Sarah’s Thank You

Sarah running
Dr. Sarno,

I have never met you, only once read your book “Healing Back Pain” that was recommended by a friend. I owe you so much gratitude for changing my life! I suffered from over 8 years of chronic back pain. I was told I had bulging discs, spina bifida occulta and pars defect/spondylosis. Not only did I have back pain, but I have had 7 surgeries on multiple joints. 4 on my knee, one on my hip and both shoulders with rotator cuffs tears. To my surgeons amazement, I was a 34 year old homemaker and tore my rotator cuff without any accident or trauma! To dig deeper as to explain why I had so many issues at such a young age, I visited a rheumatologist who discovered I may possibly have Degenerative Back Disease and would probably have to take medication the rest of my life while my back disintegrated. Then read your book…

Before my pain issues I was a top runner in my state of Indiana and had a cross country scholarship to college. As my life stressors accelerated, so did my pain issues. After my junior year of college I could no longer run more that a 5K. As an adult I dreamed to run the Chicago Marathon. I had surgeries, physical therapy, took all the supplements I could find for my “bad joints” just so some day I could run again. Acupuncture, chiropractors and massage therapists too. Nothing helped long term. One issue would resolve just to have another injury occur. I couldn’t get past a 5K run without developing another injury or having significant pain.

I read your book March of 2012. To be honest, I got very angry! I couldn’t believe that all these years I had listened to all these Dr’s and professionals, when it turns out they were wrong all along. I put my running shoes on and went for a run, pain popped up here and there. Within a few days, the pain was gone.

I sit here writing this letter to you, not knowing if you’ll ever read it. But wanted to tell you that it has been 7 months after reading your book and I just completed my dream of running the 2012 Chicago Marathon!!! Not only did I simply finish, I smashed it! I ran it in 4 hours 2 minutes! I put your book down after reading it and haven’t stopped running since! I have no plans of stopping with a marathon either. The sky’s the limit! I feel like I’ve been given my life back and I credit you for that.

Forever grateful, Sarah

Sarah hugging mother after marathon

Steve’s Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno,

I was one of your three month intensive program patients in 1982 at Rusk Institute.  I had suffered horribly with back pain for seven years and had almost given up hope of a normal life or a pain free life.  I was literally ready to walk the plank.  I’m a Vietnam veteran and don’t give up easily but I was right at the edge.

I came home from your program pain free.  You and Arlene worked wonders.  She broke through my many defenses and I started naming and feeling feelings. I worked so hard in the program, as you and Arlene did too.  It was almost more work than one human can do, but I gritted my teeth and hung in there.

My story doesn’t stop there.  Since 1982 I’ve used your books to help almost one hundred friends and acquaintances.  I feel it’s my duty to share what you taught me.

I regret so few doctors have adopted your technique.  So we laymen continue to spread the message as best we can.  God Bless You John Sarno. In a just world you’d have the Nobel prize for medicine.

Myles’ Thank You

Myles' Photo

Hello Dr. Sarno,

I was always bottling in my feelings, trying to be an idealist, and seeming to end up at the bottom of the heap just for being too nice. Totally unaware of all this I was struck down by constant daily headaches for 3 months, fasting for 12 days brought the pain to a reasonable level, but I was left with a shaking and strain related migraine. I would also get debilitating sore throats and migraines that would take me out of work. I had MRI, CT scan, lumbar puncture, all inconclusive but relatively clear.

Eventually I heard an internet audio interview of Dr. Sarno, and being my usual solution-seeking self went and got the Mind-Body Connection book. I read it once, read Sarno-related back stories and success stories around the internet, found the root emotional problems and started to work on them and within weeks was fine. Since then I have been letting myself enjoy life much more and as a bonus it’s pain and injury free! That was four years ago.

Thanks, Myles

Joni’s Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno:

I want to express my double thanks for your work, which has cured me not once but twice now. About 12 years ago, after typical back problems, I found Healing Back Pain in a bookstore and, thunderstruck, read it for more than an hour in front of the shelf, unable to stop and with hope for the first time in months. My back pain vanished within days. I eventually bought three more copies, including two I gave to doctors.

I’m even more grateful, however, for a more recent TMS resolution. I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis nearly three years ago and tried everything short of surgery. Since I was (wait – am!) a runner, hiker, and long-distance walker/trekker, this devastated my lifestyle and health. The coincidence (or not) of my 50th birthday added insult to injury. I was always troubled by the logic of the diagnosis and treatments, as even minimal research uncovers as much medical bafflement and impotence for PF as for back pain. Then, just as my PF finally seemed to be healing, shooting pains began in one of my ankles. (Um, yeah. I should have realized then…) In desperation, I stumbled on something online that suggested PF might be a TMS manifestation. I bought both your latest books and started running again the next day. Though I’d given up hope of ever doing long-distance walking again, I’m now planning for the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

I’ll be thinking of you the whole way. Resolving my back pain was good, but by giving me back my feet, you’ve really given me back my life, and I feel 10 years younger. I just have to remember TMS as the first answer, not the last answer, next time something hurts!

Thank you doesn’t cover it. Gratefully,

Joni

Howard’s Thank You

Howard's Thank YouDear Dr. Sarno,

Thank you for making it possible for me to wake up and get through each day with the relief, amazement and joy that something significant is missing from my life: the PAIN in my right foot that had plagued me every single day for six years and impacted my lifestyle, physical fitness and psyche! And all I did was read the Divided Mind and grasp the dynamics of your mindbody approach to medicine!

Earlier this summer I reconnected with an old friend who told me he met with you many years ago after failed back surgery, and that you changed his life. I started to read your book the next day. By the time I finished the book, my pain had vanished!!! You helped me realize that lifelong unconscious issues, a more recent emotional trauma, the vulnerability brought by a cluster of medical problems, confronting aging, and the fear of growing old with my chronic pain having an even larger impact on my life was triggering all this pain!!! It sometimes flares up a bit, but I tell my brain to stop fooling with me…that I’m wise to the trick…and it subsides.

In the last month, everything has changed for the better, including my mood and my outlook. Physically, I’ve increased my workouts and running, which had been reduced to 5-10 minutes, back up to 30 minutes!

