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Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection
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121 of 133 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2009
2 weeks I've waited for this book.
1 week it took me to read it.
7 yaers of agony and pain ended last week after reading this book.
I can't believe it!
Pain that has been my evel companion and dictated every aspect of my life - gone!!!
Sometimes I feel the pain trying to come back, sneak on me, but now I know why it's there and I can make it disappear again after 5 minutes or so.
This is unreal. Its almost ridiculous.
I am 33 years old, and for the first time in 7 years - I fill young, and free.
This book is worth more then 7000$ - the amount I payed on painkillers and alternative medicine so far, and no doubt - would have kept on paying for many years to come.
If you ever had back or neck pain that crippled you, while doctors telling you that you have a herniated disc but can't explain why it hurts so much, or why you are in pain most of the time, even while sitting down - Well, this is the book for you.
You don't need to be in pain.
You don't need to be depressed anymore.
Just read this book and be open to what it has to say to you, think about it, really think.
I did and it changed my life, and I recommand this book to anyone who suffers from back & neck pain, and forever greatfull to John E. Sarno for giving me my life back <3.
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67 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2006
There I was, 18 years old, after exercising badly in the gym I developed back issues. An x-ray stated I had a back abnormality. For 5 years I had back pain, evey single day, mid to lower back pain. You know whats its like, the type thats always there.

One day I was channel flicking and I saw John Sarno's interview about this book.

I bought the book. Read it.

Discovered that everyone has "normal" abnormalities doctors make a career diagnosing and prescribing pills for.

And I BELIEVED the book, kept a bookmark on one page which had a summary of the major points.

Better for the first few days. A few weeks later, no more back pain.

I moved house last year, my back may have been sore for a few hours, then the pain was gone.

I bought this book when I was 23. For 6 years my back pain has no longer been an issue. And all because I believed this book was right.

If you have back pain and an open mind, buy the book.
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104 of 115 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2009
I am a 57 year old that has suffered from numerous conditions and much pain since I was a teen. Just to name a few since most of us need to see ourselves in someone else's experience,
-chronic prostatitis (started when I was 15 and still flares up occasionally)
-dizziness
-tinnitis (ringing in the ears)
-numbness in arms hands and legs
-paralyzing fear of MS for at least 10 years
-irritable bowel syndrome
-debilitating back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain (my wife went ALONE on our 30th anniv. trip because I was on the floor in pain)
-TMJ and ear pain
-chronic fear that I have "one of the big ones" (they just haven't found it yet)
-severe depression
I could go on but this gives you an idea. Invariably when one issue faded, another began. My wife tells me I was essentialy absent in the raising of our children because of my preoccupation with my health issues. It makes me want to cry when I think that my wife was a "married single" for all those years.
About 2 years ago I was looking up back pain books on Amazon and came across "Healing Back Pain" by Dr. Sarno. The reviews were unbelievable and being that the book was not new there were a lot of them. I ordered the book and devoured it, finding myself in every page (as you often hear). And like so many others on this forum I began to seriously consider the information presented. I ordered "The Mindbody Prescription" and read it as well. I ordered Dr. Sarno's CD and listened to it while travelling.
I finally came to understand what was causing my pain and how to relieve it. I would say that over the last 2 years I have been 85% successful in moving past the pain/fear issues that would have previously crippled me. I remember shortly after I was beginning this process, my wife and I were on a one month trip to the UK. We were going to go for a walk and I bent over to tie my shoe when I had a stabbing pain in my lower back...the beginning of a usual episode. At first I panicked as we were only in the second week of our trip. "Oh no! I'll have to spend the next two weeks on my back. What am I going to do?" Instead I immediately remembered what my brain was trying to do and thought "No. I'm not going to let this ruin our trip. This will pass." We went out walking and during the afternoon everything returned to normal. This has happened many times since then. Also has happened with all the other issues mentioned above.
I might reread a section of one of Sarno's books. I might just give myself a talking to. I might just press on. In any event, the issue passes. I have not had pschycotherapy because I cannot afford it but it doesn't seem to matter that I don't know the exact root. Also I have not seen a TMS doctor because there are none that I know of in the area.
I am not 100%. I suffer from some depression but I'm so thankful that I'm not where I was. This information (wrong word because it's much more powerful than that) has been life changing for me.
BTW, I am finishing "The Divided Mind". It's great because it presents other physicians experiences on TMS and it's equivalents.
Sorry to be so long. There is hope. For those who find this forum and haven't read the books...just do it. Meditate on the principles. If you can accept them you'll be on your way to a much better life.
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63 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2005
I must say in response to Joan Price's comments above, namely that Healing Back Pain 'isn't really a program for self-treatment with only 5 pages of action plans' - she is incorrect.

