Fibromyalgia Treatment Success Stories

The Mind Body Program has been, for many, an effective and natural treatment for Fibromyalgia pain. Relief from debilitating, chronic pain makes a world of difference to quality of life. Read the accounts of patients who have found relief from fibromyalgia with this natural, medication-free therapy.

Interview with Fibromyalgia Patient, Holly and her mother as well

Holly’s story:

The spring that I was 16, I was a sophomore in high school and things were going well. I was a straight A student, ranked second in my class. I had started a new job at a produce market. My mom and I had just gotten two new puppies that we were training together. In the past year I had developed some knee problems, which made it hard to train our little dogs and uncomfortable for me to walk or bend at times, but I did my exercises and made the best of things.

Everything changed in May that year. Over the course of one week I was struck first with severe lower leg pain, then arm pain, both right and left. I could barely walk and was hospitalized overnight for tests, including an MRI and a spinal tap. The tests were inconclusive so I was started on medication and sent home. I also developed other symptoms: Rapid heartbeat, dizziness, hot and cold flashes, cold feet, tingling in my hands, headaches, difficulty concentrating and severe fatigue. My neurologist did not know what was wrong with me, so two months later my parents and I drove 12 hours for me to be seen at the Mayo Clinic. Over five days the doctor did many more tests, but they were completely unable to make a diagnosis.

I saw a number of other doctors over the next 2 years. I tried many other treatments including different medications, physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, antibiotics, a special diet and some alternative therapies. Sometimes when I tried a new treatment, I would get 30-70% better, but it only lasted for about 8 weeks and then I was right back where I had been. After acupuncture on my back, I developed lower back pain that soon became intense and constant. A diagnosis of fibromyalgia was finally made, but even the specialist at a major university medical center offered little encouragement, only telling me to take my medication and try to be as active as possible. It was very depressing to say the least.

My last two years of high school, I was rarely able to attend classes. Most of the time it was too painful to drive, to sit in class, to go up and down stairs, and to take notes. I did my work primarily from home, but it had to be limited because I had so much pain in my arms when I tried to write, and because I was always so tired. I missed all the school activities I had been looking forward to, including a much anticipated school trip to Europe. I did graduate with high grades, but not with the honors and scholarships I had hoped for. I lost all my friends except one, and had no social life. The only things I could do for "fun" were watch movies at home or read.

By the time I graduated from high school two years later, I had adjusted to my symptoms to some extent, and I was determined to go to college. I had to let go of my dream to go to the university my mom had attended; instead I attended a smaller university closer to my home. The first semester was very difficult, and I had to drop a class in order to keep up in the other classes. I made it through my first year with high grades, but I had no friends because I couldn't socialize due to constant pain and fatigue.

Last fall I started my second year in college, and soon my mom started telling me about this idea she had found about chronic pain being caused by underlying emotions. I thought that it might apply to other people, but not to me --- my pain was REAL and not "in my mind." She really wanted me to do some writing on past emotional issues, but I thought it was a bit crazy. I was also afraid of a getting my hopes up, getting better and then getting worse again as I had in the past. Finally a few weeks later, we discussed it again and she suggested that I consider just trying Dr. Schubiner's course over my holiday break. I had been thinking about it some more, and had decided that maybe I should give it a try. One of the major reasons I reconsidered the idea was that my mom had reminded me that when I about 10 years old, I had suffered from abdominal pain for about a year. It gradually became so severe that I missed a lot of school (and I was a kid who absolutely loved school!). After many tests, the doctors at a major university medical center did not know what was wrong, so my parents took me out of state to another specialist. This specialist said that I had an oversensitive nervous system in my gut, misinterpreting normal sensations as pain. He prescribed an antidepressant that helps with pain and strongly advised my parents to take me to a counselor. After a month on the medication, my pain was pretty much gone. The doctor didn't explain why I should have counseling, so we never pursued it. Now it made sense – he knew about MBS and knew that I needed to address my underlying emotional issues. It seemed possible that it was all TMS, and that my abdominal pain had changed to other symptoms such as headaches, itchy eyes, lower back pain and knee pain, and finally severe widespread pain at age 16.

Over my holiday break I worked on Dr. Schubiner's program. I watched most of the videos and started writing. After I had written on emotional issues about six times, I started getting worse. I was more painful and some of my old symptoms returned, like the hot and cold flashes and cold feet. I saw Dr. Schubiner and he told me that I was on the right track, to just maybe take things a little more slowly. I wrote about ten times before going back to school in January, then I wrote a few times a week. Once I started writing, I realized that I had kept a lot of my emotions inside. We had been dealing with a number of health and other stressful issues in our family for many years. I didn't want to make things harder for my family, so I tried to be a "good girl" and never complained, got angry or showed that I was sad or upset. I kept everything inside.

