Customer Reviews: The Great Pain Deception: Faulty Medical Advice Is Making Us Worse
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on March 28, 2012
I hate writing reviews and rarely do. But this book is so good, I had to overcome my inclination to let the rest the Amazonians put their opinions out there without a word from me. This is a very dense book, packed with information on TMS. It's only 330 plus pages, but I think the author went for the smallest margin possible to max out the words per page. It's long and took me three months to read, and I'm a fast reader. It's a wonderful resource for those new to the concept of TMS and also for those of us who need a refresher. I've read everything out there on the subject and whenever I have a flare up I pull up the old standbys and slog through. But sometimes I think I can't take reading Sarno, Amir or Sopher one more time. So I was pleased to have something new to help with a difficult time.
When I first started reading I was a bit put off by the incessant puns, thinking the book could have been cut in half without the asides and word play. But then his style grew on me, and I felt like I was picking up a letter from an old and very amusing friend.
I also have to admit I cringed at his reference to The Secret and his (presumed) belief in the Law of Attraction; hence, the 4.5 stars for invoking my gag response. I really hate that stuff. But, who knows? Maybe he's right. I'm the one still struggling while he's not.
The chapter on his life and his trials with pain is heartbreaking. Reminds me of the maid in John Irving's The World According to Garp who laments when reading The Pension Grillparzer, "Do it never end?" But then Chapter 5 saves us when he reveals how he healed. It is epic, heroic and inspiring. I'm currently rereading both chapters, even though Mr. Ozniach tells us not to. He suggests we read something else, investigate further. Too bad, I'm doing it anyway.
My husband saw the book sitting on my night stand and decided he had to have his own copy. He's one of those annoying people who recovered from debilitating pain just by listening to me read parts of Sarno's Healing Back Pain. He's a very linear thinker; it made sense, so that was it. He now likes to proselytize (without necessarily being called upon), so this will add to his arsenal of tips to the pain sufferers he encounters in his travels. Too, he'll be able to use it on me when I am beset with doubts since he has near total recall. Whew. I'm exhausted.

UPDATE TO ORIGINAL REVIEW 7/15/12: Just wanted to comment on a criticism in my original review regarding the reference to the Law of Attraction. I sent Steve an email asking him a couple of questions shortly after writing this review in which I also mentioned what I thought of the whole Law of Attraction and how off putting I found it. In less than a week, I received a very thoughtful explanation of his view, how it relates to physics, etc. I'd quote it here, but I inadvertently deleted it from my phone. So if The Secret made you laugh yourself silly like it did me, don't worry. Steve's not a proponent of the visualize-your-new-car-and-it-will-be-magically-transported-to-your-driveway school of thought.
I also want to add that my husband finally started reading the book. He is still on chapter one, But from the bit he's read he has formed his opinion: anyone who reads this book would never doubt that TMS is behind most of our present day maladies and would be cured immediately. His wife is a bit slower, but slow and steady...
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on January 29, 2012
For 20+ years, I suffered from disabling fatigue and pain (labeled by medical professionals as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and interstitial cystitis). My eyes were opened after reading books by Dr. John Sarno, which put me on the path to recovery. I've read dozens of mindbody/TMS books, but "The Great Pain Deception" is by far the MOST comprehensive one I have ever read on the subject. Best of all, it is written by a former sufferer who has overcome some of the most severe symptoms you can imagine. He knows all too well that the pain is real, and he explains the physical and psychological science behind the symptoms.

Don't let the ominous-looking cover scare you. This is an inspiring and empowering book that will give you hope that you can recover. Don't let the length scare you, either. After the first couple chapters, it's an easy read -- sprinkled with humor and anecdotes. He tells in detail how he recovered, and even shares the mistakes he made along the way.

I had new insights after reading it, and I've made even more strides in my recovery!

If you are a skeptic, read it with an open mind. You will intuitively know, deep inside, that its message is true.
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on January 1, 2012
One day in Dec 2007, I came home from my daily gym workout and sat down to an excruciating, sharp, burning pain around my tailbone. There was no physical trauma, it just came out of nowhere, At age 68, I was in excellent health and in good physical shape. I expected it to go away quickly as these things usually do. It didn't, it got worse and was triggered whenever I sat, on any type of surface, soft or hard.It has been four years since it started and it's still as intense as ever. The condition is known as coccydynia or tailbone pain. During this time,I tried pretty much every medical and alternative "solution" short of surgery; injections acupuncture,physical therapy, pain killers, chiropractic, massage, yoga stretching.
Nothing worked, the pain continued.

