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Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection

Average Rating 4
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(32)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

changed my life

What can I say that everyone here already has? Protruding L5, couldn't sit at work, sit in the car without pain. Then the lists of couldn'ts just kept growing. This book was recommended by my doctor, read it in a couple hours and decided to change my way of thinking....
What can I say that everyone here already has? Protruding L5, couldn't sit at work, sit in the car without pain. Then the lists of couldn'ts just kept growing. This book was recommended by my doctor, read it in a couple hours and decided to change my way of thinking. It works! I sit all day at work, I drive, I ski, I go to spinning, I can do anything! If it starts to creep back in, I become aware of my stress levels, talk to myself, breathe, mediatate, and it's gone. Please have an open mind and get this book!

posted by kgs72 on March 23, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Find me a conrolled trial that proves it works.

This book is about back pain having psychological causes. The treatment? Just recognizing this and telling your body to stop it. I think that this is a good theory but we really need some proof to back this up, I mean you wouldn't want to undergo a cancer treatment o...
This book is about back pain having psychological causes. The treatment? Just recognizing this and telling your body to stop it. I think that this is a good theory but we really need some proof to back this up, I mean you wouldn't want to undergo a cancer treatment or take a medication unitl its been proven to work, would you? So why should you settle for anything less with back pain treatments- unless you just want to make this author even richer! If you ask any doctor how treatments are proven to be effective, they will say it is through controlled trials. In this case, it would be a study where one group used Dr. Sarnos's treatment and another group used no treatment. If the treatment group has less back pain than the control group that got no treatment, then the treamtent is said to work and have benefits. I challenge any reader to find me a controlled study, anywhere, that this treatment works. Having searched huge medical databases such as Medline, let me save you some time- there aren't any. Therefore, there isn't a shred of medical proof that this treatment really works although it was a smooth move to get him on 20/20. You expect no less proof for the drugs or surgery you might have, so use this same logic with your back pain treatments. Of course you will see testimonials that this book cured people's back pain. Any treatment will always have its share of believers whether it be sleeping under pyramids or wearing magnetic shoe inserts. Just check out any other back pain book and you will find its positive reviews every time, no matter how strange the treatment- a true testament to the power of belief. I recommend you save your time and hard earned money and check out books with treatments that have been proven in controlled trials such as "The Multifidus Back Pain Solution" or "The Relaxation Response."

posted by Anonymous on September 18, 2002

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2002

    Well Written and Convincing

    I have seen several different negative reviews of this book. I found it to be very thought provoking and controversial, if not downright eye opening. His description of the course of medical research being biased by the mind/body dichotomy of Rene DesCartes was right on the money. So far the criticisms I have read on this and other websites either reflect a total misunderstanding of the text or are simply iconoclastic. Someone says they need to see the clinical trials to be convinced. That is all good and well, and certainly we would not want to see the FDA willy nilly approving new drugs for the market without them. However, due to the controversial nature of Dr. Sarno's thesis, that is probably not realistic until the medical establishment, which tends to be extremely conservative, starts to listen to his arguments and then gets funding for such studies. Having spent nineteen months in India back in the late 70s, I was able to begin to see our culture through their eyes. For that reason I can relate to Dr. Sarno's comments about our culture being one fraught with anxiety. Therefore I do not see why anyone would be suprised to hear that various maladies such as back pain could be rooted in stress and repressed emotions, unless they are either in denial or just plain unable to recognize such factors in the society in which they live. Kudos to Dr. Sarno. History may just well show his discoveries to be on a par with those of Louis Pasteur.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2002

    Well written, but I'm not so easily convinced.

