I had a “follow” the other day from a reader/writer named Rick, a person who suffers from a sitting disability. I read the well-written description of the problem and wanted to write an email, or leave a comment, but, outside of Social Media (aside from this blahg I am decidedly anti-social as far as Twitter, FaceBook and their intrusive intimacy-destroying, democracy-corrupting ilk go), there was no way to get back in touch with Rick L. Sekhnet, a genius, suggested I write this post. Hi, Rick.
Your sitting disability, unbearable pain when sitting for any length of time, will be familiar to my friend Rick in Poland, who has made a religion of regular breaks from his desk to walk and stretch many times a day. I read about your many attempts to cure the lumbago and sciatica — or even get an accurate medical diagnosis — and kept having only one thought: Dr. John Sarno.
Sarno recently died at a ripe old age, but he had a long (and controversial) career helping countless people who came to him in crippling pain (often related to the spine) who could not otherwise get relief or even a helpful medical diagnosis. I have a post about Sarno here, which you can read as an intro. I’ve heard (from your namesake Rick) that Sarno’s final book is an excellent source of his theory and practice.
In a nutshell, Sarno found that much crippling pain of the kind described in Sitting Disability is the result of what he termed TMS, Tension Myoneural Syndrome. The pain of TMS is the result of oxygen deprivation to the affected muscles and nerves. TMS is a psychic defense mechanism, the body creates terrible physical pain to mask equally unbearable psychic pain. Sarno found little correlation between crippling back pain and physical damage to the spine; patients with TMS sometimes had relatively undamaged spines while patients with herniated discs and otherwise damaged spines sometimes experienced little or no pain.
I find Sarno’s work, which deals with the underlying psychological causes of TMS (which is very real pain), very convincing. It is certainly worth checking out, especially since you’ve explored virtually every other cure imaginable. The connection between mind and body is more and more understood today, even as the surgical and pharmaceutical industries continue to dismiss it as hokum.
Sekhnet also recommends hatha yoga, the gentle daily stretching of all the muscles in the body. She had relief from terrible chronic back and shoulder pain when she did yoga every morning. Reminds me, I ought to get up now and stretch my back!
I’ve also heard that regular swimming is excellent therapy for sciatica. A friend’s mother credited swimming a few times a week, in conjunction with working with John Sarno, for ending her long bout of sciatica.
Good luck with it, Rick, and let me know how it goes if you decide to check out Sarno’s ideas.