A recent theory suggests that the origins of chronic back pain are purely psychological.
Dr. John Sarno, a Professor of Rehabilitative Medicine at New York University’s Rusk Institute, supports the theory of chronic back pain being caused by psychological anxiety and not traumatic injury. His first book, Mind Over Back Pain, sought to further the link between pain and anxiety. Other books Dr. Sarno has written include Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection, The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain and The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders.
In Mind Over Back Pain, Dr. Sarno mentions Tension Myoneural Syndrome (TMS). TMS is a psychosomatic illness that can cause spine,
neck, and limb pain and cannot be treated with traditional medical procedures.
Dr. Sarno suggests that patients who can understand the mind- body relationship and how it affects their chronic pain saw their conditions improve. While he has yet to perform scientific studies to prove this theory, Dr. Sarno claims that his theory was proven based on the patients’ conditions improving without surgery, drugs, or physical therapy. For example, some patients saw gradual improvement by writing in a journal for regular intervals and others sought help through psychotherapy.
Additionally, Dr. Sarno’s claim that chronic back pain was not linked to herniated spinal discs was confirmed by The New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers studied MRI scans of patients who did not suffer from chronic back pain but had abnormal discs. These abnormal discs did not cause the patients any pain.
Types of treatment used to treat chronic back pain connected to psychological issues included:
- Reading educational material related to psychological connections of pain
- Writing in a journal as pain occurs
Although Dr. Sarno was disheartened that the majority of the medical community did not agree with chronic pain being linked to psychological issues, his patients were pleased with the results of his treatments. Dr. Sarno’s interest in his patients’ personal lives set him apart from his colleagues. By thoroughly examining both physical and emotional pains in his patients’ lives, he was able to find that the pain they experienced was real, but was not caused by abnormal discs and other physical means. Dr. Sarno came to understand that the primary cause of their pain was psychological, mainly in Type A personalities.
Most of Dr. Sarno’s patients turned to him as a last resort. Eventually, most of them found out that the cause of their pain was emotional and psychological.
Just how mental and emotional health has an direct relationship, the mind- body link and pain affect one another. Take effective steps lowering your stress caused by pain through activities such as yoga, meditation, or massage therapy. Receiving an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan can help you feel better physically and mentally.
Don’t suffer any longer. Call the Spine Institute Northwest at 888-712-0318 to schedule an appointment today.