I had severe pain in both legs from the ages of 12 to 20. I was diagnosed with everything under the sun, underwent treatments for all, and never get better. Chondromalacia, adolescent femoral patella syndrome, severely pronated feet, childhood arthritis, and of course fibromyalgia- a diagnosis defined as “pain symptoms of unknown origin.” I was in crippling pain my entire childhood. Eventually a family member heard Howard Stern talking about Dr Sarno and approached me about the idea. It had to be the answer. And of course, it was. I read the book, met with Dr Sarno, and within a year, I was as pain free like I was 11 again. I suffered my entire childhood because of a faulty medical system that didn’t give Dr Sarno the spotlight he deserved. I feel extremely lucky to be part of the minority that crossed paths with Dr Sarno’s dedicated work, and received the simple and effective treatment millions of other sufferers may never see.
Thank you, Dr Sarno. I know you never liked hearing it, but I owe my life to you. I refuse to not say it, its the truest comment I am able to make. I heard Howard Stern call you his hero this week. I guess he’s a little better with words than I am. When he said it I realized thats exactly how I feel.
You will never be forgotten.
I do thank Dr. Sarno everyday, but mostly I feel immense gratitude for his amazing intuition about human beings, and their pain. Dr. Sarno clearly perceived what most doctors, regardless of how long they practice, will never understand about themselves or their patients.
As experienced by many people; my low-back pain came out of the blue one day, and stayed it with me for twenty years. Similar to many people in my situation, I thought there was something terribly wrong with me, as I was struck with intense pain that I had never experienced ever. I searched for help from a dozen different doctors, and practitioners over the years, and I would find some relief for a while, but I was never completely pain-free, and never cured. Eventually, I’d have another devastating episode, seek treatment, and then be able to function again for a while.
After two decades, I listened to a story about Dr. Sarno on the radio, and I immediately knew this was my problem. I quickly read as many of his books that I could find, and then set upon creating a method to cure my pain. It took me a little more than a month to be completely pain-free. At first I feared it wouldn’t last, but I’m pleased to report that three years later I have no low-back pain. I can sometimes feel my muscles tightening during stressful situations, but I know I can always quickly resolve it in a few moments. So many thanks to Dr. Sarno, and I am hopeful that his legacy will continue to bring relief to millions worldwide for generations to come.
I was suffering from severe back pain for months. More than once I was unable to get out of a chair because my back was “locked.” It was almost as if my brain wasn’t sending signals to my legs. I nearly collapsed while walking on more than one occasion. The pain got so bad that I thought I would have to give up my passion of performing magic. The equipment is extremely heavy and requires a lots of bending and twisting for an hour to set up the show. I remember a phone conversation with my father about the fear of needing to stop performing, and I vividly remember tears rolling down my face as I told him.
I had tried pain relievers, muscle relaxants, physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractors, steroid injections, ….
In 2014, I found a YouTube video of Howard Stern interviewing a magician. Near the beginning, Howard got side-tracked and started talking about Dr. Sarno. Intrigued, I looked at the reviews of his books on Amazon and was shocked at the countless success stories. Long story short, within 4-6 months, I was pain free! I have remained pain-free to this day. In fact, 3 days ago, I ran in a 5K race and finished in 23:20. (44th place out of 447 runners — not bad for a 42-year-old). In 2013, even completing a 5K would have seemed impossible to me.
I recommended one of his books to my girlfriend’s father. He had been in such pain that he couldn’t sit in a car for more than 45 minutes, so his ability to travel was limited for many, many years. After reading Dr. Sarno’s book, he experienced success as quickly as I did. He actually began lifting weights again, and this summer he will be driving from Pennsylvania to Boston to see his daughter again!
This picture shows me happily performing a handcuff escape routine in my show. Dr. Sarno is the real magician here as he made the pain for me, and thousands of others, disappear!
His work will live forever. After I was cured, the doctor who had tried the pain injections asked what happened. I told her about Dr. Sarno, and I am happy to say that she asked me to jot down his name so she could read some of his work. It’s exciting to think that there will eventually be a shift, even in the medical field, in the mindset of pain treatment, and it’s all thanks to Dr. Sarno.
He was a saint and a savior. I love you, Dr. Sarno! Thank you!
I am forever in debt to the work Dr. Sarno contributed to the world. During hard times I developed pain in my right knee and hip. This pain kept me from my love of running. After seeing multiple doctors and countless hours of physical therapy my tenacious attitude towards solving things (which ironically helps fuel the RAGE) led me to his work. Finding his books and the community of those who suffer from TMS have led me to getting back to what I love.
In the 2 years since discovering I have TMS and working on applying the therapeutic principles I have been able to complete FIVE half marathons. And just this past May completed my first FULL marathon!
This amazing photo would not exist without the work of the good doctor.
Thanks Dr. Sarno, I can do many things, that I could not do any longer.
After big exertions I can lie down also on a hard surface to recover and enjoy.
Even after lying for half an hour, I can get up by myself without any pain and without help.
