I am a 44 year-old professional drummer and guitarist, and have been suffering from debilitating cervical and lumbar spine-related pain, tingling, and numbness for just over 4 years. Like many in this forum, I have spent the better part of that time languishing in the medical system - countless MRI's, injections, shiatsu, acupuncture, physical therapy, trigger point, massage, etc. Nothing has had much lasting effect...if any. I am currently able to play guitar with moderate pain, but my symptoms have prevented me from drumming since mid september. I have spent countless hours and dollars on treatments, devices, medications, and basically have done everything 'traditional' except for surgery. The docs have been trying to steer me towards cervical spinal fusion, but everyone I know who has done that...they are not cured. One guy ended up having 3 fusions, one had no relief, and the most recent is already getting injections again just 6 MONTHS after his "successful" fusion. I'm not going to let anyone cut me open with those kind of results! All that that being said, my story is not all bad...and I consider myself a work in progress, and on the right path. About 7 weeks ago, a friend recommended one of Sarno's books - The Mind Body Prescription. I found the TMS concept intriguing and plausible, and I am fit the description of the typical TMS patient to a T! I am a goodist, always trying to make other happy, a perfectionist, high achiever, and have all sorts of unresolved childhood 'issues. I decided to dig deeper, and read two more Sarno books - Healing Back Pain, and now about to finish "The Divided Mind". I have been studying TMS daily through the 3 books and online content, I started a "TMS journal 4 weeks ago and have only missed a few days of writing, and have begun the practice of daily meditation for 20 minutes. I just discovered the 6-week program in this Wiki, and I am now giving that a shot. In the 7 weeks since I was first turned on the sarno book and associated treatment approaches, I have made VERY encouraging progress: When I started I was: - Taking Gabipenten (nerve blocker) 3 times a day - Taking MAX ibuprofen daily (and 3x the bottle's max) - Daily Flexeril (muscle relaxer) - Pain prevented more than 3 hours of consecutive sleep - Could not play guitar or drums - Anxious and Depressed - Considering career change...at the hight of my succuess...simply because I was losing the ability to perform. - Seriously considering multi-level cervical fusion - Buying all sorts of devices for traction, pillows, etc - Spending lots of time at DR.s and PT 7 Weeks later (and 4 weeks into my "program"): - I take 1 or two ibupofen pills every other day or so. - I have COMPLETELY stopped taking the nerve blocker and muscle relaxers - I have stopped ALL physical treatments - I can sleep through the night - I can play guitar with 'some' pain, but is getting better each week - I can play drums for about 15-20 minutes at a time - I believe that I have the right diagnosis, and that I am on the right treatment path. The big hurdle now is to get back to "full on" drumming. I believe there are still two barriers, both of which I know I can overcome: 1. Time. I know lots of folks get immediate relief, but I accept that my recovery may be measured in months rather than weeks or days... I can live with that. 2. I just scheduled my first phychotherapy visit for two weeks from now. I think I still have a lot of gnarly items swimming around in my unconcious, and I think that seeing a professional to help address those items can only help. My next steps is to follow the 6 week program I found here: http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Structured_Educational_Program (Structured Educational Program) This seems to build on everything I've been learning and doing, and I like having something structured to follow each day. I hope that soon I will report a full return to activities and a defeat of TMS! One final story before I jump in... At my last MRI in August, the tech looked at me when I finished and said, "dude, you are definitely heading for a fusion". To him I say, "Go f-ck yourself, buddy. I'm not going to get your stupid fusion, and when I am fully recover, I am going to come back to your office and tell you what you can do with your results!!!