Back Pain Questions and Answers
Archive 2006

This Q&A section is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Any medical condition should be referred to a qualified medical professional. The Q&A is now closed for new submissions.

Q: How exactly does knowledge therapy cure back pain? Mrs. Lenore Nystrom, Port Ritchie, Fl.

Q: What type of prescription medicines worked best for you? I have terrible pain and can’t seem to find relief. Anonymous.

Comment: I have tried almost everything as well. I had a few problems with drug interactions and side effects. Eventually, I just stopped them all cold turkey. I am still in pain, but at least, there are no other side effects. Its good advice, quit while you can. Michael C.

Q: How do you know if your pain is really physical or maybe psychological? Stephen

Q: Why does degenerative disc disease hurt? Discs do not have nerves in them, do they? Why do they feel so sore? Isabelle

Q: I find your ideas very interesting. Where did you get the knowledge and insight to write so much about various forms of back pain? Dr. C. Thomas Brett, D.C.

Q: I have read all of Dr. Sarno's books , as well as books by Dr. Sopher and Dr. Siegel. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that my back problem is psychologically induced. HOWEVER, none of these practitioners give easy-to-understand, step-by-step instructions on HOW TO USE THIS KNOWLEDGE. Thinking psychologically sounds great, but HOW? How did you uncover the feelings/emotions that were keeping you in pain? How can I do it? Thank you! Susan

COMMENT: I was always doubtful of Dr. Sarno’s theories. I am a practicing physician and had heard of the famous doctor many times. I, myself, had a long history of back pain that came about from a sports injury in high school. I went through the medical system with poor results until I came back around to Dr. Sarno. I read Sarno’s books and applied his theories to myself for the first time. I am now pain free. After reading the website, I was intrigued by Sensei’s book, “Cure Back Pain Forever”. By this time, I had become a strong exponent of the idea of a psychological cause for most back pain. Sensei Rostocki takes a completely different approach than any book I had experienced before. His book is written with surprising accuracy and clarity of psychological theory, especially from a self described university dropout. I was drawn in by his story and the honest style of writing. Reading this book really gives you a taste of what inspired Sensei Rostocki to write it, as well as devote so much effort to his back pain website. I have maintained an ongoing correspondence with the author, and now consider him both an authority and an inspiration. I would highly recommend this book, as well as all the works of Dr. Sarno, to all back pain patients. Sincerely, Dr. David Cohen

COMMENT: Sensei Rostocki literally saved my life twice. The first time I met Sensei was when he started working at the martial arts school where I trained. Sensei was a dynamic instructor and really cared for his students. When Sensei opened his own school, I was so happy and went to train with him there. I had been suffering from high blood pressure, and my doctor had warned me to get it under control or I would be in trouble. Sensei got me into great shape and taught me how meditation can calm your mind, as well as your blood pressure. I was so thankful to him, and we became friends. In conversation, I mentioned to Sensei that I had a bad back also. Two days later, I injured my back working at home, and was unable to continue with my martial arts. Sensei stayed in touch and told me all about his back pain experiences. The knowledge he shared with me gave me the strength to overcome my pain. I am now healthy again, and no longer fear back pain. I am so sad that Sensei is not teaching in his school anymore, but I am thrilled that he is involved in this website project. Recently, I saw Sensei and asked him to do a tattoo for me. (PS, Sensei is also an amazing artist.) Well, I thought he should pick something appropriate, so I left it up to him. He chose the Chinese character for “COURAGE”. It made me cry. I really love Sensei, and wish I could write more. Please, do yourself a favor. Read his book. You will beat your back pain. As Sensei would say, “ I DID IT…YOU CAN TOO!!!” Love, Kathy Anders Keith

Q: I was recommended by my new Endo to see a specific Chiropractor. The only one my endo knew was the one he recommended (and referred to as a Goddess). So, I called the Goddess. I met with the Dr. and she took xrays. I liked the Dr. She took a lot of notes about my history. The Dr. showed me my xrays. My spine looked good but my neck looked bad. It did not have the curve it should have. The Dr. said I was"severely arthritic" in my neck and "in 10 years all those bones would be fused!" This degradation could be stopped and possibly, improved by adjustments, weights on the head, exercises, etc. She suggested 4 treatments per week for 2 months and then 3 for a month and then new xrays to determine the effect of treatment. $40 per treatment IF I pay in advance, $1760. I even wondered if that was my xray I was looking at. Now, I'm reading and it appears that what they're selling is CBP. What do you know about this and what do you think about this event? Janice S.

