed 3 herniated cervical discs, a broken L5 and a deformed tail bone. I started searching for help and some how found YOU. I read your first book and became 90% pain free and am now about 95% pain free from believing what you had to say. I continue to try to think what could be emotionally bothering me when I get pain and I try to clear my mind of guilt. You’re the best. Enjoy your retirement.
You opened my mind to an entire new way of thinking about my body’s health and happiness. After reading your first book, recommended by Dr. Andrew Weil, I was hooked and read everything else you have written (that I know of!) and then read Candace Pert’s books, and many other authors with related material. It sure is a whole different universe than we all think!
My husband and I are both artists who paint imaginative realism and I also have a blog that is about health and fitness. In my health and fitness blog, I dedicated a post to you (http://juliebellfitness.blogspot.com/2009/08/dr-john-sarno.html )
in August of 2009, along with separate posts about Candace Pert, Andrew Weil, and Steven Gurgevich. For your blog post, I asked my husband to create the attached cartoon. I hope you like it!
I wish there was a way to say thank you that would come at least a little bit close to how much I mean it, but, please imagine that there is and then accept that from me.
Take care of yourself!
From Julie’s Blog:
Dr. John Sarno
I was going to talk about Candace Pert next, but I realized that it was Dr. Sarno who led me to Dr. Pert, so it makes sense to talk about him first. I first heard of Dr. Sarno’s work through Andrew Weil’s recommendation. Dr. Weil had been saying forEVER that most any kind of back problem could be helped without drugs or surgery and that Dr. Sarno’s book, “MindBody Prescription” was a good place to learn about his theory. I didn’t pay much attention until I had a really yucky time with back, knee, and hip pain that just wouldn’t go away. I went to all kinds of doctors, got all kinds of tests including blood tests to see if I had some weird rheumatoid problem. To make my long, painful story short and painless, I took Dr. Weil’s recommendation and read Dr. Sarno’s book and (FOR REAL!)within 2 weeks after finishing the book, I was perfectly pain-free and back to running, weight lifting, and yoga.
Dr. Sarno has put himself out on a limb by spelling out a treatment that really consists of education. No drugs, surgery, or special exercises, just a new understanding of how the body’s systems of creating pain works. And it was this new understanding that opened my mind to a completely different approach to thinking about the entire subject of health. The beauty of this education is that once you understand it, the back-and-forth communication between your mind and your body becomes a source of knowledge for you that you didn’t know you already possessed!
I overcame severe RSI in my hands and lifelong pains including back, neck, and plantar faciitis, to name a few. As a result, I have been able to rediscover my childhood love of sport and exercise which I had abandoned so many years ago. Here’s a photo of me competing in an Ironman race in 2011, something which I would have considered impossible just a handful of years ago.
Thank you so much, Dr. Sarno. Your work made a huge difference in my life.
Twenty years ago I called you after reading your second book, “Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection.” I had been confined to bed with severe back pain for three months. This was due to an “adjustment” by a chiropractor (the trigger) that I saw for my frozen shoulder. Interestingly, once I became focused on my back, the frozen shoulder and pain from that disappeared. You told me that there was nothing physically wrong with my back (I had seen a doctor and had an MRI) and that I needed to become active again.
Because I was not quite desperate enough at the time and still unsure of the TMS diagnosis, I pursued medical help for my pain. I had every test and treatment imaginable. I went to a pain clinic run by a doctor who was both a physiatrist and psychiatrist so I figured if anyone could help me it would be him. Not so….he recommended surgery; a spinal fusion. When he could not explain sufficiently how that would help my pain (maybe he was going for the placebo effect!), I refused the surgery and instead, called you again. By then I had been practically bedridden for over a year.
You were again so kind and helpful to me and referred me to Dr. Segal who had trained with you during the past year and was within 70 miles of my home. My daughter drove me as I had not sat for more than five minutes since the beginning of this ordeal. I had to lie on a couch in Dr. Segal’s waiting room for the same reason. However, after she examined me and took a history, she insisted I sit back on a chair with my legs crossed as she told me there was nothing structurally wrong with my back that could be causing this pain. Although my lower back hurt terribly, I was determined to do her bidding, as this was my last hope. Two weeks later I drove to her office for my follow-up appointment.
Getting better was the hardest thing I have ever done. I was weak from lack of exercise and extremely nervous about resuming a normal lifestyle. I solved these problems by enrolling in the wellness center in our local community college and taking a psychology class. That was in January 1994. One class turned into two, then three as I worked part time while studying psychology and social work. It took me ten years but in July of 2004, I finished grad school with an MSW in Clinical Social Work. My goal was to help others who were suffering the same way I had. I am now an LCSW-C (Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical) with a private practice specializing in helping others CURE their chronic pain and other psychophysiological disorders. My bookshelf is filled with your books and those of others who have been influenced by your work.
hank you so much for your hard work and perseverance in the face of negative feedback from your medical peers. And thank you especially for your kindness and willingness to help me when I needed it most. I will always be indepted to you for giving me a new life and new career!