So thank you for your brilliance, Dr. Sarno. For your understanding of the human body and mind, your commitment to the truth, your courage in the face of criticism, and your dedication to sharing your science with the world. You have surely made a difference in mine…and I hope for the many people I enthusiastically tell your/my story to.

I wish you the good health and peace that you have given me. And, hopefully, generations to come!

Most sincerely,

Howard

Joel’s Thank You

Joel's PhotoDr. Sarno,

Beginning in February 1996 I was unable to stand straight, was in EXTREME pain in my back and right leg and taking prescription narcotics to try to manage pain. I had an MRI whereby I was told I had a ruptured L5/S1. I tried injections which provided no relief. I had 2 doctors tell me the only way I would ever get better was through surgery. I read your book, “Healing Back Pain” and finally saw you in September. You diagnosed me with TMS. I attended the group sessions and also went to a psychologist (Dr. Sherman) who specializes in TMS. On December 16, 1996 I was finally pain free, standing upright and off the pain medication. The picture I have sent was taken in February 1997 (I am on the bottom).

I had a recurrence in 1999 that lasted for about 6 months. I was pain free for about 9 years when in 2008 I had a recurrence. I went to a pain management specialist, as you were out of town and I wanted medication to try to relieve the pain. I told him I will be his worst patient as I only need pain medication to help get me through the next 3 weeks as I was going to be traveling allot and I believed my pain was mentally not physically induced. As part of his condition to prescribe me medication I had to agree to get an MRI. With my schedule it took about 6 weeks for me to get the MRI and by then I was 95% better. After reading the results of the MRI my doctor told me that not only do I have a problem with my L5/S1 but I have a problem with my L4 and I have arthritis. I asked him what he recommended and he said bed rest, physical therapy and to continue with the medication he prescribed. I told him I was basically pain free and I asked him how he can explain that. He told me he could not. I have been pain free since then.

Dr. Sarno, thank you for helping me avoid unnecessary and potentially damaging surgery and for helping me become a mentally stronger and together person. You are truly a special person and I wish you and your family good health and only the best life has to offer.

Joel

Sunita’s Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno

I can’t thank you enough for your discovery of TMS. I just discovered your book 11 days ago and it has already been a godsend. I am 30 years old and have been suffering from various symptoms of TMS like difficulty sitting for more than 30 mins, constricting neck pain, knee pain preventing me from walking more than 100 m, tingling in various parts of my legs and arms, spasm in my pereneum. I spent the last year lying in my bed due to pain and I was losing hope after having seen so many back specialists, physical therapists, and a good acupuncture doctor who thankfully helped w my neck but could do nothing about the other issues. I could hardly hold my job, couldn’t date, couldn’t see friends without being anxious about hurting myself and couldn’t think about exercising because every time I did I would somehow injure myself in a different area of my body. I felt like God was punishing me for something, to be honest because it has been one pain after the other with no end in sight.

The past 10 days have been the best I’ve had for so very long. I am still in process of working through my issues but at least now I finally have a diagnosis that actually fits my physical symptoms. Not only that but i realized that i have had some symptoms (shooting leg pain in middle of night, pereneum pain) even as an adolescent. Reading your book has been a spiritual experience. Now I have hope that I will really recover and am empowered – I won’t let this pain take over my life anymore. I only wish that more doctors would promote your message. Like Howard Stern said- ” you are a saint.”

I can’t thank you enough. Wish you all the happiness in the world.

Sunita

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

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

Rich’s Thank You

Rich in IcelandDear Dr. Sarno,

I’m sure many of us would agree that you gave us an invaluable gift that words cannot explain. I’ve tried to think of ways to thank you but there really is no way to repay you for this. How do you repay someone who has given so many people their life back, who gave me my life back? That’s all I can say is thank you and that I feel privileged to have read your books (rather early in life) and to have met you and the doctors you work with such as Dr. Sherman. Your legacy will surely live on and strengthen with time well after your retirement and mine.

I for one have told many people (once I know they are ready for it) about TMS and have seen family, friends, and colleagues recover from TMS/equivalents. I am now much more in-tune with myself and know that if/when TMS does strike, it’s simply a “notification” that tells me that I have some “stuff” to think about. It is nothing to fear or worry about. The pain is never as severe, does not strike nearly as often, and always diminishes once I start dealing with the true issue. I no longer feel like my body is wasting away and getting weaker and more susceptible to pain with each added day. Instead, I KNOW that my body and mind are becoming stronger, together. I am now able to maintain a very active and athletic lifestyle, without fear.

So, even though there is no way to truly thank you for giving me my life back, I will do my part in spreading the word and enlightening others of the power of the brain/mind. Thank you Dr. Sarno!

-Rich

James’s Thank You

Hello Dr. Sarno,

Before I found out about TMS, I believed that my body was “brittle”. I had pain in various areas over the years, along with a host of other TMS symptoms. When my older brother told me about your work in 2003, I went on-line and started researching. I felt a ray of hope just reading the description of the MindBody Prescription on Amazon.com! I always felt my symptoms were “strange” but I could not articulate just why, after reading your book, I knew exactly why.

I just have to say Thank You! Also, you should be proud of yourself for staying the course with your diagnosis of TMS disorders when the medical community was, and is, at odds with the TMS diagnosis. That must take incredible personal strength. I want to tell you this does not go unrecognized by me and many others.

Enjoy your retirement, and may God bless you and your family.

From Boston, Massachusetts,

Take care,

James

Katie Darling’s Thank You

KatieDear Dr. Sarno,

Your incredibly courageous and dedicated life of service has made an incredible difference in my life. I could never have crossed the “belief barrier” between theory and practice of TMS understanding without everything you have done – your books, your DVDs, your consistency, the experience of talking with people who have worked with you.

I hope you know how much you mean to all of us. On our TMS Forum we express our gratitude to you and our respect for you all the time. I wish you a very happy and contented retirement. I hope you can have some fun, and relax knowing that you have done enough (unless you WANT to keep very busy, that is!).

