Can more joy, excitement, and enthusiasm mean less tension pain? We know from personal experience that the happier we are, the less tense we feel.
How about pain? Can it actually mean zero pain? Can creating a massive amount of joy, excitement, and enthusiasm eliminate chronic back or neck pain?
There was a time that I would have been hesitant to answer yes to above questions. However, my personal experience with disabling chronic pain and rapid recovery made me realize that indeed creating a massive amount of positive emotions can mean becoming pain-free.
How It All Began
My experience with chronic pain and disability began as a simple case of back pain. Over time, due to improper diagnoses and inappropriate treatments, I developed pain in my neck, knees, elbows, and one shoulder, as well as pain and numbness in my legs, arms, and hands. I suffered from gastritis due to my use of prescription and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. I was constantly in pain and became severely disabled. At one point the pain was so severe that I was not able to stand or sit for more than fifteen minutes at a time, climb three steps, walk farther than one hundred yards, carry more than four pounds, lift a milk container, or even write two lines. The most painful part was not allowing my children get too close to me.
My life became limited in ways that I had never imagined. I could not work and was faced with serious questions about my career, my future, and my life, especially as a husband and father. All this—and I was only thirty years old.
I was seen by general practitioners as well as back specialists and even a nationally known orthopedic surgeon. Each one had his own diagnosis. I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the spine, degenerated discs, sprained back muscles, pinched nerve, herniated discs, leaky discs, and piriformis syndrome as possible causes for my back and leg pain. I was given a wide variety of different medications and treatments, some of which caused more pain and disability and made my condition worse.
Early in this painful and often frustrating ordeal, I discovered that the medical professionals themselves were baffled by back pain. Not only did they have difficulty making an accurate diagnosis and prescribing effective treatment, but they were incapable of providing satisfactory answers to my simplest questions about back pain:
Why are the majority of people with back pain or chronic pain less than fifty years old?
Why, unlike a broken bone, back pain does not heal, instead, often lasting for years?
If weak muscles are the cause, how strong do back muscles have to be for one to recover? Do we all need to become bodybuilders to be free of pain?
If improper sitting and bending can damage the back, why aren’t gymnasts and other athletes, who put tremendous pressure on their spines, suffering from debilitating back pain?
To these and many other questions, which appeared simple enough for back specialists and experts to answer, the responses were unconvincing answers shrugged shoulders, or simply: “Well, that’s how back pain is!”
In the face of the medical community’s apparent ineptitude in treating back pain—and the fact that some of the treatments prescribed for me actually made my condition worse—I realized that I could no longer afford to be a passive patient.
Search for Answers
I began to take an active role in my diagnosis and treatment and tried to become an informed consumer, searching the available literature for a cure to my disabling condition—a condition so prevalent that it has become a national health problem. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of treatments for back, neck, and hand pain is quite disappointing.
“Surgery has been found to be helpful in only 1 in 100 cases of patients with low back pain. In some people, surgery can even cause more problems.” So concluded the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after conducting a comprehensive study of more than 10,000 cases of back pain.
“Injecting methylyprednisolone acetate [cortisone] into the facet joints is of little value in the treatment of patients with chronic low back pain.” This was the conclusion of three studies published in The New England Journal of Medicine and Annals of Internal Medicine.
“Treatments [for whiplash-associated disorders] evaluated in a rigorous manner show little or no evidence of efficacy.” This finding was the result of an exhaustive study conducted at McGill University. Researchers found treatments ranging from a neck collar to traction to be of little or no value.
“Correcting carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common operations performed today. The only problem is, it often doesn’t work,” concluded researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
“Up to 85% of back pain cannot be given a definitive diagnosis.” According to one of the foremost authorities on the subject, Richard Deyo, M.D.
(Please visit fredamir.com and watch the two videos on pain facts your doctor may not tell you for more information.)
Even though these facts have appeared in some of the most authoritative and prestigious medical journals, you will not learn this crucial information from most specialists, inside or outside the medical profession. Indeed, these treatments are used so widely that you may be shocked to learn that they don’t work in the majority of cases!
The more I studied the medical journals and scientific literature, the more I came across such studies and I realized that what we really need is an accurate diagnosis. Lack of a correct diagnosis is the number-one reason why this condition has become a major health problem. As mentioned earlier, as many as 85% of patients with low back pain never receive a definitive diagnosis. Without a definitive diagnosis, a cure cannot be expected. Once we have the correct diagnosis, the solution can be quite simple!
Finally, An Answer
After months of searching and reading, I learned about the work of John Sarno, M.D., a professor of rehabilitative medicine at New York University, who was also trying to determine the correct diagnosis. He too was disappointed with the failure of common treatments and realized the need for a new understanding.
As he looked deeper into the medical histories of his patients, Dr. Sarno discovered something that is often neglected by medical professionals. He noticed that 88 percent of his patients had histories of disorders such as migraine headaches, colitis, stomach ulcers, hay fever, asthma, eczema, and high blood pressure. These disorders were strongly suspected of being caused by chronic repressed anger, anxiety, worries, frustrations, stress, and tension. Dr. Sarno wondered whether, in the same way, that chronic anger, anxiety, worries, and frustrations can cause physiological changes leading to these illnesses, back pain could also be a physical manifestation of negative emotions.
So, he put this new diagnosis to work and began treating his patients accordingly. At first, the majority of his patients felt there was not enough stress and tension in their lives to cause their pain. Many of them believed that they were handling their teenage children, problems at work, and marital problems effectively. They didn’t realize that these difficult situations were creating a great deal of anger and rage, internally causing pain in various parts of their bodies.
Dr. Sarno named this diagnosis Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS). Once Dr. Sarno treated back patients for this new diagnosis and not for some structural abnormality, his patients began to recover. In fact, 98 percent of his patients with confirmed cases of herniated discs recovered without surgery—certainly a much better result than the 1 percent success rate experienced with surgery.
I know what most of you are thinking: “Not me!” That was exactly my response to the notion that tension and stress were causing my pain. Being a calm, positive person who rarely gets angry or tense, I was quite skeptical about whether Dr. Sarno’s findings applied to me. It is well known that stress and tension can aggravate back pain and many other disorders. However, could repressed anger, anxiety, worries, and frustrations be the actual cause of so much pain and disability? I figured I had nothing to lose by keeping an open mind and learning more. At the very least, maybe what I learned could help someone else.
As I learned more about Dr. Sarno’s explanation of the pattern of pain and why the pain moves around and becomes chronic, I found convincing answers to all my questions and more. I began to see why so many people between the ages of 25 and 50 facing career and family responsibilities suffer from chronic pain; why, unlike a broken bone that heals, back pain becomes chronic and can last for years; why we do not see an epidemic of disabling back and leg pain among Olympic and professional athletes who put tremendous pressure on their spines; and why, because the mind/body connection is so often neglected, the causes of as much as 85% of back pain are not clear. Dr. Sarno’s explanation, of course, makes it clear why surgery and most treatments directed at correcting “spinal abnormalities” fail to help most people.
My Rapid Recovery
With this new understanding, I combined his treatment program with my knowledge of psychology and many years of personal experience with the workings of the mind to design an effective nine-step rapid recovery plan. This plan enabled me to begin my journey toward a pain-free and able life immediately. Employing techniques used by Olympic athletes and high achievers, such as visualization and goal setting, I began to create a massive amount of positive emotions, such as joy, excitement and enthusiasm, and reverse the physiological changes that caused chronic pain.
My improvements could be seen daily and astonished those who knew how disabled I had become. Within the first hours, I was able to stand, bend, sit, and sleep comfortably. The next day I was able to walk without a limp and go shopping at the mall. The climax of my recovery was when, less than two weeks later, I was able to carry both of my children, each weighing over forty pounds. This I had not been able to do for over two years due to pain in my back, legs, knees, and arms. It felt wonderful. And in four weeks, I began taking karate lessons.
The climax of my recovery was when, less than two weeks later, I was able to carry both of my children, each weighing over forty pounds. This I had not been able to do for over two years due to pain in my back, legs, knees, and arms. It felt wonderful. And one month later I began taking karate lessons.