I read this book at the urging of a friend who recovered from years of debilitating back pain.

After reading it once (about a 2-3 hour investment of time), I began 'discipling my mind' and working hard to apply the 'mere 5 pages' of action plans. Why do we as humans think everything must be hard? =)

As I read the book, I began applying the principles and found my pain subsiding.

Within just one week, I was relieved of pain that I had borne for 5-10 years, and was able to stop going to doctors and treatments that had done nothing. And I spent many thousands of dollars on treatments.

It is a credit to John Sarno that he has shared simple and straightforward direction so we can actually use it.

Complexity is not the measure of something's value. Results are.

And I am living a different life because of simply reading and applying the thoughts in this book.

Thank you Dr. Sarno!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2000
I did a review of this book last spring in which I waxed rhapsodic because it had changed my life so I thought it would be nice to do an update. I'm still fabulously free of back pain most of the time. I've had a couple of minor "relapses", usually after some strenuous lifting (the sort of thing that would have originally caused pain), but I re-read the highlighted sections of the book, gave my subconscious a scolding (while appreciating its extreme cunning) and recovered almost immediately. It's also been effective on allergies. I had no allergies last year when I read the book, then they came back with a vengeance this year although nothing had changed--same house, same three cats, same routine. So I think my brain was trying to substitute the distraction of the allergies for the back pain. This time I wrote my brain a note in my journal and I'm having great results so far. No sniffling, no waking up in the middle of the night sneezing. I'm still struggling with super-coping, a critically ill mother, and performance anxiety on my job, but I'm trying to deal with those feelings instead of allowing my brain to distract me away from them with pain syndromes.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2014
After 3 years of chronic low back pain and neck pain, I am healing. John Sarno's diagnosis is the truth, medicine is WAAY far behind in understanding the connection between emotions and illness, especially chronic pain. I bought this book in February with very consistent, badly affecting pain everyday and am now down to a daily 1 or 0 in pain. My biggest advice is HANG IN THERE, the book says it takes 6-8 weeks to heal completely and it has taken me much longer than that, don't be discouraged if you are still in pain after that time frame. Everyone is different and it took me 3 months to get to where I am now but the results are UNBELIEVABLE, pain is almost nothing to me now and in time it will be nothing and chronic pain will only be a memory.

Here are some KEY tips that helped me to heal:

1. Stop covering up your feelings. In the past, if someone said something offensive towards me, I would cover up the feeling by thinking about it, rationalizing why they said, what they said, the context, blah blah blah but the FEELING is what is important. My mind would say I'm not offended but the truth is I am. FEEL THAT FEELING and tell yourself it's ok to feel this. I am ok.

2. Stop letting your thoughts torture you. In the past I would let my head spin in worry for hours and hours, thinking oh maybe this will happen, but what if that happens. Take charge and say NO to your worry thoughts. It will suck for a while because worry is a habit and it takes time to break so you will be stopping your thoughts A LOT but eventually the worry slows down and dissipates. Channel that inner rage at your thoughts. Tell them to shut up! I wont take this abuse anymore, I deserve to feel good and I choose to feel hopeful.

3. Practice positive thinking and prayer. This will vibrationally help you to heal. Feed yourself POSITIVE ENERGY as much as you can, believe in your healing, no matter what the pain is telling you. Listen to My Morning Jacket, spend time in nature, get off Twitter and Instagram and all that noise, pet your dog, watch Joel Osteen, think about great things that have happened to you.

4. Journal. Write about what makes you angry, sad, scared, insecure. Write it out. I would oftentimes feel the repressed rage boiling up to the surface as I wrote. This is exactly what the pain is trying to distract you from, it is great to feel that rage there.

5. Cry, scream, beat the hell out of something. Get those emotions moving. If you have chronic pain, you have stale emotions sitting in you. Lay on your bed and breathe deeply into your belly, make a sound as you exhale, this helps to rouse the old emotions, bringing them to the surface. Keep breathing into it and cry it out, beat your pillow, whatever you're feeling.

6. Don't worry about setbacks. I had so many times where the pain would go down, only to come back with a vengeance. I was afraid I would never heal, but the fact that you can get it moving up and down like that at all shows that things are changing. Keep practicing, hold strong, and eventually the pain starts to lose the fight.