I send you love and thanks,

Katie Darling

Aran’s Thank You

Aran's Thank YouDear Dr. Sarno,

I am so happy to be writing this message to you. I suffered greatly from burning pain in my arms and hands for nearly a year. I was told that the pain was caused by “RSI” and that I should limit the amount of time I spent using a computer and playing guitar. I was very depressed and desperate about my situation. I own my own business and have to support my family and there was no way I could stop working. I also love music and was distraught that I could no longer play guitar. All of this ended when I came upon your book, The Mindbody Prescription. I read the book in 1-1/2 days and then cried for 2 days. The pain was 50% better. I knew right away that your ideas were correct and that I had my life back! Even though the pain was not entirely gone, I knew that typing and playing guitar were not causing the pain and immediately resumed these activities. It took another 4 months of writing, visualization, and positive self-talk to become pain free and have had occasional bouts of pain in other parts of my body which I now know to be the “The Symptom Imperative”. I have to re-focus on the underlying psychological reasons for the pain and eventually the pain disappears.

I am so grateful to you and your dedication to understanding TMS and helping people get better. THANK YOU!!!!

Sincerely,

Aran (Berkeley, CA)

Pete’s Thank You

Pete sky divingDear Dr. Sarno,

I can’t thank you enough for the work you’ve done. I cured my chronic lower back pain just by reading your book, “Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection.” When I first picked it up, I actually cried – in part, because I saw myself and my symptoms in all of the pages; and in part, because I felt like I was reading the truth, with a capital “T.”

After years of suffering, I’ve been pain-free, with full mobility, for well over a decade. I never worry about how I sit, stand, lift or what activities I engage in.

I have had a few minor relapses. But, when they happen, I’m never afraid. I always know TMS is the cause. So, with a smile and the utmost of confidence, I continue all physical activity, and search my mind and my life for what might be causing this pain.

It’s incredibly liberating to be unafraid of back pain.

Most recently, I had a slight relapse which lingered. So, I jumped online to engage in some “knowledge therapy.” (I’d given away every copy of your book I’d had over the years!) I stumbled upon the TMS Wiki site, and I was heartened to find a growing number of practitioners who are embracing your work. Thank goodness there’ll be someone to continue spreading the word about psychosomatic medicine after your well-deserved retirement.

Thanks, once again.

Pete

Chris’s Thank You

Dr. Sarno,

When my back doctor referred me to your book, “The Divided Mind”, I was very hesitant to say the least. In my late thirties, I had dealt with severe chronic pain for almost 15 years in an increasing number of locations throughout my body. I was diagnosed with fibro and had visited a plethora of specialists and pain clinics, not to mention the medications, physical therapy, and devices. I used to be a very active person, but I quit almost every activity because of fear that I would aggravate an injury or hurt myself in a new place.

Well, I forced myself to open your book, and just a few pages in, I started laughing out loud because of the relief I felt. Your words described me. I had never heard such a diagnosis, yet it made so much sense. The more I read, the more I said, “Yes! Yes!” I started working on the daily, mental exercises. I bought “The Mind Body Prescription” for reinforcement. And slowly, I began to resume all the activities I had abandoned over the last 15 years. It was a battle, and I still have lapses of fear, but now I know for sure I have TMS, that I can do things like hike and play tennis without fear I’m going to cause physical harm.

I can’t thank you enough for changing my life. I had resigned to a life of immobility and depression. Getting back to my old activities has made so much difference to me. I’ve had countless tests and a shoulder surgery for impingement syndrome in the past. Reading your words convinced me that nothing is physically wrong now, and getting rid of that fear is a life-saver.

Thank you so much, not only for helping me get my life back, but for your tenacious truth-telling in spite of the resistance from the traditional medical establishment. I hope they will someday follow your lead.

I truly can not thank you enough!!

-Chris Framingham, MA

Sienna’s Thank You

Sienna on a boatDear Dr. Sarno,

It is a pleasure for me to write you these lines trying to express my gratitude for your work.
In my early 30s my life entered a parenthesis after a back spasm that appeared from nowhere while playing tennis. After 4 years of debilitating back pain, unnecessary surgery, constant physical therapy and other treatments and many unanswered questions, my life became very limited. I was skeptical, faithless and depressed.

Last summer I came across your work and ordered all of your books. I started devouring Healing Back Pain and felt like I was reading my biography!! Finally, I had found answers to all my questions.. I started connecting the dots, everything made sense to me!!!

It took me only a few days to accept the approach and kept looking for help. Finding the TMS Wiki was a treasure for me, cause “knowledge is Penicillin”. This is how I learned about Dr. Schubiner’s book and looked for a practitioner in Europe. I was very lucky to hear about Georgie Oldfield in the UK, who helped me to reinforce the diagnosis and set the following challenges with confidence. I am now swimming and my instructor is just amazed with my daily improvements. Time, perseverance and faith are taking me further. I am still on my recovery journey and enjoying every bit of it. As almost every patient says, ‘I am sure this work changed my life for the better.’

This is me now and I wanted to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU DR. SARNO for giving my life back!
I feel committed to spread the word and help those struggling, victims of the conventional health system.
I hope you have a pleasant and well deserved retirement and enjoy spending time with your love ones. They must feel very proud of you!!

Best wishes
Sienna. Madrid (Spain)

Marj’s Thank You

MarjMy name is Marjorie, 47, and I have lived with chronic pain for too many years, it affecting how I raised my three children, how I went about my daily life and the person I thought I’d become. I read MindBody Prescription and Healing Back Pain and it changed me. I want to thank you for showing me, and so many others, that many times there is nothing physically ‘broken’ and that life does go on once we acknowledge that. It has allowed me to address emotional issues, stressors and let go of the guilt of being a parent with chronic pain for all those years. I am not a hundred percent pain-free yet, but my attitude has changed drastically and I face my fears head-on because I know that it’s “all mental”.

While visiting Mexico last year, I even went snorkeling for a whole day, jumped 25 feet into a lagoon (I’m terrified of heights!) and went exploring in an underground cave another day, things I never would have considered doing before. I felt like a million bucks afterward! Thank you! “

Marj 🙂

Colleen’s Thank You

Colleen PerryDear Dr. Sarno,

Your contribution to the betterment of my life began well over a decade ago. I was a young woman who had suffered from lower back pain since my teenage years. I went to many doctors and chiropractors hoping for a solution and was told over and over again that I should focus on strengthening my abs. I would just shake my head in bewilderment because none of those doctors had ever asked me what I did for a living…at that time I was an aerobics instructor and personal fitness trainer! There was NOTHING weak about my abs! So I just knew that medical science did not have the answer to my problem.