Hearing about Dr. Sarno at 90 came about through a friend. I had some neck discomfort and she loaned me his book and video.
What transpired was the realization of how many insidious and serious TMS Equivalents were part of my life experience. For the last four months, I have done the Daily Study Plan every morning and watched his video every evening. Without going into my issues, I want you to know that my life has changed radically. ‘Thinking psychological’ sometimes erases and at other times mitigates my experience to the point that each day is a wonderful adventure, not a trial or at best, an endurance test.
My concept is that Dr. Sarno discovered, medically, that the world isn’t flat. It came to him as a surprise and a mystery, not from research…and his life was about figuring out what happened to those under his care. By facing ridicule and staying true to his Hippocratic Oath…he wrote of his experience and a few of us, worldwide, were willing to get that we didn’t know…and therefore could learn.
He changed my life and how I look at and deal with pain, infection. I have the power to heal myself and I do it time and again. I have given his book and name to sooooo many people.
I found you serendipitously after approximately less than a year of back pain that seemed like so much more. My story is not as long as some of the others here, thankfully. The pain came at a stressful time in my life, though I had been prone to back spasms since my teenage years. As a physical therapist, I had been trained to see the body as a particularly complicated machine of sorts and to believe that pain occurs due to purely mechanical reasons. Deep down, I think I always knew that there was something more going on. Reading Healing Back Pain opened my eyes to a new, truer reality. I couldn’t rip myself away from it and finished all three of your books in a week. Like thousands of others have said, I saw myself on every page. My pain has left me and my view of the human condition has been forever changed. It is one of my life’s goals to bring your ideas into my own work and profession for a better, more holistic way of viewing people and their health. I am so thankful for your work, writings and perseverance despite rejection by the mainstream medical community. You helped me bring joy back into my life and change how I practice my career, I am forever grateful! Rest in peace, Dr. Sarno.
Thank you Dr Sarno.
Your books transformed my life and I will be forever grateful.
It really was a paradigm shift to change the way we process pain from a structural to an emotional cause. For me now pain can be used as a guide to how I feel emotionally and now I will journal how I am feeling.
It is a sad day that you have passed but your legacy will live on. Your past patients and readers of your books will continue to share your knowledge and insight.
Eventually people will realise that TMS is very real and that the mind and body are one.
Thank you once again to a great man.
You will be missed.
Three years ago I was immobilized by back pain for 4 months. I was unable to walk, work, sleep, or do anything without excruciating pain. I spent a lot of money on chiropractors, acupuncture, anti inflammatory medicine, doctors visits to pain management clinics, surgeons, etc. I was on different kinds of medication and one of them began affecting my short term memory. I was scheduled for a spinal steroid injection to relieve my pain and as I was searching for side effects and risks of the procedure, I came across a video on YouTube that talked about Dr. Sarno’s book Healing Back Pain. I spent about 30 minutes listening and 1 hour reading about Dr. Sarno’s Mindbody approach to pain and it all made complete sense! None of the doctors I had visited had asked me about my emotional state of mind and I was going through a lot at that time! After a couple of hours of reading I was able to get up from bed and drive myself to the library to check out the book. Mind you that I had not left the house for the past 4 months! I read the book in one sitting and started applying everything. I was cured in less than 3 weeks and I have not had back pain since 2014. Dr. Sarno has touched many lives and helped many hopeless cases without using harmful and expensive medications or tests. His book costs $15 and it cures you for good! The mainstream medical community will not acknowledge his successful treatment because it is not profitable. I hope that each one of us whose life was touched by Dr. Sarno can help at least one more person! THANK YOU DR. SARNO!
Thank you Dr. Sarno for encouraging me to join the thousands of anecdotally insignificant refugees from the mainstream medical establishment who have been cured after years of chronic pain distress and ineffective conventional treatment. Hopefully some day it will be like: yeah, we believed in that Dr. Pasteur back when they were still using leeches. May you RIP (as, too, Sen. Harkin, who tried to spread your knowledge for the benefit of the millions still suffering). Thanks to you I can now move heavy boulders with a back, and a neck, and a shoulder, and a leg, and a shin, and a foot, and an elbow, and a wrist that have all at least once been a shifting site for my mind’s painful play of emotions. We, thanks to our personal healing experiences, will continue to push on after you are gone in sharing your material. It may at times be Sisyphean (Hey, John Stossel, any luck with that Harvard MD brother of yours?), but at least it will no longer hurt.
