Nelda’s Thank You

Sasha (Nelda’s son)Dear Dr. Sarno –

I can never express my gratitude completely for your work and your ability to communicate it to everyone through your writing. I was a TMS poster child, growing up with so many symptoms that I know now are indicative of TMS. My twenties were spent in pain and I was consistently told by every doctor I saw that someone my age shouldn’t be having these problems. My X-rays showed no disks at all L5-L4-L3. I had severe muscle spasms in my neck and literally couldn’t hold my head up and had to use a soft cervical collar. I began to have problems just talking to doctors about my problems and going to a new doctor was agony. I was able to find some help with the use of medication and acupuncture, but not lasting help.

Lasting help came from reading “Healing Back Pain” when I was in my late thirties. During the time I was reading this I was able to stop physical therapy, stop medication and start to take control of what was happening to me. It was a great rush of joy to discover that someone out there understood and could communicate this understanding. I know now that there are many of us out here who have been helped to heal using your insights and it’s truly inspiring to learn about everyone and to realize that I was never alone in all of this. I still have my problems but I feel that I also have the ability to work them through when I apply what I learned from TMS – there is always some aspect of any problem, physical or otherwise, that responds to your findings.

The photo is of my son, Sasha, who was born when I was 42. I cannot imagine life without him – he represents all that I was given because of reading your books, Dr. Sarno. My husband and I have been teaching him about TMS and the mind-body connection as he grows so he can apply it in his own life. Thank you doesn’t really cover it, but, thank you, Dr. Sarno, from my heart.

Nelda

Liz’s Thank You

Liz's PictureDear Dr. Sarno,

I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve given me. You not only freed me of what felt like a life-sentence of excruciating and debilitating back pain, but your work has also helped me to become the person I am today. Reading Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection in 1997 not only changed my physical health drastically, it also opened my eyes to who I am and how I function. Your work started me on a journey from a girl who was emotionally unaware and detached from her inner-world, to an emotionally-rich woman who now works as a psychotherapist, helping others to identify and process their feelings and grow through a better understanding of themselves.

I was only 18 years old when I was diagnosed and relieved of TMS in 1997. It started with a twinge of pain between the shoulder blades while I was working as a counselor in a sleep-away camp.  The camp nurse told me it was from the flimsy camp mattresses and would go away when I got home. But a few months into my senior year in high school, the pain grew stronger, more frequent and to more areas of my back. My pediatrician sent me to a sports medicine doctor. I had an MRI and other scans taken but they were inconclusive. So the doctor prescribed me muscle relaxants. When that didn’t help, my parents took me to a chiropractor. The chiropractor was convinced it was the after-effects of a car accident I had been in, but that never resonated as true to me (though it had to be for him to bill my insurance).  He had me come in every week for an adjustment and time on a massage bed. As I would drive myself home from the chiropractic session, I would have some of my worst bouts of back pain (though the car accident hadn’t affected me physically, it probably had emotionally/ psychologically- triggering the TMS pain). I was a teenager but I would have to miss out on some social gatherings because I was at home writhing in pain, lying on a heating pad in bed, my mom trying to massage the knots in my back with massagers- to no avail. I felt like an 18 year old stuck in the body of an 80 year old. I was petrified I was destined to spend the rest of my life this way, since none of the doctors I saw could find the appropriate diagnosis, or cure. I felt helpless and hopeless and wondered how’d I go on.

At the time, my older brother was reading Howard Stern’s autobiography. He told my parents that in it, Howard had devoted a chapter to singing the praises of a medical doctor who had completely relieved him of his extreme and debilitating back pain simply by making him aware of how his personality and emotional management affected his physical well-being. My parents and I were skeptical, but we were out of options so called you, Dr. Sarno, out of desperation. You told me to read your book because that alone may cure me – I may never have to even go and see you. So I got the book but because of our skepticism, I still came to you for the physical exam and the lecture. Within a couple of months I was pain-free and back to normal. But more than that, I had also gained a lot of insight into myself, my emotional makeup and how I function. My experience healing from TMS began a personal journey of self-discovery and much personal, emotional and spiritual growth for me.

