Pain, Emotions, John Sarno

Pain, Emotions, John Sarno

It has been a long time since I’ve posted anything to this blog. What originally was intended to be a platform to self-publish my book/ short stories became a repository for my thoughts and feelings on politics, and the occasional essay about god knows what.

Right now I am sitting at work, reading about and researching something called TMS, which is an acronym for Tension Myoneural Syndrome. A concept that I was only somewhat familiar with less than a month ago.

Right now it is a major fascination of mine, and at the same time I am actively avoiding talking about it with my friends and loved ones. Typically, when I become excited about something I have a habit to go all in researching it, and usually I can’t help but talk about my newest interest.

TMS is different. It is different, because it feels like forbidden knowledge. If you talk publicly about it people may think you’re a crank, or a huckster. The concept, chronic pain isn’t the result of structural abnormalities (at least not typically), but instead by emotions and various types of psychological trauma.

The person most associated with this idea is the now deceased Dr. John Sarno, M.D. He was a maverick in the medical field who was preaching about the mind body connection before it became fashionable in the last 10-years.

Medical doctors hated him, even called him a quack, but time and time again he proved them wrong. He had treated and helped thousands of people with only an idea. The idea being that the pain, although real, is the result of your repressed rage and emotions.

This inner rage restricted blood flow to the certain parts of your body in order to divert attention the underlying emotional issues a person was experiencing.

Whether it was a slipped disc, a torn rotator cuff, or a sore neck this idea managed to help countless people. Among them were celebrity patients like Howard Stern, Larry David, Sen. Tom Harkin, news reporter John Stossel and more.

The treatment was simple: read one of his books, attend one of his lectures, journal about your feelings, meditate, and immediately resume exercise. Sarno believed that the pain was caused by emotions, but the location of it was based on whatever ailment was in vogue at the time.

I’ve read two of Sarno’s book, and I’m now on my third. Although, the books are not the most well written or even academic, his concepts and ideas are blowing my mind. Maybe I was a sucker, but TMS seems to fall in line with things I’ve noticed in myself and my own pain.

I’ve had a chronic back pain since I was about 21, and the pain has only progressively gotten worse since I’ve gotten older and taken on more responsibility. However, the pain could be dampened at times when I engaged in relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing. So naturally, I was susceptible to the idea that pain is as much a learned behavior as it is a result of physical trauma.

As much shit as Sarno might’ve received for his ideas, there is something to be said about the research that seems to support his ideas. I’m not a medical professional by training, but the countless research articles available at has me convinced that there is maybe something to this.

For some people it is easy to jump all in on this sort of stuff. For me it has been a little more difficult. I’m typically allergic to anything that has the feel of pseudo new age spiritualism, or even organized religion. It may be a limiting factor in my own recovery, still with the growing research and celebrity testimonials I find myself improving slowly day by day.

The daily journaling helps, even though at first it was an uncomfortable practice. As a faux-macho man, writing and reflecting on my feelings and past trauma was extremely uncomfortable. However, now it has become just another part of my day, and when I don’t get to journal something about me just feels off.

Perhaps the most profound effect from reading and studying Sarno and his books has been in the gym. I feel less fearful when I’m lifting a heavy weight, or running a long distance. I’ve always seemed sort of injury prone, nothing serious, but a rolled ankle or sore wrist is pretty common for me.

Knowing what I know about pain now, I feel more confident to attack a work out knowing that I can talk my way out of the occasional boo-boo I’ll experience.

Whether you believe any of this shit or not is up to you, but at the very least I encourage you to read one of Sarno’s book and to watch the documentary All the Rage if you are experiencing any sort of physical pain in your body.

All the Rage – Trailer from rumur on Vimeo.


Wrestling Is Fake! But Back Pain is Not

Wrestling Is Fake! But Back Pain is Not

Since my early twenties I have suffered from various levels of chronic back pain. It is a thing that I have never been able to shake, part of which is my own fault, and the other part of it being the modern sedentary lifestyle we all seem to live.

I am now 30, and I can’t remember a day since I was 21  where my back didn’t hurt. I never let this handicap me, I continue to pursue athletic goals, and I eschew pain medication in most instances despite being a good candidate for them. Continue reading “Wrestling Is Fake! But Back Pain is Not”

The Power of Boredom

The Power of Boredom

This is part of a series I hope to do about the things that I find help with developing creativity and inspiration. I am calling this series Spark!. Enjoy.

There is something very powerful about being bored. I don’t know why, but sometimes I have my best ideas when there is nothing going on. The only problem is I am almost always distracted by something, and I have at times had to engineer my life to create peak boredom in it.

You might be asking yourself why I would do this? It may sound insane, but I have a very well reasoned and thought out answer for this. The main reason is I do it for creativity and inspiration. Continue reading “The Power of Boredom”

Advice about taking advice from religious leaders

Advice about taking advice from religious leaders

I recognize that in life there is a need for  authority figures, some people shouldn’t be left to their own devices, these are the people that fuck vacuum cleaners and live to tell the tale. People who aren’t ironically named Bubba, and put chrome parts on their tractor.


It’s pretty popular to be an anti-authoritarian, there is certainly a need for that as well. Things can always be improved, authority figures become corrupt, and assholes like me will write articles about it. Thanks Obama [said with sarcasm]!

This article walks a line, a line that I know will piss off all sorts of people. It deals with religion, and it deals with authority. If you are a silly person, and probably an anarchist, you’re either pissed or confused. To you I say keep up the good fight, fuck the man, and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and be sure to drop me a line on your iPhone 10.

I’ve probably just insulted a handful of friends. I promise though this article has purpose, and will eventually make sense. The purpose of this article deals with something I have thought very deeply about, in fact some people might call me the deepest thinker [said with a perfect Donald Trump impersonation]. However, like our president I’ve hardly thought about this at all.

Really, it is just a thought that occurred to me during a conversation this past Easter. It has to do with religious authority and original sin. Continue reading “Advice about taking advice from religious leaders”

Wrong is wrong

This article is a little late, I wrote it last week, and apparently never got around to publishing it. Still I think it is interesting to think about, and I’m still appalled by the Trump administration and what they did and are doing at the border.

I think the issue of borders and immigration is a tricky thing. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. Whether open borders are good or bad is tough for me to say. I don’t have hard numbers in front of me, and although I typically like to think that I am a rational enough thinker on many things, the last several days have been an emotional roller coaster. Continue reading “Wrong is wrong”

Facts, Feelings, and Their Denial

Facts, Feelings, and Their Denial

It seems like all the smart conservatives are fleeing from the party. Yesterday, I saw news of several prominent republican intellectuals denounce their party. I guess throwing Mexican children in a cage was finally going too far.

Thanks to Washington Post reporter Max Boot for giving me the heads up on this. Continue reading “Facts, Feelings, and Their Denial”

Indefensible: Children in Cages

Indefensible: Children in Cages

I’ve done a lot in conversation, and on this site to defend Trump supporters. I don’t defend him, I never have, I’ve pretty much thought he was a turd from the beginning. His supporters though, I tried my best to give the benefit of the doubt. They’re not bad people,  there were real tangible reasons to possibly vote for the orange goofball.

We don’t all see the world from the same point of view, and despite me thinking Trump supporters are hopelessly naive. I wasn’t willing to end friendships over political differences, and attempted to see things from more than one point of view.

Whenever I try to argue for Trump supporters my brother always leaves me with this bit of wisdom.

“Not every person who voted for Trump is a racist, but all racists voted for Trump.” Continue reading “Indefensible: Children in Cages”