This is my first post on this site. Forgive me for the lengthiness as I feel I need to get it all out there to get an honest opinion from everyone. A little over 10 years ago while in the gym I "blew my back out" while doing dumbbell rows at the gym. Since that time, I have periodically had relapses where I "felt my back go out" once again. Doctors have told me my entire life that I have a herniated L5-S1, but that it never has looked severe enough to have surgery. About 3 years ago I had my worse episode yet. At the time, I was filling an internship in NYC with a company that I was very interested in working full time once I completed business school. One morning while I was brushing my teeth in preparation for getting to go to work, I bent over to spit in the sink and felt the nerve's fire like engine pistons throughout my entire body. Before I knew it I was seized up like an engine without oil. When my buddy came to pick me up to take me to the doctor it took me almost 20 minutes just to get myself into a position to get in the passenger side of his car. I healed of course and resumed all my normal activities. In fact, not 9 months later I found myself participating in the thing I love to do the most, playing rugby! I had always participated in rugby in some fashion since high school but this was the first time that I decided to go at it as serious as I did. I had a great season that year and couldn't have been happier! While training for the following season that winter, I had yet another episode in the gym. This time I just couldn't find the healing touch like I had in the past. I missed the entire spring season of rugby and even when I went to the gym the following summer, the pain was still very much with me. I remember one day leaving the gym saying to my buddy, "I just can't seem to shake this pain." While performing an annual physical, my doctor prescribed me naproxyen. It helped a little bit, but I was still scared to do the one thing I loved the most-play rugby. I decided one morning that I would attend a match strictly as a spectator. However, I knew my team might be short a player or two that afternoon so I grabbed my kit just in case. I told the captain of the team, my back is nowhere near ready to withstand a game, but if your absolutely pressed, I might be able to give you 10-20 minutes. There were two games that afternoon and about 3/4 through the first people started dropping like flies. The captain turned to me and said "your going to have to suit up for the second game" I spent about 20 minutes stretching out hoping that my back would hold up for a full game. Guess what, it did and I found myself not only playing well, but just as aggressive as I have ever been. Fueled with the confidence of that afternoon, I spent the following several months playing and working out harder than I probably ever have in my life. Last March, while preparing for our first spring game I took a side step and immediately felt my old friend shooting up my back. The crazy part about it is I was still able to play our first game two day later. However, 7 days after that game, I woke up with enough pain to have to forego the second game and I haven't played since. I spent the next few months after that hoping that it would heal and that I would be able to get back to my normal workout activities. It didn't and I decided to go see a orthopedic. Same story, herniated L5-S1, no need for surgery.... prescribed Naproxen. It didn't help and I spent the next several months getting epidermal and facet joint injections, which seemed to only make it worse as it spread from only my lower back to my legs and upper back as well as numbness down both my arms. While in physical therapy, it was recommended I read Dr. Sarno's book by my physical therapist as well as a fellow patient that swore by his methods. I did, and guess what; I immediately started feeling relief! Not only did I start feeling relief, but also everything mentioned above started to make so much sense to me! So much so that I stopped going to physical therapy, refused another injection that the pain management specialist recommended, and slowly started working in more and more in the gym. This relief coupled with big promotion at work really sent my life into the most positive mood I have been in in years! Story over, right? Wrong! A little over 3 weeks ago I woke up to a lingering lower back pain. I stayed true to Sarno's rules and didn't let it deter me from my planned physical activities that day. However, rather than going away it has only seemed to get worse. This has led me into what feels like a deep depression and a hard look at what might be going on psychologically. For the past year I have been seeing a therapist and we have discovered that I carry a lot of guilt around with me as a result of having an overbearing moral compass. However, even after discovering this, the pain has only gotten worse. I completely want to believe in Sarno’s theory, but the fact that I was getting better after reading his book only to now feel worse then ever makes me wonder. This evening I was working out, like I otherwise would, when in the middle of a rep I felt that old feeling once again. Now I sit here writing this in severe pain. Left hand, neck, lower back. I can feel it pulsating. At this point I have to wonder, is it my emotions that are causing the back pain or is it the back pain that are causing my emotions that are in turn, making the back pain that much worse?