Survey Response: John Stracks, MD
This survey was last updated in July 2009.
Degrees/Licenses Held: MD, licensed in both Illinois and Michigan
Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group (NMPG)
Center for Integrative Medicine and Wellness
150 E. Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611
TMS Wiki username (if applicable): DrStracks
Number of years in practice: Three years of residency and one year of fellowship in integrative medicine.
Number of years in practice with patients who have TMS: 1
Number of patients you have seen who have had TMS:
I've worked with a dozen patients in my own workshops specifically aimed at treating TMS and dozens more while studying with Dr. Sarno and Dr. Schubiner. I have also helped another dozen or so by explaining TMS concepts in the office after they came to see me for their unexplained pain.
Do you work with other professionals when helping TMS patients? If so, please describe.
I am hoping to enlist the help of the psychologists who share my office at NMPG. I have also trained with Dr. Schubiner during my entire residency and frequently refer patients to his website.
How did you first become interested in TMS?
Many years ago, before I was a physician, a friend told me how he had cured his "incurable" back pain by going to see Dr. Sarno. I was dealing with my own chronic pain issues at the time and was able to quickly get better by reading Dr. Sarno's books and using Dr. Schechter's workbook.
Have you ever suffered from TMS? (optional) See above.
What insurance plans do you currently accept? NMPG accepts most major insurance plans and Medicare.
Do you have a sliding scale of payment for people who are not covered by insurance? See above.
What steps should TMS clients take before contacting you?
It's always good to read about TMS before contacting me, but I'm happy to talk with anyone who thinks that TMS could be the source of their health problems.
Have you published any materials related to TMS? Not yet.
Special Questions for Physicians
Have you ever trained under Dr. John E. Sarno, or another TMS doctor? If so, please explain.
I have been to New York twice to work with Dr. Sarno, seeing patients with him in his office and attending his lectures and patient panel discussion. I have worked closely with Dr. Howard Schubiner throughout my entire post-medical school training (residency and fellowship). I have seen patients with him in his office on numerous occasions, I have helped him run his TMS workshops, I have run my own version of his workshops, and I have helped Dr. Schubiner run a one-day workshop about TMS for health professionals. Dr. Schubiner and I also organized the first international conference on TMS in Ann Arbor, MI, on March 28, 2009.
Other than training with a TMS doctor, what have you done to educate yourself about TMS, and what plans do you have for further education about TMS?
I have been interested in TMS for well over a decade, I have lectured extensively on it to both health professionals and the public, I have been involved in research on using TMS to treat fibromyalgia, I have run groups for patients looking to cure their pain syndromes using TMS principles, and I helped put together a conference attended by 40 TMS health professionals from around the world.
How would you characterize your position on referring for spinal surgery?
I occasionally refer patients from my primary care practice to a neurosurgeon for a consultation, but I have never referred for surgery.
Do you feel comfortable referring people to Dr. Sarno's books?
Yes, and I also refer people to other books such as those written by Dr. Clarke, Dr. Selfridge, and Dr. Brady. I also refer people to Dr. Schubiner's website, the TMS help forum and the TMS Wiki.
As we are going to post your answers on the TMS Wiki, feel free to write some text to introduce yourself:
As I mentioned above, I first learned about TMS before I even went to medical school. Ever since, I have made it a goal to put myself in a position where I can help cure people who have TMS. I have done research with a psychologist who studies the physical ramifications of emotional states, I have studied with physicians specializing in integrative medicine, I have worked with Dr. Sarno and Dr. Schubiner, and I have completed a fellowship in integrative medicine with a concentration in TMS. I recently moved back to Chicago to practice, partly because it is my hometown and partly because the area is significantly lacking in physicians with a knowledge of TMS. I am happy to field phone calls or emails from anyone who thinks that learning more about TMS may be helpful in curing their chronic physical conditions.
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