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Tension Myositis syndrome

Patrick
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Tension Myositis syndrome
Hi Esther

I wonder if you have come across the work of John Sarno MD. He theorised that chronic pain was caused by unacknowledged emotional stress. The mind-body reduces the blood flow to muscles creating pain as a distraction from the emotional issues
that it wants to avoid. He called this T.M.S. (tension myositis syndrome).

Apparently he has achieved excellent results in clearing up chronic pain simply through a series of lectures exploring this concept, with no physical intervention.

The question then arises as to the role of posture, which he does not consider important.

I have considered this myself and can see a few links. Firstly, poor posture is going to contribute to lack of oxygen in the body. Secondly,  there are quite well established links between posture and emotions/mood. Perhaps both approaches are not mutually exclusive. Any thoughts?
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I think it is very simplistic to state that emotional issues (leading to TMS) are the sole cause of almost all back pain. Of course there is a link between emotional state and back pain. But the back is, among other things, a physical structure with the equivalent of nuts, bolts, washers, etc. If we misuse a physical instrument and it wears and tears, we understand where the damage comes from. Why does Dr. Sarno not recognize the same simple fact about our spinal parts? Damage does happen, especially with misuse. Pain is an evolutionary mechanism to inform us of such damage. It's the way we know there is a problem; pain gives us the opportunity to change course, I don't think the answer to pain is to pretend it has no reason to be there but rather to understand why we have pain and to address it's root cause.

In 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back I try to help people understand why they have back pain and how to address the root cause of the pain. Judging from the Amazon reviews http://www.amazon.de/Steps-Pain-Free-Back-Solutions-Shoulder/dp/0979303605/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books-intl-de&qid=1275800843&sr=8-1 and from the response to the Gokhale Method Foundations course we have now taught to thousands of people, it is a helpful approach. The worst response we get to the book is that three people out of over a hundred cannot follow the directions in the book. Sarno's book seems to offend a fair number of people who feel insulted that they are being guilt-tripped for not getting result - I can understand their response. I don't think Sarno is fair in his insistence that if his techniques don't work for someone, they are just not buying in correctly. I also dislike his insistence that people give up all interventions except for his in their pursuit of pain-free lives.

Having said the above, I do think that the emotional contribution to back pain is significant. One thing I like about posture is that it addresses both emotional and physical well-being. By working on your posture you are working on your compression and depression, inflammation and relaxation, degeneration and regeneration. You really cannot go wrong with improving your posture / structure / architecture. And far from entrenching you in your maladies, working on posture is empowering and uplifting - for your body and  your mind!

to And evolution has helped us , and damage causes pain. In fact, it is in our evolutionary interest to be warned of such damage pain.
debjsd
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I personally think Sarno is a quack--of course emotions have a part in pain but I see it more as a causative factor. As I mentioned in another post I am sure that a lot of my poor posture started as a young teen from living with an abusinve father. But then the patterns were set with the slumped shoulders which then effected the rest of my posture. Then wrong advice from experts to try to help me with my posture did not help. I am finding a huge help with pain with Esther's methods. I am a big fan of using what WORKS!
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Glad this is working for you. Sarno has helped a lot of people - you cannot discount that! I just think this can be done even more effectively for both physically-, emotionally- and mixed physically and emotionally triggered back pain without any blame and guilt. I also think that physical and emotional health have been viewed as separate poles in modern Western culture. We're coming away from that and viewing the two as intimately related - that's a good thing!
Patrick
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I think Sarno's rationale for discounting a physical cause is based on certain studies which found that disc prolapses, degenerative change etc. were as common in the asymtomatic population as in the symptomatic. I'm not great on remembering studies and am not sure how good they were. One thing he is perhaps missing is that the asymtomatics were asymptomatic at that point. Who is to say they will not go on to develop symptoms later?

Interesting though,that these degenerative changes were very common and that it was unusual not to see them, even in people in their 20s. It would be very interesting to see the prevalence of such changes in people of traditional cultures.

I agree, though Esther,  that it makes perfect sense to do what can be done to improve posture and I'm sure the benefits are far reaching for mind and body.

I wonder if there is a kind of hypnosis at work with Sarno. Being an MD, quoting studies and being very sure of yourself is HEAP BIG MEDICINE and powerfully suggestive. After hearing all of his presentations I would not be surprised if patients were not comfortable admitting to still having symptoms.
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I think the mind is extremely powerful and can sometimes override sensations of physical pain. All medicine / interventions have this effect built into them, some more than others (different types of placebos are effective to different degrees).

It's an interesting idea that Sarno's intervention may work just temporarily. It's also interesting to consider that people who are asymptomatic but have underlying physical degeneration are more likely to eventually show up with symptoms . The best is to cover all bases - physical and emotional. then you're protected for the short and long term.
massagether2001...
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Most often than not pain/disease or really anything in life happens due to a combination of factors - so in terms of body - chronic pain is often result of physical overuse/ imbalance and emotional stress. Once emotional stress is cleared up the body is ready to be healed from the outside - like therapy, exercise, posture improvements, etc.etc. so it is extremely important to find out the "whole story" behind a chronic pain! 

Robert Keilbach
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I have read Dr Sarno's book, and met with him in his office; now pain-free for over 15 years!

Definitely works for me, and so many others.

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