“I have had intermittent lower back pain for the past two years, triggered by various factors including carrying my children on my shoulders and walking around, hiking, cycling, surfing, sitting at a desk for over 8 hours a day and general strain from lifting heavy objects. When it first struck I was unable to walk for a while and it felt like the lower right side of my back had collapsed. The pain continued and morphed into sciatic pain, with some shooting pain down my legs, although it occurs arbitrarily and at different times of day. It was alleviated by walking and stretching, taking hot baths and doing exercises to strengthen core muscles.

After two years I am still suffering pain despite visiting various clinics and practitioners in Japan. I had a series of x-rays done and discovered there is no identifiable cause except for the wearing away of one layer of “sponge” between the two lower vertebrae, which would then mean there was pressure on certain nerve pathways.

Hearing that there was nothing particular sinister about this injury somehow made me feel less controlled by this pain, it ceased to be ominous and threatening. The more I worried about what it might possibly be, the worse the pain seemed to get. Since my understanding that the xrays do not define the function of my spine or pain system I have had less shooting pain in my legs.  I cannot say if there is a direct link between some kind of mental shift and decreased pain, but I feel less as though this pain is controlling me, and me that I now am the one who can mitigate it through regular stretching and strengthening of my core. I suppose knowing what your pain “isn’t” is a good way to gain some kind of mental dominance over it, which may diminish its ability to project itself into a greater level of pain.

Put simply, now I know that there is nothing the doctor can do about it, no surgery I can have, it is simply down to me to find out how I can mitigate it.”

Joel C.