For three years I had used an ice pack on my back every single day to numb the pain, and after working on the program for about six weeks, I didn't need the ice anymore because my back no longer hurt. My energy level started to increase, and my arm and leg pains became much milder.

My life has completely changed. In the past four months since I started the program, I have joined a university service group. Each week I work a number of hours at a community event, something I never could have done before without terrible pain during or afterwards. It is a lot of fun and I am finally making new friends. I also have a serious boyfriend now, and it is so great to spend time with him, his friends and his family like a "normal" person. I am hoping to get a summer job babysitting. I am confident that next year I'll be able to handle a more normal course load in college, and I am planning on going to graduate school in some area of health care.

Sometimes I still get pain in my arm or leg, or a bad headache, but I know it's because I haven't written in awhile. Once I start writing again, I feel better. After nearly four years of constant pain and fatigue, I finally have my life back thanks to Dr. Sarno and Dr. Schubiner.

Holly's Mother's story:

I started having some right hip and leg pain that bothered me at night. I tried to ignore it but it continued to get worse over the next few months, making it difficult for me to sleep. My doctor said it was a sacroiliac problem and I was sent to physical therapy. The physical therapist told me to do hip and leg stretches every day and also to be careful not to stand with one hip cocked, and don't lean or sit crooked or cross my legs – watch my body position all the time so my SI joint wouldn't get out of alignment again. It got somewhat better but still bothered me. Then when I was looking for information to help my daughter's back pain, I discovered Dr. Sarno's books. I read several of his books and others on TMS. I was fascinated with the possibility that many chronic pain conditions like my own were emotionally based. Twice in recent years I had had stomach problems that I had finally figured out were caused by stress; one time I just couldn't eat more than a few bites at a time for a few weeks, and I started losing weight. I finally went to the doctor and he ordered some tests; but then suddenly I could eat just fine. I realized it was because the stressful event had passed. This experience made the idea of TMS very believable to me.

I found Dr. Schubiner's course online and decided to sign up for it. I was very busy at work and at home so, once I had read all the materials and watched all the videos, I wrote two to five times a week. Within a month my hip and leg pain were completely gone. It is now five months later and the pain is still gone. I have other occasional symptoms of TMS including headaches and upper back/shoulder pain, and when they flare up, it is always when I haven't written in awhile. It is very reassuring to know that I don't have to fear chronic pain in the future, having these wonderful techniques to treat or prevent the symptoms of TMS. But the best part is how learning about TMS has helped my daughter!

Fibromyalgia in a 42 year old woman

Click on the play button to listen:

I am so glad I found you and your course! It has certainly helped me make tremendous progress in a short time, when I thought I would never see any improvement and I was getting beyond despair. After the first three weeks I was operating at 75-80% of my ability, with pain no more than a 2-3 and often 0-1 on a 1-10 scale (with 1 being the best), and before I started the course I would say I was at 50% of my ability with pain as high as 6-7. I also started to regain the ability to do things that I could not do before, like sit for more than 15-20 minutes at a time with no pain upon getting up, where by week two I could sit for an hour at a stretch multiple times a day with no pain getting up.

After months of ongoing pain with no end in sight (as the traditional doctors and even alternative practitioners could find nothing structurally wrong with me, and didn't know what to do with me anymore), I finally found dramatic relief, as well as hope and confidence that I will eventually have this go away completely. It was especially interesting to me that your course helped so much given that I had already read/used several other TMS resources from other doctors and other lay people who had recovered and shared their stories, but I just wasn't getting any better. They just didn't really have a comprehensive, structured program that really told you specifically what to do to get better on so many fronts like yours did. I truly believe it is the best TMS resource out there today. I can't thank you enough for your caring and innovation.

Monica K. Aged 42

Fatigue and Fibromyalgia in a 46-year-old woman

Three years ago I changed to a more physical job and immediately began to have hip pain. Physical therapy did not help and the pain continued to worsen. Within six months my back and joints ached everyday, I could barely walk a flight of stairs, and I was exhausted by midday. Four specialists and three courses of physical therapy later, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I began to understand the emotional stresses that contributed to the hip problem. I had been in a difficult marriage for years, moved out of state, lost my mother suddenly, and then experienced a divorce. That lead to parenting two boys on my own, financial concerns, moving two more times, and resuming a full time professional career. I continued to search for recovery. The medical management of the symptoms helped, but did not alleviate the persistent pain and exhaustion.

