My Story


Here is my story of pain, suffering, discovery and a cure.

victory2smIt all started when I was about 31 years old.  I was a little overweight, (25 lbs or so) but otherwise in pretty good condition.   I was a new parent with a two year old.  I lived in a rented home with my wife and son.  I had a decent job, but we weren’t rich by any means.  The job as a software programmer was pretty stressful.  So was being a new father.  At the time, my wife wasn’t working, so money was tight.  So, as a new father, trying to make a living in a stressful job, wondering if we were ever going to be able to buy a house, I had the normal pressures of life.

A work sponsored golf outing was taking place one day and with no warning, I felt a stabbing pain in my lower back when I went to put on my underwear.  Of all things, can you imagine throwing out your back by putting on your underwear?  I couldn’t believe it.  But it REALLY hurt bad.

Despite the pain, I forced myself to get ready and went and played golf anyway.  I struggled through the round and played horribly.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t blame my back for that.  I had just started golfing that year and I was just bad.  No excuses.    Plus, the pain wasn’t that bad during the round of golf.

However, after the round of golf, I came home to relax and rest my back.  For those of you with similar problems, I’m sure you guessed what happened next.  The pain got worse as I went to lie down and “rest” my back.  Why it didn’t hurt this bad when I was out golfing, swinging a club, twisting my back in every direction, getting in and out of a cart and bouncing around while driving this golf cart over the bumps of the course, who knows.  But all I know is that my back hurt me like never before.  I couldn’t believe how much pain I was in.   I took a few aspirin’s and I got myself to bed.

The next day, it hurt so bad, I decided to call out of work and get to see my doctor.  Good old Doctor John.  He checks me out in his office.  By now I’m tilted to the side and in a LOT of pain.  The doctor advises rest and “I’ll write you a prescription” – He gave me some muscle relaxants and anti inflammatory drugs.   Relax for a few days and it should resolve itself.   (Sound familiar?)

A few days of bad pain, resting and about 10 muscle relaxants later, I had no improvement at all.  As a matter of fact it was worse.  My hips and shoulders were completely out of alignment.  If you were to draw a line down my spine, it would have looked like an “S”.  I was walking with a limp and struggled with little stuff like tying my shoes.  What was happening to me?

The scariest part was that I would have pain running down my legs.  Sometimes the right one, other times the left.  And the pain wasn’t always in the same exact spot on my back.  This really freaked me out.  Especially the pain down my legs made me really nervous.  I had no idea what had happened.

Talking to the neighbors didn’t help either.  The guy next door and another guy across the street both have had back surgery but they still had some pain from time to time.   Their stories only made me worry more.  They both warned me of “don’t bend over at the waist”, “wear a back brace when doing lawn work”, etc.  Don’t do this, don’t do that or you’ll need surgery too.

One day my neighbors’ wife came running out of her house to yell at me because I was using a weed whacker to trim the edges of the lawn.  “Do you want to end up like my husband and need surgery too?” She screamed as she urged me to put the week whacker down.   Now I was really scared.

My brother has been a longtime fan of chiropractors so I gave him a call.  He’s been seeing one for years for periodic but still had ongoing back pain.  That should have been my first hint, but I figured if it provided him some relief, maybe I should go.  So I called a local chiropractor and set an emergency appointment.

I went into a home office of a chiropractor…where he proceeded to twist and turn me…never quite explaining what he was doing.  I remember barely being able to walk back to the car.  For some reason I figured it was the doctor – got a recommendation for another Chiropractor and tried again.

This time the doctor seemed more professional.  He had a great modern office, cool plants, a fish tank and a nice staff.  “Much better.” I thought to myself.  Not some creepy treatment room in a home.   Anyway, the new chiropractor was nice enough and proceeded to do some interesting tests.  Flexibility, strength, pressure points, etc.  I really didn’t understand what he did and still don’t, but it seemed like he knew what he was doing.  Of course he pulled out the plastic model of a spine and showed me how it bent and told me about how things sometimes get out of alignment causing pain.

Then he put these cool electrodes on my lower back, had me lie down and he hit my lower back muscles with a series of shocks for about 10-15 minutes.  It felt pretty cool, helped to relax the muscles and loosen me up a little bit.