Q: I had disectomy surgery Aug. 3rd. - home the same day. The surgery brought immediate relief for a week and a half.. now all symptoms are back (lower left side of buttock area throbs with pain - shoots down leg and left leg numbness). It's as though I had nothing done! My question is: if half of us go back to the original pain; and 10% of us are left with no results... what do I do now? What options do I now have? or, am I destined to have to live my life with this pain? I'm on Hydrocodene -- and if I don't take it every 4 hrs., I can hardly take the pain I'm in. I'll take some good advice or better yet, suggestions. Thank you. Susan M. PS. I'm a 42 yr old fit female. Excercised most of my life. I'm too young for this!

COMMENT: Just a quick note to say THANK YOU for being such a wonderful support for me these last 2 months. Your book opened my eyes to some things that have me well on the path to good health again. More than anything, your continuous emails have meant so much to me. You have been a friend to me when I needed one most. I will never forget it. God bless! Franny

Q: Do you know of any good doctors for back pain??? I did have a lower discectomy, on discs L4 L5 and S1. Things were fine until a few weeks ago, I have gone for all the treatments i.e. physio, pain killers etc. I have been for a CT and an MRI. The MRI said something about nerves clumping together. I have had the surgery, and now I am back at the start again. NO clue what do to anymore. Melissa

Q: Sensei, I have become a real fan of your site. I do not have back pain, but my husband does. He is stubborn and insists that his pain came from an old work related injury. This injury happened almost 15 years ago, and his pain has gotten worse, not better. Well, I forced him to start reading by printing pages from your site and putting them on his dinner plate. I refused to give him dinner till he read 1 every day!!! It worked. He is now thinking that his pain might be psychosomatic. I am reading your book now, and will pass it along to him when I am finished. Just want to say a thanks for now, and looking forward to a pain free hubby soon! Most sincerely, Lana H.

Q:I have experienced what appears to be the exact same symptoms as you and now am in such pain I can not walk. How can I order your book? Any suggestions to get me out of bed and on my feet soon? I initially hurt my back lifting a bed up to sweep under it while stationed in Korea. When I got out of the Army I went to a Chiropractor who didnt really do me much good. I experienced the initial pain in 1991 and it has gotten worse with Chiropractic. I went the medicine route and eventually got a Cortizone shot. When that wore off I was twisted sideways and was in bed for about 2 weeks on ice to stop the pain. Several years ago I injured myself at work and between Chiropractic, massage, Orthodics in my shoes, and Physical Therapy, eventually I was without pain for once in years. This last episode happened while I was at work and lifted some heavy cones that were stuck together. The pain was manageable and I thought "maybe it will go away." It didnt, but got worse & after 3 months of constant pain I was getting ready for work shaving in the bathroom when all of a sudden my back muscles locked up and I was turned sideways. I went into my dr the next day (which I had to be on ice mounted by back brace and on Vicodin to walk) and he prescribed me Anti Inflams, Norco, and Back Spasm pills. He wanted me to goto Physical Therapy on Monday, but I am still in bed and cannot be up for more than 5-10 mins at a time before my back cinches up again where Im Frozen in place. The Army eventually awarded me 20% disabilty for my back saying it was Degeneritive Joint Disease of the low back L4-5 and L5-S1. Funny thing is that whenever I have a flare up there is no indication its Disc's, instead it appears to be muscle. So Im looking at about 15 years that this has been going on. Prior to the initial injury I never had pain with my back in my life. I was 22 when the first inicident happened, now Im 37 and its much worse. The pain sometimes radiates down my left leg all the way into my left ankle. I experienced this by going to a different chiropractor- before I never had this kind of pain. Thank you so much for your advice and I think your website is extremely helpful. Joe L.