    I found this book to be very interesting. It proposes that the true cause of back pain is psychological in nature, that the back pain is there to distract you from psychological issues. Evidence is provided in the form of the author's own consecutive case series of patients (whether they were assessed by an independent observer to avoid observer bias we don't know) and a myriad of examples of structural findings (such as herniated discs) that while abnormal, are found a lot in people with no back pain so they couldn't possibly be the cause of back pain. The obvious flaw here, of course, is the fact that it works the other way around too. There are lots of people that are stressed, anxious, and have repressed emotions that have no back pain either. Looks like a poor way to prove a theory of back pain if you ask me. Another issue that pops up is the lack of controlled studies to support this claim. None exist. Thank god we don't use this kind of approach with things such as surgery or medication but I guess the book thinks it's alright to do so with back pain treatments, I mean what's really the harm anyway? I'm sorry, but that's just poor medicine. Readers should be asking themselves why a professor who works/is affiliated with the prestigious Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine in New York, an institution that has been successful in attracting more than 60 million dollars in research funds, has yet to conduct or fund a proper test of the books theory with a controlled trial. Now that would give the book some oomph and for sure silence some of the critics. However if it failed, I'm not sure we'd see any future books either that advocate this theory. In conclusion, I cannot even begin to compare the author to Louis Pasteur who is quoted as saying, "Imagination should give wings to our thoughts but we always need decisive experimental proof, and when the moment comes to draw conclusions and to interpret the gathered observations, imagination must be checked and documented by factual results of the experiment."

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2000

    It's So Simple -- Why Didn't I Think Of It?

    After reading this book, and applying the principles, I became a new person, or should I say, I feel like I am 20 years old again. The principles or so easy, I can't beleive I didn't think of it myself. It is basically a book about how to train yourself to deal with stress and not letting the stress cause you pain. It's that simple and it works!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2000

    My Life Has Changed!

    After 8+ years of disabling headaches (each of which lasted a minimum of 48 hours), I was open to trying absolutely ANYTHING. With that frame of mind, I found this book, and I have been headache-free for almost 2 years. His theories, when read and absorbed with an OPEN mind, have been empowering for me personally, and my life is mine once again. I highly recommend it for anyone with any sort of chronic pain--but only if they TRULY want to be painfree! It won't work if you're a skeptic!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2000

    Not just for back pain!

    While I too have had significant improvement in my chronic back pain immediately after reading this book, there is more to the book than just releaving back problems. It can teach you a great deal about yourself and how you cope with day to day stresses as well as how your mind can play a significant role in physical problems! I suffered for over 8 years now, saw chiropractors, orthopedic doctors, physical therapy, MRIs, etc., but I have been almost pain free for 6 months since reading the book! (Without excercise) Read it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2000

    I would give this book 10 stars if I could

    I bought this book about a year ago. It has changed my life. I thought I would be permanently limited in what I could do. I tried all types of treatment for my back with no lasting effect. Now I feel I can do anything again. Yes, your mind does control blood flow and muscle tension and you can control it an thus stop your back pain. I plan to buy several copies of this book and give it to people I know with back problems and other chronic pain problems as well. P.S. I am trained in the sciences and am very skeptical of 'alternative' medicine --that's not what this is. Thank you Dr. Sarno

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 1999

    Great book. Answered all my questions!

    I was suffering from chronic pain in my back, legs, knees, feet, neck, arms, and hands, and was almost completely disabled. Healing Back Pain answered the many questions I had about my condition. Combining guidelines provided by Dr. Sarno with techniques used by Olympic athletes, I was able to design a nine-step repid recovery program that allowed me to improve immediately and recover within four days. My story is detailed in Rapid Recovery from Back and Neck Pain: A Nine-Step Recovery plan and serves as another testimony to the accuracy of Dr. Sarno's diagnosis. Rapid Recovery from Back and Neck Pain is available at bn.com.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 1999

    Absolutely Phenomenal!!!

    I found this book totally by accident and it has truly changed my life! I have been experiencing tremendous back pain since I was 17 years old. Simply by reading the book, my back pain has almost disappeared in less than a week! I will forever be in debt to Dr. Sarno for curing my back pain without surgery , exercise, or drugs.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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