Afterwards he got me on his table and proceeded to crack the heck out of my back.  He cracked it all the way from my lower back up to between my shoulder blades.  Basically he blamed muscle tightness in my upper back for pulling my lower back out of line.  That didn’t make any sense to me since it was my lower back that I had “hurt” putting my underwear on.

I walked out of the chiropractors office much straighter than I was when I walked in and was actually feeling much better.  I was optimistic.  As a result, I had no problem agreeing to see him every two days for the next two weeks.   Unfortunately the pain returned about 2 hours after I left his office and was as bad as before.  Believing the chiropractor, I thought it would take about 5 visits with the electric muscle stimulation and spinal adjustments to get it resolved.

The treatments felt good too, so I almost looked forward to going – if even for the temporary relief.  Do you have any pain treatment places that you keep going back to – knowing the results are temporary?  Either because you don’t know what else to do, or you are so desperate for relief that you’ll even take temporary results?  That’s where I was.

He also recommended I should have my back X-Rayed to make sure there was nothing serious to be concerned with.  So off to the hospital to get my spine x-rayed.  No big deal, but more missed work, more co-payments and more worrying.  The x-rays come back and the chiropractor looks them over.  Fortunately, no bad news.  No abnormalities, no herniated disks or anything.    But I was still in a bunch of pain and so far, nobody could really tell me what was causing it.

I know, many of you have physical and structural issues showing on X-Ray and MRI’s.  Bear with me, I’ll deal with that.  Please don’t rush to dismiss what’s in this report because my diagnosis was different than yours.

Actually, come to think of it…  I had NO diagnosis.  I simply had pain and there was no “real” reason.  The doctor and chiropractor couldn’t tell me specifically what was causing my pain.   I’m sure you can relate.

Anyway, the chiropractor then sends me off to his physical therapist to show me some stretches and exercises to do for the pain and to strengthen my core muscles.  More money, more time, more effort on the exercises show, similar results.  Still in pain.  Now I’m getting really frustrated.

To wrap up this first episode:  It basically it took about 3 weeks, a bottle of muscle relaxant and anti inflammatory pills (that I swear did NOTHING), five visits to the chiropractor, a visit to the physical therapist, a few hours stretching and exercising my muscles and three days of missed work for this to resolve itself and for me to finally feel better.

I couldn’t believe I had all this pain and hassle – all from putting on my damn underwear!!  I was too embarrassed to tell my friends the REAL story when they asked how I “threw my back out.”

After a few weeks I slowly started to feel like I got past this problem.  But sure enough, a couple months later, another shooting pain in my back.  I even can’t remember exactly what I was doing this time, but it surely wasn’t lifting heavy weights, moving a piano or anything crazy.  It was surely nothing a healthy 31 year old guy shouldn’t be able to do without “throwing my back out”.

The scary part was that after the first experience, I knew what to expect.  Unfortunately, knowing that more pain was on it’s way and I had a long recovery to look forward to only made my back hurt worse and get me crooked quicker.  Here we go again.  Another round of 5 visits to the chiropractor, 2 weeks days of severe pain, crooked spine, exercises and stretching plus a whole bunch of fear and frustration.  Only this time I skipped the pain-killers from my regular doctor.  They didn’t do much to help in the first place.   Again, within three weeks time, the pain was 80-90% gone again.  But now I almost started to expect it to happen again.

On and on this routine went for about 3 years.  I had frequent pain episodes lasting anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks of severe pain.  Pains radiating down one leg or another, using back cushions for my chair at work and one for the car.  I spent much of my day laying on the floor when I should have been playing with my kid.    At work I often had to shut the door so I could lay in my suit on the floor and stretch out my aching back.  It was awful.

Bottom line was that I never felt 100% better.  I always was afraid, always had some level of discomfort, sometimes worse than others.  Plus there were the severe flare-ups that really got me too.  I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.  All this while, nobody could tell me why it was happening or what the cause of the pain was.  After a while I stopped asking the doctors because they simply said – you shouldn’t be hurting this bad.