After the first year, I had a corticosteroid injection and x-ray by an "expert" who told me that part of my coccyx bone was "dislocated". After that I firmly believed that this was what was causing the pain, after all, he was an "expert". Around that time, I stumbled upon a book by Dr John Sarno, "Healing Back Pain", many people have been healed just be reading this book on which he describes TMS (Tension Myo-Neural Syndrome)as being the main cause of many common types of pain, the result of repressed emotions that manifest as physical pain.I was still convinced my coccyx was damaged so the book had no effect at all, except of course great disappointment which made the pain worse!

A while ago, a friend sent me an email about a new book "The Great Pain Deception"
and I got it.Over the past four years I've read about two dozen books related to healing chronic pain and I would gladly trade them all in for this one book. It is so well written, indeed, it is like a college course on the true cause of the majority of physical pains.

Billions of dollars are spent every year on pain management,the drug companies bombard us with "chemical solutions" all addressing the symptoms, surgeons replace hips, knees, shoulders, more billions, and nobody address the CAUSE of these symptoms.The author healed himself from back pain after 27 years and has done a marvelous job in detailing the process he went through.If you, or a friend or loved one has any type of chronic pain, I strongly recommend getting this book. Make sure you have a yellow marker, there are insights on almost every page that you will want to outline.
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on January 30, 2012
First of all, it is important to define "TMS" and "TMS pain." "TMS" stands for The Mind-Body Syndrome, that the mind is truly connected to the body in more ways than we can imagine. "TMS pain" refers to pain that is related to the mind-body connection and is described as psychosomatic. Psycho refers to our psyche (our brain) and soma (Latin) refers to our body. The mind is an active participant in the process of pain. Dr. Sarno states that the TMS pain is induced by the brain to distract us from repressed anger.

For anyone to hear these statements for the first time, it is possibly overwhelming and unbelievable. As it was for the author, it was for me initially. My experience with back pain was in the summer of the year 2000 when Dr. Sarno's book was number 4,000 on Amazon's best seller list for this category. Now it is a well deserved number one on the list. There is my favorite website: ([...]) serving as a forum to help people understand. You may wish to check it out to review stories from other people that have been through the process.

Someone hearing that their pain is psychosomatic or emotionally induced may react that it is the same to them as hearing that they are crazy and that the pain is not real. It is difficult to accept and many give up at this point. However, TMS pain is not only real, it is one of worst pains that we can have.

Some people contend that Dr. Sarno is wrong. Some people say that he says that the pain is all in one's head. They contend that the pain is real. Well, the pain is in one's head and it is real. All pain is in one's head. The nerves at the site of an injury send the pain message to the brain where is it felt. In the case of TMS, the nerves send the pain message from the site of an old injury or some other selected site such as an area that has never been injured.

Unfortunately, some people experience amputations. From Wikipedia: "Phantom limb pain is the feeling of pain in an absent limb or a portion of a limb. Some experience such pain for the rest of their lives." This is reinforcement of Dr. Sarno's contention that TMS pain is not related to an injury. Any pain that lasts more that two months is chronic pain and chronic pain is almost always TMS pain.

Some people, including me, believed that some injuries never really heal completely. They do. Ozanich was a big help here. I had this problem with my knee that I injured while skiing. For years the pain kept reoccurring. Once I understood and realized that it was TMS pain, it has never come back.

Ozanich does a great job in explaining all of this and why surgery does not help. If you have chronic pain this is the book for you. Be prepared for a solution that is, at first, unbelievable. Stick with it. Read it all. If you still have doubts, go to the rapid recovery website and get a feel for the enthusiasm from those who have been cured. You can be cured as well.

I wish that I had had this book at the time. It would have saved me a lot of grief and would have helped my recovery. But the principle is valid, I did recover, the pain is gone and it has never come back.
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on January 17, 2014
First of all, I truly feel the author has been on a tremendous journey, and I am glad he finally healed himself. The things he went through were pretty crazy, but he was persistent and it paid off. I think his journey is a testament to the power of focus and intention.

However, I believe the way he went about it may not be for everyone. I believe healing can be had with much less "drama". Punishing your inner child with harsh workouts is not the way to obtain peace in life, however it may have been what the author NEEDED in his healing journey to get to a place where he could heal. However, I would warn, be careful not to believe you have to do the same things.

The problem, as we all realize, is internal emotions. It is not an external issue. Yes, starting movement and exercise may help show your mind that you really don't have a physical issue. However, as the others and the author stated, it can also makes things worse for a while. Why add more pressure to an already overwhelmed mind? Putting pressure on yourself to run a certain amount or hit so many golf balls is only adding to the internal rage I believe. I think that may be why it took him longer to heal. I believe if you work on the internal stuff first, realize where in your life you are heading in the wrong direction, and focus on that part, the exercise and movement will gradually come back slowly. That was my experience, and several others as well.

