I was skeptical at first, but just reading his book and thinking through what he presented healed my lower back pain.
Occasionally I get flare ups where I'll feel a little discomfort in my arms, but reminding me of the lessons within Sarno's books makes it go away within a day at most, and ever since I read Sarno I have never felt that I was in too much pain to work on a computer.
I don't know if Sarno got everything right, but typing this comment without pain proves to me that he is on to something.
Don't suffer for years like I did! If you are interested, I would recommend watching this 20/20 segment with Dr. Sarno: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsR4wydiIBI (13m35s). If you search for "RSI" on Hacker News, there are some great threads in which Sarno's theory is discussed.
See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tension_myositis_syndrome
Given that, why are we so convinced that our mind (i.e. our prefrontal cortex, seat of "high level" thinking) _couldn't_ be the cause of persistent inflammatory pain? Do not ideas and stressors persist in our mind, just as pain might?
Sarno's simple thesis is that stress in our daily life could, in fact, be the underlying trigger for inflammatory pain. The mere realization of this, for many people, can resolve chronic pain problems that last years and are resistant to treatments that assume the cause of the issue is structural.
Here's a success story from one of the creators of EtherPad (acquired by Google) on his recovery from wrist pain (diagnosed as RSI) from reading Dr. Sarno's book:
It's not just reading the book. "Reading the book" makes you understand the way the brain works and can induce and "help" sustain "real pain" in places you think it to be. He also makes it clear that the advice "it's all in your mind" is just not going to help and only an insult to the sufferer.
If I understand correctly, he does not exclude physical examinations and advises to go through scans to determine anything serious and attend immediately. For the rest, he outlines the process by which, your brain can trick you into "induce real pain" and sustain real pain.
Any kind of relaxation or - a) reading the book = understanding the process b) relaxation/ meditation which takes away your concentration away c) letting out your aggression on some contact sports etc., can help.
After months of intense low back pain, I was recommended this book. I read it and thought it made sense. I know our mind is powerful and stress can cause dis-ease. I completely jumped into his program spite the intense pain I endured. After 6 weeks
I did not experience any shift in my pain. And, the pain intensified to the point that sometimes I couldn't even stand. I decided
to seek medical help. What I found out was that my L5-S1 disc was collapsed and the (almost) bone on bone rubbing was
why I was experiencing so much pain.
I wonder why it's at 4.5 stars.