One episode in particular hurt me so bad that after I lay on the floor “resting my back” for a couple hours, I literally couldn’t get up.  You know that feeling.  The one where it feels like someone is shoving a knife into the muscles in your back and twisting it.  In order to get up the stairs, I basically crawled up the stairs and collapsed into the hallway at the top of the landing.  I lay there for a while before crawling and almost slithering on my stomach all the way into my bedroom.  I couldn’t stand up or climb into bed, so I pulled a blanket and pillow down onto the floor and tried to get comfortable.

At 33 years old, I was VERY afraid of doing anything physical.  I wasn’t able to carry my son around much.  I stopped riding my bike.  Golf was painful.  I quit playing tennis.   Basically I was a wreck not believing that an otherwise normal healthy guy like me should be having this much pain.   Even between episodes of major pain, there was always that twinge.  It was always there.

I always knew that after sitting for a while, I would hurt when I got up.  I always needed to lay down and rest my “tired and sore’ back after a round of golf.  I always had to shut my office door to lay on my back with my knees bent to get relief.  There wasn’t much time when I wasn’t thinking about the current pain or expecting it to return.  I bent carefully, didn’t exert myself and it even affected what I could or was willing to do in the bedroom.  I’m sure many of you know what I’m talking about.

This all brings me to the reason I am writing this book.  I finally discovered the proper diagnosis and a cure for my pain.  And it worked so well and has changed my life so completely that I kept learning as much about the process as possible.  The cool part is that I never even visited the doctor who pioneered this diagnosis and cure.  I quit going to the chiropractor, don’t take any drugs, herbs or anything for the pain.  I have been able to resume doing everything I used to do plus many new physically demanding activities like snowboarding, skateboarding, riding bikes.  I shovel the snow, cutting the lawn, do yard work and playing golf.  I do this all without pain.   I got my life back and so can you.

My message to you is – there is hope.  I know you think you have tried everything, but you probably haven’t tried this yet.

I can hear you now:  You are saying that I didn’t have the same problems YOU have. That your problems are worse than mine were.  You had a “real” diagnosis where they found something physical that is causing YOUR pain.

I know – your doctor told you about a herniated disk or some other structural deficiency that is causing your pain.  Many of you have had surgery, epidurals, anti-inflammatory drugs, pain medications, traction, years of chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage, physical therapy, exercises, special pillows, back supports, back braces, special mattresses and have tried 17 other things to get rid of the pain.

Has it worked?  Perhaps you got some relief – only to find that the pain returned, right?

The problem is that none of these treatments address the CAUSE of the pain.  They simply try to treat the SYMPTOM of pain.  Until you understand WHY you are in pain, a cure is not possible.  To find out WHY you are in pain, you’re going to have to trust me and keep reading.

How I turned the corner and finally got pain free:

One day while driving painfully to work, I heard a radio DJ talking about his back pain and how a doctor in New York basically saved his life.  It was Howard Stern and he was talking about how he used to have to do his radio show laying down on his back with the microphone hanging down into his face.  He then described how this Doctor from New York was able to basically give him his life back and cure him of his horrible pain all without surgery, drugs, exercise or anything.  Some people Love him, many hate him.  But Howard Stern told a story so full emotion about how much this doctor did for him, I couldn’t help but listen.

Well, this is my story and I hope you are listening.

They say that when a student is ready to learn, the teacher appears.   The teacher was Doctor John Sarno.   Howard was simply a messenger telling his story and spreading the work of the good Doctor Sarno.   That’s my job too.  To be your messenger.

Back to the story….  So, what did I do?  I scribbled the name of the doctor on a napkin in my car and made sure to hit the bookstore at lunch.  Fortunately I found one of his books.  I ordered the rest.

The cool part was that simply by reading these books, and applying the lessons learned, I was able to finally understand the true CAUSE of my pain and actually get rid of it.  Sure, I still struggle with a little twinge now and again.  But I’m back doing everything I used to do without restriction.  I’m no longer fearful when I feel that twinge of pain.  I know what to do to get rid of it quickly and not let it turn into a full blown episode.