But there was more. I had suffered from hay fever for seventeen years and had taken antihistamines to control my sneezing and itchy, watery eyes. However, with my new understanding that hay fever is one of the many disorders caused by tension, by using the strategies in my nine-step recovery plan I was able to eliminate it quickly.
Then, during a routine eye exam, the ophthalmologist told me that my eyes were fine and I no longer needed the reading glasses I had been wearing for the past fourteen years! I was so surprised that I sought a second opinion. The second ophthalmologist confirmed the diagnosis. I discovered that tension played a key role here too. In fact, decades ago, noted ophthalmologist Dr. William Bates recognized the relationship between tension and nearsightedness and other changes in the eye refraction. He designed a program for reversing the effects of tension on the eyes and eliminating the need for glasses.
Needless to say, at times I was amazed and overwhelmed by these improvements in my health in such a short time. I was also so excited about my discovery that I began sharing it with everyone I knew—and they too recovered rapidly!
In order to reach more people, I taught seminars and workshops and explained my system in my book, Rapid Recovery from Back and Neck Pain: A Nine-Step Recovery Plan. By the grace of God, I have received emails from readers from around the world who have recovered rapidly by reading my story and applying my rapid recovery plan. To read their stories, please visit
So, what were the causes of anger and tension in my life, which were the real causes of my pain? They had to do with my marriage and my parents. They were nothing out of the ordinary. We all experience problems and tensions in our relationships with our parents, spouses, children, friends, and co-workers; what is important is to realize the limitations in our capacity to please others and to cope with chronic stress.
It is vital to understand that, as calm and in control, as we might appear on a conscious level, there is a part of us all deep within, on the subconscious level, that may resent certain aspects of a relationship or a situation, be it at home or at work. Unless those troubling issues are resolved through mutual respect and good communication, or through positive changes in our circumstances, it is quite natural to expect physical manifestations of the repressed anger, anxiety, and tension in the form of bodily aches and pains.
Moreover, there are certain negative mental and negative habits that can act as TMS triggers and lead to pain and other physical symptoms. They include worrying, anxiety, depression, negative thought patterns, self-pity, and more. When I recovered from TMS I promised myself to never again go through that experience. So I searched for the most effective strategies that prevent TMS.
As the Rapid Recovery coach, for more than twenty-five years I have helped my clients to replace their TMS triggers with positive, constructive, and empowering mental and emotional habits. I have seen how they have flourished when they applied the proven, effective, and fun strategies I explain in this book.
Case in point: Rachel Bowen, a fitness instructor from Georgia, contacted me to help her recover rapidly from the back, hip, and leg pain. She also had twenty years of anxiety disorder and sleep issues. Here is what happened when she applied the strategies I explain in this book:
“As a fitness instructor back, hip, and leg pain limited my activities. The pain and burning sensation were so bad that at one point I rushed to the emergency room for treatment. I also suffered for twenty years from an anxiety disorder. You can imagine how hard it was to live with all that anxiety and pain. Fred helped me to get rid of my symptoms quickly. In fact, I noticed significant improvements the next day. Now I am pain-free, sleep better, have tons more energy, and once again am teaching all my classes, including kickboxing. Thanks, Fred.”
How did she do it?
All she did every week she applied one simple strategy and developed new positive and empowering mental and emotional habits that transformed her life. She took a few seconds or minutes a day, depending on the strategy, and practiced them daily for a week and then applied a new one the following week.
How effective is it?
A Hollywood actor initially learned about my work through my book Mesh-Free Hernia Repair (Available to read for free at Later he read Rapid Recovery from Back and Neck pain that helped him with his chronic back pain. He contacted me to coach him to better health. One of his TMS triggers was negative thoughts. He had been plagued with negative thoughts since childhood. I taught him how to stop negative thoughts in one easy step. He told me in our following session how this strategy had helped him stop the negative thoughts completely and allowed him to finally finish the manuscript for a movie. This strategy did for him what years of cognitive therapy, psychoanalysis, and other therapies had not.
What can it help?