I believe it was the focus on the internal stuff that helped the author heal. The rest was just added activity. Focus on finding peace in your life, focus on healing the inside, focus on soothing the inner child who has been wounded and hurt ... don't punish him/her more. Also, telling people to get off their lazy butts is not a professional thing to say. He was lucky that he had a settlement of money, he didn't have to worry about working several sitting jobs at one time. Some people have to commute several hours a day, sit at a desk, and drive several more miles home. Not everyone has the luxury to hit golf balls all day, so this is why I think his plan is not for everyone.

Again, I am not taking away from the author's journey. In fact, it just goes to show everyone's healing journey is different. We all need different things to wake us up, and force us in the right direction. However, if you truly tune into your soul/heart I doubt it will ask you to punish yourself to heal. It will probably ask you to look inside, see where it hurts, see where you need to heal, and to slow down. Buddhist monks don't run miles a day, but they are some of the most balanced and peaceful people on the planet.

I think this book is good if your mind needs more convincing your back pain isn't physical, but emotional. However, if you want a plan to follow to actually heal and find peace, health, and joy in life there are some good books out there. Either way I thank the author for sharing his story, it was one heck of a ride.
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on November 21, 2014
Since I took the pains to respond to a naysayer at length, I decided to post my response here as well:

With all due respect, it's hard to imagine you read the book, certainly not Dr. Sarno's. Dr. Sarno was (now retired) a regular-old back pain doctor whose only goal was to alleviate his patients' back pain. After years of futility, it became woefully clear to him that none of the conventional treatments that are part of the multi-billion dollar pain industry (drugs, exercise, physical therapy, injections, surgery, etc etc) worked. So he had the courage and audacity to question whether perhaps it was the conventional diagnoses (ruptured discs, spinal misalignments, various forms of arthritis, "weak back," etc etc) which were mistaken - if perhaps the whole problem was that he'd been treating his patients for the just plain wrong thing all those years.

Thus he came upon TMS. He wasn't interested in pop psychology or "blaming the victim" or anything else along those lines. He was (and is) in fact a plain-spoken straight-shooting no bull rigorous scientist searching for the truth to help his patients and nothing else. He is the furthest thing from a bleary-eyed New Age huckster you'd ever want to meet - trust me, he was not to be found at this year's Burning Man. It just so happened that TMS was the truth, and so that's the truth he had to deal with. And he's been curing thousands of patients of their pain ever since.

TMS is a specific pain syndrome in which the subconscious has set up an insidious decoy by generating REAL debilitating nerve and muscle pain in the body in order to divert the conscious mind's attention from pent up rage which the subconscious is desperate to repress. Therefore, none of the conventional treatments really work. If it seems that they have worked, usually it's because the subconscious has shifted to plan B and is busy at work on another part of the body which is now preoccupying the conscious mind (neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, TMJ, tennis elbow, etc etc.). The only thing that really works is knowing and accepting to the core of your being that it is TMS and nothing else which is causing the pain. This acknowledgment exposes and pulls the rug out from under the subconscious and eliminates any further usefulness for the pain, so the pain simply disappears. Incredibly quickly. I once cured a guy of years of debilitating pain and futile treatments, who was scheduled for a spinal fusion the next week, in one conversation in his car on his cellphone on his way home from work. And I've cured numerous others just from conversations and having them read Sarno's books. In fact, from my experience anyone who accepts the cause of their pain which, to reiterate, is VERY REAL physical pain, becomes quickly cured. And by "cured," I don't mean: it feels not perfect, but a lot better, and I have to walk on eggshells and do such and such exercises and avoid this that and the other for the rest of my life. I'm talking about 100% permanently cured - long gone, no worries ever again (except to keep an eye out for when your subconscious tries to pull that BS on you again).

Should you do the hard work and reach down deep and deal with that pent up rage with the professional help of your choosing? Absolutely, both because (1) otherwise your subconscious is going to continue to be up to its old diversionary tactics and (2) you'll be a better happier person for it. But that is not necessary to make the physical pain caused by your current bout of TMS go away - all that requires is acknowledgment of the source of the pain.

Are there other types ailments and injuries which cause pain which are still best treated by established conventional methods, for which any added psychological element can only be of tangential benefit at most. Of course. Dr. Sarno never said otherwise. It just so happens that the source of TMS, and the means to cure it, is psychological. A ruptured achilles is a ruptured achilles. Sure it helps to have a good attitude, but it still needs to be reconstructed, immobilized, rehabilitated etc, and it's gonna hurt like a mofo, you might want some painkillers for that.

Dr. Sarno saved my butt - only because of him have I been able to live a vital life over the last 25 years. He's saved the butts of countless others, and if mainstream medicine and the gazillion dollar pain industry weren't so threatened by him he'd save exponentially more butts than that. He deserves the Nobel Prize for medicine, nothing less. Read his books. Dismiss him at your peril.
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on August 4, 2014
I used to suffer from agonizing back pain in my early twenties. I was so crippled that I walked like an old man. Some of it was caused by my excess weight.
I remember feeling like my life was over, and that I would have severe pain for the rest of my life. When I went to the physicians, I was diagnosed with 2 herniated discs and they told me that they had to perform surgery.
I feared for my life because I knew that having back surgery at a young age would cause years of challenges down the road.

