So the vast majority of Back Pain experienced in America is psychosomatic.
Now, a lot of people tend to look disparagingly on this and similar statements, thinking that calling all this pain “imaginary” is desultory and just plain wrong. This perception is due to the connotations of the word “imaginary.” People who experience back pain typically respond this way, and there is a strong inclination to do so because our society denigrates hypochondriacs and stigmatizes those who suffer from imaginary or self-inflicted conditions. It’s contrary to the rugged American independent spirit, you know.
However, what is pain itself, but a psychological affection? The body’s nerves responding to pain stimuli… Pain as such does not exist outside the brain.
So, this back pain is all very real: in itself it is what pain is. There should be no surprise in learning that it can be caused by other than direct, exterior physical causes. There is great precedence and evidence for this…
I had a very real experience with back pain about ten years ago. I was lifting a boat (yes, a boat, actually a pontoon of a boat) onto the rooftop of a car, when it began to slip out of my hands. (It was a quite awkward shape, although not too heavy, supposedly only 75 pounds or so.) As it slipped down, I caught it with my knee and tried to boost it. At that instant, my back gave out, and I had terrible spasms and pain in my back.
Over the next few weeks and months I was an invalid. I could barely move without triggering painful spasms in my back that immobilized me. After diagnosis, X-Rays, some treatment, the doctors wanted to operate. They had found a bulging disc in my spine, as well as some other irregularities in some of the L vertebrae.
Not confident in these doctors I had just met, and not convinced by the diagnosis, I sought multiple opinions. It turned out to be a wise decision. Imagine my surprise when the diagnosis, even from the same X-rays, varied wildly. Doctors could not agree on what was actually causing the problem, and their pointing to oddities in my spine seemed like grasping at straws.
At some point, after having suffered for quite some time and going through quite laborious processes for simple things like getting up out of bed, picking up shampoo in the shower, and getting in and out of the car (first one leg, then the other, then swing the hips around, keeping the back straight, and then lifting)… at some point I ran across John Sarno’s Healing Back Pain, the first book listed below.
That afternoon, after reading the book, my spasmodic back pain cleared up. Dr. Sarno presents a compelling, fact-based argument about the true nature of the vast m,majority of Americans’ back pain. He draws on extensive experience and patient cases, and since almost all Americans do experience or will experience back pain in their lives, this affects the entire country. It also means that thousands of surgical procedures and millions of dollars of medical fees are needlessly done and spent (though, as Dr. Sarno explains, relief is sometimes felt from these procedures, generally due to the patients’ conviction that the procedures helped more than anything else).
I have Paper-Back-Swaped for the other two books listed below, but have not read them yet. Since my back pain was cleared up instantly and completely in an afternoon, and has not recurred in more than a decade, I feel I don’t have much more to practically gain from delving in further, although it remains an area of keen focus and rewarding evangelization for me.
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