I wanted to write to pay my respects to a man who changed my life in more ways than one. Before learning of Dr. Sarno and his writing, I endured eight years of crippling back pain. The pain not only dominated my life and was excruciating, but it also left me feeling hopeless, alone, and completely disillusioned with the medical field. Dr. Sarno’s commitment to science, combined with his tremendous empathy and lack of ego, allowed him to put the puzzle pieces together that were right in front of us. As a result, I was able to resolve this baffling and confounding torture within weeks. I cannot thank him enough for that, but he also gave me three other gifts in opening this understanding about my mind, my body, and life itself: 1) Through the process of recovery, I was able to gain a degree of confidence in myself that I did not know possible; 2) He helped unlock a passion in me that gave me a purpose beyond anything I had expected to have in life — to heal others from TMS and spread the word of his revolutionary ideas; and 3) With these things backing me (pun partially intended), I was able to escape a toxic relationship that could have destroyed my belief in myself and will to stay true to me. Because of these things, Dr. Sarno is probably the single biggest influence in my life, other than my mom. He will always be a great, great hero of mine, and I am devoting my life to showing the world just how right he was and how important it is to accept and embrace his convictions. Dr. Sarno, you gave more love to the world than most people ever can dream of and it has made the world a far better place. Now, we continue your work. Thank you from the depths of my heart, mind, and soul.
Dr Sarno changed my life in so many ways. When I first discovered “Healing Back pain” I was a 27 year old wreck. I had always been super fit and healthy but after getting married at 22 and starting a pressure packed job I soon began having significant back pain. The doctors told me I had degenerative disk disease, and thatI needed to stop physical activity and to be on strong meds. An idiot Chiropractor told me I had a 70 year old spine. My life became a mess, my marriage was difficult and I was sinking fast. I found Dr Sarno, saw myself on every page of his books and went to see him in NY. Dr Sarno told me I was completely normal and healthy. I told him if the other diagnoses and he said “That’s nonsense.” My life began to change right then and there.
Over the years TMS has hit me in other places like my feet, my upper back, and my knees. I’ve always fought it off (sometimes by re-reading Dr. Sarno, Steve Ozanich and others and reminding myself of the basics of how to manage this disorder. I live a physically active life now.
I rode my road bike over 4,000 miles last year, I’ve hiked all over the Rockies and have tried to live life to its fullest. I’m 58 now and I can’t imagine how I would have ended up if I would have only believed my Doctors. I really don’t think I’d even still be around.
Thank you Dr. Sarno, RIP.
No words are sufficient to express the gratitude I have for the impact you’ve had on my life. There are zero words. Zero.
The brilliance of your insight is matched perhaps only by the courage you exhibited in sharing that insight, despite all the criticism you must have known you would face.
I don’t know that I would’ve had such courage. But I know I’m a beneficiary of yours. And for that I am eternally grateful.
You will be forever remembered.
My God bless Dr. Sarno! After seven years of desperately trying to solve my roving neck and back pain, pain that was so intense and varying that I was becoming depressed and disillusioned, my husband purchased Dr. Sarno’s book Healing Back Pain. As soon as I started reading it, I felt like Dr. Sarno was speaking directly to me. Dr. Sarno changed my life. Because of Dr. Sarno, I have a clear understanding of my pain and my brain’s role in my pain. I replaced my weekly appointments with deep breathing, affirmations and correct thinking. I’ve shared Dr. Sarno’s message with anyone who will listen. I love Dr. Sarno and could never thank him enough. I am pain free. Dr. Sarno’s legacy will last forever. God bless you, Dr. Sarno.
i am sad to hear of Dr Sarno passing. He was a very special person you changed the lives of thousands of people including me ,may he rest in peace. I am so thankful to him He changed my life. I read all his books and I learned through him to understand my pain and the connection between the mind and body. I have no doubt he was correct and in time the medical profession will honor him. For years I suffered with chronic pain . The doctors could only prescribe medication and eventual surgery but I am now retired and I’m doing fine, no medication and I haven’t yet had any surgery. Thank You Dr Sarno
I was very sad to hear of Dr Sarno’s passing, but love your idea of building a very tangible tribute to him, so please find attached a photo from my pedometer app which shows me having walked in excess of 31,000 steps in one day. I had lots of foot pain for a long time, and nothing showed up on any x-rays or scans. I run my own dog-walking business so was in a very difficult situation, but it’s only by discovering TMS that I’ve managed to make such (literal) strides. So, I owe my business, as well as my health, to Dr Sarno’s pioneering work.
If it wasn’t for a scribble barely legible on a handout given to me by my Orthopedist about Herniated discs, which read “Healing Back Pain by John Sarno”, who knows where I would be today. Never did I think that looking up those words and consequently buying and reading that book would ultimately save what felt like a doomed life. While not fully healed yet, I feel that I now have the knowledge and power to complete my journey.
I am forever grateful to Dr. Sarno. He will forever be revered in my mind. I tear up just writing this, knowing what the words of a man I never met did for myself and my family.
While gone from this Earth, for those who have heard and taken his words to heart, he will forever live on.
As a past shoulder pain sufferer who visited him and took his seminar 25 years ago. Dr. Sarno saved me from “frozen shoulder”. The knowledge is so important, and I use it anytime I get a transient pain for moments, or days. It’s mild oxygen deprivation… what am I angry about? Keep moving, and off I go.. with courage and the knowledge that its harmless. I’ve shared his books with many, some believe it and get better…others really need the ” diagnosis” that there is structurally something wrong with them and that is causing the pain.
Either way, this “good-est” is grateful.
Rest In Peace, Dr. Sarno, your work here made a difference, and you are appreciated by all those who “get it”.
