Emotions and Back Pain
Dr John Sarno, a Professor at New York University School of Medicine, has repeatedly demonstrated in several studies that back and spine problems contain not only physical elements but emotional elements too and that in addressing both of these together the potential for recovery significantly improves.
He demonstrates that the conscious or unconscious repression of certain emotions (he cites anger and fear as being the most common) leads to, amongst other things, a reduction in blood flow in areas of the body where these feelings are often felt. The reduction in blood flow means that these areas receive fewer nutrients, less oxygen and also have slower removal of waste matter. This affects muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints including those of the back.
Dr Sarno has now examined several thousand cases where ordinary people have overcome back pain when they have recognised and processed the emotional roots of their disease.
He also cites a survey undertaken in 1991 of 109 randomly selected patients who had been referred to the School of Medicine for surgery to remedy a herniated (slipped) disc that was clearly visible on a CT scan.
After treatment solely for emotional repression:
• 88% were either pain free or had significantly improved
• 10% showed a reduction in pain and improved movement.
A total of 98% of the patients improved without having surgery, or after having already had unsuccessful surgery, with treatment designed to address only the emotional issues underlying the problem.
Dr Sarno also notes that as a by product of undergoing this type of treatment for back problems, tendon problems such as tennis elbow often disappeared as well!
Other painful spine problems that he, as a specialist, repeatedly sees improve with treatment for emotional repression include:
o Spinal stenosis
o Pinched nerve
o Arthritis of the spine
o Transitional vertebra
o Spina Bifida Occulta
o Osteoarthritis of the Hip
o Bone Spurs
o Soft Tissue Disorders: Fibromyalgia, Fibrositis, Myofibrositis & Myofasciitis
o Planter Fasciitis
o Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
o General Inflammation
In addition he lists the following symptoms that can also be associated with emotional repression:
o Pre ulcer states
o Peptic ulcers
o Hiatus hernia
o Spastic colon
o Irritable Bowel Syndrome
o Hay fever
o Tension Headache
o Acne, hives
o Ringing in the ears
o Frequent urination
We are erroneously conditioned to think of pain and restricted movement as obviously having a physical cause, and whilst there might be physical changes in the body that are inevitable for anyone as they go through life, this in itself is not a sufficient reason to decide that this is the only, or indeed main, cause of the problems.