Comment: Just wanted to drop you a note to say THANK YOU so much for all your kind and supportive emails. Thank you again for your wonderful book. I have tried all the Sarno books, and just have not made any real headway with my pain. Your book gave me the specific ways that helped me really make some good progress. I am feeling better day by day, and continue to read, as per your suggestion. Thank you, Sensei ! Your fan, Shelly G. ( Fellow New Yorker)

Q: How do I know that you are a real person? How do I know that your experiences are real ? I will not be surprised to never receive an answer to this note. Mike

Q: Sensei, I just want to thank you for all your hard work in the fight to cure back pain. I do not have a pain problem, but my mother and my husband do. I have turned both of them on to your book and website and they have been getting better by the day. Please, keep up the good work. We depend on you! Trinny

Q:I have been suffering with back pain for several years. I had an injury to my back in 2000 and I later found out that I had a pinched nerve. Lately I have had knee problems and found that I had a cyst at the back of my knee cap, I was sent to a podiatrist who then told me that my spine is way out of whack due to a hip fracture as an infant. The podiatrist has recently put orthodics in my shoes so that my spine will hopefully straighten out. He said that my spine never grew properly due to the hip fracture. The pain has gotten worse since I have had these orthodics put in but I was told that this was to be expected because of the change in my stance. I sure hope so. I have received cortisone via needle at the hospital for the pain which did work for some time. I am thinking of trying that route again. Can you possibly tell me if this is the cause of all of my pain and will the orthodics help in time. Thank you, Rita

Q: This will be for my 18-year-old son. He has complained about his back for several years with test being negative and numerous various treatments don't work. The doctors now think he has facet syndrome and are suggesting a Facet Rhizotomy. I am not sure if he has the faith to give Knowledge Therapy a chance. Do you have any suggestions on how I should introduce this to him? Thanks, Paula

Q: Sensei, I also am a martial artist. I am now 45 and have not been able to pick a quarter off the ground for 4 years...I strech and bendover holding my weight on a drawer and almost get the hand to floor,but don't quite make it! My back legs get tight and will strain .If I go up a hill and am not careful, my calf muscles will strain and I can hardly walk! I just don't understand and have been to many doctors who say I am fine. Yet I have to use a cane to sit or go up stairs like an old man at 45 . This has been ridiculous. I have had personal trauma in my life. (personal issues omitted) As of the last 3 days I went to a chiropractor and he adjusted me. One day later I could not get out of bed and on my feet without some of the worst pain I ever felt in my life. I thought I was going to the Emergency Room. I took an ibuprofen and used two canes to walk off the stiffness. I went to chiro and got x-rays which showed a decent spine and as I was writing this the chiropractor called and said it doesn't show any bulge, but like most 45 year olds you probably have some minor bulging ...we can fix that in 6 months. I am really spooked of the chiro. I believe I am in this pain because of his adjustment, or maybe he is putting a long out of shape spine back in place and it is painful at first? Anyway I am reluctant to go back . I read your story and I value your 18 years of suffering and getting the medical spin. Then you come back and overcome the pain. I don't want to suffer and I want to live life active. This is tremendously hard on me emotionally too. I know you have a book, but I would like to get some of your verbal advice if you have any for me....fellow blackbelt Bret

COMMENT: Sensei, Just wanted to say thanks for your book. I have been reading it since May over and over, just as you recommended. I am pain free for the first time in 7 years. I have fired my doctor ! Truly, Ernestine

Q: Hi, I've had back pain now for the last 3 years. The only trauma i can remember is when i hurt my upper back when trying to get over a high wall. I only felt a slight twinge but ever since then it has been a problem for me. I have sought help from almost everyone, physio's, orthopetic specialists, chiropractors, ostiopaths, massage therapy you name it i've been to them. My symtoms would include stiffness and tension around my neck and upper back as well as tight hamstrings and gluts(i tore my cruciate ligament in my knee 10 yrs ago). I don't think i suffer from emotional stress apart but i do get stressed over having a bad back continuously! Basically it is all muscle related. My arms feel like they have lead weights hanging from them and i feel all my arm and back muscles have degenerated into mush. I have been doing back exercises but these seem to be making the problem worse rather than better of late. I'd appreciate your comments on my condition. Niall

