Dr. Sarno Treatments to End Pain – Part One A man in severe pain posted yesterday on TMSWiki.org/forum that he had undergone dozens of treatments for his pains, but none of them never completely healed him. Just a few of them gave him some temporary relief. In his Healing Back Pain, Dr, Sarno discusses some traditional or conventional treatments for pain that most often don’t heal. He says he once wrote that therapeutic eclecticism is a sign of diagnostic incompetence. “The fact that there are so many different treatments for the common neck, shoulder, and back pain syndromes suggest that the diagnosticians are not really sure what the problem is.” I am not a doctor and do not want anyone reading this to take any of its medical advice without consulting a doctor, but what Dr. Sarno says about traditional, conventional treatments for pain give us a lot to think about. He says a doctor gives a patient a diagnosis, usually attributing the pain to a structural problem. But use of medications, physical therapies of different kinds, manipulation, traction, acupuncture, biofeedback, nerve stimulation, and surgery, many of which were symptomatic treatments, it became evident that the diagnoses were on shaky grounds. Dr. Sarno says that people with TMS need to know about these treatments so that they can understand why pain relief did not result from them or why they got only partial or temporary relief from them. He then describes traditional treatments for pain that most often do not work. One treatment is the placebo effect, any treatment that produces a good therapeutic result despite the fact that it has no intrinsic therapeutic value. A classic example is a sugar pill a doctor may give a patient, and the patient believes it will heal his pain because the doctor, an authority person whose judgment he trusts, gave it to him. The sugar pill may work at least for a short time, because the patient believes it will. Dr, Sarno says that beneficial results from most of the traditional treatment for pain are the work of the placebo effect. Blind faith in the doctor or massage therapist or acupuncturist enables the patient to be relieved of pain, if only for a short time. Doctors also may tell a patient in an jury that a period of resting the injured part is required. Treatments may include bed rest, lumbar traction with weights, restricting physical activity, and the use of cervical collar, lumbar corsets or braces. Patients with back pain who are diagnosed as having a herniated disc are most often told to rest in bed. In truth, Dr. Sarno says, herniated discs do not cause pain, and bed rest may make the pain last longer and be more intense. Mild exercise and going about daily activities help heal back pain, when combined with TMS thinking about repressed emotions. Dr. Sarno says acupuncture appear to work as a local anesthetic. The treatment blocks the transmission of pain nerve impulses to the brain. If a person is dealing with a chronic diseases for which no relief can be expected, acupuncture is a good treatment. It can give temporary relief for the typical back pain patient, but it does nothing about the underlying cause of the pain: one or more repressed emotions. Nerve blocks also are widely prescribed by doctors, especially when pain is severe and intractable. A local anesthetic is injected and does pretty much what acupuncture does. So the criticism of treatment of this for back pain is the same. Another traditional pain treatment is nerve stimulation (Transcutaneous Nerve Stimulation or TNS) involves mild electric shocks over a pain area to provide pain relief. But Dr. Sarno says there are questions whether they work as anything but another placebo since a Mayo Clinic study in 1978 concluded that a placebo such as a sugar pill worked just as well. In fact, says Dr. Sarno, when there is prolonged relief from any of these treatments, he suspects a placebo effect. “There can be no other explanation, for they do not attack the cause of the problem.” The cause, he has repeatedly said, is a reduction of oxygen to parts of our bodies that is caused by our repressed emotions. Tomorrow I will post Part Two in this thread about Dr. Sarno’s specific techniques to relieve pain. It will be about how to promote relaxation, one of the most important steps in healing TMS.