Back Pain Zombies

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Something tells me this zombie’s back hurts – a lot. This image illustrates a description Dr. John Sarno uses in his book, Healing Back Pain, The Mind-Body Connection. He says modern medical science has created an army of debilitated zombies who are wrongly convinced their back is ruined – a state of mind that actually makes their pain worse.

His solution: visualize a minor oxygen deficiency brought on by stress or repressed anger that’s making your muscles, nerves and tendons hurt (the correct diagnosis, in his opinion) – not a ruptured disk or scoliosis or stenosis – all conditions he calls “normal” that have never been proven to cause the debilitating back pain that myself and millions of others have experienced.

Simply thinking of yourself as not seriously injured will help your back recover, Sarno says, and I believe him because mine has felt WAY BETTER since I read his first book ten days ago. This strange ball-of-my-foot pain that has been bugging me for six months went away too – apparently a common reaction in people who begin investigating the mind-body connection.

I think what’s going on is I’m relaxing the muscles I’ve been using to “protect” my lower back injury for 20 years, an exercise that is allowing my body to move as it was designed to. Once I stopped compensating I pulled out of the closed pain loop I had encircled myself in and immediately began to feel better.

I’ve got to say I was a little skeptical about the repressed anger and stress cause but then I started thinking about when I first started hurting. I was a few months before graduating from Colorado College, a place I absolutely loved. I played in a band, had incredible friends, went to parties all the time (in between studying, of course!) and generally had the time of my life. Why would I want to leave that scene for the work world?

So my body rebelled, I was diagnosed with a ruptured disk and I hurled myself into a death sprial of negative emotion that had the effect of retarding any efforts my back was making to heal itself.

I’m still mad but hopefully it’s on the outside where it belongs – where it can’t cause me any more pain. I’m mad at the medical industrial complex for ushering me into back pain hell. I’m pissed at the doctors who likely sent their kids to college with the thousands of dollars my family spent on two unnecessary back surgeries. And most of all I’m mad at myself for allowing myself to join the horde of back zombies.


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