Ashish’s Thank You

I had a knee problem and had tried everything. Doctors named it chondromalacia patella. Surgery was the only option. Then I came across the name of Dr. Sarno and read his book. I applied his techniques and it’s amazing, I am completely free of knee pain. When I got my knees MRI scanned there was no evidence of it, but the pain was there. After applying Dr. Sarno’s techniques it was completely gone.

I am writing this so that other sufferers out there can use his technique and become pain free. It’s truly sad that pain is inevitable but the suffering is optional.

Thanks with all my heart

Danielle’s Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno:

There are not enough words to thank you for saving me from the chronic pain that ruled my life for 10 years. I suffered from chronic back, shoulder and knee pain. It was baffling because it all started in my mid-twenties when I was basically at the peak of good health. I was an extremely active person all my life up to that point. In fact, I was training for a half-marathon when it all began.

After seeing countless doctors and physical therapists, and receiving countless (wrong) diagnoses over the years, I was at my wit’s end. My active lifestyle was relegated to walking on the treadmill and riding the stationary bike. My chair at work felt like a torture chamber for my back every day. And, I was also no longer allowed to wear my coveted high heels. My doctor finally prescribed knee surgery, but never actually saw anything on the MRIs or X-rays for my knee (or my back or shoulder) that would indicate I needed surgery. I am now convinced it was completely unnecessary.

A very smart person introduced me to your book, and I will forever be grateful. I devoured it and saw myself on every page and I took steps to get to the bottom of what was causing my pain. That was nearly two years ago. Since then, I have returned to my active lifestyle. Yoga, Pilates, jogging, Spin, Zumba. You name it. I am no longer afraid of physical activity. The doctors can no longer tell me that I’ll “hurt myself” if I do any of these activities or that I am “not built” to do them. I also have amassed a closet full of high heels that I proudly wear on a daily basis. And I no longer consider my chair at work to be a torture chamber. I have nearly forgotten what it felt like to be in constant pain all day, every day. It’s almost hard for me to believe that it’s truly gone.

I played on a softball team last summer for the first time in almost a decade. I can’t explain how invigorating it was to be on the field once again after so many years on the sidelines. I was scared to sprint around the bases at first. But with one crack of the bat, adrenaline kicked in and I took off like a shot – like the old Danielle. And I haven’t looked back since.

Whenever the pain acts up, I am able to turn my attention to the emotional factors that are contributing to it. Your book has taught me a lot about myself and made me recognize the stressful factors in my life that were contributing to the pain. Now I will be in tune with what my body is trying to tell me for the rest of my life. I can’t thank you enough for your books and all that I have learned from them. Thank you for giving me my active lifestyle – and my life – back!

Lisa’s Thank You

Lisa riding her horse CodyDear Dr. Sarno,

In 2003 I began to experience chronic back pain that was so severe that it kept me from sleeping at night.

I immediately contacted my physician, who did a full work-up, with MRIs, CT scan, bone scan (because the pain radiated from my sacrum area), and physical therapy. He supplemented this treatment with (at different times) opioid painkillers, neurontin, Lyrica, and NSAIDs.

The workups showed two herniated discs but nothing else that was exceptional. The PT temporarily relieved my pain, but it returned all too soon. Chiropractic had a similar result, as did cranio-sacral therapy. I increased my daily exercise regime and added stretching. Still no relief from the chronic night-time pain.

I continued to take an exploratory and proactive approach to my chronic pain. I began to attend yoga classes and received acupuncture. I underwent a full series of Rolfing sessions as well as a six-month long course of weekly shiatsu massage. All of these ‘alternative’ treatments were wonderful because of the relationships that formed around them, and they were very emotionally revealing, but they didn’t vanquish my back pain. I stretched, I learned to release trigger points, I read all the books I could find about back pain.

Still no lasting relief from the chronic pain.

My PC doc and my ortho specialist arrived at the conclusion that surgery would be the next step, but they warned me that it is often ineffective at relieving chronic pain.

One day, I found *Healing Back Pain* at the library. I checked it out, went home, and read it in one session. I realized almost immediately that this approach applied to me and my situation.

I entered treatment with a psychologist and began to practice gentle stretching exercises (Chinese qi gong). Within a few days my pain was drastically reduced, and within two months it had entirely gone away. I no longer had to take painkillers or lose sleep. Best of all, my emotional life became more satisfying and well-integrated. I became a happier and (I hope) better adjusted person because of this learning experience.

I continue to be free of back pain ten years later. Every once in a while, when I feel a twinge in my back (or a stomach upset or a skin problem) I turn my attention to factors in my emotional life, and that does the trick. I’ve helped several friends and relatives arrive at the same resolution for their issues, including orthopedic pain, gastrointestinal issues and fibromyalgia.

I believe that many people find secondary gain in TMS pain and are unwilling to confront the psychological issues that cause it. I only hope that one day, physicians and other health-care practitioners embrace your approach more readily. It has the potential to save them, their patients, and the health-care system from the disastrous effects of chronic TMS pain.

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

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.


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.


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,

Susie’s Thank You

Susie's Thank You Dr. Sarno imageDearest Dr. Sarno,

I want to give you my thanks and love.

I have had chronic neck and back pain since I was in my early 20’s and I’m now 56. I went to a doctor a few times and they offered to have me get an MRI but we didn’t have insurance so they would just give me Motrin 800. I just lived with the pain that I had. Last year (2011) my back got especially bad while doing the exercise program Power 90X so I went to my regular doctor and he suggested a chiropractor or physical therapy. I had tried therapy once before for my back and I got worse. I went to a chiropractor to see if she could do anything. She started manipulating my back and neck. At that time all I had for neck issues was a little crunching. She did five treatments and I was in such pain with my neck I couldn’t stand it. She finally sent me for an MRI on my neck and then my back because my back wasn’t responding to treatment either. She certainly did damage to my neck so that was my last visit to see her. The MRI’S showed 3 herniated cervical discs, a broken L5 and a deformed tail bone. I started searching for help and some how found YOU. I read your first book and became 90% pain free and am now about 95% pain free from believing what you had to say. I continue to try to think what could be emotionally bothering me when I get pain and I try to clear my mind of guilt. You’re the best. Enjoy your retirement.

Susan in northern NY