So way back in 1997, I picked up a book, “Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection” by Dr. John Sarno, and read it. My interest was more than academic. Since 1982, I had been coping with ongoing low back pain, which substantially impacted my quality of life. While I could run, I could not do any form of bent-over rows without support to my back. Deadlifts were Russian roulette, and I avoided them. I spent much of the time in some belt to compress my core, which relieved the pain somewhat. This was a miserable, disabled way for a 30-year-old to go through life. Sarno’s book changed my life. Upon just reading it, my back pain largely disappeared. I’m not a new age devotee, nor do I believe in quick remedies for life’s ills. To me, the quick way or the easy way is never the right way. Yet, even before adopting some of his advice to stretch, give up alcohol, etc., the chronic, severe pain that had hounded me for 15 years just quit.
Ten years later, I was re-discovering Runner’s World and running itself. During the first 5 to 10 years of my renewed subscription, the magazine ran two articles by two different authors on their reactions to Sarno’s book. Both cases were different versions of my own story; just reading the book or being his patient substantially relieved the pain.
Decades have passed since I read his book and those articles in Runner’s World. As our memories fade, Denise had come to doubt the accuracy of mine. She’s now suggesting that my Runners World articles may be fabrications of my mind. While I’m the first to admit that I believe some of my memories may not map very well onto events, I also think I can recollect important events very well. Validation of my experience with Sarno’s book is important. We get old. Who’s to say what was real and what has been embellished by our minds over the years?
This month, the New York Times came to my rescue: “I have to believe this book cured my pain.“