“Healing Back Pain” by Dr. John Sarno

Cover of the book Healing Back Pain by Dr. John Sarno.

Dr. John Sarno’s research on Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) in his book “Healing Back Pain” provides a surprising, noninvasive solution to the epidemic of pain.

This book reveals that chronic pain’s root cause is stress, anxiety, and other psychological factors rather than structural abnormalities.

Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS)  develops due to repressed emotions that trigger tension in the body and deprive muscles and nerves of oxygen. The solution is to recognize the emotional roots of your TMS and sever the connection between mental and physical pain.

With Dr. Sarno’s expert guidance, you can learn how the mind-body connection can permanently heal shoulder, neck, and lower back pain. Additionally, you can understand how accepting negative emotions like anger, anxiety, fear, or grief can reverse physical symptoms.

You can also explore how you condition yourself to think back pain is inevitable and why you should resume physical activity as soon as possible.

Sharing case studies and the results of his groundbreaking research, Dr. Sarno’s life-changing insights show you how to banish back pain for good.

“Healing Back Pain” by Dr. John Sarno - Book contents


1. The Manifestations of TMS

2. The Psychology of TMS

3. The Physiology of TMS

4. The Treatment of TMS

5. The Traditional (Conventional) Diagnoses

6. The Traditional (Conventional) Treatments

7. Mind and Body

Appendix: Letters from Patients

“Healing Back Pain” by Dr. John Sarno - Book review

“Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection” by Dr. John Sarno is a groundbreaking book that challenges conventional medical wisdom by exploring the emotional roots of back pain.

In this book, Dr. Sarno provides a fresh perspective on the causes of chronic back pain, explaining that stress, anxiety, and other psychological factors, rather than structural abnormalities, are the primary drivers of this common condition.

Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS)

Throughout this book, Dr. Sarno outlines his theory of Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS), a condition he believes is the root cause of many cases of chronic back pain.

According to Dr. Sarno, Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) arises when repressed emotions trigger tension in the body, which deprives muscles and nerves of oxygen and leads to chronic pain.

He explains that traditional medical treatments, such as surgery, physical therapy, and medication, are often ineffective at treating this condition because they fail to address the emotional root causes of the condition.

One potential weakness of “Healing Back Pain” is that it can be challenging for some readers to accept Dr. Sarno’s theory of Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS). Traditional medical wisdom suggests that chronic back pain is caused by structural abnormalities, such as herniated discs or spinal stenosis.

Dr. Sarno’s theory, which suggests that emotional stress is the primary driver of back pain, can be difficult for some readers to accept, particularly if they have already undergone extensive medical treatment for their condition.

However, despite this potential hurdle, “Healing Back Pain” remains a compelling and thought-provoking read. Dr. Sarno’s approach challenges readers to reconsider their assumptions about chronic pain and to explore the potential role of emotional stress in their condition.

By providing practical advice and real-life examples, he offers readers a path forward, one that may lead to lasting relief from chronic back pain.

Case studies and anecdotes

In one case study, Dr. Sarno describes a patient who had suffered from chronic back pain for over 20 years. Despite undergoing numerous medical treatments, including surgery and physical therapy, the patient continued to experience debilitating pain.

After reading Dr. Sarno’s book and following his advice to identify and accept negative emotions, the patient experienced a dramatic reduction in his pain. Within six weeks, he was able to return to work and resume his normal activities.

In another case study, Dr. Sarno describes a patient who had undergone multiple surgeries for her chronic back pain. Despite these treatments, her pain persisted, and she was told by her doctors that she would never be able to work or lead a normal life again.

After reading this book and following Dr. Sarno’s advice, she achieved full recovery of her symptoms, returned to work, and an active life free from her chronic pain.

In another anecdote, Dr. Sarno describes a patient who had suffered from chronic back pain for many years. After reading this book and following his advice to identify and accept negative emotions, he experienced a significant reduction in his pain

However, when he went on vacation and forgot to bring the book with him, his pain returned. When he returned home and resumed his reading, his pain once again subsided. This anecdote illustrates the importance of consistently applying Dr. Sarno’s approach in order to achieve lasting relief from chronic pain.

Surprising findings

Dr. Sarno suggests that repressed emotions, such as anger, anxiety, and fear, can cause tension in the body that deprives muscles and nerves of oxygen, leading to chronic pain.

This view is in stark contrast to the commonly held belief that structural abnormalities, such as herniated discs, are the primary cause of back pain.

Dr. Sarno’s approach emphasizes the importance of self-awareness in identifying and addressing the emotional root causes of chronic pain. He suggests that patients who are able to recognize and accept their negative emotions can begin to break the cycle of pain and find relief.

One of the most unexpected insights in this book is the idea that patients have the potential to heal themselves by addressing the emotional root causes of their pain.

Important takeaways

Dr. John Sarno’s book challenges the conventional medical belief that structural abnormalities, such as herniated discs or degenerative disc disease, are the primary causes of chronic back pain.

Instead, Dr. Sarno explains that chronic pain is often a manifestation of repressed emotions being unconsciously expressed through physical symptoms. He believes that once patients recognize and address these emotional issues, their pain will often subside.

Dr. Sarno’s approach recognizes the important link between psychological and physical health. He argues that the mind and body are not separate entities but rather closely interconnected, and that emotional stress can manifest as physical symptoms.

By addressing the emotional root causes of chronic pain, patients can find relief without invasive medical treatments or surgery or the debilitating effects of medication.

Accessible writing style

Dr. John Sarno’s writing style in “Healing Back Pain” is straightforward and accessible, making this book easy to understand for readers with different backgrounds and levels of knowledge.

He uses simple language and avoids jargon, which helps to demystify the complex medical concepts that are often associated with back pain.

Moreover, Dr. Sarno’s writing is also very engaging, and he employs a conversational tone that makes you feel as if you are having a one-on-one conversation with him.

One benefit of Dr. Sarno’s writing style is that it allows you to quickly grasp the key concepts and apply them to your own life. The book is organized in a clear and logical manner, with each chapter building upon the previous one.

This structure makes it easy for you to follow along and absorb the material. Additionally, Dr. Sarno’s use of real-world examples and case studies helps you to see how his approach has worked for other people, which can be very inspiring and encouraging.

Overall, “Healing Back Pain” is a must-read for anyone suffering from chronic back pain. Dr. Sarno’s innovative approach challenges traditional medical wisdom and offers a fresh perspective on the causes of this common condition.

Whether you are looking for practical advice on managing your back pain or simply want to explore new ideas about the mind-body connection, this book is sure to provide valuable insights that can help you lead a more pain-free life.