Dr John Sarno & Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) Explained

Dr John Sarno & Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) Explained


The late Dr John E. Sarno is a pivotal figure
in pain management. His controversial books on the psychological
origins of chronic pain sold over a million copies and he cured thousands of patients
from chronic pain. This included celebrities such as Anne Bancroft,
Larry David and Howard Stern. Revered by some as a saint and dismissed by
others, Dr. Sarno maintained that most non-traumatic instances of chronic pain — including back
pain, gastrointestinal disorders, headaches and fibromyalgia — are physical manifestations
of deep-seated psychological anxieties. Dr. Sarno, who specialized in rehabilitation
medicine, developed his theories over almost 50 years at New York University School of
Medicine. He gave the various forms of chronic pain
the collective name “tension myositis syndrome” (T.M.S.), which, apart from its psychological
roots, he attributed to mild oxygen deprivation caused by reduced blood flow to muscles and
nerves throughout the body. He said most of his patients improved simply
by learning and thinking about the psychosomatic connection to pain, and that others recovered
by journaling regularly and, in some cases, doing psychotherapy. During his time in practice, Dr. Sarno conducted
two follow-up surveys of his patients to gauge the effectiveness of his treatment approach. The first, conducted in 1982, selected 177
patients at random, of which 76% reported being pain free. The second study was done in 1987 and focused
on 109 patients who experienced back pain. In this survey 88% reported being pain free. Dr. David Schechter, who practices Sarno’s
techniques, also conducted similar follow-up surveys on his patients, and reported a 57%
success rate among 85 patients. In 2010, Dr Howard Schubiner – who is the
founder and director of the Mind Body Medicine Program at Providence Hospital, conducted
a Randomized Control Trial on the effectiveness of the Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) approach
in treating fibromyalgia patients. This study was the first TMS-specific research
study to use a RCT, the gold standard of the medical community. The study was conducted on 45 randomly chosen
women who had fibromyalgia. The treatment consisted of just a one-time
consultation followed by 3 weekly, 2 hour group lecture sessions explaining TMS. After a 6 month follow up, 46% of the participants
reported a pain reduction of at least 30%. Since pioneering our understanding of the
mind body connection, many other scientists have gone on to develop a deeper understanding
of how we need to take a more complete approach to chronic pain management. Appreciating that chronic pain is the result
of both biological and psychological factors. This is known as the biopsychosocial model
and it’s how we treat those in pain through the Pathways program. If you’re in chronic pain, download the
Pathways app for free on the Apple AppStore or Google Play.

5 Replies to “Dr John Sarno & Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) Explained”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *