I have been struggling with pain for 37 years. When I was 19 I started having chronic tension headaches (that was actually the diagnosis) and as I got older and children came along I started having chronic pain in my neck and shoulders. In spite of all the pain I was able to keep up with my family and all the responsibilities. Then 8 years ago I had surgery (for another matter) and two weeks later felt stabbing pain in my mid to low back that eventually moved into the sciatic region causing many spasms. This was the pain that finally put me down and has altered my life completely. I had the usual tests, MRI, CAT scan, etc. and there are no problems structurally. Finally the doctor just diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia. Last week I began reading Healing Back Pain by Sarno and have seen myself on almost every page so far. Perfectionist, hard on myself, suppressing emotions, it's all me and yet like so many others I am having a hard time letting TMS sink in as the answer but I am actively working on it. Just last night I had the revelation that TMS makes complete sense since I was diagnosed with TENSION headaches so many years ago. So I am doing the journaling and reading everything I can get my hands on but have a few questions for those that are way a head of me. I rarely take anything for the pain because I get side effects from medication, so the main ways I get relief are through using a heating pad or ice packs. My question is do I need to give those up at this time? The last two evenings I went without the heating pad as I watched tv and both mornings woke up with spasms in sciatic area. I had actually gotten to a place where I wasn't having near as many spasms so this has been very discouraging as I begin this journey. I don't quite understand if I am supposed to try and push myself to live a more "normal" life or just let that happen organically as I work the program? After 37 years I am very anxious to shed some of this pain. I am very thankful for this site with so much great information and for this forum of people who get what it means to have chronic pain and provide hope for the future.