As someone who suffered from various forms of chronic pain (mostly mid back but also eye pain and shoulder pain) for over 6 years I can say for certain that I would not have the life I do today without your influence Dr. Sarno. I have always been a hard worker, an achiever- pushing myself to meet or exceed goals and expectations. My pain came on suddenly one night while I was sleeping and I spent the next 5+ years searching for a way out of it through traditional medicine and even some alternative medicine. We are all trained by our current health care system- dominated by drug and medical device companies to get on pills or have surgery. I bounced around from one doctor to another and to dozens of specialists in pursuit of ridding the pain. A rheumatologist actually diagnosed me with an incurable disease called ankylosing spondylitis. I would have to take drugs the rest of my life and my pain would eventually kill me. Somewhere deep inside of me I didn’t really believe that. I believed that I could get well again but I just didn’t know how.
It was my wife who saved me. She bought ‘Healing Back Pain’ for me. I was willing to try anything so I started reading that book. I accepted and believed Dr. Sarno’s premise that pain is an unconsciously triggered response in people who are perfectionists, are overly critical of themselves and also in people who are always worried about pleasing others. The light bulb went on. I was thrown a rope just at the time I was nearly over my head in the river of pain. The pain had taken over my life. It consumed my every waking thought. Agony, misery, helplessness, resentment were how I would describe my feelings… I prayed for God to help me across the raging river. I needed to get to the other side.
I have read all of Dr. Sarno’s books and a couple of them two or three times. I wasn’t healed immediately or even in a few weeks like so many others- (lucky suckers Lol), and that caused me to question this concept and even go back to other specialists for a 2nd or 3rd time hoping that they had overlooked something. I wanted to believe but I wasn’t healing fast enough so I stopped believing for a while. The pain raged on. I had to take a long path with the TMS approach. I was led to the TMS Wiki site and from there to having conversations with Steve Ozanich and from there to meeting with Dr. Schecter to get a confirmed TMS diagnosis and from there to psychotherapy with Alex Bloom and from there to a totally new perception of myself and my life. Each step of that journey gave me more confidence and allowed me to take the next step. Each person was very instrumental in getting me across that river. I am now pain free and have come to realize that Dr. Sarno was far ahead of his time. Someday he will be rightly credited for his life saving work in the field of mind body medicine and pain treatment. Thousands and thousands have been cured by him. Millions more would be if they would only accept this new way of thinking about physical conditions that he taught for decades.
I am so very grateful to you Dr. Sarno. I am also grateful to your family who allowed you the time and support to do this great work and write your books. I hope you can see from high in the heavens how many people you saved from a life of pain and suffering. Those of us who have been in that river know how dark and scary it is. It sweeps us away. But I realized that the only way to get to the other side was to let go of the side I was holding onto (surgery, stretching, braces, physical cures). It’s all about faith. You taught us that we are OK and we will be fine just fine.
Thank you for helping me get my life back.
My heart hurts at hearing the passing of such a wonderful and innovative man who has brought so much happiness and healing in my life.
In 2013 I was sitting in a chair and leaning to the left while I spoke with a friend for several minutes. When I got up to leave, my back went into a horrible spasm and I couldn’t walk for a week which turned into a relentless 9 months of daily excruciating sciatic pain shooting down to my foot. On one particularly difficult day, I was laying on the floor of my living room crying out of sheer frustration and something told me to go to Amazon and buy the top rated book on back pain. To my amazing luck Dr. Sarno’s book healing back pain came up and the rest is history.
It took another year and half for the TMS concepts to really sink in for me and not fear the pain. My career in the Army ended and some other big life changes occurred through this process but it forced me to live a new and better way of life.
Over the past two weeks I’ve been doing yoga a couple of nights per week, walking, running and doing water aerobics. Having my identity back as a physically active and healthy person feels so good!
In the enclosed picture, I’m hiking Mt. Mitchell which is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River in North Carolina. Words can’t describe the beautiful and life changing gift that I received after reading that book. I know that Dr. Sarno’s legacy will live on through the work of many others who’s lives he has touched.
This photo reminds of my recovery from chronic back pain and herniated disc more than anything. After months of physical therapy, behavior counseling for anxiety, journaling and following Dr. Sarno’s advice, I was on the mend and able to take my first hike into Grand Teton National Park. I was elated. His book was the cornerstone of my recovery. I refer to it often and am so grateful for the knowledge and power it gave me. Thank you. Your work will live on.
Thank you for your books which I used to cure my neck pain and ADHD of 20 years.
I’m a clinical psychologist who works with injured workers and I have recommended your book to many of my patients since reading them. Many have found them helpful.
This is a shot of me hiking with my daughter on my back. Something that would have probably caused me a lot of pain prior to reading your books. Dr. Sarno, you are a giant among men and I am forever grateful for your help.
No words can describe how I feel towards this
Wonderful man. So I won’t try. Just suffice it to say
He will be sorely missed by us all.
God speed Dr. Sarno!
