Hello! This might be a bit long! I'm a 20 year old university student in the UK, and I've been lurking around this website for a while now, but have only just mustered up the resolve to actually post something. I'm not really sure where to begin, but I'll do my best to make this as interesting as possible! When I was 19, in the month right before I was due to start my first year at university, I noticed I had a lot of cracking joints that appeared to have come on from no where. As an extremely anxious person, I kind of freaked out, and things just really went downhill from there. In regards to my anxiety, it's something that I have had since early childhood, where I was excessively anxious in social situations as a child (to the point where I used to cry whenever anyone at school so much as try to talk to me; I was a weird kid!), worried about everything (once asked my mum if our house was going to flood and whether we were going to drown), have an overactive guilt complex and essentially just grew up constantly tense. It just seemed to be 'normal' for me. Fast forward into high school, when I was 17, I had a sudden onset of what I could only describe as 'OCD'. I've not been formally diagnosed, but I'm almost certain that it was what I had/have. I obsessed about things, spent every waking moment thinking about them, and caved in to carry out compulsions. Over time, I got a handle on it, and by the time I was 19, I thought 'hey, that hell is finally over. Now I can go to uni without anything to worry about!'. And that's when the myriad of health issues came on. Aside from the cracking joints, namely the hips, (which I'm actually no longer that concerned about), the first painful symptom I noticed was a sharp pain in my right flank region when I woke up in the morning, that went away upon getting out of bed. Back then, the pain only came in the morning, and there were also days when there was no pain at all. Through the past year, the pain has spread to my lower back, which is present throughout the day. It's a kind of ache, and over the past few weeks, (probably thanks to my fixation on it) has developed into an occasional stabbing pain too, alongside cold burning sensations in my legs. I could go on to elaborate on how uncomfortable I am, but I'll save you guys that tedious read. Essentially, right now, walking, sitting, running, and standing is just a constant, quite literal, pain. And I think I'm going crazy. I've had 2 xrays done, and a host of blood tests, and nothing was ever found. I haven't pressed for an MRI, and no doctors suggested it, although I'm now wondering whether that's a good option, just to rule out other possibilities. I'm actually leaving the UK to go on a university placement year to work in Florida starting in July, and although I know that we're getting health insurance with the company we'll be working for, I'm jus worried about how much it's going to cost to get MRI scans etc done over there, if the pain doesn't ease up. My greatest fear is probably a diagnosis of some autoimmune condition like ankylosing spondylitis, although various doctors ruled that out (or rather, it felt like they just blew me off). As a result, I guess right now, I'm just really stressed from exams, stressed because I can't concentrate on work due to this chronic pain that has suddenly gotten 10 times worse, worried about the possibility of somehting being seriously wrong with me (I've always had some health anxiety), concerned about how things are going to work out on my placement in the USA, feel guilty for not talking to this about my parents (I told them about my hip and back pain at one point, but they freaked out so much it made everything so so much worse, so I ended up telling them it's all better now), and a bunch of other stuff I'm consciously worrying about (and no doubt a boatload of issues I've stuffed to the back of my mind) . After writing all that out, I've only just realised how much I've got going on in my head. I really want to embrace the idea of TMS, although I've always been doubtful of 'rage' being the dominant drive in the disorder. I also have this intense desire to 'filter' my symptoms neatly into 'TMS' and 'Non-TMS', but I know that's probably impossible. I guess I'm just really scared, in pain, freaking out about life and wondering what to do. Should I try and get an MRI before I fly off to the USA? Live with the pain and apply the TMS principles and see how things go? I'm so sorry for how long this turned out to be. If you've read this far, thanks. Also, thank you so much for the wealth of information on this site. It has been my place of comfort when I hit walls and feel like I couldn't carry on.