Q: Bless you for having this on the web. I am a 50 year old female who has had a 6 month history of lower back pain. One month ago I woke up with a searing pain across my lumbar area. It hurt to walk, roll over in bed, stand and sit. At that time I had sharp shooting pain down both legs. I have been resting now for the last 2 days in bed. I do get up and can walk up and down stairs, with pain in my right side, if I do to much activity I get sharp shooting pains down my right leg to the level of the popliteal space behind my knee. I can walk on my toes and heels, and I do not notice any problem doing this, except if I have been walking too much... I had been going to my thoracic outlet syndrome condition to a RMT and chiropractor before this searing pain. The chiropractor also adjusted my hips. I did this for several weeks and was feeling great. Then I started the lifting and straining. I just had a CT scan L45 today and my question to the technician was can I resume chiropractic. She told me I would have to wait 10 days to get the result as the radiologist had 100 scans to read. Oh great! My shoulders and neck cause migraines it's either coffee or imitrex (very expensive). I still try to do my exercises for my scalenes, shoulders, shoulder joint, scm, and trapezius. I have some understanding of origin, insertion and nerve distribution (dermatomes). I have of late woken up with one or both arms numb and tingling, I think due to my positioning of my right hip. I will put pillows under my arms when on my back and under my knees when I am in bed. I find if I sit for my than 20 minutes I start getting the low back pain. Please Advise. Do I wait for the result of the CT of L45 or see chiropractor for just my upper body problems ? Lianna

Q:I am 29 and have had severe neck pain for over 3 mos. My boyfriend was very abusive and used to grab my hair and violently shake me. Initially the pain was tolerable but a little over 3 mos. ago he hit me with a pillow on the side of my head and I felt an intense pain along with burning. Finally got MRI results and doc said I have 3 "dehydrated discs" c4-c7. How does this explain the severe pain and numbness of left hand? All the info I have found online suggests maybe the doc meant DDD, however nearly all the articles I have seen state DDD is not source of pain usually. The doc ordered EMG studies, but other than that just told me not to lift anything heavy and be extremely careful. In your opinion what is the real cause of my pain as well as the changes to my discs? Please reply soon. The pain is unbearable. P.S. I have also had lumbar fusion l5-s1 several years ago. Thank you. Misha

COMMENT: Sensei, I just wanted to thank you so much for all your support these last 4 months. I only had minor back pain, but your pages on obesity back pain really made me think about my health for the first time in years. I reached out to you for help and you were there for me, just like you said you would be. I have now lost over 35 lbs, and I will keep up the good work till I reach my goal of 60. I have not felt so good in 20 years. God bless you for your unselfish efforts. Mary

Q: I have a numbing sensation going down my left arm that comes and goes. If I rotate my head and neck to the left and lift my head up slightly I can feel the triggering of it in my spine directly across from there. When the shocking (numbing) sensation begins and I lift my left arm above my head or simply change position of my arm it will subside. My left arm also seems to be a alot more sensitive to cold now. Meaning that if I position it on a colder object it will begin to ache. Please help me!! Is it a spinal condition that a back adjustment can cure? I do not do a repetitive job or a physically strenuous one. Thank you, Al

Q: I have been diagnosed through MRI with a ruptured lumbar disk and bone spurs. What exercises can I do to alleviate the pain in my right hip/thigh area and treat the ruptured disk. I am 64 in good physical condition and not overweight. Thanks, Bob

Q: My mom is 84 years old. She is a heart patient and not a candidate for surgery. She recently pulled a ligament in her lower right back. She had acute pain, which has now diminished after a month of electrical muscular stimulation from a chiroprator. She did experience relief from the acute pain with minor adjustments and also acupuncture from one of the best we have in the state of Arizona. The acupuncturist also did what they call cupping...which keeps the blood moving so it doesn't stagnate around the inflamed pain site, further assisting the healing of the ligament. Her ligament is almost half healed. She has had two x-rays to show.However, she also has one lower disc that is totally shot! The acupuncturist is also doing injections of glucosamine sulfate, sugar, lidacaine..which has acutally helped some. The problem is because of the degenerated lower disc crushing one of the nerves around L5. She had sxcrutiating sciatica 4 years ago and went to this marvelous Chinese MD we see again now too. In three visits the pain went away and never came back. This time she is not so fortunate. We also have been to two visits...just the beginning of spinal decompression therapy the stretch and gently pull the spine away from the nerve it is sitting on. We know it is not a cure, but hoping to get pain relief as it decompresses off the nerve. One doc said last resort was to have an orthopedic surgeon kill that nerve completely through a small incision. Thank you. Christi

