Joan Rothchild Hardin
“All the Rage” – a Film about John Sarno & His Work on How We Express Unresolved Emotional Pain
“All the Rage” – a Film about John Sarno & His Work on How We Express Unresolved Emotional Pain as Physical Pain
Dr John Sarno was a doctor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and, from 1965 to 2012, practiced at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University Medical Center.
He started out his medical career in the usual way, offering the standard pharmaceuticals and surgeries to his patients, until he came to understand that medicine had gotten it all wrong, that many types of people’s chronic pain, particularly back pain, are caused by repressed emotions that produce stress on the physical body, leading to chronic pain.
At this point, his thinking did a 180 – toward focusing on what FUNCTION chronic pain serves for us. And from this vantage point, he developed a radical approach to rehabilitation medicine, advising his patients to look into how their minds and bodies are connected and, by doing that, decrease and often completely stop their discomfort through recognizing their repressed emotions – especially their repressed angers – as the source of their chronic pain.
Sarno’s mind-body understanding of pain was viewed by his colleagues as radical, which it was only in that it was at odds with medicine as practiced by his peers, who focused on trying to alleviate symptoms with surgeries and drugs. Most of his colleagues regarded him as a charlatan.
Sarno’s first books, Mind Over Back Pain (1984), Mind Over Back Pain: A Radically New Approach to the Diagnosis and Treatment of Back Pain (1986), and Healing Back Pain (1991) were greeted as godsends by people in chronic pain and were translated into many languages.
His third book, The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain (1998) was similarly welcomed and was issued in nine other languages.
His final book, The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders (2006) came out in four foreign editions.
“ALL THE RAGE: SAVED BY SARNO”
And now there’s this fascinating documentary film about Sarno and his ideas, All the Rage (Saved by Sarno).
Watching it may change your life.
“ACCORDING TO THE INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE, OVER 100 MILLION AMERICANS SUFFER FROM CHRONIC PAIN. PAIN IS A BIG PROBLEM. CHRONIC PAIN IS CRIPPLING AMERICA. THE CURRENT COST OF TREATING CHRONIC PAIN HAS SKYROCKETED TO CLOSE TO A TRILLION DOLLARS A YEAR. THIS NUMBER DWARFS THE COSTS OF CANCER, HEART DISEASE AND DIABETES COMBINED. CHANCES ARE THAT YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING SOME FORM OF CHRONIC PAIN.
“He changed shock jock Howard Stern’s life. Veteran Senator Tom Harkin was inspired to campaign for his cause, and he gave comedian Larry David “the closest thing to a religious experience” he’s ever had. Dr. John Sarno’s bestselling book “Healing Back Pain” was first published in the 1980’s, and when co-director Michael Galinsky’s father read it he was cured of chronic whiplash. The book – which connects pain with emotions rather than structural causes – put Sarno at blunt odds with the medical system, which shunned his unorthodox approach. Many years later, when Michael was immobilized by excruciating back pain, he met with Dr. Sarno and was put on the mend. Thus began a 12-year odyssey to chronicle his personal journey of healing with the story of Dr. Sarno and his work. This artful and personal film, “All The Rage,” braids Galinsky’s universal story of pain and emotion together with the story of Dr. Sarno’s work, connecting the audience to both the issues and the emotions at play. Featuring interviews with Howard Stern, Larry David, reporter John Stossel, Dr. Andrew Weil, Senators Bernie Sanders and Tom Harkin, and other luminaries, ALL THE RAGE offers a profound rethink of our health care.” (Rumur, Inc., 2017)
Others interviewed by filmmaker Michael Galinsky in the documentary include author Jonathan Ames and Dr Gabor Maté. Galinsky’s feature film Battle for Brooklyn was shortlisted for an Oscar in 2011. He was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2013. The official trailer gives the flavor of the film:
Screenings of All The Rage: Saved by Sarno can be arranged in your city through alltheragedoc.com/host-a-screening. You can also check that site to see if there’s already a screening planned in your area.
COMMON METAPHORS FOR MIND-BODY PAINS
We acknowledge the phenomenon of expressing our emotions through physical pains in expressions like:
“He’s a real pain in the neck.”
“She’s such a pain in the butt.”
Both refer to a person or situation we find chronically irritating, aggravating, or obnoxious.
A MIND-BODY PAIN WEBSITE
I was poking around the net looking to see if I’d missed a way to get a copy of All The Rage (Saved by Sarno) and came across this useful mind- body pain site: The Tension Myositis Syndrome Wiki. They also host The Mindbody Syndrome (TMS) Discussion Forum.