When my trusted family physician suggested that the next step was spinal surgery, my intuition kicked in high gear and I knew in my gut that the answer was out there somewhere, and it wasn’t surgery.

Someone had mentioned your book, The Mind Body Prescription to me years ago. I read it, and found myself in those pages. It was easy for me because I have every personality trait associated with TMS. There was no doubt in my mind that this was my problem.

I was pain free after that for quite a while, but I didn’t have the often spoken about “book cure”. My pain does come back in different places now from time to time, but it serves as my reminder to slow down, to not take life so seriously, to put into practice better forms of self- care. I have a new and completely different relationship to pain now.

I went back to school, received my Master’s Degree in Psychology, and now help others who suffer from TMS in my private practice.

Through me you continue to heal those that suffer from chronic pain. Thank you for your courage and dedication to bringing your paradigm- shifting views to the world. You are a maverick and an inspiration to us all.

With Gratitude,

Colleen Perry MFT

Mark’s Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno,

I am so glad to have this opportunity to thank you, because it is something I have been meaning to do for twenty years! My back pain started at age 32, and I had episodes of severe pain and back spasms that left me flat on my back in bed or on the floor for three days at a time. I remember crawling to the bathroom because I couldn’t bear the indignity of using a bedpan. That’s how bad it was. I pretty much gave up my active lifestyle of running and playing basketball. My sister also suffered from back pain, probably worse than mine. Fortunately for her (and for me) as a last resort before surgery she went to see you, and reported her success to me. She then sent me a xerox copy of your book, and within days I was on my way to a complete “cure”. So many of my severe symptoms were directly addressed in your book. My first episode was triggered by a sneeze while I was bent over and putting on a sock. I remember many times looking in the mirror and gasping at how crooked I looked. I am now 58 and have been pain free and active for over 20 years! It has truly been wonderful. All because of you.

At times I have felt a little guilty because I had been helped so dramatically by someone (you) and I hadn’t even bought your book! I have since purchased multiple copies of several of your books mainly to lend to friends who are suffering from back pain. I have tried to share my success with others with mixed results. It is very frustrating to see people suffering and going to chiropractors and acupuncturists and surgeons and drug dispensers while somehow being unwilling to accept the simple solution.

But for me, it has been one of the best things that has happened in my life and has really allowed me to enjoy my life to the fullest.

Thank you!

Best regards,

Mark

K’s Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno,

Words could never, ever express how grateful I am to have found you. I think my body always knew you were right. My awareness just had to catch up.

I had back pain for 25+ years. I was told my pain from from scoliosis and myofascial pain syndrome. I tried to find relief through Tylenol, chiropractors, physical therapy, and lifting light weights at the gym. Coinciding with my back pain for all those years was TMJ and headaches. They pounded and pounded, mostly during a stressful day at work. I did more PT, used a TENS unit, moist heat, tried acupuncture, and lifted weights more. Even if the pain subsided for a very brief time, it always came back.

Then, somehow, I found Healing Back Pain. It sounded just like me, I couldn’t believe it. Then I read The Mindbody Prescription and I related to that one even more. I made an appointment to see you; I knew I had TMS, but I had to hear it from you.

Thank you for changing my life. It is no longer ruled by pain every day. I have no limitations and that is incredibly liberating. I admire you for telling it like it is and for staying true to your convictions.

I will never forget you. I hope you have a long and happy retirement. I will miss you.

With gratitude forever,

K

Michael’s Thank You

MichaelDear Dr. Sarno,

As a second year medical student, I began to experience back pain for the first time in my life. I serendipitously came across your work and it changed my life forever. You taught me the greatest lesson I ever learned in medicine: to cure disease, you must treat the cause. Symptomatic treatment is poor medicine. You also introduced me to the powerful and fascinating realm of psychosomatic medicine, which is the missing dimension in so many of the diagnoses we as physicians encounter today.

I could never thank you enough for what you have given me. You are my mentor and hero in medicine and anything I ever achieve professionally will be because of you. You dedicated your career to patient care, which speaks volumes to the type of person that you are. You have healed tens of thousands of patients in your office and millions more through your books. You knew you were right, but decided that it was more important to spend your time curing people than proving all the nonbelievers wrong through research that would never satisfy or change them anyway. You put your patients before your ego and kudos to you for doing that.

Thanks for inviting me to one of your patient panel sessions a few years ago. It was a dream come true to finally see you in person. For the record, I have never had any back pain since reading your books. That isn’t to say that new TMS equivalents don’t pop up from time to time, but they too are easily squashed once I put my mind to it. You have armed me with powerful tools to live a healthier and happier life and to empower patients, friends, and family to do the same.

The story has only begun. There is now an army of young physicians and researchers who are intent on preserving your legacy and continuing your work for decades to come. I am certain that when all is said and done and we look back on the history of psychosomatic medicine that your name will be right next to those of Freud, Breuer, Alexander, and others who have left a lasting impression on this field.

I wish you the happiest and healthiest of retirements. You have certainly earned it.

Thank you, Dr. Sarno!

Michael

Marie’s Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno,

I have never met you. But because of your work, I can play Beethoven’s Spring Sonata on the violin to my children.

Eight years ago, when I stumbled upon a copy of The Mindbody Prescription in a bookstore, I had not typed on a computer in seven years and had not touched my violin in nine. After reading your analysis of chronic pain, I recognized it was the first explanation that explained all of my experience of chronic pain — all of my symptoms and why physical therapy helped. So I accepted the cure–to acknowledge and accept unconscious rage. In fact, I didn’t just acknowledge it; I felt it. By the time I left the bookstore, I was livid with rage — at the fact that I had been crippled for years; at the wasted time; at my job that bored me; at family members who had hurt me; at friends who did not love me enough; because I did not know what decisions to make; because I was disappointed in myself; and at the vast disproportion between my desires and their total satisfaction.

And as the rage built up into a scream inside my head, I felt warmth flow into my hands. And I knew my hand pain was over. It has never returned.

My only regret is that, because the book was so good, and my healing so quick, I never got a chance to thank you in person.

Thanks, Dr. Sarno!

Marie

Marcel’s Thank You

MarcelDear Dr. Sarno,

You have changed my life. You are about to retire so I’d like to use this opportunity to express my sincerest gratitude to you and tell you a little bit about how you reached me and impacted my life so profoundly.