So I got desperate and I focused on doing everything possible to heal myself so I would avoid surgery. I went to chiropractors, physical therapists, and even a witch doctor. I tried acupuncture and hung myself upside down like a bat. I even had epidural steroid injections.

But one day, I came across a book by a man named Dr. John Sarno, which discussed how to heal back pain by using your mind.

At first, I was very skeptical, and I thought he was nuts. But amazingly, after reading his book and doing his mental exercises, I felt and experienced a huge relief in my pain.

I was so amazed that I devoured every book the man had and it totally changed my belief on the mind-body connection.

In fact, Dr. Sarno's philosophy had a huge influence on my own education and he inspired me towards getting my masters in psychology to further enhance my fitness business.

I even wrote a book about the Mind Body Solution, which is now the foundation of my health and fitness along with those of my clients.

Not thinking anything of it, I stayed pain-free for many years. Then a few months ago, I had a set of traumatic incidents that really threw my life out of balance.

Again, I started noticing more pain and discomfort. My friend Joe Polish introduced to me to a book called "The Great Pain Deception" by Steven Ray Ozanich. As I started reading this book, it enhanced my mind again.

It was probably one of the most comprehensive books I've read about healing pain and the mind-body connection that I ever came across.

As soon as I got my copy, I literally finished it in a few days. It really took my mind to the next level and I highly recommend it to you. If you are dealing with any type of pain, or if you know anyone that's in pain and is desperate for a solution, this book will totally change your mindset.

It will also give you new insights on the medical community. I mean, it will save you thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours wasted away at Doctor’s offices.

I have no affiliation with the author and I hardly know him other than reading his work, but I wholeheartedly recommend his book. It will blow your mind.
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on November 12, 2013
I just can't possibly thank Steven Ozanich enough for giving me my life back. I have suffered with TMS most of my life but it became extremely chronic 2 1/2 years ago. I had a heachache that lasted almost two years, every day, at an average a 7 on a scale of 1-10. And that was just the most chronic symptom - I also had daily neck pain, lower back pain, sciatica in both legs, random joint pain, dry eyes, chest pain, heart burn, and an overall body pain so debilitating that came on with fatigue. I was a my most desperate moment after seeing over 25 doctors who diagnosed me with so many different things and told me I would always have chronic pain, when I came across Dr. Sarno's books. I immediately got better but I had hit a wall after a few months and my lack of progress was frustrating me. I came on to Amazon to see what other book I could read and when I read this book's reviews I immediately became hopeful again. Reading this book was like a miracle for my recovery. I immediately connected with Steven and realized what I was doing wrong. I was only half way through the book when I realized my symptoms were almost entirely gone and I had for the first time in almost 3 years a pain free month!! I still have some progress to make but I have no doubt that I will be completely healed. I work out every day and do Bikram yoga again. I am so excited about my life. If you suffer from TMS please don't give up hope. Read all of Dr. Sarno's books and buy the audio versions too. And then read Steven's book. His story is insperational and he is a true testament to the fact that we can all heal from TMS - no matter what our symptoms.
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on February 15, 2014
I really like Dr. John Sarno's work in TMS (tension myositis syndrome), so I was interested in The Great Pain Deception when I noticed that Dr. Sarno had written a recommendation for it. Mr.Ozanich does a very good of describing TMS in detail and how the syndrome substitutes physical pain for emotional pain. His recollection of his own struggle with TMS is very sincere and well-written. However, I felt that the book suffered from lack of editorial oversight. He might have conveyed the information in half the length of the book. And the puns, although initially very amusing, began to really irritate me.

I would recommend it to someone who wants to read of another person's struggle with TMS, but I would definitely recommend them first to Dr. Sarno's work first.
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on August 1, 2014
I read Sarno's "The Mindbody Prescription" and "Healing Back Pain," and my excruciating back pain disappeared twelve years ago almost overnight. It was TMS! Since then, I got older and experienced more pain and figured it was the effects of aging, but no...I am reading "the Great Pain Deception," and my 13 month bout with debilitating wrist pain (both wrists) and the "OA" causing stiffness and limited ROM in my knee since winter is disappearing as I read. WOW! I feel so stupid for being duped again by my repressed emotions, but better enlightened and pain-free and feeling stupid, than remain in pain thinking: I am just getting old and that means debilitating pain. Do yourself a favor, buy Sarno's books and this one, too! Orzanich goes into so much detail, but it is worth it. Just his history with TMS cited in Chapter 3 is worth the cost of the book! If he can heal and remain pain-free, so can we!
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