Back Pain Follow Up

After the recent post, I received several comments about Dr. Sarno’s treatment and diagnosis strategies for chronic back pain. The feedback was all over the map. I must admit several people expressed extreme gratitude for the help they’ve received from either visiting Dr. Sarno in person at his clinic in New York, or from reading one of his many top selling books.

A few folks offered some suggestions for other unconventional treatments for back pain that have been helpful to them, including something called movement therapy. This looks interesting and is likely something I’ll want to write more about on the blog. The premise of movement therapy is quite simple–and in some ways similar to that of Dr. Sarno. Movement therapy suggests that the area has had no blood flow, and as a result has become stiff and painful. Much of the problem can be remedied simply by getting moving and getting the area healthy again.

This approach, though different than we discussed previously, shares some common ground with the Rusk Institute Approach. One of the required activities for treatment includes getting back to your old activities and not be afraid of the pain. Many patients find that, indeed, when they start moving it may hurt initially but doesn’t seem to get any worse, and eventually they’re able to move much more than they previously thought they could.

Additionally, a few asked where you could go see Dr. Sarno. He practiced in New York and though the clinic is still there, he is retired. The man is afterall in his 90′s. While you can no longer see him in person, you can read his books, or you can see other doctors around the country who handle chronic pain the same way. Many actually studied under him to learn how and many had pain themselves that was cured the same way.

For those looking for more information, you can find a great online course here.┬áThere’s also a website called TMSWiki that has all kinds of great resources on TMS–it’s quite impressive really. There you can also find a doctor near you and read interviews and even take a course they have for free on the website that was created and donated by a doctor.

Recently, we came across an on line program in the UK that’s for treating all kinds of stress related illness, but mainly pain. It looks really promising and we’ll report back to you once someone has had a chance to sign up for it and see what it’s all about. At nearly $300 USD, it’s not cheap, so definitely something we want to look into before recommending.

In the mean time, we confidently endorse the MindbodySchool program.



An Easy Cure for Back Pain?

On the face, it sounds too good to be true: a simple, non-invasive, non-medical cure for back pain. Not just a little soreness. We’re talking back pain that leaves you lying on the floor all day; crippling, debilitating pain that dominates your life. Yes, that kind of back pain is said to have a simple cure.

Physical TherapyAt least, if you subscribe to the school of Dr. John Sarno or are one of his many advocates and supporters. Dr. Sarno has written several best selling books on how to cure your back pain without using drugs or having surgery. He claims to have treated over 10,000 patients throughout his career and either cured or drastically improved back pain for nearly all of them.

Is this guy a quack? One of those woo-woo doctors? No, in fact he’s a board certified physician, and spend most of his career as head of the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation, a wing of the prestigious and highly regarded NYU Medical Center in New York City.

Not only does the guy have credentials, he’s got some big names backing him. Sarno has been interviewed on 20/20 by John Stossel who claims that Dr. Sarno cured him of intolerable back pain many years ago. Similarly, a pro golfer, TV producer and radio talk show host all claim that Dr. Sarno changed their lives.

In addition, a writer for Forbes Magazine was so impressed with the results that he wrote two op-ed pieces for Forbes. One called “America’s Best Doctor and his Miracle Cures”. The other, “How America’s Best Pain Doctor Took on the Medical Establishment and Won”.

You need only go to Amazon and read one of nearly 1000 reviews. People have been writing reviews for his books for years and close to 90% say that reading his booked either eliminated their pain condition or changed the course of their lives. Those are HUGE claims.


So how does Dr. Sarno heal these people? Well, it’s easy and it’s not so easy. First he presents a pretty compelling body of evidence to show that nothing is actually wrong with them physically. He does an examination to ensure something like cancer or a tumor isn’t responsible for the pain. Once the patient is cleared of an outside cause, he test certain areas of the body for pain. Pressure points so to speak. If the pressure points are painful, he moves on to what kind of person they are.

Are they stressed out? Do they tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves or feel a lot of pressure in their daily worlds? Do they go out of their way to do the right thing or be a good person. If the answer is yes, the diagnosis is confirmed. He calls is Tension Myositis Syndrome. The tension part of the diagnosis is meant to describe tension in the mind.

Dr. Sarno believes that too much tension in the mind causes pain to develop in the body. If you’ve studied any sort of mindbody science, this won’t be a stretch for you. But for others, it feels like blaming the patient. Sarno insists that it’s not. It’s just the mind’s way of distracting people from the intense amounts of stress they’re carrying around. He believes it to be some sort of defense mechanism.

Perhaps one of the most surprising elements of his strategy is the adoption by other physicians. While most doctors reject the concept immediately, there are doctors all over the country who use doctor Sarno’s approach with patients. Many patients, of course, do not want to hear that their backs are fine and that their minds are not. However, for the patients who are willing to listen with an open mind, the results are quite impressive.


Success is Healthy vs Healthy Success


Most of us have a picture that comes to mind when we think of our personal success. It often includes things like career, family and ownership of certain possessions such as a home or certain kind of car. Success looks like a picture perfect post card.

Is Happiness Part of Success?

If you’re sure you’ve got success handled, considered whether or not you feel a strong sense of satisfaction in your life. I’m talking about true, deep, happiness. Not the fleeting kind that comes from getting good news. I’m talking about the kind that comes from structuring your life around what’s meaningful to you. This creates a sense of satisfaction and a profound happiness that gives us strength in difficult times; that helps us feel connected to our day to day lives; and that gives our lives a sense of gratifying purpose.

I’m going to ask for a moment that you suspend everything you think you know about success and look at the 5 pillars of happiness:

  1. Security–we all need it to a certain extent (financial, emotional, physical)
  2. Variation–we get bored with too much repetition
  3. Importance–we all need to feel like we matter in one way or another
  4. Personal Growth–we thrive when we grow as people
  5. Bigger than Us–we are at our peak when the previous 5 have been met and we can contribute to or participate in something bigger than ourselves

Here’s a great video of Tony Robbins summarizing this well:


The next time you think about your success, consider those five areas of your life. How well are you fulfilling them? Because they ultimately will determine your level of fulfillment and thus your happiness. Without them, you can have all the financial success you want, but you will never be happy..

Success= Health in those five areas. Good luck!