Hi all, I was initially going to privately log my days as is my "lone wolf" nature, but I want to work on being more honest and unafraid (my drivers to cure this TMS), and not reticent to be a part of a community. So here goes, it may be stream of consciousness at times and probably always too long... My back pain began 6 years ago when I was 26. A mysterious "woke up one morning with a twinge" that got worse and worse. It was always low back or between the shoulder blades and felt muscular. Standard diagnoses of hernia, standard treatment of PT, injection, chiro, etc. which very kinda helped. After a terrible year I started moving again and was much improved. For the next 5 years I accepted a baseline level of chronic pain that arose from sitting or standing too long and felt I was "managing it" (I'm very athletic and always felt better while working out - any back discomfort would disappear after 5-10 of stretching or activity). I was still frustrated by it and always afraid of car or plane trips, and did repeatedly injury low back muscles trying to deadlift (seemed to be a weak spot). Thankfully I work remotely from home so I didn't have to sit all day. Fast forward to the last year, lots of stress in my life and lots of frustration over still having to deal with low back stuff. Of course the more I obsessed with working out and doing PT, the more frequently my back would start to hurt. In January I "slipped a disc" and was locked up for a week on the floor in terrible pain (localized to low back). Got through that and back to my normal chronic pain. Then in November I "slipped a disc" on the right side, even though most of my "muscular" pain was always on the left. Still only localized pain, felt like I had pulled a muscle. I hurriedly did my PT, felt better, got back to working out but had a very heightened sensitivity. I visit my parents in France over Christmas/NYE and see an osteopath and postural orthopedist (often have foot pain, since I was little) who gives me custom orthotics and I feel much better already. Mid January I discover John Sarno and devour his first book. I'm so excited, everything he says resonates with me and I feel fully committed to treating my pain as TMS. I'm impatient and desperate, but it's all positive. But I still have nagging doubts over whether it's totally TMS - I know the mild chronic stuff has to be, given that I feel better when I move and that it's so inconsistent (and never seems to both me as much while I'm on long trips having fun and away from home and all it's stresses). But I wonder if I still have some structural weakness because my foot was pronated at birth and through early childhood, I used to have bad knees and my feet always hurt, my dad has always had back issues and he has a narrow nerve canal and had so far successful surgery in December, yadda yadda. So I have an appointment with Sarno's protege Dr. Rashbaum since I'm lucky enough to be in NYC, but of course he has no openings for another 1.5 months. In the meantime, I resolve to begin confronting my emotions and not letting that fear-based conditioning get to me. 2 weeks ago I drive 2 hrs for a work trip and use it as a great test to see if I can dismiss my fear and have no pain. Drive is super easy with no stops (I would have stopped 2-3 times in the past for a drive this long) and I'm only the tiniest bit stiff at the end! Amazing feeling. I workout that evening and do super light deadlifts but the right LB muscles don't feel so good. Go to bed feeling great though, wake up the next morning and BAM shooting pain down my right leg and tingling toes. So severe that I end up in the hotel bed the next 3 nights till I feel well enough to drive home. I'm slowly getting better once I'm home but then get hit with several days of such severe pain that I'm losing my mind and I see both my PT/chiro and a physiatrist who gives me an injection and some meds. I feel somewhat better, at least to the point where I can sleep pain free, and seem to be making slow but steady progress day by day. Note that they reference my MRI from December (pre-pain) which shows an asymmetric hernia in L5-S1 on the right, and I have textbook sciatica. Yesterday I feel well enough to walk to get groceries and sit with friends for a couple hours. I'm feeling positive. I get home that night and the pain starts, and it's so strong I can't fall asleep for hours and in the morning it still hurts. I can't even stand today for more than 30 seconds without agonizing pain. I feel so defeated. I've tried so hard the last 2 weeks to tell myself all of the TMS mantras, to reflect emotionally and confront any stress or anger that's bothering me (lots of crying and being super honest with myself), to dismiss the pain and tell myself nothing is physically wrong. But the pain is so staggering that I can't help but feel that the nerve has to be impinged. And part of me wonders if TMS has weakened the muscles in the low so that when I deadlifted, I really did mess something up. But wouldn't I have felt something right away? Or is this really TMS and some kind of last ditch fight by my mind since I've told it to stop tricking me? The reality is that I have a lot of fear and doubt right now because if something really is hitting that nerve then I need to be careful. Fortunately I have an appointment with a neurosurgeon friend of a friend who knows about TMS and I will be getting another MRI first. It's just so hard to embrace TMS treatment mentally when you haven't ruled out other sources first and it's driving me nuts. But here's to good news and continued strength and positivity, while not shying away from the negative.