Hi Sensei and everyone, I am writing to tell you about my story with back pain due to spinal stenosis. My name is Robert and I am 67 years old. I spent my whole life in the military and was fortunate enough to travel all around the world, leading an active and exciting life.
I retired when I was 62 and tried to get used to civilian life back in the States. I guess the slow pace got me bored very quickly and I began to develop back pain from what I thought was simple inactivity.
I went to the gym and worked out every day hoping that the work ethic would make my back strong again. Unfortunately, it did not. I eventually went to the orthopedic doctor and was diagnosed through an MRI with spinal stenosis in my lower back. The doctor prescribed physical therapy and medications for the pain. I did everything I was supposed to do, but the pain simply got worse month by month.
I tried epidural injections at the site, but these did little for the pain. It would return within days and be worse than ever. I was always a tough guy and was not used to be pushed around by my body like this. The pain grew really bad till was found myself back at the doctor for what seemed like the 100th time, about 3 years later.
The doctor had given up a long time ago and said it was time for surgery. I made arrangements to meet with his recommended surgeon and scheduled a procedure for 5 weeks from the consultation date. In the meantime, my pain was still bad, but I felt better that I was finally doing something about it which had the real hope of curing me. I found myself more active and in less pain day to day as I got ready for my surgery.
During one of my preliminary visits to prepare for the operation, my surgeon took new diagnostic films and measurements of my spine. While leaving the office, I spoke to a man who was waiting for his own appointment. This was where my whole story became very interesting.
The man, named Teddy, had already had a surgery to correct the same stenosis condition which I suffered from. He was in bad shape and said he had been back about 7 times already, since his spine had gotten much worse after the surgery. He told me the pain was still there, but now, he could barely move at all. This was obvious to me as I watched him struggle to move. He also told me to avoid surgery if at all possible. He said he had been in contact with you, Sensei, after his procedure looking for advice and wrote down your website for me on a piece of paper.
When I got home, my back hurt worse than ever. I was really concerned. I did not want to end up a cripple. I was hoping to get back to an active life after the operation. Well, I was bedridden with pain for the rest of that week, blinded by fear over my situation and wondering where my life went.
I found that paper from Teddy when my daughter came to help me with my laundry. She went to the site and told me to read it while she was working in the house. It all sounded like you were trying to tell me that my pain was not real. Like it was imagined or all in my head…
I was thinking, ok, enough of this, but then I read some stories of patients who seemed a lot like me. I saw how many of them were better using knowledge therapy and I asked my daughter what she thought about it. She said, it was worth a try, so I wrote to you, Sensei and asked for more information. You told me to buy Dr. Sarno’s book, Healing Back Pain, and sent me an inspiring email about your own story. Well, I bought that book on Amazon and then I also bought your book from the website.
I read yours first, since it was a download and started to think about it. A few days later, Healing Back Pain arrived and I read that as well. I think Dr. Sarno explains the technical aspects of psychosomatic pain very well, but I was drawn back to read your book a few more times, since it was closer to my own experience.
I began to realize that I had a load of repressed emotional issues that were linked to me ending my 42 year career in the military. I felt useless and my mind obviously took the opportunity to run wild, creating all this pain.
Although I still had pain, I felt different than before, like it was just a matter of time till I could sort it all out. I stayed in touch with you and you were a big help. It took me almost 2 months, but I can honestly say that my pain disappeared completely.
Over the next year, I spent A lot of time thinking about my life and coming to terms with many other psychological issues I held inside for too long. I am a changed man and I owe it to you. You saved me from surgery and saved me from myself. I will never forget what you did for me and try to help you spread the word about back pain. I am a normal guy, but I think you are extraordinary. Sensei, thank you so much for giving me another chance to save myself before it was too late. I don’t know how to thank you.
Always in debt, Robert
PS. If you are a patient reading this, I hope it might inspire you, as some of the other stories originally inspired me. There is always hope for recovery. You simply have to stop being a victim and take charge of the healing process.