Q: Just wanted to say Thank you Sensei for all your hard work. You have been a source of support for me for the last 3 months as I have used your book to help me with my herniated disc pain. I am thrilled with my results and can see a bright future for myself. Hope you don’t mind, but I want to borrow your famous line, “I did it…You can too!" It feels so good to finally say that. Thanks again, Joey

Q: Hi, I have been suffering with chronic outer buttock pain for over 18 years, the type you described, the sharp stabbing kind. It sometimes takes my breath away. I have tried everything I can think of including knowledge therapy, with no success. I have gone to more than 5 psychotherapists and have read all of Dr. Sarnos books and bought his videos etc. I never go more than a day without these sharp stabs to my right hip. After the pain comes I almost always know what caused it, anger, fear, etc, but I can't seem to get better. As you said, I feel as though im going out of my mind.. I even went to Celebrations Florida to the Brady Instiute where Scott Brady MD has a program for people with this problem, TMS. I have worked the workbook and watched the video several times. I just don't know what else to do. I called Dr. Brady and told him what was going on and he told me to go to a reg. MD and be checked again. I did just that and this time they found a small cyst in my back by the L4 / L5 discs. I was told I needed surgery but he also said that my symptoms did not match the type of cyst I had. The Dr. said it might make it worse becuse I was scared to death. I can hardly stand the pain I'm in everyday, how would i stand something worse? 15 yrs ago when the pain started there was no cyst in my back, so i don't think it has anything to do with it. i noticed you mentioned that it would be helpful to talk to others that have this same problem. I'm so depressed that I can't find help. I have no doubt that this is psychosomatic, but here in St. Augustine there doesn't seem to be anyone that can help me. Any suggestions are welcomed. Thanks Corinn

Comment thanks Sensei for helping me this past month. You have proven yourself to be the “Real Deal” to me. I was tentative about writing to you to begin with. I was surprised at your fast response to my emails and the personal and valuable advice you offered. I found your insights to be very helpful, even though I was very skeptical about your ideas on psychological pain. Well having read your book literally everyday for 3 weeks straight, I am convinced. You do have the answers and I am so happy I gave it a chance. As you know from my emails, my sciatic pain cost me my job and my life. I am confident that I am going to beat it now. I have not felt so good in decades and I feel the clouds finally starting to lift for me. I really don’t know how to thank you enough. If I can ever help you in any way, don’t be afraid to ask. Eternally, Robert.

Q: Hello Mr. Sensei Adam,I really appreciate giving me such an early response. My name is Sonu. I'm a 25 years old male and a truck driver by profession. I'd gone through your website and really like all the knowledgeable stuff. Actually I don't know where exactly I have the problem in my back because I can't explain it to you in medical terms but I can send you the medical report of my MRI later. All I can tell you is that the pain occurs in my lower back and goes to the left leg from back of my thigh. I feel numbness, weakness in my legs and pain in my neck and also cracking in my whole back. Problem gets worse when I keep on sitting for long time. I’m not doing any work. Doctor told me that now the condition is not that bad but if I keep on sitting for long time as being a driver I have to be operated which can create much problem for me. I’d even gone through acupuncture but it hasn't helped me much. I'm really depressed about what I will do now. If u can tell me any remedy I’ll be really grateful to you. Regards, Sonu

Q: Hi Sensei. I too am a martial artist. I have suffered with back pain for years, herniated my T11-T12 which feels much better, but since then, my lower lumbar hurts every day and it is weak and stiff. I feel so delicate that the slightest move will cause my back to "go out" (which it has done every now and then). Doctors tell me there is basically nothing major other than DDD which is not advanced.. So I went to see another neurosurgeon and he told me that it could be in my head. He recommended a book about TMS by Dr. Sarno... I found this odd, since as a Dr. trained here in the US, that he would actually recommend such a book. Then I stumbled upon your book and purchased it. Just so that you know, I already feel better, and only read 1/3 of your book. I really do believe that at least some, if not most or all of my pain is in my mind. So here is my question... In your book, you state that you must be 100% sure that the pain is not physical. Well, how do I do that? How do I know for sure that it isnt the joint or nerve or something else causing the pain..

