Hello All, I am new to this forum. I have been suffering lower back pain since January of 2015. Coincidently, this was about two weeks after my amazing father was indicted on some really horrendous charges, which he confessed to immediately. It was a debilitating shock to say the least. But I loved my dad and when he told me what was happening, he also told me all the steps he had taken to correct his actions, make amends and improve himself. He told me, all the span of a few minutes, that he was prepared for prison and everything would be ok. Until that point, I had experienced a good number of strong panic attacks that manifested in vasovagal responses and I was very comfortable with the reality that they were psychological, and not harmful. As soon as my dad broke the news, I never had another panic attack but my back became excruciatingly painful. The pain came and went, and 6 months later, my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The pain and the anxiety attacks were relatively stable as all of my attention was focused on caring for him and my family. When his death became imminent, my back "went out." X-rays and MRI's showed a "significantly degenerated disc" at L5S1 and a herniated disc 2 above that. I had no sciatica. I had no numbness or tingling. I was given physical therapy, the whole regime. It went out again, but I trusted that the exercises would help and I just agreed to live with this sudden, searing pain. In the months following his death, the pain subsided somewhat, distracted by summer and other happy things. In the Fall of 2016, my pain steadily became worse, by body more and more tight until right after Thanksgiving, going into the holidays, my back spasmed again. The entire day leading up to the pain, I thought it might happen again, I was confused and concerned about why my back wasn't in as much pain, I was agonizing about the holidays without my dad, I was wound up to say the least. I had plans to see my family in New York a few weeks after my back went out and I decided I was going to get better. I went to every doctor, surgeon, PT and Chiro I had ever visited and demanded they do whatever had to be done to feel better. They all said I had reached the end of line with most traditional treatments, that I'd need epidural shots in the disc although it was interesting that I had no sciatica, no numbness or tingling. They did tests and told me my muscles were tightening because either my joint was unstable, the impact was causing inflamation, or the disc was shooting out pain protiens. No one suggested my back hurt beacuse my muscle were tight... becasue I was tense that my dad, my best friend, had been humilated and then died a slow, painful death begging for me to be by his side every step of the way. Looking back, I thought to myself "wow, its hard to feel how horrible this all is because my back is on fire." Even further back, the panic attacks happened after my son was born and I was feeling very left behind from my old life on the east coast. When I was a kid, in a very small middle school and the object of bullying, my neck would freeze up painfully every few months. Back then, my dad told me it was just stress... gave me a hot pack and let me watch TV for a day or two. The thing that hurts the most was that I asked a doctor if it was from stress and she said no. She was clearly trying to be kind. She said she could feel the muscle tightening... stress pain is more lingering. My back had been guarded for two years at that point, tight and relatively immobilized because I was so afraid that I was going to "pop" a disc or crumble that degenerated disc. I didn't bend or slouch or arch or twist or anything and the muscles just got tighter and tighter and tighter. I read Dr. Sarnos book and I immediately felt my back free up. There is still pain and stiffness but the fear is gone. The pain is easily recognized as just tension or weakness from underuse. I still get a twinge walking to work in the 20 degree weather and moving sharply. I just don't freak out about it anymore. I was and am an athlete who loves to play rough. If I felt the same twinge in my arm or neck, I'd just move on and never think of it again. I have felt an increase in other anxiety symptoms though... Even when my dad was dying, I slept fine during the night. Now I am a little restless, but I can remind myself that I am going through a hard time. I cuddle up to my husband and remember that I am safe and its bedtime. I also feel the pain wandering around my body trying to find a home. Sometimes in my right ribs, sometimes in my left thigh, sometimes in my breast bone. I just acknowledge it as "my anxiety pain" and move on. I am so, so grateful to have found this book and this site. The concept of the structural excuse for pain rings so true for me. I am very, very strong, physically. I had my son without pain medication, I still move beautifully at 32 when I dance or exercise. I have had so many surgeon friends, off the record, tell me that they agree with this book whole heartedly. So many have said they really only do back surgery because the patient wants it, not because they think it is necessary. Discs are a scape goat. I am sure I will have tension and pain from anxiety for a long time, but I know I am learning the tools to avoid allowing it to spiral out of control. Thanks for reading.