I used to have debilitating chronic back pain, and absolutely nothing worked. Now, this is going to be a very large overview of my story and what helped, but if you feel you’ve tried everything – this just may be the answer for you.
My history of back pain
Now, I wasn’t someone who normally got back pain. I would get a little twinge here and there, but it was nothing that couldn’t be fixed from a few days of rest, ice and a heating pad. But then something changed. I started to get pain where I literally couldn’t move. My lower back would spasm, although spasm doesn’t even feel like the right word because it seems to light. Another word I’d like to think of is lock, maybe? Freeze? Turn to stone?
I couldn’t move and I could barely breathe. This type of pain started in 2017, and now, looking back, it was while I was planning my wedding which makes a ton of sense once you continue reading.
What I did to try to alleviate my chronic back pain:
- I went to physical therapy – about four different practices
- Sought out doctors
- Got multiple MRI’s, had multiple opinions of my ‘injury’
- Bought courses on relieving back pain
- Stopped working out
- Tried to workout ‘low intensity’
- X-rays and all the possible screenings imagineable
- Muscle relaxers, anti inflammatories
- Heating pads, ice, icy-hot
When I say I tried everything, I mean I tried everything. I would be out of commission for weeks, sometimes months of working out. And the smallest things would trigger this shooting pain that would leave me in tears. I would pick up a pen at work. A PEN. A PEN, PEOPLE. And I would get stuck and immediately start crying. Tears were shed because of the pain, but also the realization that something was seriously wrong, no one could tell me, and I was 28 years old.
Then, I found this.
One day in early 2018 (mind you, this has been going on for over a year), I was listening to Annie Grace’s ‘This Naked Mind’ podcast, and she told a similar story. A similar story that literally stopped me in my tracks; I had to pull the car over and replay it. She spoke of this book Healing Back Pain by Dr. John Sarno , and I immediately purchased it.
This book changed my life.
Long story short, Dr. John Sarno states that the majority of chronic back pain is not from physical issues, but psychological issues such as repressed stress and emotions that are not dealt with. MIND. FREAKING. BLOWN.
I quickly learned that when we don’t deal with emotions, feelings and unresolved trauma, that begins a process with he autonomic nervous system causes a reduction in blood flow to certain muscles, nerves, tendons or ligaments which result in pain. A whole lot of pain. And frankly, it is easier for someone to cope with chronic back pain than deal with unresolved conflicts or emotions – so that is what our bodies turn to.
For example, when I went to the doctors / chiropractors/ physical therapists/ emergency room, I was told I had degenerative disc disease, my hips weren’t aligned, a bulging disc, and that is causing my back pain. This book taught me that those three things are extremely common when you age, and people with the exact same ailments don’t have any pain.
What is TMS?
Dr. Sarno named this condition Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS), where the pain is due to a lack of oxygen in the area from psychological alteration in certain muscles – not physical alterations. The most common unresolved emotions through TMS are anger and anxiety. When I think about my situation, it was completely realistic as I was fueled with anxiety, worry, stress and overwhelm with trying to plan my wedding. At this time in my life, I was also unsure if I wanted to have kids, and I felt a very large external pressure that I struggled to deal with also – which lead to this pain.
He states that even just acknowledging the pain is psychological and not physical can be enough to make the chronic pain stop. Now, for me, who has been in debilitating pain for over a year – that news alone was incredible to me.
My back pain stopped in two days.
Here is what I did:
- Read Healing Back Pain by Dr. John Sarno fully, and bookmarked important pages to return to when needed.
- I repeatedly told myself that my back pain was not back pain, it was in fact unresolved anxiety.
- Resumed physical activity.
- Journaled about my emotions and what was causing me anxiety
All of these things helped me deal with my emotions and realize that I am a perfectly normal, healthy 29 year old and got rid of my pain altogether.
Now, please use common sense.
If you are experiencing chronic back pain, please see a doctor to rule out any other possibilities, as this was only my experience. If this sounds like you and you feel at a complete loss, then this book may be exactly what you need! And here you can learn more about my story.