If you are experiencing any of the following, you can expect major improvements in
Negative thought patterns
and other negative thoughts or negative emotional habits
You can also, augment what you learn in this book by listening to the related audio recordings of live webinars at fredamir.com/podcasts.
How does it work?
These strategies are easy, effective, and really fun. But there’s a catch! You need to practice them daily to get great results. Like most people, I lead a busy life and do not have time for strategies and techniques that are time-consuming. That is why you will find the strategies in this book take little time and give great results, just like my Rapid Recovery plan!
I chose to include only five of my most effective strategies here that have proven to work for my clients so that you will get fantastic results in the shortest amount of time. Practice what you learn in each chapter for one week before you move forward with the next one. You will notice immediate positive changes in your mental and emotional health that can become more permanent within four to six weeks.
What You Can Expect
In Chapter One I will show you why it is important to turn stress and tension into sources of energy and excitement. This is a very effective and empowering strategy that I have personally developed based on how Arnold Schwarzenegger deals with and Thomas Edison dealt with problems and life challenges. It has completely transformed my life and the life of my clients; it will completely transform your life as well. When practiced daily it can build your confidence, make you more resilient, increase your energy, make you unstoppable in the face of obstacles, and much more. It will help you effortlessly prevent as well as overcome incessant negative thoughts, worry, anxiety, depression, stress, and other TMS triggers.
In Chapter Two you will learn about the three sources of subconscious anger and rage that can create a massive amount of tension and how you can easily stop them. It will build on what you learn in Chapter One and take it a step further to ensure you enjoy true joy and happiness in your life every day. Unless you learn and apply this daily you will always experience tension and pain in your life.
In Chapter Three you discover a powerful strategy for stopping negative thoughts. The first two steps are what I call the one-two punch for overcoming most negative thoughts and emotions. However, after practicing the first two steps if you need additional help, this strategy will give you an added tool to obliterate those negative thoughts. You see, when you have one negative thought, if you don’t stop it, it can lead to another and another and another to create a massive amount of anger, anxiety, and lead to TMS. So it is crucial to stop negative thoughts. It is said that happiness is the absence of negative thoughts.
Chapter Four will show you how to conquer worrying. Practicing the first three steps will help you free yourself from this destructive mental habit. If not, no worries (Lol), this chapter will show you how you can wipe away worrying.
Chapter Five reveals how you can upgrade your mind's operating system. Just like how everything in a computer runs based on how the operating system works, your thoughts, perceptions, and actions (helpful or harmful) have much to do with what operating system is running your mind. This chapter will empower you in simple yet amazing ways.
Perhaps one of the best benefits of learning and applying these strategies is that you can expect to master your emotions to such a great extent that you can become truly happy. And that happiness means you can help you tame your TMS triggers and live pain-free.
But Frist Answer This
To begin, please complete the TMS Triggers questionnaire. Rate each category from 1-10. After you apply the strategies in this book rate each category again and see how much you have improved. My clients have seen fifty to eighty prevent improvement in just four weeks. You can complete it at fredamir.com/tmstriggers
I look forward to hearing from those readers who want to share their experiences by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now get ready to transform your health and your life.
Turn Stress and Tension into Energy and Excitement in Three Easy Steps
I was watching a television interview with then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The interviewer asked him how was he handling the serious problems facing the State at that time. His answer changed my life.
He replied, “The bigger the problem, the more excited I become!”
I repeated it in my head, “The bigger the problem, the more excited I become!”
Then I thought, “Wow! The bigger the problem, the more excited he becomes. No wonder he went from a bodybuilder and an actor to become the governor of the fifth largest economy in the world.”
Then I discovered that he was not the only one reacting in such an empowered way when facing problems. On Dec 9, 1914, Thomas Edison’s laboratory caught fire. Ten buildings valued millions of dollars were destroyed. When Edison was informed about this catastrophe, with great excitement, he called all his relatives and neighbors to come and watch once in a life of spectacular event. When his son Charles asked, “Dad all your hard work is gone up in flames.” Edison replied, “Thank God all of our mistakes are gone and we can start anew.” He did not get mad at anyone or fired anyone. He did not go into depression. He did not develop back pain or headache or indigestion. And get this, he told The New York Times, “Although I am over 67 years old, I’ll start all over again tomorrow.” Now that’s real resilience!
