Dr. SARNO PAIN TREATMENTS, PART 2 Continuing from Dr. Sarno’s book, Healing Back Pain, he writes about Traditional (Conventional) Treatments doctors give patients for pain but he says most often they may only relieve pain for a while but not permanently because they do not address the root cause: our repressed emotions. Many people suffer from anxiety so they go to their doctor. A pill to help the patient to relax is often given, and in severe cases such as anxiety attacks, drugs such as Librium or Valium. Anxiety is such a wide-ranging topic and so many suffer from it, it needs to be looked into in more detail, so I will post another thread on anxiety medication tomorrow. Dr. Sarno says that a doctor to whom a patient goes for anxiety treatment should ask himself or herself “What is your purpose in trying to relax the patient?” “What do you hope to accomplish?” He says he tells his patients suffering from anxiety that pills will not treat the basic disorder. He advises that medication and relaxation exercise can help, but again, the root cause needs to be addressed… anxiety is one of the major symptoms caused by TMS repressed emotions. He then tells about biofeedback in anxiety pain relief and that its specific role is to produce muscle relaxation. Small electrodes are placed over a patient’s forehead muscles. The electrical activity registers on a gauge or screen. The patient is then asked to reduce the gauge reading, which means the muscle has relaxed and this in turn produces reflex relaxation in muscles elsewhere in the body. But he does not prescribe biofeedback because, once again, it does not treat the symptom. TMS will. He next addresses treatments to correct a structural abnormality. The most common treatment is manipulation, such as is performed by a chiropractor. The abnormality for which this is used is misalignment of spinal bones. The purpose of treatment is to restore alignment. I fell going down a neighbor’s icy concrete stairs some winters ago and saw stars. I could hardly catch my breath. I thought I was going to die right there, but after raising my arms over my head and some very difficult tries at breathing, got my wind back. I then practically dragged myself home. I didn’t see my doctor. I got into bed and rested. When I got up after a few hours I got into my bathtub and soaked in warm water with some Epsom salts. I had a portable Jacuzzi so I sat and let the whirling water relax my back muscles. I did that two or three times a day for about four days and began to feel my back getting better. I then went to see a chiropractor and he said my spinal bones were misaligned, not only from the fall on the stairs, but from years of structural damage. I began a treatment under his care, starting with one hour a day for three days. That developed eventually into twice a week, then once, even long after I felt no back pain. It appeared to me that I had begun a lifetime chiropractic treatment. In fact, the weekly visits continued for more than two years. I can’t say I needed it that long, and that maybe as my mother had often said, “Time heals all wounds.” I think mother knew best. Dr. Sarno says that manipulation for spinal structural damage may on occasion result in dramatic relief of pain, but the patient may just be having a good placebo response. Several years before falling on the icy stairs, I had a scary back problem. I lived in Chicago and had taken a bus ride to visit old army buddies in New York City. I took the bus instead of a train or plane so I could save a little money. The bus stopped somewhere in Pennsylvania so passengers could have lunch at a diner. I could hardly get out of my seat. I walked a few agonizing steps hunched over like I was ninety when I was not yet forty. The pain was excruciating. Fellow passengers said they thought they knew why my back hurt so much. I had taken the last available seat in the bus, over one of the rear wheels. The constant pressure of the wheels on the road had sent my back into spasms. I had to make a decision: go on with the trip to New York die on the road in Pennsylvania. I decided that by then the bus was closer to the Big Apple than it was to the Windy City, so I got back on the bus, hurting too much to have lunch. When I got to the bus station in New York City, one of my army buddies met me and asked why I was walking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I told him about sitting over one of the rear wheels of the bus and he said I was in luck because he would drive me to his house in Mamaroneck, a suburb, and that a chiropractor was going to be there that evening to give him, his wife, and his parents a monthly treatment. It was illegal back then in the state, but the chiropractor did his work on the sly. I think it is about ten thousand miles by car from New York City to Mamaroneck, or at least it seemed that long before we got to his house. By coincidence, my army buddy’s name also was Walter. Since I was in such pain, he and his wife and parents let the chiropractor work on me first. I stretched out on my tummy on a padded massage table the chirp brought with him, and he began manipulating my back. His hands pressed here and there for not more than ten minutes, then he told me to stand up. I doubted I could, without the help of a crane, but lo and behold, I got up from the table and stood as straight as I had at age ten. I felt no pain at all, anywhere. I also felt like a new person. Like I was born again. Fantastic energy flowed through my body. I became a believer in chiropractic and didn’t have back pain again until about ten years later when I fell on the neighbor’s icy stairs. But since then I’ve wondered if I healed from the back pain caused by the bus ride because of chiropractic or did I just believe I would heal because my friend, his wife, and parents had so much faith in him and assured me he would heal me? Had the chiro’s massage of my back been nothing more than a placebo? Had both experiences with a chiro been placebos? About a year ago I lifted a case of 36 cans of beer the wrong way at a supermarket and felt the only back pain since the stair fall. I didn’t go to a doctor or chiro even though the pain was severe. I searched for a new method to heal and a friend told me about Dr. Sarno and his book. I read the book, practiced his 12 daily reminders, did lots of journaling, firmly believed that my back pain had not caused any structural damage, and that the pain was psychological, because of one or more of my repressed emotions. It took about two months, but finally had no more back pain. Without drugs, surgery, or expensive and seemingly never-ending chiropractic treatments. My pain had all been, as they say, in my mind. It took that long to heal because I had 43 years of repressed emotions for my mind to rummage through. The only person I think wasn't in them was you. But you're nice, so you wouldn't have been in my repressed emotions anyway. Back to Dr. Sarno, he said that another treatment for back pain is to remove herniated disc material with Chymopapain. That is an enzyme injected into the disc material to dissolve it. But, again, he says it may be unnecessary because in his experience, herniated disc material may not be the cause of pain. A repressed emotion is. He also cautions that some serious reactions have been reported in medical journals about use of the enzyme. Another technique conventionally used to treat a structural abnormality in the back is cervical traction. That distracts (pulls apart) cervical bones to a slight degree, to try to make the cervical foramina larger. Those are holes formed by two spinal bones through which the spinal nerves make their way. The holes are made larger so the nerves won’t be “pinched.” But Dr. Sarno says the idea that nerves are being pinched is usually fantasy, “and once again, there is much ado about nothing.” As a final procedure to relieve structural pain from a herniated disc, Dr. Sarno said that surgery may be recommended to remove extruded intervertebral disc material. Some such procedures are even often essential. But it is his long-time experience with patients with herniated discs that the extruded disc material is often not responsible for the back pain. The surgeon may mean well, but because of his own therapeutic experience, he concludes that surgery may only sometimes produce a desirable, if temporary, result because of the placebo effect. “The strength of a placebo,” Dr. Sarno says, “meaning its ability to achieve a good and permanent effect, is measure by the impression it makes on the person’s mind. This is why surgery is probably a very powerful placebo. TMS rather than disc herniation appears to be the cause of pain in most cases. Therefore, the removal of herniated disc material may not address the basic problem.” The popular actor, George Clooney, fell on a movie set a few years ago and had severe back and neck pain. He underwent an operation which temporarily healed the pain, but when it came back he had another operation. And a third. Clooney is a rich, famous, and handsome actor. You’d think he had it all, but he, like many others, including Burt Reynolds, have back pain. At this writing, Clooney was reported as saying he was in pain again and considering a fourth operation. If I knew how to reach him, I’d suggest he try TMS instead. So this posting does not cause you any pain, in the back or lower or anywhere else, I will end it and post Part 3 tomorrow. Unless my darling dog tells me to take a day off. Happy TMSing.