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Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection - John E. Sarno An interesting book. A friend of mine told me this book cured her long-standing back pain issue. Although I don't currently suffer from back pain, I was sufficiently intrigued to want to know more. Dr John E. Sarno identifies a condition he refers to as TMS, which stands for Tension Myositis Syndrome. In a nutshell, Sarno believes that TMS is a condition whereby some physical pain (in this case back pain) is actually caused by the subconscious mind repressing emotions. To overcome the pain, the patient has to firstly understand the nature of TMS, and then confront their emotional issues. Page 82 of the book contains a useful summary of daily reminders that give a good idea of the key messages:

The pain is due to TMS, not to structural abnormalities
The direct reason for the pain is mild oxygen deprivation
TMS is a harmless condition, caused by my repressed emotions
The principle emotion is my repressed anger
TMS exists only to distract my attention from the emotions
Since my back is basically normal there is nothing to fear
Therefore physical activity is not dangerous
And I must resume all physical activity
I will not be concerned or intimidated by the pain
I will shift my attention from the pain to emotional issues
I intend to be in control - not my subconscious mind
I must think psychological at all times, not physical.

I am very open and receptive to this kind of holistic approach to illness - and there appear to be plenty of people who have been helped by Dr Sarno's approach - including two of my friends.