Good luck and god bless.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2013
26 years old and have suffered from chronic back/neck/shoulder/pelvic pain for 3.5 years. Probably saw 20ish doctors, physical therapists, accupuncturists, chiropracters, massage therapists, hypnotherapists and osteopaths over the years with nothing but temporary relief.

I can't think of a better way to share my experience than sharing with you the letter I wrote to my family 4 weeks after reading this book. Forever greatful to Dr. John Sarno.

"My Dear Family,

There was a time when I never thought I would be able to say this, and I still can't believe it myself, but I have made a 90% recovery from the chronic muscle problems that have debilitated me for the past 3.5 years.

Over the past few weeks I have gradually resumed an active life once again, and find myself driving, doing computer work, lifting weights, going on intense bike rides, and much more with virtually no pain at all. I feel like I have been re-born again, and find myself in a perpetually good mood and excited about life and the opportunities that await me once again.

As you know, these years have been extremely difficult for me, both physically and emotionally. Particularly over the past year when this problem took on a whole new level of intensity and spread throughout my body. I wanted to thank you all for your support through this very difficult time for me. Without you guys, I probably would have jumped off a cliff by now.

You may be curious as to what caused this sudden and immediate change in my health. Which doctor did I see? What excercise did I do? What posture did I adapt? Modern medicine has conditioned us to look for a physical explanation to our symptoms, and after countless massages, physical therapy, chiropractic, accupuncture and osteopathic treatments, with limited progress, I was depressed, desperate, and knew I was looking for an answer in the wrong place.

I know what you're thinking. Stop blabbing oo, tell me what you did? What caused this miraculous change in your health. Well, the answer is so stupidly simple you are going to think I'm crazy. I read a book. Yes, that is not a typo. I read a freakin' book, stopped going to all my doctors, and within weeks I am virtually normal again. 3.5 years of awful and intense pain that my life has revolved around disappears, and all I have to do is read a book...?

I'll let this 20/20 news clip and this article about in Forbes Magazine about America's most miraculous yet neglected pain Doctor explain further.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsR4wydiIBI
http://www.forbes.com/sites/edwardsiedle/2012/09/26/americans-best-doctor-and-his-miracle-cures-dr-john-e-sarno/

As I reflect on why the universe chose this journey for me, I am going to do something unorthodox and be very emotially open with you all (I know I'm not known for this). This journey has without a doubt been the most difficult thing I've ever had to deal with. While I tried my best to be optimistic, there is no doubt that my life has full of pain, fear, sadness, loneliness, anger, anxiety, rage, self-pity, desperation, and depression since this all began. Living with some back pain and not being able to play sports is one thing, but eventually becoming disabled, being forced to leave my job and unable to support myself at the age of 26, with the fear of living the next 50 years of my life with this was probably the most unbearable feeling of all.

I often thought what it would be like to overcome this battle and be able to be a normal kid again, but to be honest, I never truly believed it would happen. Now that I stand here with all of this finally behind me, I still can't believe it. It hasn't totally hit me yet that I have my life back.

As I try to think how to wrap up this email with some sort of lesson that will inspire you and help you in your daily lives, I'm beginning to think that is all unnecessary. Instead, I'll leave you with a piece of wisdom, from an ancient Native Indian proverb that has always stood out to me and illustrates the power of the mind-body connection.

An old Cherokee told his grandson: "My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, and resentment, inferiority, lies and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and truth."

The boy thought about it, and asked, "Grandfather, which wolf wins?"

The old man quietly replied, "The one you feed."

What a relief to be able to finally write this. I think it's time to go for a bike ride ;)"
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2008
I've read this book about 5 years ago, and didn't think about writing a review for it. Just now, as I was searching for something else, I came across this book and I had to write about it.

Five years removed from my first encounter with it, I can safely say that it was a life changer. Like many here, I was suffering from back pain for many years, and did the whole chiropractor/muscle relaxers/x-rays/physical therapy thing, only to have my back pain come back some time later.

As I was reading this book, I was dealing with yet another episode and frustrated with the crap the doctors were slinging at me. I was skeptical, until I had the x-rays done again, and they showed that I had the problem with the exact same discs described in the book. I started listening. Then I noticed that I indeed had the worst episodes after very stressful times. I was hooked. To make the long story short, I have not had a single episode of back pain, even in the slightest, in about 4 years (it took me a year to master what Dr. Sarno is describing.)

People that rate this book low are doing it for the very simple reason - they do not get it. Many more do get it, and do free themselves from back pain - just look at the sales numbers of this book, and overall ratings.

