Posted by David P. Ellis on 4/1/2002
If you're like me and thousands (millions?) of others who suffer from back pain and other ailments (e.g., sciatica, "tennis elbow", even frequent urination and skin rashes), this book is a literal lifesaver.
I first learned about Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS), the name Dr. Sarno gave to this condition, in 1999 when Dr. Sarno appeared on Larry King Live. At that time, I had been suffering from chronic low back pain for a decade. I first developed it my junior year in college and had back pain off and on since. Because I was a military officer at the time when it was most severe, I was afforded exceptional healthcare and offered every possible treatment at the U.S. government's expense. However, no amount of treatment - physical therapy, chiropractic care, exercising/stretching, acupuncture, etc. - could free me of my debilitating pain. That is, until I discovered Dr. Sarno's diagnosis.
By the time I read Dr. Sarno's book, I had every known type of imagery done to determine the root of my low back pain - MRI, CT, X-ray, etc. Still, nothing was conclusive, so once I learned through Dr. Sarno's book the pain could simply be a phyiscal reaction to emotional pain, the diagnosis made perfect sense to me and was easy to believe. Within days of reading the book, I was cured. Amazing.
Unfortunately, I still have bouts with TMS, sometimes severe bouts. As such, I continue to seek out a permanent cure for my problem. Dr. Sarno's book helped me put the pain in perspective and regain control of my life. However, it has not been able to rid me of TMS all together. He suggests psychotherapy if TMS persists, but I live in South Korea and do not have that as an option. Nonetheless, I am at least relieved to know I haven't caused any real injury to my back. I can thus go about my business and simply manage the pain as it arrives. Thank you, Dr. Sarno, thank you.
Incidentally, before I close, I should mention many people rave about Fred Amir's book "Rapid Recovery from Back Pain". I too have that book, but I have not found it that helpful (see my review). Regardless, whatever answers you seek beyond this book, don't do so until you've started here. Dr. Sarno's book is the foundation for any further help you may seek.
REVIEW UPDATE: 15 JANUARY 2004
I am writing to reaffirm how wonderful this book truly is. I am very happy to report I have had literally no back pain in nearly two years now. None. My treatment? Nothing other than reading Dr. Sarno's book. That's it. Please, folks, do yourself a favor. Give this book a try. I exaggerate not when I say that reading this paperback alone can free you of pain forever. I'm living proof.