We love you and are ever so grateful
I had sometimes crippling pain in my coccyx for three years and often found it difficult to walk, bend and lay down comfortably. I had acupuncture, acupressure, saw spinal surgeons, had painful cortisone shots into my tailbone, went to pain clinics and saw many other doctors, to no avail. One day I was flipping channels and saw a young woman who spoke about how she had used a scooter for years due to back pain but then saw Dr. Sarno and her pain was gone. I went to the store that day and bought “Healing Back Pain” and read it while on a trip to St. Lucia for a week. By the time I left St. Lucia my coccyx pain was reduced by at least 50% and I didn’t need the special seat pillow anymore. When I got home I called Dr. Sarno for an appointment and had to wait six months to see him. During that time I read his other books and continued to improve and also used his suggestions when I had pain in other places in my body. I saw him on Valentine’s Day, was diagnosed with TMS, stayed for two lectures and continued to follow his advice and was pain free. Since that time twenty years ago I have re-read Dr. Sarno’s books and bought them for many friends who were experiencing pain. A few years ago I developed sciatica after going through a very difficult situation that left me with PTSD and suffered with it for over a year. I found that Dr. Sarno was no longer practicing so I looked for a therapist that was trained in TMS and luckily found a wonderful woman not too far from my home. Within a few months the sciatica was completely gone and the PTSD had subsided.
I cannot imagine where I would be now without Dr. Sarno. You are an angel!
From the bottom of my heart I thank you Dr Sarno.
Dr. Sarno, thank you for creating a new path for humanity. One away from fear and into living.
I am so thankful for Dr. Sarno. I had had severe back pain incidents , carpel tunnel syndrome, but then had the worst Neck pain in my life. It was so debilitating that I couldn’t get out of bed. I literally couldn’t sit up for more than a few minutes. My Dr. prescribed muscle relaxers and Accupuncture which gave me very little relief and only temporarily. The pain would last for about a week and then I would get an attack 1-2 months later. After about the 3rd attack of Neck pain, someone recommended that I read Dr. Sarno’ s book. I must have read them at least 3 times, and started to get relief. I couldn’t believe it! I read all of his books and went to see his protégés in NYC and have not had severe pain in 3 years. When ever I feel a slight tinge, I remind myself that nothing is really wrong with my neck. Thank you Dr. Sarno for changing my life.
I will be forever thankful for Dr. Sarno who rescued me.
I collapsed in the street in 2012 after a prolonged period of stress. My upper back had gone into spasm causing chest pain and this morphed into relentless shoulder, upper/lower back, neck and arm pain. That was the beginning of my journey. For the next three years, I was in almost constant pain in various parts of my body. My life stopped really. I could not work and I just lived a miserable existence. My world got smaller and smaller.
I saw Doctor after Doctor and had diagnosis after diagnosis. Finally, I was told I had fibromyalgia and an MRI scan showed problems with discs in my neck. I was told by a rather uninterested doctor that I would need to learn to live with this.
I had dark days, very dark days.
I started to fight back and found by chance YouTube videos highlighting Dr Sarno’s work and that was the beginning of my recovery. I watched, I read, I watched some more. Within months I had become completely pain free. I got my life back!
I have occasional pain but now I always know what’s behind it and I can move on pretty quickly.
My greatest joy now is simply being able to walk miles with my dog. Nothing athletic but something so important to me.
It is a sad day today hearing of Dr Sarno’s passing. After going through some very difficult times in the past month and a close bereavement, I am dealing with a mini flareup but I am well, I am healthy and I know I can deal with this. I no longer live a life of fear. I am currently listening to “Healing Back Pain” on audiobook so have spent my week with Dr Sarno really so this news is particularly poignant just now.
Dr Sarno was an amazing man in my opinion. He was willing to go against the crowd and do what he thought was right. It is to Dr Sarno that I owe my returning health. When other doctors around me simply turned to a mainstream diagnosis and left me to it, Dr Sarno’s information changed everything.
I speak of his work to other people who struggle with pain and though some are willing to listen, most are not and that must be a frustration he felt constantly.
God bless you Dr Sarno. I will be forever grateful for all your efforts, wisdom and compassion.
Julie Davis (and Daisy)
I was crippled by TMS and was not able to work for over 6-months when a friend referred me to Dr. Sarno’s book. After reading his books and watching his interviews online I was pain free within a few weeks.
Thanks you Dr. Sarno for your incredible work. I am deeply grateful. You will be missed.
With lots of love and gratitude.
PS. The picture is of me rowing. I am the person stoking the boat on the far left. I never thought I would be able to row again until I came across Dr. Sarno’s work. : )
Once upon a midnight dreary, as I pondered weak and weary,
Over years of chronic back pain too imposing to ignore,
Growing noticeably leery with each pain physician’s theory,
Suddenly I found a book that I had never seen before.
Just a book and nothing more.
And I thought it rather stellar that this New York Times bestseller
Was entitled “Healing Back Pain,” as my spine was rather sore,
So with little hesitation, and a hint of fascination,
I flipped through the first few pages just to learn a little more.