While the occasional neck pain started for me around 4th grade it became a permanent companion after graduation from Cornell in 1998. In addition to the neck and shoulder pain I often couldn’t even rotate my neck to the right. My discomfort was very obvious to friends and family. I must have seen a dozen chiropractors, physical therapists and doctors over the years. MRIs showed bulged discs that were used to explain the pain. In 2008 it got severely worse with the fingers of my right hand getting tingly, pain moving down my shoulder and the right arm becoming so weak I couldn’t do a single push up anymore.

Here starts the miracle. One day I sit in a Borders coffee shop browsing books and came across your book “The Mind-Body Connection”. It immediately sparked my interest in wanting to know more. Being very visual, instead of buying the book I ordered your video “Healing Back Pain”. In the following 3 weeks all I did was watch your video twice and paired that with daily reflection and journaling. Once a day I read the accompanying study guide out loud to myself and thought about the material. Finally, I put about 50 potential stress factors on paper and picked one a day of my top 10 to write a paragraph about it. I also would re-read my journal daily even if I didn’t add to it. After about 3 weeks my decade long back pain disappeared and never returned again. It is now 4 years later and I am still in perfect health and 100% pain free. The solution was so simple, quick and within reach all those years.

Interestingly, shortly after my pain completely disappeared, the world economy and stock market melted down. I’m a portfolio manager and also manage money for family and friends. This was probably the most stressful time in my life but I felt the healthiest ever and remained completely pain free. To me it very much proved your point that healing doesn’t require the removal of stress factors but requires awareness and understanding.

Words cannot express my gratitude to you for dedicating your life to this research. With it you made a profoundly positive impact on the quality of my life and I cannot thank you enough.

Sincerely,

Marcel

Brigitte’s Thank You

Dear Dr Sarno,

My recovery began on the day I visited Physiotherapist Georgie Oldfield in London. Even that same night, for the first time in years, I slept without pain. I then listened to Georgie’s CD and I bought your book. From your book, “The Divided Mind”, I learned that the causes of TMS are a combination of personality, childhood traumas and general everyday stresses, mental and physical. From another, beloved book of mine, “A Course in Miracles” I learned the following “Sickness is a Defence against the Truth. I fully accept the truth about what I am, and I will let my mind be wholly healed today“.

I am still in the recovery phase and I am experiencing many ups and downs. The downs are almost always connected to feelings of anger or anxiety, and my nature is such that I cannot let go of these feelings, and consequently they refill my Reservoir of Rage again and again. However, I am now so aware of these processes that I can let go, with the help of meditation and prayer.

THANK YOU FOR SHOWING ME HOW TO HEAL MY BODY THROUGH HEALING MY MIND.

Brigitte

Howard Schubiner’s Thank You

Tribute to Dr. Sarno:

Dr. Sarno, your work has changed my professional life in a profound
way. As a academic physician and researcher, my interest in TMS began
with a simple encounter: the chair of my Internal Medicine department
told me about his wife who had one of the famous “book cures” (of
severe hip and back pain) after reading The Mindbody Prescription.
Knowing my interests in the relationship between stress and illness
and mindfulness meditation, he suggested that I “look into this.” I
did and this act was a major turning point for my career.

You were gracious enough to allow me to visit you in 2003 to spend a
couple of days observing your work. What a gift to see this work
firsthand! I will always be grateful to you for that. You started me
on a path that has transformed my career and given me a powerful sense
of purpose and meaning. I have spent the last nine years working
ceaselessly to further the goal of making your work part of mainstream
medicine. I have developed a 4-week program based upon your concepts
(with specific writing and meditative exercises) and used it to
conduct a randomized, controlled trial for people with fibromyalgia.
This study was published last year and was the basis for a $3 million
grant from the National Institutes of Health to study emotion-based
therapy for fibromyalgia.

A group of physicians and mental health providers has formed a
professional organization with the goal of training more health care
providers to spread TMS throughout the world. We will not rest until
we have achieved the objectives that naturally follow from your
groundbreaking insight: that many physical symptoms have their genesis
in the mind and can be cured by educational, behavioral, and emotional
interventions.

I join with my fellow professionals and TMS-affected individuals in
thanking you for your tremendous contribution to medicine. I am
confident that your innovative work will be viewed as a landmark event
when the history of medicine is rewritten in the coming decade.

With gratitude and admiration,

Howard Schubiner, MD

Director, Mind Body Medicine Center, Providence Hospital, Southfield, MI
Clinical Professor, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI

John Stracks’ Thank You

John StracksDear Dr. Sarno,

Though I’ve told you in person, I want to reiterate just how much your work has meant to me on both a personal and a professional level.

When I was struggling in my late twenties with pain symptoms that no other person could understand or diagnose, your books explained to me what my symptoms were all about. I was able to heal because of your work, and I live pain free because you had the courage to speak up about TMS.

Now that I’m a physician, I have found that working with TMS patients is by far the most stimulating and rewarding work that I do.

I can’t thank you enough for your willingness to blaze this trail and spread the word about Mindbody Medicine.

I wish you all the best in your retirement. I hope you know how many of us are committed to keeping your ideas alive and to helping others live pain free.

Sincerely yours,

John Stracks, MD

P.S. My wife sends many, many thanks as well—because of your work, her migraines are a thing of the past.

Lisa’s Thank You

Lisa doing yogaCongratulations, Dr. Sarno, on your retirement.

Your work is so meaningful to so many. You are one of my most significant influences. A lifetime of confusing pain about my body’s way of informing me gratefully came to an end when I met you. Now, I use my occasional pain as a signal to understand myself better. I am devoted to carrying on your sound message to others.

With deep gratitude and love,

Lisa

Debra’s Thank You

Debra at the BeachDear Dr. Sarno,

I feel my life story has two very distinct segments – “Life before meeting Dr. Sarno” and “Life after meeting Dr. Sarno.” The positive changes in my daily life since meeting you three years ago are truly that dramatic and powerful. After nearly a lifetime of chronic pain, I came to you desperate for even the slightest improvement. My diagnoses of Post Polio Syndrome and Fibromyalgia were completely dominating my life. My world, year by year, was getting smaller and smaller. My body, day by day, was getting weaker and weaker.