Definitely read the book, but read it whole. There is a reason why it is so long - you have to be convinced that your back pain has nothing to do with physical state of anything. And Dr. Sarno's credentials, and arguments he is using, are very convincing. Then do a little experiment, and next time your back hurts, do not take drugs, or do your usual, just try to convince yourself that your pain is not physical. You'll see - it works, and you'll be done with it forever.

Finally, the reason why this book was a life changer for me, was because after going through it, and seeing how successful it is, I started to wonder what else am I capable of, what else do I convince myself of, and you'll be amazed at the answers.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2011
Dr. Sarno's book worked for me. Not instantly, but over the course of about a month I became basically pain free using his information coupled with observation and awareness of my mental and emotional states.
Placebo effect? I think not since it has been over 12 years since I read the book and applied his knowledge and I'm still free of the back pain that plagued me for years.
The last doctor I saw about my previous condition, a neurologist, said I would require surgery or I would end up in a wheelchair within 10-15 years. It has not happened yet and I'm involved in a vigorous boxing program at age 64 with no complications.
Bottom line, read the book, apply the principles, and you may alleviate your back pain too.
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49 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Yep. It is me against my pain and the story goes..

When I used to think of all that stuff I could be enjoing doing if not for the pain (like walking, hiking, weight lifiting,

running), I used to get even more depressed and my mind was constantly sending more

pain signals (if you will) to my lower back. I went into depression sort of. I envy seeing all those people slouch,

bend, run, dance and what not (and my pain is even more).

Even imagining lifting something as heavy as my laptop used to dread me.

I have seen doctors. I have used NSAIDs. I have gotten therapy. Gotten MRIs done. Tried alternative therapies like

trigger point therapy, yoga etc. Resulst? Zilch! Still my pain persisted.

And at times, the pain is gone and at times it was debilitating.

At times, it was in my left leg other times in my right hand. And constant nag in my low back.

And the pain used to change its target areas to thighs, ankles, hands.

Sitting 2 hours used to make my low back so hot (literally) - it used to be like a burner.

Well, all this explained me nothing. I tried to analyse the pain patterns based on some criteria - Like I have

used drugs on these days and what is my pain level. I have done therapy today, did it help? I was exerted more than usual, did it

make a difference. Absolutely NO PATTERN was established. Those days I was exterted, sometimes, are better for me than those

days that I did not. Well, you get the idea.

I bought about 10 books before I tried Dr. Sarno's. I am so gald that I have stumbled on this book rather

(No one has told me about it).

These are the steps I have performed to cure my back in 4 weeks:

[Most of the stuff is there in the book]

1. Listen to music when I can so that I concentrate on enjoying the music part (I have a desk job).

2. Watch movies of my liking (and try to enjoy the movie and ignore the pain).

3. Spend time with family/friends.

4. Concentrate on the work when I am working.

5. When in severe pain, read the reviews (positive ones which are in plenty) on Amazon.com for this book.

Yep, no kidding, it helped me a great deal. Very inspirational!!

6. Do bending, slouching and all other normal activities.

7. Take it like a game, like a challenge, me against my mind (hmm, an oxymoron?); While I was trying to put the pain to the grave,

It was kind of funny the way the pain moved from one place to another place.

8. Talk to myself to reiterate the fact that there is no pain as such. It is all a mind game!

9. Concentrate on issues, as the book says. However, when I tried to do that part,

some times, my pain used to shoot up. Its sort of as if the pain struggling for survival.

10. Hit the gym and do some moderate lifting and running activities.

11. Friends and Relatives who are aware of my pain would try to warn me and offer me assistance.

It was important for me that they don't offer that help implying I am not normal.

I told them clear not to offer me any assistance. Not that we forget we have pain, but them

to offer help makes things worse while trying to bounce back.

12.Believe that I am normal and I can do what an healthy normal being can do!

I know, its all in the book but to put it to work is a struggle!

Every one knows. Hnce I want to reiterate the point "to shrug the pain off your mind" while doing

the above activities is important.

Well, the way I looked at it was, I had no hope. With all due respect to the doctors and their degrees,

they could offer me NOTHING. Even, some used to get frustrated with me when I explain my situation or ask more

questions. Well I wonder if that's because their inability to comprehend the root cause of the problem?

And I felt the pain was so much, nothing could have made it worse and gave a shot at Dr. Sarno's theory.

Thats my story. And hope it will help you get better.

Good luck!
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