Candace’s Thank You

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.

Candace

Sean’s Thank You

Dear Dr Sarno,

I was trying to find a contact for you, when I came across this site. I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for changing my life. A few years ago I was going in to hospital for back surgery when I came across your book “Healing Back Pain” in a local bookstore. I live in Ireland. I had never heard of you. I had tried everything else.

After reading your book I cured my back completely. It was astonishing. I understood exactly what you were saying and it worked 100%.

Over the years since then I have had chronic neck pain, an ulcer and chronic knee pain. I suffered these for a while until I remembered your book, and was able to heal every one of them, instantly, once I realized it was TMS.

I recently fixed my severe ankle pain, again instantly, when I remembered what I had learned from your book.

I have bought all your books and with the input in them from all the other specialists, I have been able to address many of the underlying issues that brought on my TMS.

You are an amazing man. Thank you so much. The world needs you. You are so far ahead of your time, that we will all have passed on, before your books are compulsory on all medical courses, which they will be.

Thank You

Sean Mac Oisin
Galway, Ireland

Teresa’s Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno,

You had diagnosed me with TMS in 1995. Thank you. You gave me the knowledge I needed to recover from a variety of physical ailments namely severe back spasms and a very embarrassing condition that I refer to as my “personal pain problem” for which I’d sought help from gastroenterologists and gynecologists, underwent a battery of “tests” and then “exploratory surgery”: all of which revealed nothing, leaving my doctors and surgeon completely frustrated and baffled. I am a very conservative person and revealing this “personal pain” to anyone (even the doctors) was very embarrassing for me. They knew I was not making this bizarre pain up!

It wasn’t until I met you that I discovered the problem behind my “personal pain problem”! You informed me that as I worked through the process of healing from my back issue, that I would also heal from my personal pain problem! I am thrilled to inform you that I have!

I think what really solidified my belief in your TMS theory was the fact that my pain would intensify drastically each time I had an appointment with Dr. Fran Anderson! I’d be sitting in the back of a cab, on my way to her office and, like clockwork, the pain would escalate so quickly! Suddenly I would experience pain where I never even had any before! It was amazing! Like my subconscious knew what I was about to do and was screaming “NO! STOP!” The escalation of pain did not surprise me though because I had read in your book to expect this to occur when we first begin the process of healing. For me, the intensifying pain was simply an affirmation of your theory being absolutely confirmed!

Dr. Sarno, before I met you and attended your lectures my life was really falling apart. I was on the verge of losing my job of 25 years, I had ceased all of my sporting activities for fear that I was going to hurt myself even more. I was so depressed.

You gave me my life back! You gave me the gift of knowledge about what was going on in my mind and to my body. You have educated me and given me all I need to know to live out the rest of my life free from the many manifestations of TMS. I will be forever grateful to you Dr. Sarno!

I thank you for having been a very significant part of my life experience!

May God bless you as you have been such a blessing to me!

With long lasting gratitude,

Teresa

Jim’s Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno,

I have never met you, and I am sure you have lost count of the number of times you have heard this, but I would like to sincerely thank you for showing me the way to heal my 30-year chronic low-back pain! I’ll try and keep my story short, but my back pain started when I was an active 17 year old, after which began a 30 year long saga of pain and suffering.

I was initially diagnosed with a bulging disc on the sciatic nerve which began “my life with a bad back”. After decades of seeing numerous medical specialists and receiving numerous treatments which included surgery, acupuncture, physio sessions, epidurals, and facet joint injections my pain persisted and increased. All of these only gave me temporary relief, if that. Gradually, I slowly but surely lost the ability to lead a normal life. The last 10 years in particular were quite bad as I was living with an average level of 8/10 pain, not being able to sit for more than a minute or two without extreme pain, and avoiding many of the activities one takes part in as part of a normal life. Somehow though I soldiered on by continuously adjusting my life, but the effect of the pain was really starting to take its toll mentally, no different really than being in a torture chamber. Eventually I reached the stage where I had given up any sort of hope of reducing my back pain and became resigned to the fact that I would just have to somehow live a life of taking prescription pain killers, and avoiding anything that caused my back pain to increase above the already ‘normal’ but high pain levels. In the end, no other treatment seemed to give me even a slight reprieve from pain, not even as a placebo. Even the pain killers slowly started to become ineffective requiring higher dosages. Looking back it is clear all of these treatments were aimed at the symptoms rather than the cause. I, as well as my family, had become a prisoner to my back pain.