I was indeed shocked when you were adamant that I repudiate both diagnoses in order to get well! That was just the beginning of the many ways I needed to learn to change my thinking and to connect with what was really going on emotionally.

Although I had already experienced over a decade of psychotherapy, without the understanding of how TMS worked, it was impossible for me to get better. That was the missing link, and all attempts at healing were futile without it. My gratitude to you also extends to your introduction of Dr. Bob Evans to me within weeks of meeting with you. I continue to see him weekly, and the results are nothing short of astonishing! The boundaries limiting my personal world are falling away, one by one. In fact, I am one of the few women I know who truly feels that as I age chronologically, I am getting younger and more vibrant emotionally and physically. To me, your life’s work is nothing short of a miracle. Thank you, beloved Dr. Sarno, for my miracle.

I wish for you all the blessings that you have given to others.
With the greatest admiration and gratitude,

Debra

Tom’s Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno,

I am delighted to have this opportunity to say thank you for your wonderful work with TMS. I am 81 and due to the symptom imperative have had most of its symptoms during my lifetime. Thanks to your books, over the past decade I have been able to learn my way back to normal each time, sometimes with a struggle but always succeeding in the end. Your latest book, “The Divided Mind,” is a masterpiece; it should be required reading in all medical schools.

Many thanks and best wishes on your retirement.

Tom

Marie’s Thank You

Marie SwimmingThank you Dr Sarno

I guess you don’t need to know the details of my back pain and MRI scan results as they aren’t relevant anymore. Suffice to say that for 10 years I had grumbling back pain and constant fear. For about half a year it got so bad that I pretty much stopped doing anything was in constant severe pain and taking ever increasing doses of various medications.

I found out about Georgie Oldfield first and followed her programme – which included the immediate advice to obtain your books – advice which I followed.

Gradually I resumed ‘normal’ life – not really knowing what normal might be as bit by bit I realised how fear about my back had infiltrated so much of my thinking and my life. Within 3 months of starting the programme I was off medications, within 6 months I was virtually pain free and I could do everything that I used to do.

In the past year I have resumed all my prior activities; lovely things like cycling, acting, dancing and just cuddling up on the sofa with my kids and necessary things like caring and shoveling snow and I have also taken up new things like open water swimming, (including swimming a mile in Loch Ness!) and getting a little dog (yeah – who would have thought you could feel excited about being able to bend down and pick up dog poop!).

Thanks you so much, your work has not only given me, and so many others, our lives back but given us the opportunity to build a better life. Have a wonderful retirement.

Marie. Northern England.
Marie Accepting Award

Anonymous Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno:

I first heard about your work through Dr. Andrew Weil’s website. I had been
dealing with chronic neck, shoulder, and back pain. On his advice, I read your
book, “The MindBody Prescription”. Upon my first reading, I saw glimpses of myself in
your descriptions, but was not convinced I had TMS. Over the next few years
I tried massage, Feldenkrais, yoga, pilates, and physical therapy to ease the
pain, all of which provided only temporary relief. A decade later, still
suffering from chronic pain, I re-read your book and ordered your DVD “Healing
Back Pain”. I was finally convinced that I did indeed suffer from TMS.

Not long after this, I began feeling tingling in my limbs. My doctor became
very alarmed and feared I had Multiple Sclerosis. I then had an MRI (which was
clear) and a battery of tests with a Neurologist and Cardiologist, all of which
were inconclusive. In a state of high anxiety following this scare, I decided
it was time to look for a more holistic approach to my medical woes and found
Dr. John Stracks at the Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern
University. I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to discover on his website
that he specializes in TMS. He recommended a program and book called “Unlearn
Your Pain” by Dr. Howard Schubiner. This led me down a path of emotional,
spiritual, and physical healing over the past year. I no longer suffer from
neck, shoulder, or back pain. The tingling continues, but I believe that it is
actually a sign of renewed energy that had been blocked for years due to
repressed anger, sadness, and fear.

Thank-you so much for your groundbreaking work in the field of mind-body
medicine. You have changed my life and I share what I have learned with anyone
who I think can benefit from my story. I wish you many blessings in your
retirement.

Kelvin’s Thank You

KelvinI started experiencing severe back pain in my mid-twenty’s – sometime in the late 1970’s. This was before the days of MRI scans and my family doctor diagnosed the pain as a “pulled muscle” and prescribed muscle relaxants. At first, I would have one of these pain episodes every few years, and then more frequently as time went by. I took the muscle relaxants and lay in bed a few days and the pain would eventually go away.

In August 1994 I began a new career which required much less physical activity but put much more stress on me psychologically. The back pain started occurring more frequently and was much more severe. In the fall of 1995 I went to a pain specialist who ordered an MRI. The results showed a mild herniated disc and he prescribed physical therapy. After several months of no improvement I decided to see a neurosurgeon who ordered a new MRI. He also diagnosed me with a herniated disc and recommended surgery. I had laminectomy surgery in my low back in May of 1996 and it took me about a year before I could walk normally again. I went a few years with only mild back pain, but started experiencing new health problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome in my wrists, tinnitus/bursitis in my shoulder, acid reflux and frequent respiratory infections – all of which I now believe to be related to the same syndrome.

Gradually, the back pain episodes started returning – getting more frequent and more severe each year. I started seeing another neurosurgeon in the summer of 2004. He recommended not having surgery unless the pain became unbearable. In November of 2004 the pain became so severe I was completely unable to work and requested that he go ahead and perform surgery. He preformed a disc fusion at L4/L5 in my low back. The results were very similar to my first experience. It was another year before I could walk without a cane, but I eventually got to a point where I had no back pain. However, the other symptoms of bursitis in my shoulder, carpal tunnel syndrome, acid reflux and the frequent respiratory infections still plagued me on a regular basis.

In February of 2006 the back pain returned suddenly and then rapidly got worse. Eventually, the pain became so severe that I could not get out of my chair or bed without a walker. I used the walker most of the time just to keep from falling. It gradually got a little better but I still had to use a cane to walk and get up out of my chair. I could not sit in my office chair or ride in a car for more than about 30 minutes without severe pain and I spent most of the day in a recliner or lying flat in bed – mostly in bed. I called the doctor who had preformed my previous surgery and made an appointment to see him and was planning to go through back surgery again. I didn’t know what else to do.