Thanks for the regained hope that you have given me... I want this to work, not only for myself, but so that I too can spread the word to help others in pain. It is my duty to do so. Bye Sensei. Maurice

Q: I had an injury on the job with a forklift.I got my left foot crushed and I hit my back on a post. I got surgery on my foot. The doctor put a pin in my foot to hold my ankle so it could set and I got 6 to 8 stitches in my foot. My back injury is a bulging disc in my lower back that pinched a nerve. I got 3 nerve block shots to help reduce the swelling and the pain. My question is, could this chronic nerve or back pain have any effect on my sex life ? Phillip

Q: I've read both of Dr. Sarno's books, the "Healing Back Pain" book - at least 4-5 times. I agree with it, I get it, but I can't seem to release my lower back and leg pain. This has been going on for months now. My question has to do with middle back pain. For the last week, I've had a band of pain, more on the left side, across my mid back (just below the bottom of the bra area). The pain was first in my lower back and right leg and that pain is still there, but slightly less. But this mid-back pain is something else. If I'm laying flat, it doesn't bother me, but when I stand or try to walk or bend - wow! Could this still all be TMS? Before I purchase your book, I wanted to run this by you.... Thank You! Brenda

Q: : Hi I have had acute back pain for 3 weeks now, acute pain in lower back going from one side to the other. Sitting down and getting up, I get really stiff and find it hard to stand up straight. I also get pain on bending down. I am 56 years old. Can you tell me please what it might be. Alan

Q: I have been reading your website and am hoping you can help me. The question I have is: for the last few weeks, off and on, my mom (82) has been having stomach pain, along with lower abdominal pain followed by and including low back pain. Pain is intense enough to bring her to tears. Laying down, sitting up - nothing helps. Tylenol 3's sometimes help. What could be causing this? It's not a pattern in that it happens after she eats, etc. Just starts out of nowhere. My own back pain story started in Sept 1999 when I was on my way to the hospital as my father was dying; I was in the back seat and told the driver to "go", not realizing that my right foot was still on the pavement. My leg was dragged a few feet before I screamed for him (driver) to stop the car. I have had every test imaginable; sciatic nerve damage was suggested. Narcotic pain killers prescribed but only take the "edge" off. Physio, chiropratic, nerve blocks - and the latest Prolotherapy; nothing has helped. "Sacro-illiac" problem was reason for prolotherapy. How can I get rid of this 7 years of constant pain? My mother is currently in her room crying due to the pain she is in. Both her pain and mine cause me a great deal of emotional pain. Thank you, desperately hoping you can help. Janet M.

Q: I picked up a large TV and was carrying it when a sharp pain went through the middle of my back from right to left. It felt like a knife and had a feeling like it was hot. It also took my breath for a short time. Could this be a disc problem or muscle problem? I have broken ribs before and this is presently the same feeling. This happend 3 days ago. Not much better. Thanks Hank

COMMENT: Hi Sensei, I wanted to thank you again for your book and helpful posts. You truly speak the truth, and it is about time someone did. I beat my back pain with your help, and I will always remember you for it. Thank you so much, Joseph

COMMENT: Mr. Rostocki ( Sensei :) Just a world of thanks for all your support. I wish more people could experience your help. Back pain would run for cover!!! Hehe. Really, you have been my light in a very dark time of my life. Your letters mean so much and I appreciate all you have done for me. I will always be here if you ever need anything. Love and Appreciation, Cindee

Q: I have just had a discectomy but because of the nerves that have been traped in my left leg I am left with a numb and dead foot known as drop foot. I have this approx 2-3 months now. Will it come back right and how can I help it or will it require more surgery? thank you, Lynda

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