Success at first, now pain keeps coming back.

by Ken Malloy

When Oscar from San Diego read  ”Healing Back Pain”,  it completely changed his life. Like many, Oscar realized that he’s a “typical candidate” for what Dr. Sarno is talking about.

Reading Dr. Sarno’s book was enough and indeed, the pain had gone away. But now it was coming back and, as he noticed, reocurrances were usually during high-stress times in his life.

“The pain is making him feel old!”, he told me.  Living with chronic pain does take a lot of energy!

Whenever he had a problem, he would immerse himself in Dr. Sarno’s book and that generally helped. This would fortify his understanding enough for him to accept the diagnosis of TMS. But, when he was away from the program for a while, the pain would return.

I explained to Oscar that, as a former patient that I might help him to better learn what Dr. Sarno is teaching. However, I reminded him, (as I do everyone), I’m not a doctor so I was not giving him medical advice.

He told me that he understood and went on to explain that when the pain comes back, he does doubt the diagnosis of TMS and so, as he put it, “the learning does not last.”

The challenge of overcoming TMS is not just dealing with the pain. The physical pain plays a central role but is only a part of the condition of suffering with TMS. Also, we must consider the pattern of thoughts, emotions and beliefs that make up the experience of this disorder.

Oscar admitted that he was thinking that there is something structurally wrong.  This indulgence is a “mental trap” that will guarantees that the syndrome will persist.

We must intrude upon this thought. And, this is how we begin the process of becoming pain-free. We cannot control the pain and we may not be able to control our emotions associated with the pain, but we can control what we put our attention on.

I know. Easier said than done!

The physical pain is bad enough. Then, we have to deal with all the emotions associated with the pain: Sadness, frustration, anger, disappointment, fear, feeling trapped and out-of control.

I believe that it is not just the underlying pain that serves as a distraction. These conscious negative emotions also serve to distract your mind from unconscious negative feelings that are at the root cause of TMS.

So, what can we do?

We become students of out own psychology. We observe what our mind is doing.  We examine what we believe. Once we can see that the psychology of our TMS is a series of conditioned patterns, then we can begin to deconstruct those patterns.

More to follow…