I have to quote a passage that I read from the book The British Holistic Medical Association: Beating Back Pain by Dr John Tanner. What I like about Dr John Tanner’s book is that he is a qualified practitioner in orthopedic medicine and psychology. He goes into in depth discussion on matters related to back pain- from diagnosis, clear description of various causes and the role of holistic cures in relieving the conditions.
In one of the chapters, he related psychological factors as one of the possible reasons of back pain. He told a story of a patient who was wrongly misdiagnosed as having multiple sclerosis but it was actually due to years of repressed emotions:
“One young woman came to me with a multitude of symptoms affecting her whole back, neck and shoulders, with a disturbed sensations in her arms and pain even into her buttocks and legs. Over the previous years these had come and gone, irregularly and inexplicably, with varying severity. She had consulted other doctors about her symptoms before coming to my surgery. On examination, there was no identifiable structural problem in the spine or in any other joints, but there was a fair amount of tension in the muscles.
The key to diagnosing her problem lay in understanding the reasons for this excessive tension. Her background history revealed that she had lost her father in her mid teens and apparently never reacted to the usual way by grieving. Two or three years later she became pregnant while unmarried and was persuaded by her mother to have the baby adopted. Over the following year or two, she developed the set of symptoms already described, and was investigated medically and diagnosed as suffering from multiple sclerosis. Shortly after this, she married and became pregnant again. On medical advice, both she and her husband agreed to have the pregnancy terminated. Presumably it was thought that she would not be able to cope with the baby in the future if her medical condition deteriorated.
All this emerged whilst I was examining the muscles by hand and providing a gentle but deep massage. As her story poured out so did her feelings about the past and her fear of the label multiple sclerosis. A week later, she reported that 90 percent of her chronic symptoms had disappeared. After one or two more treatment sessions, mostly spent on counselling, with some simple massage, it became more evident both to her and myself that her body had manifested the suppressed grief of three major traumas in a set of symptoms that had been mislabeled by the medical profession. Consequently, she began to feel that it was extremely unlikely that she had ever suffered from multiple sclerosis in the first place, which was another fear dispelled. “
I have just seen in Aljazeera channel that research is also indicating that there is a link between multiple sclerosis and the virus that causes chicken pox. What the researches did is that they took spinal fluid samples from a controlled group of MS patients and put in an electronic microscope. The samples were magnified 40 times and they find strains of the same virus that causes chicken pox. I looked this up in the internet and managed to locate the article: Varicella-zoster virus in cerebrospinal fluid at relapses of multiple sclerosis. It is hoped that an effective vacine can one there be developed to prevent MS.
As such, for those who are diagnosed with MS, there is no harm to done to dig deeper and examine the cause of it- is it due to repressed feeling/grief/trauma? Many times, if the emotional factors are taken care of, the condition may subside or one can see a marked improvement.
This makes me want to share a real life story- in a small town in Thailand, I met a young girl. Her father had knocked her head with a hammer and she was admitted to hospital. But permanent brain damage had occurred- and she had lose her intelligence. Her parents tried to get rid of her by sending her to a monastery. This girl stayed in the monastery, and all she did was helping out mostly in physical labor. But she was working alongside with everyone who was staying in the monastery- so in a sense, she was not treated like a slave or something. She was treated kindly and equally.
After a few weeks, her condition had improved- she became much more cheerful and happy as the result of people being kind to her. She was happy to help out and work- she felt a sense of belonging. Even though she had lost that ability to think like a normal person, the acceptance feeling she felt made her much more cheerful.
Then, seeing her condition had improved, her parents took her back home (they make her work like a slave in the fields) and mistreated her again. She started to grow a bit crazy- her parents send her again to the monastery. And after a few weeks, she improved again- she had not wanted to go home anymore.