That was December of 2013. Then one day I came across your book Healing Back Pain on the internet, and after reading a few reviews, I thought, “sounds too good to be true”, but I ordered the book, as well as The MindBody Prescription and received them a week later. I read the books in a few days and as a goodist, I could see myself all over them. I started to put some of the ideas and TMS exercises into practice, and about 2 weeks later I started to notice some reduction in my pain levels. My progress however stagnated a bit for a while, and then I mustered the courage to seek a psychotherapist. In Australia, TMS-aware psychotherapists (or medical professionals) are as rare as hen’s teeth, but funnily enough one of probably the only two TMS practising psychotherapists in this country had a clinic a few blocks away from where I lived! It took another 4 months or so of work with somatic psychotherapy but I finally started to get in touch with a huge reservoir of repressed anger that I had no idea even existed. It is July 2014 now and even though I am not totally pain free, I have reduced my pain levels significantly (by 70 % or more) and I am starting to do things I never even dreamed of doing before. I can now sit down and watch a movie, go to a theatre show or work in front of the computer, instead of lying down all the time. I have stopped worrying about my back, and have not had a flare up now for 4 months, something that used to happen every few weeks or so. For most of the day now I don’t even feel any pain. I have even jumped back on my bike which was collecting dust for the last 10 years in the shed. I recently even went to an 8-hour training course which involved sitting for most of that time. Focussing on feelings and emotions instead of the physical has definitely worked. It’s like my life has started again.

While I still feel some back pain now and then and have some more work ahead of me, I feel I have the knowledge and tools to completely conquer it and I am confident I will eliminate it in the near future. So once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your pioneering work and your strength of conviction in unravelling the truth about TMS.

Now when people ask me, “How is your back?” I answer, “Really good thanks!”. They look at me a bit puzzled and ask “What did you do to make it better? Special exercises? Swimming?” I smile at them and cheekily say, “I got better by ignoring everything that I was ever told about my back!” It gets their attention, and then I show them a copy of your book. To this day I always try to spread your good work.

Regards,
Jim

Dustin’s Thank You

An image of Dustin

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.

THANK YOU!!

Dustin

River’s Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno,

From the time I was eighteen to the age of twenty-one I suffered with debilitating back pain. I couldn’t get out of bed some days. I had to stop doing all the physical things I loved like training in the martial arts. The “doctors” (and I had many) told me I had slipped discs, herniated discs, degenerative disc disorder, twisted spine, pinched nerves and sciatica. I went to every different kind of doctor, surgeon, chiropractor, acupuncturist, and faith healer you can imagine. By the time I was twenty-one I was clinically depressed because of my pain and contemplating suicide, which I felt at the time would be my only relief.

Then I found your second book Healing Back Pain. Two weeks later I was completely pain free and twenty years later I am still pain free. I am also a much healthier person in general than I have ever been thanks to what I learned from your book. As far as I’m concerned you are a genius and you saved my life. Those that have never suffered the pain I suffered and realized the miracle of your treatment will not understand what a treasure you are for humanity, but I know. When you said, “Don’t listen to your doctor, do the things you love and don’t be afraid of pain” it was as if a divine light went off in my head. I felt that finally there was a doctor that knew what he was talking about and wasn’t just trying to sell me drugs and surgery. Your concepts of TMS saved my life and as a result I was able to save another person’s life.

A friend of mine was randomly complaining about her constant back pain that had been plaguing her for some time. Her doctor told her the same hogwash they told me; slipped discs and jargon. I told her my story and explained to her your theories of TMS. She accepted them and a week later she was pain free. That’s all it took to help someone else! The truths you discovered are radiating out into the world and saving people from unnecessary suffering. Whether you are ever acknowledged by the half wits in the medical community or not, you are a saint in the hearts of thousands, and someday millions, of people throughout the world. You will go down in history as a true healer and that legacy is well deserved.

Thank you Dr. Sarno. Thank you for being brave and putting the health of your patients above the money you might have made selling drugs and surgery.

Thank you. I am forever in debt to you.

– River

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
Ashish

Jim Campobello’s Thank You

Jim Campobello's Photo

I suffered constant, debilitating back pain for two years. Then my wife discovered “Healing Back Pain” and had me read it. I was extremely skeptical but gave it a try out of desperation. (My orthopedist had just recommended spinal fusion surgery.) Within two weeks I was noticeably better, completely cured in a month. Dr. Sarno virtually saved my life.

I’ve had occasional equivalent symptoms in the two decades since then, but I pull out one of his books, work on the process, and they go away within days. I’m 65 years old and happily healthy. Thank you Dr. Sarno!!

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

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

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