Chronic Pain and Emotions | Paul Smith | 045

Chronic Pain and EQ: A Healing Journey Inspired by The Teachings of John Sano


Candice Dick chats to innovation consultant and small business coach Paul Smith, about back pain, migraines and the other physical challenges he has overcome through practicing emotional intelligence and other modalities that combat psychosomatic related pain.

Paul was on the South African rowing team when he was in his 20s and was training with a view to going to the Olympics. He incurred a back injury which turned into chronic pain and after two years Paul was forced to give up his dream of becoming an Olympic rower.

Paul went on to develop pain in his fingers which he thought may be arthritic. The turning point for Paul came after reading two of John Sarno’s books: Healing Back Pain and The Divided Mind. These books suggest that pain is related to emotions rather than to structural abnormalities.

Certain personality types repress emotions and therefore build up anger and other negative emotions which are stored in the body and manifest as pain. This type of pain is known as Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) or mind body syndrome. John Sano has a 95% success rate in healing pain in people with TMS. After reading these books and practicing the techniques around emotional awareness that the books suggest, which include daily mantras, Paul was able to start rowing again.

A few years later, during a period of work related stress, Paul developed serious headaches and was able to recognise that fear based emotions had been triggered in him and were misfiring as pain in the body.

Alan Gordon’s teaching around TMS further helped him work through his pain. Paul recommends using tools such a journaling and meditation in order to become fully integrated with one’s sense of self and emotions rather than shutting down emotions by using intellectualisation as a defensive mechanism.

One should learn to value and listen to emotions. Paul has found psychologists to be helpful in interpreting feelings and mastering the over-use of defence mechanisms.


Paul’s top 3 tips for healing TMS


  1. Get educated
  1. Intelligent journalling
  • Journal about difficult, confusing or significant situations or events.
  • Try to label the feelings experienced therein.


  1. Seek guidance and continually work to master emotional awareness (and pain).
  • Work with a psychologist that is familiar with the Carl Rogers approach to healing, which is based on practicing empathy.
  • Psychologists help to identify and label emotions and can teach you how to do this yourself.
  • Continue to integrate EQ with IQ and work towards a holistic way of being that supports your body rather than one that works against the body’s natural intelligence and regulatory mechanisms.


EQ and Chronic Pain Resources

Download this episdoe (right click and push save)

Episode 008 with The journey of how I healed my backpain with Michelle Kew Dr of Chiropractor.

John E Sarno

Healing Back Pain, John Sarno (Amazon US) and (RSA)

The Divided Mind, John Sano (Amazon US) and (RSA)

Carl Rogers

Alan Gordon

Alan Gordon’s Pain Recovery Program

Pain Psychology Centre

TMS wiki