09 Dec Barbara Kline
What interested you in mind/body related medicine?
I became interested in mind/body medicine when I experienced severe, debilitating back and neck pain that lasted almost two years. After reading Dr. Sarno’s book, Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection and seeing a TMS physician, I was able to cure myself using his techniques. I was so impressed with my own results that I went back to school in order to get a degree in clinical social work so that I could help others heal from their own symptoms.
How often, in your opinion, are patients misdiagnosed each year, and how can we put an end to this?
I believe that misdiagnosis is rampant. One way we can put an end to this is by educating medical doctors on diagnosing and treating TMS. In March of 2009, a group of about 40 professionals met in Ann Arbor, Michigan to pay tribute to Dr. Sarno and his work. I was impressed that these included neurologists, gastroenterologists, primary care physicians, and orthopedic surgeons along with psychotherapists, psychiatrists, and one physical therapist from England. Since then, the movement has grown to include hundreds of practitioners across the United States, Great Britain, and Australia. We are making progress. I had a client who was doing really well with accepting the TMS diagnosis and his pain was fading. However, he decided to keep his appointment with his pain medicine doctor who told him that this TMS was hogwash. My client regressed and experienced more pain. All the headway we had made was eliminated by this one doctor’s opinion. That is why I say that I believe the key to eliminating these syndromes and freeing people from a lifetime of suffering is getting more education for medical professionals. This could be coursework in medical school or CEUs. Another way could be for insurance companies to approve coverage for spinal surgery only after the patient first has psychotherapy. Currently, a patient is required to have a psychological assessment before having a neurostimulator implant, but not before back surgery. I don’t understand this.
What, in your opinion, is the most important part of starting the journey to recovery?
I believe that the most important part of starting the journey to recovery is 100% acceptance of the diagnosis that the symptoms are due to a mind/body condition. The slightest doubt will invariably delay or even prevent recovery. Next would be eliminating fear of physical activity. I tell my clients that although increased activity might HURT, it will not HARM them (this is only after conferring with their doctor). This is so important as a lot of patients have curtailed activity because of the fear of harming themselves and making things worse. Once they believe they will not harm themselves, they are better able to take steps to increase activity and as they do, they will gain confidence in the diagnosis and hope that they really can get better.