Then, on April 18th, 2006 (it was a Tuesday), I attended a doctor visit with my wife whom she was seeing to get some of her prescriptions refilled. She mentioned to him about her own experience with back pain and he started asking her questions about her history related to this. He told her about Dr. John Sarno in New York who was having a success rate of over 90% treating back pain and about something called Tension Myositis Syndrome, or TMS. He also told us about a book by this doctor called “The Divided Mind”. Of course, I listened intently because of my own back pain history.

This doctor told us that some people who suffer from long lasting or chronic pain often experience this pain because their subconscious mind uses it to distract them from unpleasant emotions and stresses of life. He showed us a picture of an iceberg and explained that the mind was very much the same – what we can see is very small, but under the surface is this huge structure that actually determines the course of the iceberg. He explained that the mind was very much the same. Underneath the conscious mind, which is the part of the mind where we think and reason and feel emotions, is a huge reservoir of feelings that we don’t even know exist. This unseen, unfelt (and often unreasonable) part of our mind can actually have more influence on our body than the conscious part.

Now, what was completely amazing to me was that when this doctor described the type of personalities that are prone to suffering from TMS, it was as though he was describing me personally in every detail. As I stated earlier, I had already had two back surgeries and was looking at a third. I was open to anything that would prevent me from going under the knife again.

So, I bought the book that day and had read most of it by that weekend. I had already improved so much by Saturday, just four days later, that I helped my son unload boxes and furniture from his move back home. I was still hurting, but knowing that there was nothing structurally wrong with my back and that the pain was psychological and not physical enabled me to push through the pain and lift heavy furniture and carry heavy boxes up the stairs to my son’s house.

Then, in May of 2006 my wife and I went to see Dr. James Rochelle in Mena, AR. He is an Orthopedic Surgeon and was trained by Dr. Sarno to diagnose and treat TMS. He also wrote one of the chapters in “The Divided Mind”. I was already about 80 to 90 percent pain-free by then, but my wife’s progress had been much slower. I was hoping that her hearing it from another doctor would help her accept it. He conducted an extensive personal interview and performed a physical exam on both of us and determined that we both have TMS. He talked to us at length and we stayed and attend his lecture that night. Since he was trained by Dr. Sarno, I assume that his exam and lecture are similar to what Sarno does. My wife and I both found his lecture and the information he sent home with us to be very helpful and he followed up by phone to check our progress a few weeks later. Since then, he has relocated to Kansas so we have not gone back to see him again.

The last time I had any significant, long lasting back pain was later that summer of 2006. By identifying the issues causing stress and repressed emotions that were current in my life at that time, I was able to ignore that pain and continue a normal life. I will occasionally have a mild TMS symptom, but they quickly disappear once I have identified the true source of the problem – that the cause is psychological, not physical.

Incidentally, I have not had a single episode of acid reflux in the past year; the bursitis in my shoulder has completely disappeared; I will occasionally have a mild episode of pain in my arm (I used to attribute this to carpal tunnel syndrome) or mild back pain – but, these quickly go away once I recognize the recent event causing the underlying stress in my life and deal with it accordingly.

While becoming pain free has been a great milestone in my life, and my reason for writing this is to hopefully help others become pain free, this whole experience has been used of God to draw me closer to Him and to help me identify areas in my life where I had not completely trusted Him and surrendered to His perfect will.

To know Jesus as Savior and Lord is the greatest experience anyone can ever have. The only way to receive complete peace (either consciously or subconsciously) is to place your absolute trust in Him as your hope of salvation and eternal life. According to the Bible in John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

He offers eternal life in Heaven as a free gift to all who will receive it – but the choice is up to you:

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Sincerely,

Kelvin

Jonna Lee Barta’s Thank You

Dr. Sarno,

It is hard for me to adequately express the deep gratitude I have regarding your work and professional contributions. Not only have your ideas and treatment benefitted me personally, but you have transformed how I conceptualize and work with clients.  I have been working as a psychologist treating TMS for several years now and my clients continue to benefit from your pioneering ideas and treatment.  You have paved the road for so many people to heal from their pain, and we are all deeply grateful for this.

Thank you so much,

Jonna Lee Barta, Ph.D.

Dallas, Texas

Louise Levy’s Thank You

LouiseHaving suffered for 12 years with chronic back pain and undergone four spine operations during that time I am incredibly grateful to Dr Sarno and also to the growing amount of evidence that allowed and encouraged me to finally take a leap of faith and walk away from orthopedic surgical treatment and interventions for good.

For over 12 years i believed the label that I had degenerative disc disease at three levels of my lumbar spine based on the black discs that I saw on my MRI scan. I felt despondent with life, believing I had to resign myself to living with a condition that by its very nature, was only going to get worse and worse, possibly requiring even more surgery as time went by. It was only after my third spine operation that I really began to question whether it could be all down to ’emotional’pain’ as opposed to physical. I remember showing my spinal surgeon a copy of Healing Back Pain during one of my hospital consultation’s and asking him if he thought my pain could be emotional to which he replied ‘I don’t know I’m a spinal surgeon, ask me something about spines’.

Now, working as a Hypno-Psychotherapist and having trained with Georgie Oldfield as a SIRPA (Stress Illness Practitioner) I am extremely passionate about helping others suffering with chronic pain, supporting them through their own healing journey, in order that they not lose out a large chunk of their life believing they are disabled as I once did.

Thank you so much Dr Sarno, enjoy your retirement.

Louise Levy

Irene’s Thank You

image of IreneDear Dr. Sarno,

I was scheduled to go under the knife when I heard about you and TMS. This was over twenty years ago. At the time I had a two year old, 25 pound, very active baby in diapers, and when the surgeon told me I’d never again be able to lift over 15 pounds even after surgery I knew his cure would not restore my life to normalcy. A friend of my mother’s, who couldn’t have been more traditional with medicine, told me about you. After hearing many explanations for my back pain from GPs, chiropractors, pain management therapists, and back surgeons, none of which made sense, TMS was the first thing that sounded to me like the diagnosis fit the symptoms! I read your books, and I believed! But my back pain wasn’t going away and I knew I needed to see you. I had one hurdle to getting an appointment, though – I didn’t live in the NYC area. I spoke with you, and I’ll admit it, I probably begged, and I convinced you that I’d have the support I need in NYC (my wonderful aunt and uncle who lived in Queens) to come to NY for the 8 days necessary for an appointment and the lectures. (At the time you were doing a two-lecture series.) I recorded the lectures and listened to them over and over – they replaced the Raffi kids songs in the car for weeks! You gave me back my life, pain-free – thank you for that. Since then, when life gets stressful – work, kids going off to college, etc., if my back or my neck or my foot starts hurting, my husband says, “Pull out your Sarno tapes!”, and I realize he is right, and that’s what I do.