Just a chapter, nothing more…
Laying out a thorough series of distinct and striking theories,
Dr. Sarno drew an inference that struck me to my core-
That my pain manifestation isn’t caused by herniation,
But instead by an unconscious intrapsychic civil war.
“It’s the brain and nothing more.”
And this novel explanation for my lumbar aggravation
Was the freeing revelation I had long been searching for,
Through the spinal decompressions and the acupressure sessions
And the countless years of therapy spent strengthening my core-
Finally this was something more.
As I learned about repression and my unconscious aggression,
And the bevy of emotions that my psyche had in store,
Searching for a clear suggestion, reading on, I asked the question,
“What, amidst my mental processes, should be I be looking for?”
Quoth John Sarno, “Just explore.”
So I then began to journal, digging up every internal
Source of stress and rage and tension that I’d ever felt before,
And with each successive word I felt progressively unburdened,
Still I worried, “What if my back symptoms flare up even more?”
Quoth John Sarno, “Just ignore.”
And my back pain, ever grating, started fading, started fading,
As I dared to dream about the pain-free life I had in store,
And I asked with strained elation and a tinge of trepidation,
“Will this torment ever haunt me in the way it did before?”
Quoth John Sarno, “Nevermore.”
Alan Gordon, LCSW
Thanks to Dr. Sarno my five plus years of pain ended. I was facing invasive back surgery due to the findings from my MRI. I was distraught about the surgery, the recovery and the possibility that the surgery wouldn’t work. As a last ditch effort, I read Healing Back Pain after a friend recommended it. That was the beginning of my recovery. Once I realized that I had TMS I wanted a professional opinion, just to confirm my self-diagnosis. Luckily, I found Dr. Stracks and he guided me on the remainder of my journey of healing. I’m a different person and I thank Dr. Sarno for his years of work, dedication, persistence, guidance and teaching— all of which have clearly made a difference in the lives of thousands of people! I pay it back by telling people about my journey and encourage them to read Dr. Sarno’s books.
My condolences to Dr. Sarno’s family.
Thank you Dr. Sarno for writing your books to bring awareness that there is an different approach to healing chronic pain. Your books gave people access to you who could not travel to NYC to have an in person appointment. I hope that All the Rage is a huge success so people can still learn about you and your methods even though you are gone. You deserve so much credit for all that you have done and all the people your have helped.
Around this time last year, I went through 6 months of the darkest days of my life. I suffered from lower left back pain that refused to go away. After trying every recommendation and every doctor, I was basically out of options. I quit my job, cut out most of my friends and spent most of my days laying with my back flat on the floor next to my dog. At that point, I had tried an orthopedic, acupuncturists, massage therapists and a neurosurgeon while also taking an X-Ray and MRI along the way. I would estimate that I spent around $5,000 on all of this. This does not include the amount of money that I could have been making if I were going to work every day. After all of this, I felt just as bad (if not worse) than I did when my back originally began bothering me.
Suddenly after leaving a massage therapy appointment on a beautiful July summer morning, a friends grandfather called me. I was told “You are going to think I am crazy, but you should consider reading this book.” I was desperate and happy to try anything at that point. About 3 hours later, I would guess at around 2:00 I picked up “Healing Back Pain” at the library. By the time I had dinner that same day, I would say I was at about a 75% recovery. Within about 5 days I was back at 100%. It was literally a miracle.
I have friends and family who I try to convince to read the book because I feel strongly that they are suffering from TMS. It is amazing how they refuse to accept or believe it. Dr. Sarno mentions these people in his book saying that many people will not buy into his theory. I am so thankful that I did.
It is hard to think about those 6 months and consider how I basically resorted my life to nothing. No work, no social life and no exercise. However, after reading some of these stories I consider myself grateful that I only suffered for 6 months. Many of these people suffered for decades.
You are a genius, Dr. Sarno and I plan to watch your documentary this week. I am going to do everything I can to spread your theory and help cure people who suffer from TMS.
RIP Dr. Sarno.
Editor’s note: I followed up to ask for a photo, and Jack replied with the following:
This is a response from your previous email.
While suffering from TMS, I was unable to even think about exercising. Then I picked up Dr. Sarno’s book. Within several days I was cured from my chronic back pain. At this point, I had not worked out for about a full year. This photo was taken only 3 months after I picked up “Healing Back Pain” and was cured from TMS. I was in the best shape of my life. Thank you Dr Sarno for giving me the chance to exercise and get in the “best shape of my life!”
I am very sorry to learn of the passing of Dr. John Sarno. Although I never has the privilege of meeting him, his dedication and work had a wonderfully positive impact on my life.
From 1985 until 2000 I suffered chronic back, shoulder, knee and hip pain as well as other TMS manifestations. Having exhausted all traditional ways of trying to treat the pain I really was very discouraged. Fortunately I heard about Dr. Sarno and I started my journey to elimination of pain without physical therapy, medication or surgery.