Dr. Schubiner's one night informative session on chronic pain caught my eye. At this session, he had some very convincing statistics about Tension Myositis Syndrome and theories about why pain may be so persistent. I signed up for his Mind Body Medicine program and at the initial individual consultative session, we investigated the widespread pattern of pain. He helped me understand how my thought patterns were helping to keep a chemical cycle of pain going. I began to experience a lessening of headaches and joint pain immediately. Following two more sessions focusing on meditative practices and journaling to express anger, I was feeling 'lighter' and less tired. I understand now how much I was contributing to the ongoing symptoms and what I can continue to do to feel physically 'normal' again. Dr. Schubiner's workshop was probably one of most important pieces of work that I did to regain my health and energy. Thank you Dr. Schubiner!!

Mary W.

Fibromyalgia and sciatica in a 38 year old woman

Dear Dr Schubiner, Thanks you so much for your encouragement to challenge myself to take control of my pain. I have been in pain for as long as I can remember. My pain has been from the top of my head to the bottom of my toes and I often felt like I had run 20 miles without any training. It made even getting out of bed difficult many mornings. I am so thankful that I was able to take your course in the comfort of my own surroundings and to spend some time mending "me" instead of everyone else for a change. I was quite challenged by some of the homework, as it made me face some very strong emotions in regards to my childhood and the abuse I had suffered. I would have told you prior to going through the workshop that I had already dealt with much of my pain. However it was not until I started the TMS Workshop that I discovered that I had been carrying so much pain and grief all these years, and that I was totally unaware of this great burden. I was told I had fibromyalgia, sciatic pain that ran down my right leg and depression where every thing seemed quite hopeless. I remember complaining of pain in my back when I was just 5 years old. I lived with incredible stress all my life because of the abuse. In my 20's, I decided I needed medical help so I sought out a primary care provider, a Physical Medicine doctor and a Rehabilitation Physician. I was prescribed many muscle relaxants and pain meds including Valium, Vicodin, Flexeril, Demerol, Soma, Ultram, Halcion, Robaxin, Ketoprofen and Darvocet with very little improvement. The only thing I received from the medications was a bleeding ulcer. I also received physical therapy which included ultrasound heat, massage and stretching. When this was unsuccessful, I moved on to hydro-therapy and myo-fascial release which again did very little for the pain. My pain was so severe some days that I would lie in bed curled up just hoping that I would feel better tomorrow. I went to the emergency room several times but I was unable to even describe how severe my pain felt. On most days, I refrained from any kind of strenuous activity because I was afraid that I might get a "flare up". When I was referred to you I must say I had doubts that my mind had anything to do with my pain, but I had exhausted all of the other traditional methods and wanted to feel like the healthy person I knew was inside. The TMS Workshop as been my far the best treatment I have ever done. It has reduced my pain and given me a sense of a long-term solution! It was not easy to keep going some days because it was difficult to see my issues in a way that I was not used to. But I was determined to work hard as I was ready for some real relief. Within the first week, I noticed some improvement in my pain. By the second week, my pain had gone from a daily pain level that hung around a "7 " on a 1-10 pain scale to about a "4." I am now feeling 95% better and the sciatica pain is gone! I have started to become more active and have had no "flare up" pain. I would have never dreamed that I could have this kind of success in a very non-traditional kind of treatment, but it works! My mornings are more energetic and I feel less stressed in my daily activities. I feel like I have improved substantially with huge pain reduction! Thank you so much for believing I could get better and for the compassion that you expressed to me!

Laurie J.

Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and foot pain in a 58 year old woman

Books have always been great sources of information for me. I picked up Dr. John Sarno's book "The Divided Mind" and saw myself and my personality characteristics written there. I had been suffering with fibromyalgia, plantar fasciitis and fatigue, amongst other conditions. As I read the book, my fibromyalgia began to get better. I got on the internet and found Dr. Schubiner's name and phone number, contacted him and checked out the website. We met, I took his class and my life is different now.

The foot pain had bothered me for years. It began suddenly on a hiking trip (not able to hike very much on that trip!) I realize now that I was very angry at my partner, who was emotionally and financially not standing on his own two feet. After receiving the diagnosis of plantar fasciitis, I did physical therapy and got othotics, but the pain continued. While taking Dr. Schubiner's class, I happened to be at the gym and was just idly wondering why my foot pain wasn't going away, when so much other pain was getting better. A little inner voice prompt arrived: "I'm tired of standing on my own two feet, I've done it since I was little. I want someone to take care of me". The foot pain immediately disappeared, but started to creep back. Now, however, it is mostly gone; the other day I was amazed to realize that I had been walking all day, and didn't think of my feet at all.

