Can angry emotions trigger pain? John Sarno, M.D., thinks so.
The author of The Mindbody Prescription (Warner Books, 1998) [ 1 ] The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain
ISBN-13: 978-0446675154 and a physician at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine in New York City, Sarno says pain occurs when anger repressed in the unconscious tries to surface. Anyone can have this anger and not know it. You may have had a childhood trauma. Or you may be a perfectionist who represses anger that stems from not being able to live up to your own expectations.
Anger can accumulate and simmer over a lifetime, Sarno explains. When it threatens to boil over into consciousness, it becomes rage. Your conscious may be able to deal rationally with this degree of anger, but not, he maintains, the irrational unconscious. Instead the unconscious creates physical pain to distract the conscious from contending with all that rage.
Sarno theorizes that emotions trigger the part of the central nervous system that decreases circulation throughout the body. Decreased blood supply means tissues and nerves receive less oxygen and fewer nutrients, which can cause pain.
Sarno finds that many patients are able to eliminate their pain merely by recognizing this connection between emotions and the body. Other times, psychotherapy or similar approaches are needed. For information on Sarno's pain-treatment program, contact his office at 212-263-6035.