I had a 8 years with just minor pain.  Then, with difficulties in my business, a lot of stress at home from a 13 year old son – pushing our buttons, some financial concerns and a pending vacation that I knew deep down that I couldn’t afford, whammo – I was back in pain.

This latest episode was particularly bad.  Started in June of 2007 with some mid level pain.  I could get around, but was still hurting.  My spine still got that familiar tilt.  Heading to vacation, I got my doctor to give me some pain medication for the flight and “just in case I need it” while away.  I made it through the week with a lot of laying around, not much activity.  My wife and son got to have most of the fun as I watched or stayed back at the hotel.

I made it back from the vacation without too many problems.  The pain still nagged me a bit.  Then, just as I was feeling mostly better, WHAM!  Just bending slightly to sit into my home office chair, I felt my back grab and a shooting pain that dropped me to my knees.  I immediately knew it was bad.  I KNEW I was going to be in bad pain later. I expected it.   Since it was about 11:00 PM, I quickly got dressed and went to bed to rest it, hoping that it would be better by the morning.

No such luck.  In the middle of the night I must have rolled over to get more comfortable and before I knew it, I was rolling in pain.  It was like a Charlie horse that wouldn’t stop.  I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move, I broke into a sweat it hurt so bad.  Somehow the spasms subsided and I found just one position I could be comfortable laying in.

The next morning I awoke petrified to move.  Have you ever felt that pain?  That fear?

Knowing I had to get up, I lay there trying to figure out how I was going to get up.  Rolling over gently – I hurt.  A LOT.  Finally with one brave movement, I went to sit up and stand and that’s when it hit me.  The waves of pain, just like at 4:00 AM.  Dropping to my knees, clutching to the bed it was incredible.  After all my years of back pain – THIS was the worst I ever felt.  Just at that moment, my wife walked back into the bedroom.  (She was getting ready for work herself.)  One look at me and she knew just how bad it was.  I could barely talk.

Somehow despite the waves of pain I managed to drop to my hands and knees and crawled a couple feet.  Giving up, I somehow got myself laying down on the floor and rolled over onto my back.  Sweating and closing my eyes I lay there waiting for the pain to subside.

On a side note, I run a business with the help of one assistant.  She was on vacation that week, so it was up to me to keep things going.  With no other options, I asked my wife to get me my work stuff.  Phone, laptop, pens, paper, calculator, all the typical stuff I use.  She set the laptop up on the floor next to me, made sure I had everything within reach for when customers would start calling.   My wife really didn’t know what to do for me.  She offered to call 911 for an ambulance, I said no.  She offered to stay home with me, again I said no.  “What are you going to do, sit and look at me all day as I lay here?”  We kind of laughed at that one, but it was true.  She really couldn’t do much for me.  Before she left, I had her bring me an old ice tea pitcher.  Why?  Because by that time, I really had to pee.  So, leaning to my side, I went to the bathroom into a pitcher laying on a hardwood floor.  It was awful.

And there I lay on the hardwood floor of my bedroom for the next 14 hours.   Each time I moved more than a fraction of an inch, another wave of pain washed over me.   So there I was.  The only thing I could do was lay on my back with my knees bent, with the laptop on my belly so I could work and answer calls.

Because it was summer, my son was home.  When he woke up and found me on the floor he didn’t really know what to do.  I had him get me a banana and a granola bar for lunch.  Throughout the day he would check on me and helped get me stuff.  Later that night, I called for a pizza and had him pay and bring it up.  He and I shared the pizza with me laying on my back.  I’d say I probably had 8-10 major spasms throughout the course of the day.

It must have been about 10:00 that night before I was able to get to my hands and knees and finally stand enough to get myself back into bed where I spent most of the next 3 days.

Just 9 days later – I carried my golf bag, played 18 holes and walked well over 4 miles on a hilly golf course.  Why?  Because I had the answer.  And you can have it too.

These days, I’m 99% better.  I’m golfing, can run on the treadmill, lift weights and pretty much have unrestricted motion.  Sure, I still get a little stiff and have very minor discomfort once in a while.  But it usually passes in a day or so because I know with certainty what is going on and how to deal with it.

You can get there too.

Dan Buglio
Recovered Back Pain Sufferer

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