The Great Pain Deception
I was in pain for 30 years. I tried many healing techniques, from repeated chiropractic adjustments to acupuncture. I had degraded to a point in the late 1990s that I had difficulty functioning and was preparing for surgery, when suddenly, I happened upon the work of a pioneering pain-physician, John E. Sarno, MD. I’m now 12 years pain-free.
Dr. Sarno proved decades earlier that the structure of the body rarely causes pain. Things like degenerated discs, bony arthritis and spurs, spinal narrowing, scoliosis, herniated discs, partial ligament tears, etc., were simply “grey hairs of the body”– normal aging – but had been falsely correlated with symptoms through the advent of high-technology imaging.
In conversations with his patients, he observed that they tended to be conscientious, goodists, worriers, who wanted everyone to be happy. They pushed themselves hard and exhibited perfectionistic qualities. These personality traits generate great tension because life is never perfect. His patients were fine physically but were experiencing a mindbody effect that he labeled as TMS: Tension Myoneural Syndrome. He came to the conclusion, through tremendous success, that the sufferers, unconsciously, were creating the painful experience so that their attention would be forced onto their bodies, and away from their anger and worry. He described TMS as a protective defense-mechanism, by the brain, to help the individuals cope through life, because physical pain is preferred over emotional pain.
Pain and other “pain equivalents” such as fatigue and anxiety have at least two purposes.
• The first purpose is to send a message of danger; that something is physically wrong.
• The second purpose is the more common one, which is to keep the individual from sensing anger and other unwanted emotions. The brain creates the unpleasant symptom “on purpose,” as a favor, to force the mind’s eye onto the body so that it doesn’t have to deal with any psychological conflict.
Physical pain is more often a deception by the brain to divert focus. But society by-andlarge rejects this notion, and has collectively bought into the notion that physical problems stem from the body alone.
Over his 50-year career, Dr. Sarno helped to heal tens of thousands of people, from athletes, actors, Senators, Secretaries of State, psychologists, psychiatrists, MDs, and surgeons. But his story took an unforeseen turn. Professionals and laymen rarely wanted to hear his healing message. He had unwittingly become a controversial figure for simply reporting on what he had observed.
Many sufferers want to heal, but only on their own terms. They believe they are physically flawed, and that they can only heal through physical means. Their beliefs prevent them from healing because their beliefs are based on a false set of assumptions. The body is not failing; it is simply reacting to frightening internal forces locking the mind to the body, in obsessive focus, as a way to bury anxiety. Epidemics are often ignited by beliefs that are based on false paradigms.
There are many great examples of the power of belief and health, such as the study in England where cancer patients were told that they may lose their hair when given chemotherapy. Thirty percent of the participants had their hair fall out even though they were only given saline, and not chemo. The bio-chemical-physiology changes to match the deeper belief.
While researching, I met a man who had recently switched firms. In his new firm, he began a series of intensive education seminars on “the dangers of repetitive stress injuries.” He had never heard of such a thing as RSI, but within two months he got it, even though he had the same job function as in his old job. The only difference between the two jobs was the persistent warnings – deep unconscious suggestions.
It is all too common: The lady confined to a wheelchair because her doctor tells her she has damaged Achilles’ Heels, the mother who can’t get out of bed because her physician tells her she has fibromyalgia “disease,” and the student who lives with pain after being told that he has scoliosis. I witnessed these people become pain-free once they discovered that their symptoms were being caused by internal forces, and that their bodies were structurally ok. It was their focus and fear that gave the pain tangible power over them. Their physician’s words crippled them by codifying the emotional disorder as a physical one – increasing their tension through fear, where no structural problem “originally” existed.
The deeper unconscious accepts certain things as true if they are “publicly ordained” as being true. This is why people have increased back pain when their physicians tell them they have disc problems. The archetypal influence of the doctors, as healers, has a more powerful impact on belief, and therefore health.
So, in a multi-trillion dollar industry, where the pain epidemic worsens every decade, there is little incentive for the medical industry to stop and reexamine itself. But it takes two to tango. The individual sufferers also must buy into the errors for them to perpetuate. The reasons for acceptance of false memes are complex.
• People rarely believe what they can’t see.
• Sufferers want to believe in their healers.
• Sufferers are often paid to be in pain, receiving compensation to stay away from the very cause of their suffering, such as a hated job. If the unconscious reasons for TMS itself are greater than the conscious pain, then motivation to heal is nonexistent.
• They have witnessed a disorder and unknowingly mimicked it. New disorders rise and fall as people latch onto what is “currently accepted by society” to possess.
• The placebo effect: Ironically, temporary healing through placebo means is part of the problem because it falls right into the brain’s grand scheme – to hide the real cause. Each time there is a placebo success from things like surgery, acupuncture, or therapy, the problem remains hidden, and ongoing.
• The entire process is unconscious. People are unaware of the emotions that are driving their symptoms.
• Ego: At the professional and laymen level.
Few medical professionals want to hear that they have been doing the wrong things for pain. And laymen often demand structural answers to body problems because of that very same TMS protectivemechanism, which is intended to firmly convince them that they have a structural problem.
I’ve communicated with thousands of pain sufferers, almost all of whom were told they needed immediate surgery to heal, but not one of them did. They healed with knowledge, and the understanding of TMS … a deepening insight into how they were reacting to life. The truth set them all free. But they had to believe in it first.