I read ‘Healing Back Pain’ by Dr. John Sarno in one sitting today and not because of back pain issues, but because his theory applies to many, many, many manifestations of pain, including my own which was diagnosed years ago as tendonitis in my hands and arms and shoulders.
I’m applying what I’m learning to my own pain points because in a following book he applies the principles outlined in this one to a whole slew of conditions including migraines, TMJ, repetitive stress injury, carpal tunnel, tendonitis, fibromyalgia and more.
I’m really loving the idea he presents: (most but not all) pain is a distraction, a diversion created in the subconscious mind to protect us from needing to feel intense emotions. Those who are most susceptible to this kind of thing are typically the deep feelers, the perfectionists and people pleasers. And it’s especially common to those types who have suffered childhood trauma.
The premise of this book is that the pain is felt in the body but it actually doesn’t exist in the body. It exists only in the mind. It doesn’t mean it’s only in your mind, it just means that is the source of it.
And that because your mind is smart, it will reduce the oxygen in certain parts of your body which creates the feeling of pain in areas that you could easily attribute to something else like a past injury or overwork - effectively keeping you focused on your body instead of on your feelings about something else.
But any part of the body takes no longer than six weeks to heal completely, so if you’ve been in pain for years, then it might be worth looking into that because there must be something deeper going on under the surface.
This makes sense to me so I am researching and learning more and trying to make connections for myself to see if healing could be a result for me through his theory. This passage particularly resonated with me:
“It has been my experience that the overall severity of the pain syndrome, including obsessional components, is a good guide to the importance of the underlying emotional state of the patient. By importance I mean how much anger and anxiety there are, and how severe the traumas of early life are that have contributed to that person‘s current psychological state. People who are abused as children, emotionally or physically, but especially sexually, tend to have enormous reservoirs of anxiety and anger. This is one of the first things I think of when I see someone who has a particularly severe TMS. The physical symptoms are the means by which they remain out of contact with some terrible, frightening, deeply buried feelings. Those words are not exaggerations.” Dr. John Sarno
The Curable app (which I highly recommend) is based on Dr. Sarno’s work and discoveries, and as it should be given that he had a 95% success rate with his patients based solely on educating them on the connection between their pain and their unexpressed emotions from the past or in the present.
I even listened to Howard Stern interview him through a YouTube clip and he praised Dr. Sarno as a saint for curing his OCD and back problems. Howard used to lie in his back during commercial breaks just to withstand sitting in a chair for interviews, and all the pain left within weeks after applying what he learned through Dr. Sarno.
This is why I went to the library and started reading from the source himself.
I actually unsubscribed from Curable last week after a few weeks of obsessively indulging in its contents. It was/is an amazing app and it really helped shift some major things for me initially, but I felt I got what I could from it and now I’m going deeper and researching further on my own.
My relationship to my pain has changed completely over the last month. I feel like I fully understand it and respect it and welcome it for what it is: a pointer to what needs healing (feeling).
So much is clicking into place. SO MUCH!
There is plenty more I could say and I wish I could download everything I learned just in the past month (and especially in the past 12 hours) for you, but if any of this appeals to you then of course you can go down your own rabbit hole of learning and insights.
I feel so damn pumped about uncovering the root of my chronic pain, and the idea that it has nothing to do with my body and everything to do with my feelings and/or way of being in this world, makes me feel really hopeful and amazing!
That being said, I just want to reiterate that Dr. Sarno was not saying this applies to everyone across-the-board with every issue, but if you have found no relief or answers from medical professionals, it might be worth looking into.
If you’re in pain, especially if it’s chronic, today’s suggestion from yours truly is to check out Dr. Sarno’s work and his research into TMS (Tension Myoneural Syndrome) in case it resonates with you.
Happy healing to anyone who is seeking it!
“I’d love to hug the little girl in you , I’m glad you’re doing the same beautiful xo” Angela Dolan
“Thanks for this...POW POW!” M'Lady Stagg Storch
“Makes sense. I also have scar tissue from surgery resting on a nerve root, but I know when I feel mental clarity and rest I don't hurt as much.” Angella Russell
“Wow I will be grabbing that book tonight thanks for the share.” Leslie Vanderwelle Bolduc