I’ve posted bits and pieces of my ongoing saga on these forums before, but I feel like I’ve hit a bit of a wall with the treatment of my lower back pain and am hoping for some guidance or shared experiences that might help. I’m entering my 11th year of this struggle, and am having some of the darkest days I’ve ever seen. It takes everything I’ve got just to get through the day. Every aspect of my life has been crippled by this – social, financial, professional, physical fitness. History: · Happy/normal childhood, supportive family – diagnosed with Crohn’s age 6 · Intermittent joint problems throughout adolescence, including a few bouts with low-back pain in my early teens. Periodic need for Prednisone to control IBD, which unfortunately combined with malnutrition from Crohn’s to severely stunt my growth. · Age 23, low back pain becomes persistent/debilitating, lasting about a year. Discover Dr. Sarno, become a patient, banish pain 100% shortly thereafter. · Quickly develop severe panic disorder, textbook case of the ‘Symptom Imperative’ - 2 years before I can conquer it. Fast forward to my early 30s, and the back pain returns – with a vengeance. None of the techniques that helped me win the battle a decade earlier seemed to have any effect. My brain is screaming out for a solution and punishing my body in the process. Eventually I begin to listen to the doctors that are telling me my back pain is the result of inflammation related to the Crohn’s Disease. I still can’t fully accept this since my gastrointestinal symptoms do not coincide with the back pain. That is until my gastroenterologist recently informed me that out of the approximately 30% of Crohn’s patients that deal with chronic low back pain, just about 100% of them experience that pain independent from gastrointestinal symptoms. So I had it completely wrong. I feel like that way of thinking was helping me to accept that 100% of the cause is psychological. It kept me convinced that it was a separate issue, though that approach hadn’t worked, I was still clinging to the concept. Prednisone, for all of its evils, remains the only ‘treatment’ that has a truly significant impact on my pain. It is magical – the first few doses wipe out 95% of my pain. My doc believes that the TMS exacerbates the existing inflammation. Dr. Sarno maintains that Crohn’s itself is a manifestation of TMS. He also told me that my TMJ was TMS as well. I have trouble buying these two assertions because I was grinding my teeth as a toddler, and was diagnosed with the Crohn’s at age 6. I just don’t see a lot of repressed rage developed at that age. However, I have most definitely noticed that the Crohn’s is exacerbated by emotional trauma. As a matter of fact, on several occasions, a stay in the hospital has followed major emotional events in my life. Here’s the bottom line – does it really matter if it’s the inflammation from the Crohn’s or oxygen deprivation or vice-versa? Just to have the experience of a man in a white coat agreeing that this is all TMS, I went to see Dr. Sarno’s disciple, Dr. Ira Rashbaum. He agreed that it was likely TMS. Yet for all of my intellectualizing, self-awareness, and constant reminders that the pain is within my power to eliminate – I remain in constant agony. I can list 30 reasons why my brain might want to create a distraction in the form of back pain. Acknowledging these things is not working. I am actually sick of reading about folks that have cured their chronic pain after a 40 minute conversation, like the ones in Adam Heller’s book, “Zero Pain Now”. I know it is supposed to be helpful but at this stage it is just annoying. I’ve done the psychotherapy, but it’s not helpful for me. I have tried everything I can think of. What else can I do? Is this pain persisting because there is still a lingering doubt somewhere in the back of my brain that is unsure that this time around is 100% TMS? I don’t think so, but if that is the case, I just don’t know any other way to shut this mechanism down before it kills me. Anyone have any ideas? IF you read this far, you must have an opinion! Thanks.