Laura’s Thank You

Laura canoeing with her family

Dear Dr. Sarno,

I am so glad to have this opportunity to thank you for all that you have done for me. In 1997 I began having neck pain which soon spread to my arms and hands. I was working long hours on a computer at the time and so was diagnosed with RSI. I spent over a year on many traditional and alternative treatments. These included physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, therapeutic massage, Rolfing, Alexander Technique, and prolotherapy injections. None of these had any significant or lasting effect. Tests revealed tendinitis, inflammation, and muscle spasm. I was unable to work, drive, or do everyday activities like tying my shoes. I was told by doctors that no one ever recovers from a condition like mine and I should accept the fact that I would have a life of disability. I very much wanted to have children, and it was a constant sadness to me that I might never be able to because of the pain.

I had heard of your books, but my reaction was very resistant at first. However, over time, I became desperate enough to give them a try. Your description of the “goodist” described me exactly.

I began to use the do-it-yourself program you outline in The Mind Body Prescription. I stopped all physical treatments, and concentrated on your book.  I was also lucky enough to get an appointment with you at NYU Medical Center. I had a lot of improvement in the time between starting the at home program and the appointment. Within 6 weeks of seeing you and attending your lecture I was completely cured.

I had so much confidence in the cure that my husband and I immediately decided to start a family. I now have two beautiful teenage boys. I have remained pain free since December of 1999. I have absolutely no restrictions on my activity.

I know this is a long story, but I hope the details might be helpful to other people with RSI. Your work is brilliant. I am so lucky to have found your ideas. You have permanently restored my life.

Thank You,
Laura

Ann’s Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno,

For over 20 years, chronic back pain has dogged me, sitting has been a nightmare, and exercise has been severely limited. But, thanks to you and your books, all that has changed.

Recently, I retired from teaching and moved with my husband to a foreign country. Shortly after our arrival, my pain escalated to the point that I could barely walk. I tried cortisone shots and chiropractic, even though they had never helped much in the past. They did not help this time either. Fear set in: Would I be an invalid in my mid-fifties—in a foreign country? In desperation, I searched the internet and found your books. I downloaded The Mindbody Prescription and The Divided Mind onto my Kindle and began to read, re-read, and devoted myself to therapeutic journaling—sometimes up to two or three hours a day. Because I had no access to English-speaking psychotherapists, I was on my own with only your books, the success stories written by your patients, the TMS wiki site, and my husband’s support. Finally, after two months of persistent study and journaling, the pain was 95% gone.

As a young woman, I had been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. At that time (1978), I found life-saving help in a new book by psychoanalyst Hilda Bruch who explained how perfectionism and goodism were integral aspects of the illness. I accepted the psychosomatic diagnosis and got better with the help of psychotherapy. When I regained my weight, I left therapy feeling quite proud of my ability to overcome this serious illness. But soon I began to develop a string of other symptoms: interstitial cystitis, skin problems, IBS, odd aches and pains, and finally— out of nowhere—crippling low-back pain. My doctors and I were utterly blind to the connection between these symptoms and the earlier eating disorder. Now I see this series of unexplained illnesses as nothing more than the “symptom imperative” at work. Your books helped me see this pattern and finally uncover the long-repressed anger that was fueling the need for all these crippling symptoms.

Today, I walk rigorously up and down hills, swim, and sit as long as I like. I feel stronger, healthier, and more alive than ever before in my adult life. It is liberating, to say the least. I owe this freedom to you. Thank you, Dr. Sarno!

Ann

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

Barbara’s Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno,

I can’t thank you enough – you have changed my life. I put my back “out” about six years ago and was laid up for about 9 months until a friend recommended your book “Healing Back Pain” and I read a short write-up about your work in “Time” magazine. It made perfect sense to me, so I ordered the “Mindbody Prescription” and did what your patient recommended – I started writing everything down that I could possibly be angry or upset about. Well, at the time I thought that I was pretty in touch with my feelings because I had been in Primal Therapy since 1980. But I just started writing anyway and ended up with 2 full pages – LOL!! What came out was that I had been trying to be the good wife to my husband and was completely unaware of what I wanted. So, within two days I was out of bed (scared out of my mind, of course, thinking I’d end up in a wheelchair) and haven’t looked back!! I have been pain free since then!! And I had it bad – sciatica pain down my right leg and one of my little toes was completely numb. All gone!!! But the really cool thing aside from the back pain is that I have been using your method for everything now – if I feel like I’m getting sick, I either write down or just think about what it is that I’m not looking at. And then I don’t have to get sick. It’s incredible!!

So, you have changed my life – like I said, I can’t thank you enough!!!!

All the best to you- enjoy your retirement!!

Best regards,
Barbara

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!!

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

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)

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

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

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.