I'm Cecilia Collar

I help people

free themselves

from pain 

I'm Cecilia Collar

I help people

free themselves

from pain 

TMS is a relatively new disorder that has recently been recognized is the Mind-Body Syndrome, also referred to as the Tension Myositis Syndrome. The condition was recognized and fully described by Dr. John Sarno, a professor of rehabilitative medicine at the New York University.

Dr. Sarno’s work to provide nonsurgical chronic back pain relief

According to Dr. Sarno, chronic lower and upper back pain originates from a psychogenic cause. Since this revelation by Dr. Sarno, a lot has been written on the subject, but the topic remains controversial. Nevertheless, Dr. Sarno has achieved national recognition because his treatment strategies have been more successful in providing chronic back pain relief to patients compared to other conventional therapies. Some notable physicians who support TMS include Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Andrew Weil. Some well-known celebrities who have been treated by Dr. Sarno include Anne Bancroft, Howard Sternand, and Senator Tom Harkin.

Another world-renowned neurological surgeon and researcher and a pioneer in the treatment of pain and use of hypothermia is Dr. Hubert L. Rosomoff. His contribution to the field of pain management is legendary. He developed the technique for hypothermic neurosurgery, and he was one of the first medical scholars to recognize the fact that a surgical approach is not always the best option for low back pain. He founded the Miami Pain Center and treated patients without surgical intervention.

The premise behind TMS is that it is our brain’s strategy to keep our unconscious mind from transferring unpleasant feelings and emotions to our conscious mind. To do so, our brain creates pain as a distraction. And so, patients focus all their attention on their physical symptoms while their emotions become repressed. If we eliminate the pain, we can allow patients to focus on their emotional issues and address them so that they can get long-term relief.

TMS Symptoms

Back pain

Back and neck pain

Back and shoulder pain

Back and upper arm pain

Back and hip pain

Back and knee pain

Weakness in legs and arms

Tingling sensation

Burning sensation

Muscle stiffness

Intermittent numbness


It is important to note that an important characteristic of TMS is that the symptoms are not localized to one body position but may move to different parts of the lower back and extremities. Most people do not find an improvement of the symptoms with changes in body position, use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications or bed rest. That is precisely why Dr. Sarno’s treatment methods have been found to be so effective compared to conventional therapies for chronic pain.

TMS Causes

There is no concrete and verifiable cause of TMS. Since there are no physical findings, there are no abnormal imaging tests or pathology reports detailing what happens in patients who develop this disorder. Dr. Sarno believes that the cause is related to a surge of emotional neural activity which presents itself as physical pain and other related symptoms. It is believed that the unconscious mind manipulates the nervous system by altering the blood supply to the tissues, causing oxygen deprivation and hence pain. Emotional issues that can lead to excess neural activity include anger, rage, and extreme anxiety.

Common TMS Pain Symptoms


      • Back Pain
      • Neck Pain
      • Pelvic Pain
      • Whiplash
      • Tension Headache
      • Joint Pain
      • Chronic Tendonitis
      • Vulvodynia
      • Foot Pain Syndrome
      • Piriformis Syndrome
      • Sciatic Pain
      • Repetitive Stress Injury
      • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
      • Fibromyalgia
      • Disorders Mediated Through the Autonomic-Peptide System
        • Insomnia
        • Tinnitus
        • Frequent Urination
        • Irritable Bladder Syndrome
        • Most Cases of Prostatitis and Sexual Dysfunction
          • Tension Headache
          • Migraine
          • Hiatus Hernia
          • Peptic Ulcer
          • Reflux
          • Mouth Burning Syndrome
          • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
          • Colitis
          • Anxiety
          • Dizziness
          • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
          • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Diagnosing TMS

To date, physical exams and imaging tests have not demonstrated any specific findings that could help identify the underlying cause of TMS. That is why diagnosing it can be fairly difficult. Also, the symptoms can mimic other medical disorders like arthritis, disc herniation, cancer, collagen vascular disease, and fibromyalgia, etc.

However, Dr. Sarno has devised some steps that can help diagnose TMS. These include:

Imaging Tests

The first step is to eliminate other known disorders of the back through the use of imaging tests like the MRI.

Patient History

The second step is to obtain a history of psychosomatic disorders. A large majority of patients with TMS also complain of psychosomatic disorders like a tension headache, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, etc. These disorders become worse during times of stress and anxiety.

Tender Points

The third step is to look for tender points similar to the way it’s done in patients with fibromyalgia. The six key tender points of pain are located in the following areas:

            • Two points of localized pain in the upper trapezius muscle (just behind the neck)
            • Two points of localized pain in the lower back
            • Two points of localized pain in the buttock area

These six tender points of localized pain are frequently found in all patients with TMS.

TMS trained providers

Finally, Dr. Sarno emphasizes that for accurate diagnosis of TMS, it is important to consult healthcare providers who are trained in TMS. Most traditional healthcare providers have little idea about the syndrome and are more likely to consider that the patient has arthritis or muscle pain or spinal cord disease. Unfortunately, modern psychiatry is still stuck in the 19th century and refuses to believe that the psyche could induce emotional states such as anxiety or depression. No matter how far healthcare progresses, healthcare providers continue to believe that every disorder has a chemical cause.

Do these treatment strategies work?

There are several anecdotal reports that indicate that the treatment of TMS is successful in about 57% of patients with chronic back pain.  One large study revealed that treatment consisting of writing, office visits, education, and psychotherapy resulted in marked improvement in patients with low back pain.

It is important to understand that the treatment protocol as outlined by Dr. Sarno and as implemented by his followers is different from conventional medicine. However, since conventional therapy has failed to provide effective relief to patients suffering from TMS, it is evident that Dr. Sarno’s treatment techniques work. These TMS treatments are non-invasive and help you address internal issues that are bound to provide you with a sense of well-being and relief in addition to relieving your chronic pain. The treatment strategies used for TMS are especially effective in patients with chronic pain who are unresponsive to other traditional treatments.

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