I often feel fortunate that I was so young when I experienced TMS and became relieved of it. At age 18, it was hard to attribute the pain to most other sources, and I was open enough to consider an “unconventional” diagnosis. Then I was lucky enough to take what I learned about the mind-body connection into the rest of my adult life and apply it. And now as a psychotherapist, I help my patients to make the connection between their physical health and inner-life as well, and introduce them to TMS and how they can recover from it. As someone who has recovered herself, it does not become just an act of generosity, but a sense of duty to help people find what works to become pain-free!

Dr. Sarno, words limit me in expressing the gratitude and appreciation I feel towards you for the tremendous contribution you’ve made to my life, as well as to countless others. And though you will no longer be practicing, I am confident your work will live on through the many people whose lives you impacted and will continue to impact through your books, your former patients, your successors, and the legacy you’ve imparted. And it is not just your lesson that moves me, it is also how you have delivered it. Considering the ground-breaking nature of what you have accomplished, and how many lives you changed, it never appeared to become about ego for you, or fame, or financial success. You always come off as very sincere and humble. For you it has always appeared to be about the message and not the messenger, and that too is truly inspiring.

Thank you. I wish you much peace and happiness in your retirement.

Sincerely,
Liz

Steve’s Thank You

Dr. Sarno,

I am so pleased to have this opportunity to thank you, acknowledge you, and honor you.

Several years ago I limped into your office with excruciating lower back pain that severely impacted the quality of my life for 2 years. Prior to meeting you, I could not walk properly, run or dance without burning pain. I tried physical therapy, chiropractors, acupuncture, deep tissue massage, and even hanging upside down from my ankles for hours (inversion therapy). None of that worked. Then, NYC’s most prominent surgeons recommended back surgery and they had the MRI’s and X-rays to back-up their recommendations. As a last chance effort to avoid surgery, I went to see you. After working with you and Dr. Eric Sherman, one of your gifted psychotherapists, my pain disappeared. Treatment took less than a year and I have now been pain-free for over ten years.

Since I am a professional engineer, I was able to see the disc abnormalities on the MRI’s. It was therefore very difficult to not subscribe to the physical diagnosis given to me by so many doctors. In the face of my skepticism you held your ground and declared that while the pain is real, the source is not the disc but the mind. It was in your certainty that I found the courage to discover, confront and come to terms with painful emotions from which the pain served to distract me. When it was no longer necessary to be distracted from these emotions, the pain ceased to serve a function and went away.

I thank you for your courage to stand in the face of little to no agreement from medical establishment. I acknowledge you for being a doctor who, early on in your medical practice, told the truth to yourself and others when your patients did not get better using popular and lucrative (to medical and insurance companies) treatments—and then found a way to get your patients better. I honor you for distinguishing a new paradigm for the treatment of chronic pain.

The Collins Dictionary defines genius as “a person with exceptional ability, especially of a highly original kind; distinctive spirit or creative nature; a person exerting great influence.” Collins uses the example, “Mozart’s musical genius.” Future generations will no doubt use the phrase, “Dr. Sarno’s medical genius.” In every sense of the word, you are a genius. I am honored and fortunate to have been treated by you and to know you.

With deep love and respect,
Steve

Jerry and Joy’s Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno,

The world owes you an enormous debt of gratitude for having the insight, courage, and devotion to come forth with your ideas on the human condition. You have greatly expanded our own awareness with regard to health and well-being. In our humble opinion, your TMS theory is nothing less than a breakthrough of the highest magnitude, ranking right up there with, for example, Einstein’s theories of relativity. If your mindbody concepts were universally adopted and integrated, they would do for the evolution of human consciousness what the Cambrian explosion did for the evolution of life on this planet. You are a true Renaissance man.

Thank you.

Jerry & Joy, D.P.M.s

Vicky’s Thank You

Dr. Sarno,

Reading your book changed how I saw my body and my life. The world is blessed for your courageous presence in it. The words ‘thank you’ are just not enough.

I wish you a long and happy retirement.

Vicky

Joy’s Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno,

I was one of those children with a ‘nervous tummy.’ I had myriad allergies and seemed to catch every bug that was going around. In my teenage years I became, like my father, one of those ‘back people,’ withdrawing from the chaos of family life at intervals to lie painfully, but quietly, on my bedroom floor.

