hi everyone im a 28m in southern cali. to make it brief, I was always very athletic, playing lots of basketball in high school and college. senior year in college in Boston, while lifting heavy furniture to move from one house to a new one, I felt a pop in my low back, followed by excruciating pain. MRI 1 month later showed herniation in L3 and L4. (i had 2 more MRIs in the following 5 years). The pain was awful and I was overcome with fear and worry. I stopped all physical activity and could not walk, stand for long and not even be intimate with my girlfriend (now wife). This caused more worry of course. Eventually I got off my ass and started doing physical therapy. In retrospect perhaps it was placebo but I began to feel better and better. I think after reading sarnos book it may have been because I truly felt that I was HEALING. I lifted special weights for the back legs and stomach and felt great. Still had pain and never fully resumed physical activity like running or basketball for fear. Travel made pain much worse. So did intimacy. Drinking alcohol made my back hurt a lot the next day.
Soon after I moved to LA and began playing golf. Pain would come back and haunt me for a couple days and then go away…but never completely. I have learned to live with constant pain for 6 years. I know that the second I wake in the morning my low back will hurt and I know how to get out of bed carefully and instinctively. I know then when I bend over to put on shoes, my back will be sore and tender. EVERYTIME I do it. I know that when I push my pelvis out a little, just to stretch the lower back, it will hurt and feel tender. I know that when I travel I need a lumbar support, and even still I will be sore for awhile. And I know that after I play golf I need a hot bath and even still I will be sore for 2 days. Or perhaps….I don’t know ANTHING at all!
I found sarno 2 weeks ago. I read hundreds of reviews on his book and that single exercise gave me more hope than I have had in 6 years. I have lived in this awful fear that I will never be able to run and play again. Or lift up my wife. Or play with my kids (when I have them) and pick them up and be a good father and husband without this awful pain. I have lived that every moment of every day for 6 years. Reliving the event that caused my pain is very painful for me. I don’t know if I fully know what happened that day. What was that popping feeling? Did I have some slight injury at that time? I really truly believe now that despite the mystery of what happened to my back that day, the CHRONIC pain I have felt for 6 years is TMS. I read sarnos book and reviews by good people like you and it’s like a window into my deepest emotions and fears and soul. It truly lifts me up. I have often told my wife on nights when the pain was at its worst, “if I had one wish in life it would be to erase this back pain. To go back to that day it happened and hire a mover.” THAT’S what real pain is like, as I am sure all of you can relate to. It makes us desperate and hopeless and scared I guess.
But I am here now. I read sarno and I have begun my own form of exercise to help me. I tell myself hundreds of times a day, “you don’t have back pain. It’s all in your head. Breathe deeply…life is ok. You will be healed. You will run and play again. You don’t have back pain.” AND FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 6 YEARS I AM EXPERIENCING A SENSE OF NORMALITY. I can’t say I don’t have soreness, tenderness and back pain. But I have MUCH LESS of it this last week…and more importantly…I have HOPE and OPTIMISM. And guess what else? I stopped taking Tylenol and using bengay and salompas heat patches completely. It’s so weird because sometimes I feel my back start to hurt. Or not even hurt….just a tingling…as if something is wrong and it WANTS to hurt…or maybe as if it is GOING to hurt the next day or something. And I try very hard to relax and control my thoughts and it seems to subside and go away.
This week I have done something I have not done in 6 years: JUMPING JACKS. That’s right. Jumping jacks! I have done tae bo every night for 7 days without pain! Only slight soreness. To a normal person this seems like a weird thing to say…but to a person who has “herniated discs” and 6 years of disabling pain, this is a miracle. I am so excited to jump and do tae bo that I probably even push myself too hard. But then again, like many of you, I am a perfectionist and overachiever in nearly aspect of my life. I overthink nearly every facet of my daily routine. But I have always embraced that part of me. It has always made me the successful person I am. It has always made our vacations wonderful because I put so much thought into planning them perfectly. I give really wonderful gifts to people because I really think about them. Etc etc. What I am saying is I won’t change that part of me. But I will change my attitude and how I deal with stress and my emotions. And already I see changes. I also played golf twice with very little soreness and pain this week. I just enjoyed the game, whereas most other times I am constantly thinking about whether it is causing more physical damage to my back and also how sore I will be the next day.
I just wanted to share my story with you and say thanks and please respond and let me know your story and what has helped you make this work. How long has it taken to control the majority of the pain? What exercises have helped you? I look forward to talking to you more and I really look forward to life without pain and hope I can achieve it.
Ps. I just reread my post and realized I said in the first line, “to make it brief.” All of a sudden I couldn’t stop writing. If it weren’t for this gosh darn carpal tunnel that has suddenly appeared I would have written more! That’s kind of a joke by the way…sort of…