Dear Dr. Sarno,
About a year ago I was in the worst state physically and mentally. I was in the process of interviewing surgeons to have surgery on the discs in my neck, which were believed to be causing the excruciating pain that radiated down my shoulder and arm. I was unable to sit, walk, and drive, which basically meant I spent a lot of time on my back, medicated. This was no easy task with two small boys. I was no stranger to chronic pain and had suffered for most of my adult life. My diagnoses ranging from irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, herniated discs, migraines and high blood pressure just to name a few.
As I lay on my basement floor, unable to move and realizing I couldn’t live my life like this any longer I was reluctantly going to pursue surgery. Then, enter my brother-in-law who had been suggesting your book to me for several years after his success with your TMS theory. This time I had finally agreed to read it. As I read the pages I began to wonder could this book be written about me. Of course it wasn’t, but I represent so many others who are struggling with chronic pain and desperate to find relief.
Your words resonated with me and I began to open up to the possibility that my pain could be emotionally charged. I especially found comfort in your words explaining that the pain I felt was very real, but originating from a psychological concern rather than a mechanical one. I had done every conventional and alternative treatment recommended that should have cured my pain and none of them worked. Now I know why, the pain was not being caused by a physical problem. Within six weeks of reading your book and subscribing to your theory of TMS, I was able to walk my kids to school, do hot yoga and drive a car without pain. Fast forward to today, it has been just over a year and I have been pain free and feeling better than ever! When life begins to stress me out, I reach for your daily reminders and I’m able to manage my mind and body as a whole and keep chronic pain away for good. I am eternally grateful for your dedication to TMS and hope to continue to see your work and legacy provide the shift our culture needs in the treatment of chronic pain.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Dear Dr. Sarno,
In my late teens I began a 10 year journey of one physical ailment after another and it continued until I studied your work. It started with knee pain, mild carpel tunnel syndrome, then lower back pain, severe allergies, asthma, pancreatitis and finished off with severe ulcerative colitis, all with no known cause and most with no known cure other than surgery for a couple of them. I tried cortisone shots in my knee, braces and therapy for my knee and wrist, inhalers and nasal spray for allergies and asthma, stretches and chiropractors for my back, a wheelbarrow of pills, juicing, fasting and diet changes for colitis. I even had a visit at one of the top four hospitals in the United States in search of help for pancreatitis and colitis only to come home with no answers. I was at a loss. In my mind, being in my mid 20’s, I should have been at the peak of health.
As a long time listener of Howard Stern, I heard him mention you several times over the years but always about back pain. I dismissed it because I only had a brief encounter with it but one day he went a little deeper and touched on the mindbody connection. It triggered something and I bought all of your books. I’m now almost 31, take no medication and I’m in the best health of my life. My breathing tests since studying your work have been “perfect” the pulmonologist says and he has taken me off all inhalers. The allergies remain but have been reduced by 90 percent.
During the time period I was studying your work I had an accident and suffered a Type 4 AC shoulder Separation. After I healed up through physical therapy and was feeling great, I put your theory of pain returning to the site of an old injury to the test. I randomly started feeling a severe pain in my shoulder as if someone was trying to drive a nail into it, it did not follow suit to what I had been doing physically and I “talked my self out of it”. The pain tried a couple more times to come back, I immediately shut it down and it hasn’t returned. I can’t thank you enough and as everyone else says, I am forever in debt to you Dr. Sarno.
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!
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
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.
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,