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Healing Back Pain by John E. Sarno

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Do physical activity, tell your brain you won’t take it anymore, stop all physical treatments for your back as they may be blocking your recovery

Don’t repress your anger or emotions, don’t think of yourself as being injured (psychological conditioning contributes to ongoing back pain), don’t be intimidated by the pain

TMS: Tension Myositis Syndrome. A change of state in the muscle that is painful

The only successful and permanent way to treat the problem is by teaching patients to understand what they have

The predominant idea is that one must treat the “whole person”

Perhaps holistic should be defined as that which includes consideration of both the emotional and structural aspects of health and illness. In accepting this definition, one does not reject the scientific method

Science requires that all new ideas be validated by experience and replication

The idea that pain means injury or damage is deeply ingrained in the American consciousness

This pervasive concept of the vulnerability of the back, of ease of injury, is nothing less than a medical catastrophe for the American public

The majority of these pain syndromes are the result of a condition in the muscles, nerves, tendons, and ligaments brought on by tension

Ulcers are caused primarily by tension

Failure to treat the primary cause of the disorder is poor medicine; it is symptomatic treatment

One of the most powerful systems that have evolved over the millions of years of life on this planet is the biological capacity for healing, for restoration. Our body parts tend to heal very quickly when they are injured

Patients need to begin to think psychologically

There are physical disorders that play a psychological role in human biology, Not to be aware of that fact is to doom oneself to perpetual pain and disability

Spasm is a state of extreme contraction of the muscles, an abnormal condition that may be horrifically painful

If one can overcome one’s apprehension, the duration of the attack will be considerably shorter

The important thing is the emotion generated and repressed, for we have a built-in tendency to repress unpleasant, painful, or embarrassing emotions. These repressed feelings are the stimulus for TMS and other disorders like it

It seems as though they rise to the occasion and do whatever they have to do to deal with the trouble, but once it’s over, the accumulated anxiety threatens to overwhelm them, and so the pain begins

They don’t have time to be sick during the crisis; all of their emotional energy goes into coping with the trouble

The crisis or stressful situation is providing enough emotional pain and distraction that physical pain isn’t necessary

When one is living through a crisis, there is no more than enough unpleasantness going on and one has no need for a distraction

Pavlov’s experiment demonstrated that animals develop associations that can produce automatic and reproducible physical reactions

The pain occurs because of its subconscious association with sitting, not because sitting is bad for the back

Often people are programmed to have pain because of the things they have heard or been told by a practitioner

They have learned to associate activity with pain; they expect it, so it happens. That is conditioning

Physical restrictions and the fear of physical activity represent the worst aspect of these pain syndromes

Something in that person’s emotional life that might have played a role in producing the symptoms must be addressed

He had TMS; his troubles were not in his spine — they were in his life

The purpose of the syndrome — to create a distraction so that undesirable emotions can be avoided

Tension refers to repressed, unacceptable emotions

Stress is any factor, influence, or condition that tests, strains, or in any way puts pressure on the individual

People often say that they have a very stressful job and that’s why they’re tense. But if they weren’t conscientious about doing a good job, if they weren’t trying to succeed, achieve, and excel, they wouldn’t generate tension

For most of us, the compulsive need to do well, succeed, and achieve is a reflection of deep-seated feelings of inferiority

Awareness is the key to recovery from TMS

Anxiety arises in response to the perception of danger and is logical unless the perception is illogical. The anxious person tends to anticipate danger, often where there is little or none

Everyone wants to be liked or loved; no one enjoys disapproval, so we repress unlovable behavior

The pain of TMS is created in order to distract the attention of the sufferer from what is going on in the emotional sphere

In our culture, nature has created a mechanism whereby we can avoid being aware of those bad feelings — it gives us physical symptoms

TMS occurs because they cope too well. Coping requires that we repress emotions that might interfere with whatever we are trying to do, and TMS exists in order to maintain the repression of those emotions

Little wonder that the mind develops strategies to avoid the experience and appearance of emotional difficulty. Unconsciously, we would rather have physical pain than acknowledge any kind of emotional turmoil

“If you ask people to ease up on you because you’re emotionally overloaded, don’t look for a sympathetic response; but tell them you’ve got pain or some other physical symptom and they immediately become responsive and solicitous”

The physiology of TMS begins in the brain. Here repressed emotions like anxiety and anger set in motion a process in which the autonomic nervous system causes a reduction in blood flow to certain muscles, nerves, tendons, or ligaments, resulting in pain and other kinds of dysfunction in these tissues. The autonomic nervous system is a subsystem of the brain that has the responsibility for controlling all of the body’s involuntary functions. It determines how fast the heart beats, how much acid is secreted into the stomach for digestive purposes, how rapidly one breathes, and a host of other moment-to-moment physiologic processes that keep our bodies functioning optimally under everyday circumstances or in emergencies. The so-called fight or flight reaction that all animals share, particularly important in lower animals, is directed by the autonomic system

Ischemia is the tissue involved in getting less than its normal complement of blood

The occurrence of pain in TMS always signifies the presence of repressed bad feelings, like anger and anxiety

When they find themselves being aware of the pain, they must consciously and forcefully shift their attention to something psychological, like something they are worried about, a chronic family or financial problem, a recurrent source of irritation, anything in the psychological realm, for that sends a message to the brain that they’re no longer deceived by a message to the brain that they’re no longer deceived by the pain. Then the message reaches the depths of the mind, the subconscious, the pain ceases

The back is a rugged structure, fully capable of taking us through our daily lives, and then some

Persistent compression of a nerve will produce objective numbness

In the absence of normal movement, the capsule of the shoulder joint shrinks, as it will in any joint in which there is restricted movement

A placebo is any treatment that produces a good therapeutic result despite the fact it has no intrinsic therapeutic value. It is clear that the desired outcome must be attributed to the ability of the mind to manipulate the various organs and systems of the body. The mind must believe in the efficacy of the treatment and/or the treater

A calm, relaxed person will experience less pain

The mind can influence any physical process

Many feelings and behaviors are no doubt leftover from childhood. Children feel weak and vulnerable; they are dependent, and they feel that dependency strongly; they don’t think much of themselves; they have a constant need for approval; they are very prone to anxiety and quick to anger. They have no patience. To a degree, we all continue to generate some of those feelings unconsciously right on into adulthood. What varies from person to person is how much

If one begins to understand why one reacts the way one does and wants to change, some degree of progress is possible

After discovering their cancer, all seven people became more outgoing, more community-oriented, interested in things outsides of themselves; they all tried to change their lives so that there was more time for pleasurable activities; all seven became religious, in different ways, but all looked to something bigger than themselves; each spent a period of time each day meditating, sitting quietly, and contemplating or praying they all started a physical exercise program, and they all changed their diets to include less red meat and more vegetables. It certainly looks as though social and emotional factors played a role in their “miracle cures”

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Parker Klein ✌️

Parker Klein ✌️


Building Twos ( to remember and share *things*. Programmer, reader, writer, Xoogler.