I am starting this program after a lifetime of back pain, back problems, and more doctors than you could imagine. As a little girl I was always teased about my sway back and worked hard to "stand up straight," although I believe I was probably harming myself trying to contort my back into an unnatural line. I was an athlete--softball, cross-country, cycling, and tennis, especially--and loved playing, but I was often in pain: my knees, hips, back and neck could "go out" at any time. I was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 9, and went to the Dupont Institute every six months until I was 16. They wanted me to wear a brace but I cried and refused. Regarding sports, many sports medicine doctors at top clinics said my back and hips were uneven and told me to stop all sports activities, especially running and "anything that bends the knee"--for life! By the time I was 20 years old I gave up and gave in. I spent my 20s and much of my 30s avoiding everything but light bicycling, walking and hiking, and lived on ibuprofen and any pain killer I could find. At 22 a hit-and-run rear-end car accident gave me 5 days of immobilizing whiplash and 15 years of agony. I found a good physical therapist at 36 and that helped a LOT. Fast forward 10 years to last June, when my company downsized and I was unexpectedly laid off from my fashion dream job that I loved and lived for and literally spent my life working toward. This role brought me so much happiness and satisfaction, but the company downsized and out the door I went. As I packed up my beautiful office, I picked up a box of books and felt a twinge in my back and 3 days later experienced sciatica for the first time. Now it is 6 1/2 months later, I am doing part-time work that is completely degrading and beneath my skill set, and I can barely move without painkillers. I do all my work lying on my stomach (at home) propped up on my elbows and dread in-office meetings. My doctors want me to get back surgery but I have never read about successful back surgery, so I'm drawing the line. I really hope Dr. Sarno's book and this forum are the cure. After a lifetime of pain and limited mobility, what do I have to lose? I look forward to learning from everyone and reading their advice.