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Back in Control

Shoshana Schwartz

Dr. John E. Sarno is convinced that you can heal severe back pain and other body aches without surgery, physical therapy, or even medication. His theory: Emotional pain causes physical pain. The cure, then, isn’t body-based remedies, but rather techniques that release anger, stress, and other negative feelings. A closer look at his mind-body approach to relieving pain.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

For years, I had back and knee pain. I tried just about every treatment: chiropractic, physiotherapy, acupuncture, reflexology, kinesiology, bioresonance therapy, magnets, you name it. Sometimes, when my back and knees felt okay, my ankles hurt. Or my wrists. There always seemed to be aches and pains somewhere in my body.

Two years ago, my knee problems escalated to the point where I required knee braces. Physiotherapy and leg-strengthening exercises seemed to help, and the pain began to wane. But the respite was brief — before long, my back started acting up. The pain grew so severe that I could barely walk. That’s when someone introduced me to the book Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection by Dr. John E. Sarno (Grand Central Publishing).

Dr. Sarno asserts that at the root of physical pain is emotional pain. The cure, then, isn’t drugs, surgery, or other body-based remedies, but rather techniques that release anger, stress, and other negative feelings.

Within a few weeks of practicing the strategies in the book, my back and knee pain were gone and I ditched the knee braces. Within six months, my ankle braces, orthotics, compression socks, and orthopedic pillow followed. I no longer have to sit “just so,” and I play basketball three or four times a week. Best of all, I no longer live in fear of the pain.


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