Hi All, I have a long history with TMS, and I've been mired in this most recent struggle for nearly a decade now. About 2 months ago I experienced what one might call a 'flare', and my daily pain level became significantly more severe. Usually when I experience a notable increase in pain, I make a few adjustments - avoid sitting upright, start a course of oral steroids, take a few more pain killers, etc., and after a little while it usually settles back into about a 3.5 out of 10. I consider that to be my baseline pain level, but I do hate that 1-10 pain scale because it is so subjective. Unfortunately this exacerbation is unique, because it's not gotten any better seemingly no matter what I throw at it, and it looks like I am settling into a 'new normal'. I went for a steroidal injection last week even though I've not experienced any improvement at all the last few times - just looking for any straw to grasp. So here's the point: I went in to see the doc that did the injection for a follow up, and he told me that what he observed under fluoroscopy was 100% consistent with the symptoms I've been describing. He explained how he could see the herniated/protruding disc impacting the nerve. He recommended I see a surgeon, and gave me a referral. This is significant because he is the first out of countless doctors & specialists to ever make this statement. Over the years I've heard all of the same 'diagnoses' so many of us chronic low-back pain sufferers have all heard from doctors who have been trained to link any abnormality observed on an MRI to pain: Degenerative Disc Disease, Herniated Discs, Spinal Stenosis, Pinched Nerve, Congenital Spine Abnormalities, etc. I've also been told it is surely related to my Crohn's Disease. After Dr. Sarno helped me banish my low back pain completely 23 years ago, whenever I'd hear a doctor mention any of those things, I would just call bullshit & follow the protocol: 'think psychologically', etc. Yet I've been completely unable to even make a dent in my pain by using the approach that worked the first time. This is the first time since then that I am feeling myself beginning to lose my faith in the diagnosis and start to consider that the cause may not be 100% psychological. I can't help but feel as though simply hearing the doctor utter these words has fed my TMS a big fat meal. I've always insisted that I wouldn't consider surgery unless I could no longer walk. Yet I am finding myself more open to it these days. I am able to walk, but that's about it. My quality of life has deteriorated to a point that is just unacceptable, and I just can't live with this pain any longer. So my question to the group is....what are the chances that a protruding disc could even possibly cause this? We all know the stats on back surgery, but if this guy thinks he can help me, and a 2nd opinion matches the 1st, I think I'd do it, because at this point I feel like I don't have much to lose. Arg.