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Old 03-04-2007, 09:26 AM   #4
cythren
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: New York City
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Re: Dr. Sarno Healing Back Pain...Mind & Body Connection: Anyone read it???

I've read his books, and have a mixed reaction to them.

I appreciate the point he makes about the mind-body connection, that our perception of pain is influenced by our state of mind and stress level. A funny anecdote I can offer related to this - while suffering with severe sciatica, each time I spoke with a social worker about my health insurance situation I experienced the "mind-body connection". As the social worker was telling me that there was no program I was eligible for and that I was "one of those people who falls through the cracks", my pain increased dramatically!!

It seemed to me that Dr. Sarno dismissed structural problems as contributing to back problems. Sure, the vast majority of lower back pain is from muscle injuries, but not all back problems are simply muscular. He stated that many people were told that their pain was from a herniated disc, but discounted this as a real source of pain because 50% of disc herniations are asymptomatic. This seems to me like a blunt simplification. We know that the location of the herniation, the nature of an individual's immune response, and the size of that persons spinal canal all contribute to whether a herniated disc causes problems or not.

Also, in his earlier book he used peptic ulcers as an example of an ailment caused by emotional stress. Well, it has since been proven that ulcers are caused by a bacterial infection. At the time he wrote the book, the medical establishment didn't know what caused ulcers. It was wrongly *assumed* that stress caused ulcers. Perhaps back conditions that cannot be clearly diagnosed with existing technology are also wrongly attributed to emotional stress.

- C