At first I was skeptical of what Dr. Sarno’s premises, but with no relief in sight I contacted Dr. Sarno’s office to try to set up an appointment. I found out that at that time Dr. Sarno was not taking new patients outside the New York area, but he took the time to write me a personal letter referring me to physicians in the United States who were familiar with TMS. The doctor in Chicago he referred me to in 2000 ran lab tests on me and felt that I suffered from TMS. After meeting with the doctor, and rereading Dr. Sarno’s books, I began to understand the source of my pain and eliminated almost all of my pain within a couple of months.
I am grateful for Dr. Sarno’s wisdom, and the fact that as busy as he was that he took the time to personally respond to me.
May his memory be blessed and his work continue!
This note was one I had been meaning to write for years and I am sorry I did not write it to Dr. Sarno before he passed but hope that he is looking down and reading this and what I am sure will be many other letters.
I am forever grateful to Dr. Sarno for his work, which for me touched me when I accidentally stumbled upon his name and a very brief description of his theory while paging through a Back Remedies for Dummies book. That was 13 years ago when my wife had taken me to a Relax Your Back store to see if we could find a comfortable chair for me to sit in at my law office. The chairs of course were not helpful and because I am a reader I gravitated to a small book shelf and started leading through the Back Remedies for Dummies book. By some strange cosmic force I found the one page that said something along the lines of: there’s a Dr. at NYU who believes that back pain is caused by unconscious emotions and that people who are high achievers and always striving to do good for others have pain caused by their unconscious mind. I instantly recognized that person and was intrigued and purchased Healing Back Pain.
I had a hard time at first accepting that I had an unconscious mind that could cause pain but I was struggling and gave the theory a try and it worked. But not for long. About six months later I woke up with excruciating pain. My instant reaction was that Dr. Sarno’s theory was no good. But after a week of trying physical therapy that was not helping I went back to the book and went all in. It took about three months but I have been pain free ever since. It is truly amazing.
Years later I started having arm pain and found Dr. Stracks in Chicago. I told him I thought maybe this was unconscious rage and he agreed and this pain went away in a week. Since meeting Dr. Stracks I have at his request sometimes talked with some of his patients and have given presentations to his patients. I also talk to anyone who will listen about Dr. Sarno and his treatment. I am aware of at least eight people I have introduced to Dr. Sarno’s theory that have rid themselves of pain after reading the book. They thank me but they need to thank Dr. Sarno.
I am forever grateful to Dr. Sarno for showing me how to heal myself, a remarkable gift.
My deepest sympathy to his wife, family and friends.
Oak Park, Illinois
Thank you so much! You saved my sanity and life. I run 10 k 6 times a week and 2 half marathons so far.. For 3 months I couldn’t walk to my front door.
I could write 10 pages. THANK YOU is not enough, but it’s ALL I can say.
You are an angel.
GOD bless you!
I wish I would have sent this before, knowing that maybe someday you could have read it. Thank you for saving my life Dr. Sarno. I specifically say saving because were it not for your work I’m not quite sure I could have continued living with the amount of debilitation and pain I was in everyday. I spent a good portion of my 20’s bedridden, using walkers and canes, seeing doctors/specialists and in agony from my widespread pain. At the time doctors suspected I may have had Lou Gehrig’s disease or Guillain Barre Syndrome, but after all that suffering I now know it was just TMS.
Nowadays I’m back to working, hiking, weightlifting, backpacking, running, going to school etc. I have my life back and I have you to thank for that. I’ve also met my wonderful loving girlfriend through the “world of TMS,” and am so happy we have found each other. I’ve included a picture of me with my two buddies (two of whom had supported me during some of my struggles) on the top of Mt. Langley, 14,000+ ft. up!
Dr. Sarno, your knowledge and information will reach the masses in time and you will be known as one of the greatest in history, I have no doubt about that. My loved ones are so happy to have their son/brother/grandson/nephew/cousin back and I’ll remember you for the rest of my life for having brought me back to life.
Hoping you’ll read this message from above 🙂
May you rest in peace, Dr. Sarno.
Dear Dr. Sarno.
You have given my life back. One day I thought I would meet you in person to give a hug. You are really a genius. And you changed the world of treating pain. I am really blessed to know about and read your book. I believe you are a god. RIP Dr. Sarno.
You will be ever living in our hearts….!
I first read Dr. Sarno’s book about twenty years ago. Some of it rang true but other parts didn’t, so I put it away.
Fast forward ten years later. My medical issues continue to plague me and my physician is concerned that I might have MS. After significant angst followed by an all clear on the diagnosis I knew I had to find a better way to live.
I pulled out Dr. Sarno’s book again and lo and behold I saw myself reflected back in the pages. This led me to Dr. John Stracks at the Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern University and my healing journey began.
I cannot thank Dr. Sarno enough for his life changing work. I will do all I can to continue to spread his message of true healing.
… literally, from my heart, my head, my stomach, my legs… I felt sure that my body was shutting down and I was dying when my son sent me HEALING BACK PAIN. Thank you for taking away my fear and giving me hope for the first time in many years.
God bless you and keep you. May you Rest In Peace with the knowledge that you will continue to be
A great healer and teacher
My regrets and condolences to his family and loved ones.
