I have just read John Sarno's book "Healing Back Pain" and am wondering if anyone has had any experience with his program or knows of a practitioner in California who provides a similar program. Is this a viable alternative to conventional back treatments? How is it viewed in the medical community?
I have read Sarno's book and think that his perspective may be useful to a certain proportion of back pain folk. On the other hand, my own impression is that he paints with too broad a brush. Certainly, when there is demonstrable nerve damage (on EMG, suppressed reflexes, muscle atrophy, weakness not directly the result of pain), it is time to take some of those structural issues seriously. True, many people with abnormal MRIs and Myelos are symptom-free. But many are also not. Also true that a lot of "guesswork" often goes into even the best neurosurgical or orthopedic evaluation. The spine is a very complicated "place." But, as a clinical psychologist, I can tell you that a heck of a lot of guesswork goes into psychiatric assessment as well! The mind, and its relationship to the body, ain't simple either!
2scoops--I agree. That's why I think the key issue is not pain but demonstrable nerve damage--muscle atrophy, progressive weakness, abnormal emg, signficant numbness,
suppressed or absent reflexes, bowel/bladder problems, etc. Pain is "no fun" (understatement of year), but I think it's the functional issues that have a neurological basis that are the issue as far as surgery.
I never heard of this doctor so I went and read his web page. I looked at his questionnaire and I don't have tension myositis syndrome! On his web page, he does not claim to have the answers for people with symptoms which are clearly related to physical causes, but seems more for people with pain when they cannot find the cause. Most illnesses are exacerbated by stress!
2Scoops--I think the search word 'Sarno' may find the post you recall, but either way, you remember the important part. As spondymom suggests, a visit to the relevant sites may provide additional info on whether this may be useful to you. I hope it is!
I agree I think each case has been evaluated on an individual basis. I had a very large herniated disc (L4), and had a microdiscectomy in 1999. Prior to the surgery I could barely walk into the hospital and left the hospital walking better then I had in the months prior. Of course the surgeon was very thorough and had me go through an MRI and EMG. I agree with Standingman that it is important each case but be evaluated on an individual basis, and I am sure that in many cases Sarno's approach is effective. But, the reality in many cases nerve damage is involved and unrelenting pain, but yes I do agree that all options should considered and all facts reviewed before surgery is considered.
sounds look a good plan, especially since the surgeons aren't wanting to do anything and, from what you're writing, don't feel things are getting any worse and/or there is any _medical_ (as opposed to personal) reason for urgency.
Best of luck and please let us know how things go for you.
right. I don't think there's been any question about all you're saying. As I've reiterated, when all the things line up--imaging, weakness, atrophy, numbness, abnormal emg, etc. there may well be something to repair surgically, and it can be of functional urgency. That certainly doesn't apply to the majority of people with "back problems," including those who show "abnormal" MRIs. But it certainly applies to some. I think Sarno concurs. He probably does differ with others in the field about how large a percentage of "back patients" it includes.