One other short anecdote – my brother was suffering from back pain at around the same time. He was living on the other side of the world, and I called him after seeing you and spoke to him for over an hour, and told him about TMS and the “think psychological” cure. Wouldn’t you know it, it clicked for him even faster than it did for me, and he was better in just a few days!

Thanks again, and I only wish there were more like you carrying on your legacy!

Sincerely,
Irene from Illinois

Matthew’s Thank You


Dear Dr. Sarno,
This is the “readers digest ” version (the “rest of the story” is posted @ http://tmswiki.wetpaint.com/account/MatthewNJ). I am on every page of MBP. 28 years of back pain, and just about every TMS equivalent in the book ( and some that are not there!) I read MBP and get somewhat better. I came to see you 1 year later (2004) and I improve some more. In 2005 I have vertigo and you send me to Dr. Bob Evans for counseling. This accelerates the process. In 2007 I have an ulcer for which I am hospitalized for 17 days. In 2008 I have a 6 month bout with severe back pain. I call you and you confirm my MRI is the same as it was 4 years earlier and “Matthew, you have more work to do” (with Dr. Evans). At this point I say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, I am just not having back pain anymore. I start doing more mindfulness and meditation every day and things start to improve more rapidly. But it is a journey (“approximately one life time” according to Dr. Evans) and I am still on it. It is now March of 2012 and I am experiencing the worst stresses of my life. YET, I have NO severe symptoms.

Thank you Dr. Sarno for guiding me to the methods of gaining my life back!

Enjoy your retirement!

Matthew

Diane R’s Thank You


Dear Dr. Sarno,

About twelve years ago I suffered from lower back pain that radiated down my hips and legs. The only time I was pain-free was when I was in the shower with hot water cascading down my back. I feared this now-chronic pain would be with me the rest of my life.

After an X-ray and MRI, I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis. I refused a cortisone shot and rejected back surgery but agreed to physical therapy. Several treatments later with no improvement, the PT asked me about my life and learned that I had attended 21 funerals in the past two years, among them my closest friend of 32 years and both parents. He recommended reading your books and a visit with your “disciple,” local doctor Marc Sopher, M.D.

Dr. Sopher diagnosed TMS and recommended I get some grief counseling. His diagnosis, the counseling, and reading your books all resulted in my back pain gradually disappearing, and I have been pain-free since.

Thank you Dr. Sarno for all you have done for all of us who no longer suffer from chronic pain. I wish you many years of a happy retirement.

Diane R

Carolyn’s Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno,

I will be forever grateful to you for your clear communication of the impact of psychosomatic pain and other physical and psychological challenges. Simply reading The Mindbody Prescription led to the end of my restless leg syndrome. When severe knee pain prompted my doctor to order an MRI which showed arthritis and meniscus damage, I read The Divided Mind, did the work, and the pain diminished immediately and disappeared in less than two weeks.

Let’s hope you and others will succeed in building more and more acceptance of the principles of psychological treatment for psychological causes of pain. Meanwhile, I will continue to be mystified by the reluctance of people to try such a painless, inexpensive cure.

Sincerely,

Carolyn

Laura’s Thank You

Laura's Thank You
Dear Dr. Sarno,

You certainly changed my life for the better in so many ways!

I was 33 years old and the mother of two daughters, ages 15 months and 6 months of age, when “out of the blue,”I began to suffer excruciating lower back pain/sciatica– worse pain than the two natural childbirths I had recently experienced.

I found your book “Mind Over back Pain” and immediately booked an appointment with you at NYU’s Rusk Institute.

Within a month my back pain was gone.

Over the years I’ve had other TMS symptoms– Shoulder/neck pain, and foot pain, for example, and sometimes it took me awhile to realize that this new pain was just another manifestation of my old symdrome.

I think of any new pain symptom as my personal canary in the coal mine– alerting me that I am getting too close to the edge of my emotional comfort zone.

Your work not only gave me a life free of chronic pain and possible addiction to pain medications, but it also opened my mind to many other facets of mind/body medicine and emotional wellness.

I have traveled the world and enjoyed an active life all because of you– here is a photo of my husband Russ and me at the Great Wall of China in 2011!

I am eternally grateful! You are an amazing human being.

Thank you!

Laura

Robin’s Thank You

Dr. Sarno,

There is nothing I could write or do to convey the appreciation I have for you and the work you have done to help me.

For 15 years I suffered with many of the traditional TMS symptoms, especially back pain and sciatica. Like many others, I was told it was due to structural abnormalities, bulging discs, etc… I saw chiropractors, physical therapists, naprapaths and even acupuncturists. None of them helped beyond a very short time period.

After having kids, the pain got so bad that I was ready to go to a pain management clinic, get surgery, take prescription medication or whatever it took to control the pain. But a friend recommended your book, Healing Back Pain. After reading it and The Divided Mind three times each, I was finally able to get rid of the back, neck, sciatic and shoulder pain that I had been dealing with for so long. I discarded my back supports, electro stimulation belt, heating pads, ice packs, and immediately stopped seeking medical treatment.

The symptom imperative kicked in and I hit a few speed bumps. However, today I am completely pain free and able to be emotionally and physically involved in the lives of my wife and one year old twin boys.

Thank you, sincerely,

Robin

JH’s Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno:

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!

Sincerely,

JH

Elinor’s Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno,

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.

Yours with admiration,

Elinor

UPDATE, 6/27/17
My savior has passed away. The brilliant brave man who went against the mainstream to save the quality of the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, mine included.

Thank you Dr. John Sarno, my life would have been miserable without your books and your wisdom.

If there is heaven, you are there now.

With my eternal gratitude and admiration, Elinor Carucci