I'm writing this sitting down in a cheap office chair with no seat or lumbar cushions. I haven't been able to do this for 14 months. I feel just a little tightness in my right thigh and occasional not-painful tingles in my foot - if I weren't so focused on pain I probably wouldn't even notice it. (By the way, I'm in Day 5 of the structured educational program but I've been researching TMS for about 3 weeks.) I'm 43 and over the past year I had resigned myself to the life of an old man - groaning every time I changed position, struggling to tie my shoes, telling the kids I can't do piggyback rides anymore (sorry you were born late - the older kids got nonstop piggyback rides!) Discovering Dr. Sarno's books and this site has given me a new lease on life. I might still be hiking and biking when I'm 70. Here's what doctors (and I've seen a lot of them) have told me over the past year: "No more basketball. It's too jarring on the spine." (Basketball used to be my favorite - almost the only exercise that doesn't feel like exercise [like a chore] to me.) "No more racquetball. Your back just can't handle all that twisting back and forth." "Stationary bikes are ok, but mountain biking is dangerous." "Refuse any requests from friends to help move boxes or furniture. It's just too risky." "Steroid injections seem to be helping. We'll do them every 3-12 months and maybe we'll need to get more aggressive toward the end of your life." "What really concerns me on this MRI is how close these vertebrae are getting - I mean you're almost bone on bone!" [After I asked if my herniated disc could heal] "Well, you're in your 40s. That's probably right on the edge. If you were in your 20s, I'd definitely say yes. 40 may not seem that old, but in evolutionary terms, that's ancient!" (This was from a very well-respected back surgeon - the best in the state.) [When I asked why I have no pain some mornings]. "It's very positional." Whatever that means. It's not like I was visiting a bunch of quacks, either. These are well-respected doctors, surgeons, chiropractors, physiatrists in a big city. Not one of them gave even the slightest hint of anything like TMS being involved. What non-doctors told me: Shuttle van driver [we started talking about back issues when he saw my lumbar cushion. I told him I hoped it would improve soon.] - "In my experience, the way you feel right now is the best you're going to feel for the rest of your life." Many variations on the above - days of pain-free movement are over forever. "The pain's ok as long as I keep a strict regimen of stretches and exercises. If I get too busy and skip them, the pain comes raging back and it takes several days to get it back under control. I guess that's how life will be from here on out." I'm so happy to be proving them wrong! I have a 16-hour flight coming up next week and I'm a little nervous about it. But think of all the time I'll have to journal and debate my subconscious!