The fatigue was the worst symptom for me. I realized that I was holding on to a great deal of unforgiveness and resentment toward myself and others. The journaling exercises in the class were very useful; pain began to move around in different areas of my body. I had jaw pain as I was writing because I realized that there were things that I had never said out loud to that particular person, and I was clenching my jaw. I was able to forgive and let go. At this time, I was also diagnosed with a sleep disorder. When I was placed on medication, my sleep improved and my fatigue diminished. Dr. Schubiner said that the medication was all right as long as I needed it (although he added that this particular sleep disorder was also part of TMS). I continue to work with the writing exercises and the mindfulness meditation and look forward to more energy. I am also working on not always defaulting to the "nice" person persona. Thank you Dr. Schubiner. You are an excellent physician and course leader.

Linda H.

Fibromyalgia in a 45-year-old woman.

The diagnosis was Fibromyalgia. It took about 10 years before I was given that diagnosis, but when I did I was finally glad that someone put a label to a very painful, and at times, strange condition I had. I had a great variety of symptoms such as pain all over my body, fatigue, sensitivity to smells and lights, headaches, and many more. Some days I would feel better than others. I was told there was no cure and that I would have to learn to cope with pain and to maintain myself as much as possible, which would determine my daily quality of living. I could take over the counter drugs or a prescription of Motrin 800 mg. to help with pain. I was prescribed antidepressants to help with my sleepless nights. I received physical therapy and even participated in a sleep clinic (which didn’t help).

My life has consisted of many personal traumas. Emotional and painful traumas. Life changing events that consumed me most the time. I had several losses and events that would become very important characteristics of my identity. I would have to endure one loss and soon another would be around the corner to greet me. I always felt that I had a great network of friends and such a deep faith in God that I would be OK. However I now see that I chose to hang on to my pain as some type of security. It was a part of me, and now I know I used it to validate my feelings, as something to say, "Hey, look at me, I feel the pain too". It was a learned trait to suffer and cling to the turmoil and emptiness of loss.

I continued to search for an answer. No one knew the root cause of fibromyalgia and only offered aid to temporarily try to relieve symptoms. I went to seminars, tried special diets, took the mild pain meds, and tried mild tolerable exercise. Then one day I saw on a segment of the noon local news a new treatment offered by The Mind Body Medicine program of Dr. Schubiner. The segment said that people with pain and particularly fibromyalgia were finding relief through journaling. Writing their thoughts and getting out their feelings on paper provided a channel of relief and discovery. I was very interested and searched the website extensively to find some information that finally led me to contact him about the program.

I was interviewed and accepted into the workshop that Dr. Schubiner was offering. I somewhat knew what to expect with journaling, but I was nervous. I knew that if I went through with this, it meant a commitment to "lay down my pain;" my emotional pain. I had suffered enough and carried a consuming load for too long. I wanted to rid myself of my agonizing physical pain and learned I had to release my hurts and sadness as well. I committed to muster up some bravery and work the program. I am so thankful I did.

I believe I have trapped all my emotional pain and chose to lock it away and it had nowhere else to go but to manifest itself in my body. No wonder fibromyalgia is such a mystery. No one I had ever dealt with in the medical community had ever mentioned the power of the mind body connection and the affects it could have.

Through the writings, the self-discovery, the meditation CD, my willingness to be well, and God’s instrument through Dr. Schubiner and his kind spirit, I am in a much different place now. The cell doors of my imprisonment of pain have opened and I am practically pain free. I have learned to not shove down my pain and to know my feelings are important and very real. I continue to practice what I have learned through the workshop which was one of life’s greatest "gifts" to me: the gift to heal and the permission to let go. What joy to not be in constant pain! When moments arise when I feel some type of pain setting in, I stop and ask myself, "what is bothering me right now?" I try to be ever so aware of my surroundings and situations and then say to my pain, "Oh no, you will not be a part of me, I know what this is about!!!" I then am able to stop it in its tracks and continue on my journey of healing.

Marla R.

Fibromyalgia and migraine headaches in a 52-year-old woman.

In order to heal yourself from fibromyalgia and other TMS symptoms, you have to look at the truth in your life, no matter what it is. If you live an illusion, you will never reach the end you seek. Once you make the decision that you will live in truth, there's no going back.

I wanted to hear the truth and to speak the truth. It is very difficult at times, but I have had to choose either the path that everyone else takes or the road that was right for me. I have decided to live in truth and in integrity; and even if I have to walk along this path alone, I must do it. I wanted a measure of peace in my life. I wanted to find peacefulness and gratitude. The only way that I could find peace was to find the truth.

In this program, I have learned the truth about my life and myself. I have learned things that I needed to learn and I have made difficult, yet important, decisions about my life and my relationships. To have health in our bodies, our minds need to be at peace. As I have found peace, I find I like myself more and I find that my body is healthy again. Thanks to this program, my bodily pain, my headaches, and my fatigue are so much better.

Barbara B.

*The personal stories are from actual course participants and are used with permission. The names and photos have been changed to protect confidentiality.