Just imagine how much happier, healthier, and more productive you will be if you too get excited not only when dealing with catastrophes but also with everyday problems, stressful situations, and annoyances.
Before this when I faced a problem or stressful situation, I tried to look at the bright side. I used to tell myself that it was a learning experience and eventually things would work out. It was a conscious intellectual approach but I never got excited. So, I decided that was how I was going to react from then on. I developed the steps for it, started applying it daily, and oh my God my life was completely transformed.
I got through my day so much better, even if I had an argument, or received poor service, or got some really upsetting news. The more I practiced it, the stronger and more excited I became when dealing with problems. Eventually, it became a positive mental and emotional habit that happened effortlessly. Then I taught the steps to my clients and their lives were transformed too. Next, I developed a workshop titled, “Exciting Problem Solving!” with great results.
You too can expect great results. This strategy can help you:
Calm the stress response
Reduce significantly negative thoughts, worry, sadness, anxiety, and depression
Increase your energy
Become more positive and optimistic
Enhance your brain’s information processing
Broaden your vision to see more solutions and possibilities
Keep you determined and resilient to keep moving forward and solve your problems
As you stay excited and keep facing and solving problems you:
Learn and grow more
Make better decision and fewer mistakes
Stay in the present by focusing on the now, instead of the past
Increase your confidence and take more action to accomplish more
Become a problem solver and a leader, at home and at work
Become solution oriented, creative, optimistic, positive, and energetic
Of course, as you apply this strategy daily, you will discover many benefits of your own, as my clients have already.
My Hollywood actor client told me he applied this prior to filming a very emotionally-charged scene. A scene that usually would take 5 or 6 takes was done in only one take.
Cofounder of a multimillion-dollar internet company was fired by the company board of directors. At first, he was quite upset, however, during our session I reminded him to get excited about it and apply this strategy. He surprised everyone around him with his positive response and resilience. Shortly after he formed a new company and made it a success.
Another client forgot her wallet at a coffee shop. Once at work she realized what had happened. Her coworker was panicking and mentioning all the bad things that could happen, from charges on her credit card to identity theft. However, my client was not worried at all. Actually, she was quite excited. Once she returned to the coffee shop and asked the manager. He immediately presented the wallet. She saved a lot of worry and stress by staying excited.
A Positive Perspective
I was riding on a train once and I heard a passenger say something amazing. He said, “Life is like a heart monitor: flatline is not a good sign. Ups and downs of life mean we are still alive.” Problems create those ups and downs in our lives and dealing with them constructively makes us feel alive.
If you see problems as opportunities to learn and grow, you become a better and more resourceful person and your life will change for the better. Problems will always be there, how you view them and deal with them can make you or break you. Problems can lead to something great for you if you are willing to see it that way. If you have a frustrating problem in your life, that could be a blessing in disguise waiting for you to unleash your greatness.
Sometimes an everyday problem, such as catching a cold, can lead to something really great.
In 1997, Victoria Knight-McDowell, then a Carmel, California, 2nd-grade school teacher who was sick and tired of catching colds all the time, searched for a solution and started developing an herbal remedy to prevent her from catching colds. Through trial-and-error, she was able to come up with a formula of natural ingredients to support her immune system. It worked so well for her and her relative and friends that she marketed it as a product called “Airborne” and seven years later sold her company for $100 million.
Here you have an ordinary person, a school teacher with an everyday problem, who had a major breakthrough that helped her and millions of others and was financially rewarding as well.
In my case, it was my chronic pain and disability that led to creating the Rapid Recovery Plan. It helped me and then my readers around the world live pain-free and active lives.
So that problem you are dealing with in your finances, relationships, or work that is frustrating you could be the key to great things coming your way.
Let’s Eliminate All Your Problems
A good start for turning stress and tension into energy and excitement is to eliminate all your problems. Yes, eliminate all of them!
I am talking about the power of words. Words can have a tremendous impact on our mind and our body. Just read the following words and notice how you feel:
My throat started to feel dry and tense as I was typing these words. Most people tell me of a negative reaction in their body when hearing or reading such words.