In memory of John E. Sarno, MD (June 23, 1923 – June 22, 2017) for his great contribution to medicine and quality of life. He retired from the Rusk Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University in 2012 and died at 93 – just one day before his 94th birthday and the release date of this documentary about him. 7/13/2017 UPDATE As far as I know, this film isn’t available now on Netflix, anywhere else online, or for purchase as a DVD. There’s another, completely unrelated movie also called All The Rage that came out in 1998. And there are a few books with the same title – also unrelated to this documentary about Dr Sarno. 7/15/2017 UPDATE I’m told that joining DVD.com, an affiliate of Netflix, will allow you to rent a physical DVD of this film. You get an initial trial month for free if you sign up for any of their plans: Starter plan costs $4.99/month. Standard plan is $7.99/month. Premier plan is $11.99. You can see details of each plan on the website. My deep thanks to Ellen Saltonstall for many things, including bringing this film to my attention. REFERENCES
DVD.com. (2017). See: https://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/All-the-Rage/80192072?trkid=201890448
Galinsky, M. (6/23/2017). All the Rage: Saved by Sarno. IMDb. See: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5272796/plotsummary?ref_=tt_ov_pl and AllTheRage.com http://alltheragedoc.com
Rumur, Inc. (2017). All The Rage Doc. See: alltheragedoc.com/host-a-screening
Sarno, J.E. (1986). Mind Over Back Pain: A Radically New Approach to the Diagnosis and Treatment of Back Pain. See: https://www.amazon.com/Mind-Over-Back-Pain-Radically/dp/0425087417/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499642472&sr=1-1&keywords=Mind+Over+Back+Pain Sarno, J.E. (1999). The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain. See: https://www.amazon.com/Mindbody-Prescription-Healing-Body-Pain/dp/0446675156/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0446675156&pd_rd_r=Q62FR3Z9W3JW3GRGB2MA&pd_rd_w=Csc56&pd_rd_wg=6qBOk&psc=1&refRID=Q62FR3Z9W3JW3GRGB2MA
Sarno, J.E. (2007). The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders. See: https://www.amazon.com/Divided-Mind-Epidemic-Mindbody-Disorders/dp/0061174300/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_3?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0061174300&pd_rd_r=E0N44KNEWGT03H3HV57B&pd_rd_w=gaNdA&pd_rd_wg=C2WyH&psc=1&refRID=E0N44KNEWGT03H3HV57B Sarno, J.E. (2010) Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection (Mass Market Paperback). See: https://www.amazon.com/Healing-Back-Pain-Mind-Body-Connection/dp/0446557684
The Tension Myositis Syndrome Wiki. (2016). See: http://www.tmswiki.org/w/index.php?page=The_Tension_Myositis_Syndrome_Wiki The Mindbody Syndrome (TMS) Discussion Forum. (2016). See: http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/ © Copyright 2017. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Comments submitted prior to 8/25/2021
Fascinating! Sorry to learn he’s gone, but what a long and productive life! Ironically, since being taken off so many dangerous meds including the most common migraine med and placed on gabapentin and magnesium oxide to reduce inflammation and pain, I haven’t had a migraine, and my arthritis and fibromyalgia are much better. No. Ore asthma symptoms
other than a cough once in a while. Has it all been repressed anger? Maybe, but also sadness and some fear for the future for my loved ones and myself. Daily Metta and mantra meditation help me stay grounded and in the present.
In reply to Sonnische.
In talking with his patients, Sarno found that long repressed angers from childhood were the most common feelings that create tensions in the body and manifest as chronic pain. He also noted that other long repressed feelings – such as sadness and fear – could cause the same effect. He cured his own allergies by regarding them as a version of Tension Myositis Syndrome (mindbody pain)
From the back cover of THE MINDBODY PRESCRIPTION – HEALING THE BODY, HEALING THE PAIN:
“Musculoskeletal pain disorders have reached epidemic proportions in the United States, with most doctors failing to recognize their underlying cause. In this acclaimed volume, Dr. Sarno reveals how many painful conditions-including most neck and back pain, migraine, repetitive stress injuries, whiplash, and tendonitises-are rooted in repressed emotions, and shows how they can be successfully treated without drugs, physical measures, or surgery. His innovative program has already produced gratifying results for thousands of patients.
The Mindbody Prescription is your invaluable key to a healthy and pain-free life.”
From an Amazon review of HEALING BACK PAIN – THE MIND-BODY CONNECTION:
“Healing Back Pain promises permanent elimination of back pain without drugs, surgery, or exercise. It should have been titled Understanding TMS Pain, because it discusses one particular cause of back pain–Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS)–and isn’t really a program for self-treatment, with only five pages of action plan (and many more pages telling why
conventional methods don’t work). According to John E. Sarno, M.D., TMS is the major cause of pain in the back, neck, shoulders, buttocks, and limbs–and it is caused not by structural abnormalities but by the mind’s effort to repress emotions. He’s not saying that your pain is all in your head; rather, he’s saying that the battle going on in your mind results in a real physical disorder that may affect muscles, nerves, tendons, or ligaments. An injury may have triggered the disorder, but is not the cause of the amount or intensity of the resulting pain. According to Sarno, the mind tricks you into not facing repressed emotion by making you focus on pain in the body. When this realization sinks in (“and it must sink in, for mere intellectual appreciation of the process is not enough”), the trick doesn’t work any more, and there’s no need for the pain. (Healing Back Pain should not be used for self-diagnosis. Always consult a physician for chronic or acute back pain.)”
Thank you Joan for this great information, sadly it is not available as yet in Canada. I would have gladly organized a showing but the movie doesn’t have a public license as yet. Look forward to seeing this. Thank you for your great newsletters.
In reply to Jayne Williams.
Thanks, Jayne. I’m just curious: When you tried to arrange hosting a showing of the film in your Canadian city on http://alltheragedoc.com/host-a-screening, was there a way to let Gathr know to contact you when the film gets a public license?