This is an update to a post I made over a year ago. At that point I had been diagnosed with a 6mm disc protrusion with possible nerve impingement. I had gotten epidurals, physical therapy, gone to a chiropractor and started talk therapy. I had read and listened to the Sarno book and once I started journaling, got to about a 60-80% pain free life. I am happy to report, I am closer to 98% pain free!!!!! As I write this my right buttock and my thigh both feel tight and there is a little pain, but the important thing is that I now know I will have more pain free days than ones with some discomfort. Two years ago, I had days where the pain was so great and my thoughts about limitations so depressing, that I had really lost hope. So, what took me from 60% to 98%? I believe a big part of it was BELIEF, which is tough for super rationally minded people. For some of us, it is not like flipping a switch. So, here are the things I did to help nudge myself to believe I would get better. 1. WENT TO a doctor who specializes in T.M.S. I went to David Schechter and read his book. He charted my pain levels and reassured me, by doing a physical exam. For those of you with less confidence, this reassurance was key. 2. READ David Hanscom's book "Back in Control" This book is very realistic. It explains exactly how the pain loops. It goes into research and motivated me to keep journaling. 3. LISTENED to the therapy sessions on this website by Dr. Alan Gordon. 4. STOPPED TALKING ABOUT PAIN. I am lucky to have very caring people in my life who asked me how I was doing. I would usually say "I'm still in pain, but it's a lot better" So, I was honest because I wanted people to know why I seemed low energy at times or didn't want to sit in a movie, but I also wanted to continue to reprogram my pain receptors. Also, it was helpful to be seen as a recovering person rather than an invalid. 5. LIMITED BEING OPEN TO NEGATIVITY. This was really tough, because I do have a couple of family members who are very negative and have a habit of calling and unloading for HOURS...not exaggerating. I believe many with T.MS. have people like this in their lives. Though it was not received well, I told them I wanted to support them, but I needed the conversation to be mostly positive. When they seemed resentful or took that as a cue to ask me about my pain, I would just reiterate that I still wanted to hear about their life, but it was a part of my healing that I stay positive and then I would change the subject to something affirming without sharing much about my pain. 6. WENT TO TALK THERAPY I found a therapist listed on this site and went once a week for several months, which was all I could afford. Your friends are not therapists. Your family does not understand what is happening in your head. I found trying to explain my ideas about why I was in pain and the confusion the followed, just increased the pain. The TMS pain theory is not yet understood in common culture. 7. TAKE ACTION: Though we can't take control of every problem, back pain can make you feel like you don't have any control. I had a couple of very toxic situations at work that I am pretty sure brought on my pain. I finally took legal action and when there was a resolution, OH MY within days I no longer had that early morning back pain at all! So quit the job, get out of the relationship, sell the house, whatever...just take action slowly but surely. 8. TIME: It takes time to really heal mentally and physically. The lack of certainty about how much time can make people feel as if it will never happen. It took about 3 1/2 years for me. I still get tightness, but I just talk to myself and say "Your disc is healed. This is your life." I make a point of charting my progress and take mental note when I am able to do something almost pain free that I couldn't do before. For example, I can do sit ups now....and I am smiling the whole time I am doing it.