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The nervous element in rheumatism - E. Haslett Frazer

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by tor, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. tor

    tor New Member

    Appears that John Sarno was not the first one to make the observation of psychosomatic effects of emotions.

    Under "The nervous element in rheumatism" (published 1930):

    "...A careful questioning of these patients will usually reveal some deep-seated anxiety or worry... If there should happen to be a history of a former joint or muscular strain or injury, symptoms will primarily appear in that locality..."
  2. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    That quote is the part that caught my eye too. Very interesting--and from 1930! Wow!
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    This goes to show that these ideas have been around for a long time. It is a shame that so many physicians just don't recognize it. It is always interesting to read about the intellecutal history of psychosomatic conditions. Freud writes about patients having hysteria and paralysis, which, in his time, was the "in vogue" psychosomatic condition.
  4. Back2-It

    Back2-It Peer Supporter

    Dr. Abraham Low recognized this along about the same time, and in the early 1950's started "Recovery International", which still exists today and helps people in a group setting discuss TMS/anxiety and to try to accept the dx. His book, "Mental Health through Will Training" is an early book on the subject, but not the first. Low wrote that a full 50% of hospital beds at the time --1930's and 1940's-- were filled with people who had "nervous" illnesses.

    Also, Dale Carnegie, a layman, in "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living", recognized this too. That book was written in 1946 or so. Dr. Sarno contributed mightly to the subject by writing about what the real meaning of modern imaging is, and how it complicates recovery for many people. The field continues to evolve, but I fear will take a long time to once again become mainstream.
  5. tor

    tor New Member

    Cool. I actually read Dale Carnegie's book, but I didn't notice his remarks on this topic. Though I'm not convinced by Sarnos theory on the cause of back pain, it seems that he has found a way to make people recover which is the most important thing.
    Muscle tension which is my primary problem is actually well known within the diagnosis of anxiety symptoms (and also stress) in modern medicine and psychology. Its seems so weird to me that they mostly recommend relaxing therapies like massage. Anxiety is certainly psychological, and relaxing once a week will most likely not resolve your problem with anxiety.
    It's probably true that certain non-cognized memories will influence pain and muscle tension, but this seems to me merely a question of how you reacted and adapted to an experience and not a question about repression. Remembering this incident in retrospect could give you new insights on your reaction to this type of situation, and with your new-found wisdom of living life since the initial incident, stop your repeated reaction and change your emotional behavior as well. I actually have one method to get rid of the muscle tension now, but it only lasts as long as I do it, and I can't continiue this mental practice for very long. And it doesn't seem to have anything to do with repression. So I would be cautious if you experience muscle tension instead of just pain to go looking for too many repressed emotions. You would probably be better off with some form of anxiety therapy.

    edit 1. this is a pdf document on the relationship between muscle tension and anxiety: http://philosonic.com/michaelpluess_construction/Files/Pluess_2009_Muscle Tension in Generalized Anxiety Disorder - A Critical Review of the Literature.pdf
  6. Back2-It

    Back2-It Peer Supporter

    Tor, I agree with you. Recognizing anxiety was the culprit, no matter what the effect, took care of my problem. The point I am making is that, were it not for Dr. Sarno pointing out the the horrible negative consequences that modern imaging does to people, many, many, many people would never have recovered from their back pain. My herniated disc was branded in my mind no less than a cattle brand on a hide. I saw it and saw it and saw it, no matter that I never in my life thought I had a back problem till then, and even after could bend and lift and do activities, until the constant negative reinforcement almost made me a cripple.

    I think anxiety is the tip of the emotional iceberg, and that you have to take care of whatever you can to address whatever anger or hurt you may have, but also understand that current stresses cause physical problems, and once they do, if you do not understand the sensitization, you will sink and sink and sink into despair.

    The thing Sarno -- and Low-- point out, and which is often not given enough emphasis (in my opinion) is that fear of the pain. Both clearly state that if you do not get past the fear of the symptoms, accept the dx, you will not be "cured".

    One thing I would like to see more accentuated is what the tension and muscle spasms actually do to you. Why, because those with really bad cases can reach around and feel the knots in their backs -- real, physical symptoms.

    For instance, no doctor ever felt my upper back and said it is like a solid stone, and because of it you will feel this and that. Now, this may be obvious for some, but for others, perfectionists if you will, TMS personalities if you will, anxiety prone and the health anxiety prone, they need to know that, though the pain is "benign", it is still pain, still stiff muscles , and it will tug and pull and strain your body in certain ways.

    Nothing is new under the sun, but Dr. Sarno made an important contribution to the epidemic of back pain by educating people on the spine and common spinal "problems" --well "concluded" and "proven" by MRI and CAT scan-- is that in almost all cases they are, yes, "benign".

    LOL -- a "trophy" for making a first comment. Please send it right away; I want it on my shelf.

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