I started to experience back pain at age 24 after getting married and getting pregnant all within the same year. This was in 2003. I had moved from California to Boston to be with my new husband and soon discovered that I was not an East Coast girl….no offense. I was not working to insure that everything was finished in the house in preparation for our new baby. During my pregnancy, I had bouts of terrible lower back pain which made me seek medical attention. My OB/GYN said that the pain was probably related to my pregnancy and should pass after the birth. Well, I endured 5 more months of pain till little Steve was born in July.
I loved my new son and my husband and hoped I would recover quickly from the birth. However, I did not recover. I developed increasingly severe back pain and was eventually diagnosed with 2 herniated discs in my lower back. I experienced pain throughout my lower back, butt and upper legs. It was strange that the MRI only showed the discs possibly infringing on the right foraminal spaces, since I also had pain equally on my left side. This was brought up to me by the radiologist at the hospital and I asked my orthopedist about it. He assured me that this happens often and the pain was definitely from my discs. I endured a series of physical therapy sessions, acupuncture treatments and constant chiropractic. My orthopedist set these therapies up for me with his associates. They seemed to do little good and eventually I began epidural injections and oral pain drugs.
By 2005, I was losing hope as my pain worsened steadily. My orthopedist was getting tired of me arguing with him over my care and sent me to see a surgeon. This doctor recommended surgery on my lower back, which scared me to death! I resisted at first and went for a second opinion to a back specialist outside of my insurance network. This doctor cost me $4000 for a series of consultations and more epidural treatments which actually seemed to make me worse (if that was possible). After treating me for 10 months, this doctor gave up and said he thought I might have fibromyalgia, not a disc condition after all. I was shocked! I did not have fibromyalgia symptoms, just back pain and the associated depression and poor attitude which went along with constant unbearable pain. He sent me to a rheumatologist who offered to begin treatment for fibromyalgia during our consultation. I asked him how he knew I had the condition and he said he had already spoken to the back specialist and was told that was the condition I suffered from! HE did not even examine me before offering treatment! I walked out amid curses when he told me the cost would have to be paid out of pocket again, to the tune of another $6000!
I did not know what to do. It was now 2006 and I was a mess. My husband was tired of me being an invalid. I was missing out on my son growing up. I was almost completely incapacitated by this lower back pain. I considered returning the surgeon and simply giving in to the idea of surgery. Then, I found this website. I remember writing to Sensei and telling him my story. He replied that I most likely had psychosomatic pain and should begin what he called Knowledge Therapy. I wrote back and cursed at him for not believing my story and saying that I had fake pain. I did however continue looking through the site and eventually ordered a book by Dr. Sarno called “Healing Back Pain”. This book was well reviewed by many sources and I hoped it might help me. Well after reading it, I was pissed! It also claimed that most pain was psychological and could be cured without medical treatment. This book was actually written by a rehabilitation doctor. How could he think physical pain was the result of some mental process???
Well, after consulting with the surgeon again, I was scheduled for laminectomy surgery. I had to wait 3 weeks to suit the surgeon’s schedule. During this time, I went back to reading that Sarno book and started thinking that some of it did make sense to me. The more I read, the more I saw myself in the pages. I began to think psychologically for the first time in my life and my pain improved. This was freaky! But, it worked. I read the book several times and felt much better. So good, in fact that I cancelled my surgical date, much to the anger of my doctor! I applied the principles laid out by Sarno and found my pain was better day by day. Soon after, I wrote to Sensei and apologized for my behavior. I realized he had insight to my condition way before I did. He knew more about me than my doctors and he had never even met me…
It is now late 2007. I have been completely pain free for over a
year and a half. I owe my recovery to this site and to the work of
Sensei. We have become friends since our first bad correspondence and I
will never forget the aid given to me. I am writing this story to help
patients to look beyond what they are told by their doctors.
Sometimes, you must be responsible for your own health. I realized that
my pain came from repressed anger at losing my autonomy, independence
and geographical preference all at once, so early in life. I love my
son and husband, but I never realized the repressed anger I had towards
them for taking these things from me. Now that I understand what is
going on in my mind, I also am better in tune with my body. I hope my
story helps some of you. I have learned from Sensei. Knowledge is
power. Maybe my experience will empower some of you to take a second
look at the true nature of your own back pain.
Best wishes, Beth