Read This Book to Ease Pain

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Guide
  • Are you conscientious, responsible, and hardworking? Does your drive come primarily from within? Are you self-motivated, self-disciplined, and your own severest critic? In his book Mind Over Back Pain, Dr. John Sarno describes these personality traits as common in patients who experience chronic back pain, ulcers or ulcerative colitis.


    Dr. Sarno's book is all about tension myositis syndrome, or TMS. Though the suffix itis usually refers to inflammation, Dr. Sarno uses it in his book to designate a change of state in one's muscles, due to tension. According to Dr. Sarno, even a simple doctor's visit can bring about apprehension, worry, and frustration, and eventually lead to more anxiety, which decreases blood flow and the resultant blood deprivation leads to more pain. Undoubtedly, TMS can become a vicious cycle.

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    Mind Over Back Pain has been my favorite read this summer because the author, Dr. Sarno, suffers from TMS himself. As a result, nowhere in the book is he demeaning, or does he make the reader think that the pain is "all in your head." He makes clear that TMS is a physical condition, and provides some new ways to think about chronic pain and caring for yourself.


    Mind Over Back Pain was published in 1982. But this doesn't mean that Dr. Sarno's concepts are outdated. As a researcher of integrated healthcare, I can tell you that Dr. Sarno was well ahead of most of his colleagues in considering the impact of our emotions on our physical well being. The mind body connection with IBD and IBS is currently under investigation. Dr. Sarno's book may be a good place to begin to understand how our body can physically change in response to tension. The book is a very quick read, is inexpensive (available for less than $10), and can be ordered through Amazon (


    Happy reading and let us know what your favorite book has been this summer!

Published On: July 23, 2008