Dear Dr. Sarno,
For 13 years I was known to friends and family as the guy with back pain. Not a single day without pain. In 2009 my life changed when I finally gave in and read your book. That was the beginning of the end of my long and painful journey of back pain.
With your help and because of your understanding of the human condition I found the courage to turn my back on traditional medicine (when it comes to pain) and the establishment that is ignorant and does not want to see reality.
Thank you Dr. Sarno for helping tens of thousands of people like myself.
I first met Dr. John Sarno when he lectured to our class in medical school. I first spoke with him directly when I asked him about my knee pain. The response he gave me and the subsequent seminars I attended helped to solve my knee pain problem.
As significant as the pain relief was, this exposure offered me something even more significant–a direction for my medical career–which has been a significant daily component of my medical career until today, more than three decades later.
As a medical student, I had a wonderful opportunity to work with him an entire summer as a medical student seeing patients with him and doing telephone research, data analysis, and writing on his first follow up study.
He honored me by allowing me to make editorial comments on a draft or two of his first book Mind Over Back Pain and acknowledged me in the book.
Our conversations, several visits to his home on the upper East side, and a single visit to his home in upstate New York are memorable experiences in my life.
At these visits it was quite evident that he was also a devoted husband to his wife Martha Taylor Sarno, herself a pioneer in the field of speech therapy. It was evident at these dinners that he loved and admired her and she reciprocated fully.
After my medical training shifted west I saw him less often, but we reconnected in the mid 90s. His referrals were instrumental in helping to build my MindBody practice at that time. Those patients inspired me to write my first book, the MindBody Workbook, and to create the first website and audio program in this field.
I had an opportunity to visit him with my wife and children when they were young children at his office. That day was memorable to me and some photos that I will cherish.
Going forward to writing my book Think Away Your Pain in 2014, his willingness to be flexible on his policy of not writing professionally after his retirement and offering me a quote for its back cover was a very meaningful gesture to me, to our relationship, and to the significance that he had in my medical career. I really appreciated that offer.
Dr. Sarno’s work lives on and as many innovators have struggled with alterations and modifications of their ideas, he had some struggles with this as well. But so many of us carry a debt of gratitude to Dr. John Sarno and an appreciation of the importance of his fundamental thinking.
To move forward one most often stand on the shoulders of giants and Dr John Sarno truly was a giant in the area of pain, emotion-based medicine, mind-body medicine, and TMS.
Thank you Dr. Sarno. Thank you John. Rest In Peace
David Schechter MD
Dr. Sarno’s first book “Mind Over Back Pain” called out to me as it sat unassumingly on a book shelf at the Coliseum Book Store in New York City many years ago. It was hiding amidst some thick intimidating books on “health” that one would have to spend a year reading. So I purchased that book and I still remember the first night I read it when it opened up a whole world that felt like it had been hiding in my brain always. And I began my journey with this wonderful doctor//teacher/sage and all his other writings.
Dealing with TMS is not by any means easy for me but I know it is true and real and usually I just have to remind myself that’s what is wrong. We are only scratching the surface of the mind/body connection and we are so lucky to have had a courageous warrior like Dr. Sarno to come forward way ahead of his time. In the future when they understand it more than we do now, he will be revered. Thank you Dr. Sarno and I will be grateful to you all my life.
I am also grateful to the TMS Wiki site (and Alan Gordon and Howard Schubiner) which has been a huge saving grace to me in just this past year and is an inspired refuge for so many on the internet.
I suffered from intermittent, debilitating back pain all my life until an acquaintance recommended your Mind/Body book. I knew you were right as soon as I read it, and my pain went away within weeks. Every time after that, I’d read your book, confront my worries, and the pain would fade. Just last year, I couldn’t exercise because of what I thought was a hamstring pull that just wouldn’t go away. And then I saw an advertisement for a calf-brace to relieve sciatica pain. Of course, I said: it’s not a hamstring, but rather I have referred back pain, and now I can cure it. It went away within days.
I always keep an extra copy of your book, to “pay it forward” to a friend with back pain. You made a real mark on this world, and I join so many others in expressing my deepest gratitude to you and your loving memory.
Dr. Sarno was a giant.
He was insightful enough to see what so many others couldn’t see, even though it was right there for all to see.
He was tough enough, so that he could put up with criticism and even ridicule.
He was kind enough to show compassion to his patients who revered him.
He was dedicated and persistent enough to write the books that helped so many.
He was realistic enough to know that even he couldn’t change the way medicine was practiced.
He was smart enough to know that he was right and that he would have to wait for the world to catch up.
It’s just that he couldn’t wait forever.
It’s up to us to carry the torch and live up to his insight, toughness, kindness, realism, and smarts.
It’s a worthy endeavor.
My best to his family and to those who will mourn him and miss him. He is responsible for the health and recovery of thousands. I owe my career to him and pledge to work on his behalf to realize his vision of the acceptance of his theories by mainstream medicine.
Howard Schubiner, MD