As I grew older and encountered the adult challenges of education, marriage and travelling abroad, I developed various TMS symptoms, often at a time when these diagnoses became ‘trendy’ – in the 80’s I had ‘IBS,’ in the 90’s I had ‘fibromyalgia,’ and both my doctors and I were pleased to have a clear, simple label to hang upon my condition. But then new symptoms would develop…At a time I should have been having fun, I was having tests (always clear), taking drugs (always placebos that wore off) and undertaking physical therapies (which made me feel temporarily better from the interaction with a sympathetic practitioner). I wondered if I were a hypochondriac, but I so, so hated being ill…

With the advent of the internet, I was able to search out ever more reasons for my symptoms. Luckily, whenever I typed in the words ‘back pain,’ I kept finding references to a certain Dr John E Sarno… I ordered The Mindbody Prescription and wrote the date it arrived on the book’s front page: 15th June 2007.

That was the date on which I started to reclaim my life. On every page, I got that frisson that everyone describes, the realisation that ‘Hey, this is describing me!’ I had thought I was unhappy because of my pain; I now realise it was the other way around! This was the key to me actually addressing the real problems, and thus healing both my pain and my life.

I thank you, Dr Sarno, for the vision, wisdom and experience you have brought to your pioneering work. I thank you for your courage in standing up to the inevitable short-sightedness of the medical mainstream. I thank you for your kindness in making this information so widely available at such a low cost, and for seeking first and foremost to heal. I thank you, as so many do, for giving me back control over my life.

And I wish you all the best for the happy and fulfilling retirement that you so thoroughly deserve!

With sincere gratitude,
Joy

Tom’s Thank You

Tennis Tom's PictureDearest Good Doctor Sarno,

Thank you for your patient genius. Your books, which I’ve read twice each, have changed my life. I’m certain you will be getting a Nobel Prize. Now that you’re retiring, you can get back to playing tennis. I knew a fella’., Ken Beer who was playing tournaments at 98 and still hitting everyday at 102. If you’re ever out West we could do a little hit-up.

Love and Cheers,
Tennis Tom

Anonymous Thank You

23 years ago after my baby was born I was told that due to hernieted disks my back was too weak to support another pregnancy. I lived with chronic pain.

After seeing Dr. Sarno and attending his lectures I was pain free-through 2 more pregnancies until today. Those children are now 21 and 18. I have not had any significant back pain since then becuase when I start to feel a twinge I realize that it is just TMS.

I have given Dr. Sarno’s books to many people and saved them from chronic pain and surgery just from reading the books.

Dr. Sarno not only gave me back my life, he gave me two more beautiful lives to enjoy.

Cara’s Thank You

Cara's PictureDear Dr. Sarno,

No matter how hard I try, I can not think of a way to express how grateful I am to you. You have truly given me my life back. At 26 years old, I thought that I was going to live the rest of my life in bed, in excruciating pain. I am now 100% pain free and it is all because of you. I was told by countless doctors that I will never be pain free, that what I have is an irreversible disease, that I need more surgeries, that I will resent any kids that I have because they will cause me so much pain, I will need 24 hour live in help to raise my kids, etc. For the first time in a long time, I am excited to live my life and know that it will be pain free.

In March of 2009, I felt pain in my lower back while at the gym. I had had some back pain in the past and figured that it would just go away. When it didn’t, I got an MRI 3 months later which showed I had a herniated disc at L5/S1. In the following months, I tried physical therapy, had multiple facet joint and epidural injections, and continued to get worse. In the fall, I was taking strong pain medications, wearing a heating pad every day to get through work, and going home to lay on the couch with a heating pad. Over the next couple months I had 2 surgeries, IDET and a microdiscectomy. My pain never went away and that next summer, I started to develop muscle knots all over my body. They started in my lower back and spread up to my upper back, shoulders, neck, jaw, ribs, stomach, etc.. I was diagnosed with myofascial pain syndrome/fibromyalgia, put back in physical therapy, prescribed some new medications, etc. I was in excruciating pain all over my body 24/7. By January the next year, the knots took over my body and I couldn’t hold myself up. I spent the next 8 months getting intensive dry needling done 3x per week. I did not improve. I then started getting multiple medical massages per week, seeing a chiropractor and acupuncture. By January this year, I was at rock bottom, I had tried literally everything to get better and was starting to think I would have to live the rest of my life in bed. This is when someone recommended me your book. I saw myself in every page and started to feel better almost immediately. Now, I can honestly say that the knots I had for years are now gone, and that I am living a normal, pain free life.

Sending a lifetime of thanks your way.

Cara