Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Pains in the Back

I had back pain and leg pain that had left me flat on my back for three weeks straight. I suffered for many years off and on with this debilitating pain and went to doctors, chiropractors, and natural healers all to no avail. Like many others, I too have the x-rays that show a slipped disc however, I later learned that wasn't what was causing the pain.

A friend had begged me for years to read Dr. John Sarno's, (Professor of Clinical Rehab Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine, and an attending physician at the Rusk Institute of Rehab Medicine, NYU Medical Center.) books, Healing Back Pain and The Mind-Body Prescription claiming that just reading the books 'cured' his back pain as well as his asthma. I was very skeptical, as it sounded like a bunch of hokum to me. But I was in so much pain along with the depression associated with the pain that I asked my wife to pick me of a copy of both books. I was fascinated with what I read and saw myself in every page! Within a couple of days the pain started to subside. I learned that this wasn't a placebo as placebos only work once not over the long term. What I had was Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) which, in short is mild oxygen deprivation to the nerves and tissues - one must read the book.

Within two weeks I was pain free and it has never returned. Oh sure, "it" tries, but I now know what to do to rid myself of it instantly - all through a program of education, not physical rehabilitation. Now, sometimes when I run the "pain" tries to enter my knees front and back and when I won't let it reside there it turns to my calves. The brain is very cunning and powerful but I have all the proof I need that there is nothing physically wrong with me. Yes, the pain is real but where it was coming from was not generated by a physical situation such as running or picking up a heavy object.

I went to one of Dr. Sarno's panel discussion that he holds at the Rusk Institute in NYC where he practices and teaches. On the panel were four former patients of his. One had 24 back operations and a piece of his coxis removed all to rid him of his terrible back pain. The operations did nothing for him - all he did was read Dr. Sarno's book had his pain went away never to return.

Since I read Dr. Sarno's books three years ago I have spoke with many people, friends and clients alike who suffer from neck, back, shoulder, buttocks, leg and foot pain. The ones who have read the books and have applied the theory no longer suffer pain. The pain I'm talking about here is not normal pain and discomfort that one experiences after a long run or helping a friend to move into a new apartment. This is chronic pain and if you have ever suffered the intensity that I have, you would do anything to relieve it. That being said, I would never go to a chiropractor or acupuncturist again seeking back pain relief. The more I focused on the physical the longer the pain stayed with me. Once I started to think about the psychological, I was on my way to a pain free life.

Here's something interesting for you female runners: my wife who was diagnosed with severe IT Band problem, (more women than men are diagnosed with this problem due to their anatomy) was prescribed with an intense physical rehabilitation program for 16 weeks. They massaged, kneaded, iced and exercised the poor woman to tears. At the end of her rehab they fit her for orthopedic insoles which she was to wear everyday until she felt comfortable. The insoles were suppose to help put her knee in its proper place which, was out of alignment due to the nasty IT Band. She followed the doctor's orders to the letter, never missing an appointment, always completing her exercises at home. She wore the insoles as instructed and finally one day many months after she started her rehab program she went running. Within a half-mile the pain was so bad she came limping home. She was dejected but vowed to keep up the exercise program as prescribed. She was told that it could be a long road back to running longer distances. Well, the pain never got any better and she quit running altogether. When I asked her one day if the pain could be TMS related she said that she never thought about it. I suggested she read the Mind-Body Prescription and today she ran 3 miles pain free! Wow!

I am not a doctor so, I am not prescribing that you not seek medical treatment. My experience as shown me that most of my pain no matter where in the body it takes place was just mild oxygen deprivation.

Should anyone like to discuss my experiences or need further references please, contact me.
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