Pain Concern
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Reading Materials

Does anyone have any reading material that they have read since becoming ill? I found a book which I have just finished, which to me has some great teachings/practises. It's called "How to be Sick" by Toni Bernhard. Now this is a Buddhist inspired guide, and I realise it may not be for everyone, however I feel that some of the teachings in this book, have really helped me understand myself and put a whole different perspective on things.

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I don't think of myself as I'll but I have read a number of more or less helpful books about pain. Professor Patrick Wall was just the most wonderful man and his book The Science of Suffering is a landmark. He developed the pain gate theory. I have read two of John Sarno's books, very influential but still controversial Healing Back Pain. Also Neville Shone, an actual pain sufferer, Coping Successfully With Pain, then the one I can't remember, the New Zealand woman who was in a car crash and embraced Buddhism, which has given her a means of coping successfully - helpful, huh! I'm sure some on here will know who I mean - Vidyama Birch ? I find I have chosen the bits that I like out of all of them, perhaps not Sarno.


Those are some titles I'll have to look up. I am the same with this book I've just read, there are a few things I will take from it, and find that may be helpful in daily life. thanks for your response!


Thanks for the book tip. I googled it.

I liked her quote in one of her blogs: “Breathing in, I calm my body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is the only moment.”

I have ordered the book and look forward to reading it.


I hope you enjoy it, I know i really have! Let me know what you think!


Can you give me a reminder in about a months time. That will give me time for the book to arrive in the post and for me to compare it with the material I have read from:

A superb book on meditation and mindfulness is "Meditation_A_Way_of_Awakening_-_Ajahn_Sucitto.pdf. This is one of the few books which deal with meditation, mindfulness and posture if not the only one.

I am a student of the Alexander Technique. I have found much of the description in this book to match what I have learnt in my 30 years plus experience of the Alexander Technique and how I apply it to meditation and mindfulness.

I am a follower of the Buddhist Forest Thai tradition. Much of the Dhamma talks given by the monks I have found helpful in the way I approach my chronic pain.

I will be very interested in what you think of these publications. All of them are free to download. If you go to Chithurst or Amaravati. you can pick up the paper books for free.

I do not believe in the "pain gate theory" because it totally ignores how posture and muscle usage contribute to pain. It also ignores how we can create extra pain though how we use our minds.

I believe in a theory based on the body as an engineering system which obeys the laws of physics and engineering. I believe in something which I call a stress breakdown point. If the stress arises above the stress breakdown point then the system breaks down. So I work on the little stresses to keep the stress below the stress breakdown point.

There is an old english saying which says: "look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves" and the other one is "Its the last straw which breaks the camels back".

Look forward to your reminder.


Hello! Just wanted to check in and see if you managed to get the book and see what you thought of it?


I have read the book. It is okay for help trying to keep on top of mental anguish that goes with long term health disability.

It has a down side. It is very cerebral which is not surprising considering the person was a lecturer in law. She does not mention the importance of muscle usage and posture in managing illness. The book will push the benefits of mind in handling health disability and ignore the importance of muscle and postural re-training in managing health disability. This could have the danger of making some people's health disability much worse.

Meditation and mindfulness requires the help of teachers who practise 24/7. There are dangers inherent in meditation and mindfulness which can cause all sorts of problems. The book does not warn the reader of that.

The illness she has is similar to the symptoms of an illness that Walter Carington's mother suffered from in the 1940's. The illness was treated by FM Alexander. Walter Carington was an Alexander Teacher who died in 2005 see:

Body and Mind are related. Handling a health disability requires muscle re-education which unfortunately the writer of the book knew nothing about. Mind does influence muscle behaviour which in turn could make an illness worse or reduce the effects of an illness. Sometimes there is a very small dividing line between making something worse or better. The cause can be very subtle thing very difficult to pick up.

Jesus Christ said over 2000 years ago: "It is easier to see a spec of dust in some else's eye than the plank in your own." This is why it is important to find people with experience who can guide one with meditation and mindfulness practice.

Hope you find my comments useful.


Hi, yes, your comments are spot on. I completely agree with everything you said above. While I have used some of the teachings/practises, you are right regarding the non-mental side of things. Thanks for your comments though, appreciate you getting back to me!


I agree with Calceoria about Patrick Wall's book. It explains pain and doesn't preach at you.

I also like "The Pain Chronicles" by Melanie Thurmstorm. She's a journalist who suffers from chronic pain, so the book tells her story, but she also talks about the "history" of pain and why people have certain attitudes towards it and towards those of us who suffer from it. She also spent a lot of time with pain doctors and patients in clinics in the USA and made observations about why sometimes the relationships between doctors and patients don't work out.

I found myself reading it and thinking, "Ooh, that happened to me!" or, "That's just how I felt!" I realised I wasn't alone, or a freak. It's a very sympathetic book but also educational.


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