Now notice how you feel when you read the following words:
I am feeling much better this time and so do my clients. As you noticed here, simply thinking about a word can have an impact on your body. So let’s replace the words that have a negative impact with those that have a positive impact, especially when you are dealing with a problem.
Instead of the word problem, use words that empower you to deal with the situation from a place of strength, power, and confidence. Here are a few suggestions:
Bump on the road
Rock on the path
Choose any of these or makeup your own word and from now on instead of the word problem use it (them).
Let’s Get Started
There are three steps to this strategy:
Power pose. A power pose is about how holding your body a certain way can make you feel strong, powerful, and unstoppable. For me, it is standing tall and strong in a boxer pose with my fists up and feeling strong. For some, it is a V-shaped stand with both arms straight up, while for others it consists of putting their hands on their hips. Studies conducted by Dr. Amy Cuddy of Harvard Business School has shown that a power pose held for two minutes can increase a person’s confidence by increasing testosterone production and reducing cortisol levels. So take a minute and choose a power pose.
Power symbol. Choose a symbol of power that if you become that symbol you will feel powerful, strong, and unstoppable. For me, it is Rocky, the boxer. Power symbol for some of my clients is a superhero like Wonder Woman, Superman, or Batman. For others, it is Mount Everest, crashing waves, or a lioness. Your source of power could be a past experience, like when you were involved in an athletic endeavor. In one case a mother told me that she saved her children from a burning house and reliving that memory made her feel strong and unstoppable. So take a moment and write down what is your power symbol.
Power phrases: What you say to yourself when facing a problem can empower or disempower you. Most people when they face a challenge say phrases like,
Why does this always happen to me?
If that had not happened, this would not have!
It’s all because of my bad childhood
If I only had more money, more degrees, …
Why does God do this to me
Instead of these disempowering phrases you are going to say the following five phrases:
This will lead to something great
This will make me stronger
I know it
I know it in my heart
For sure, this will lead to something great
Let’s Put It Together
Assume your power pose posture, feel strong and powerful.
Close your eyes and imagine you are your power symbol or relive that past empowering experience for a minute until you feel unstoppable.
Repeat the power phrases with energy and excitement.
Do this as many times as you need until you feel a positive change happening in your body. It could be goosebumps, an exciting feeling in your chest or throat.
When you do this in response to a challenging situation you may have to repeat it several times until you feel excited about it.
So do it five times and notice how you feel when you think about the challenge you are facing. If you feel excited, great. If not, do it five more times. Continue to do it until feel excited about it.
Once I had to do it 25 times until I felt excited about a very major challenge. However, by feeling excited about it I was able to think more clearly and resolve the issue successfully.
Time for Action
Now that you know the process here’s what you need to do to make it work for you:
For the next 21 days immerse yourself in it. No matter what happens in your day, keep doing it, or do as much of it as you can. At least, say the power phrases when you eat, walk, play, work, and so on. The idea is to make it a mental and emotional habit so that when you face a challenge you are ready. After 21 days or so it will become an effortless part of your reaction to life’s challenges, as it is for Arnold and as it was for Edison.
Do it as many times as necessary to feel excited, as discussed earlier.
” It was an awesome day today! I woke up feeling aches in my neck but got on with my day and listened to my motivational videos in the car and did my strong and powerful, leading to something great mantra in the car anyway. As I was driving, I noticed that the car in front of me had a license plate that said: GR4TFL. I immediately felt "grateful" for all the good things in my life and knew it wasn't an accident. By the time I got to work, I was feeling much more positive and ready to start my day. Several times during the morning, my pain attempted to distract me and I punched it and told it, it was making me stronger. I wasn't sure if I believed it 100, but I did it anyway. I even did my power stance in the bathroom at work once, lol. By the time I got home from work, I was supercharged with positive energy- it felt great!! I played with my kids and enjoyed every moment of it. Then, my husband and I watched Rocky together. Such a great day! Thanks, Fred!”
Additional resource: Go to fredamir.com/podcasts and listen to Turn Problems into Energy and Excitement in Three Easy Steps.