This post is for anyone who suffers from back pain. According to stats (that I’m too lazy to look up), a lot of people deal with daily back pain. Hopefully, my story can help you.

Truthfully, this post shouldn’t require much explanation. The headline says it all. The “how” is that I just read a book. However, there’s a good chance you’re thinking my success was a fluke and that it can’t happen to you. For that reason, and to give you hope that you can have the same results, I’ll hit you with the full story (kept as short as possible):

I suffered from terrible sciatic nerve pain for over six years. It all started after I messed up my back doing yoga poses that I saw in a Sports Illustrated magazine. (Feel free to laugh for a minute before continuing. I realize how ridiculous that sounds.) The morning after tweaking my back, I could barely get out of bed. I felt shooting pains down my leg with every step I took. I went to a doctor and got an MRI. They told me that I had a herniated L5.

It took a few weeks, but things finally got better. Not fully-healed better, but marginally better. Every morning, my back was stiff and there were be jolts down my leg. My back would loosen up as the day went out, but it would tighten if I stood or sat in a chair too long, and the pains would increase in frequency. Most physical activity would have the same result. I once had to stop a hike after half a mile because my back got tight and the pain was too much.

I tried everything to fix my back: massages, visiting several chiropractors, acupuncture, etc. If there were any positive results, they were fleeting. Maybe a day or two of relief and then it would go back to usual.

As I said, this continued for about six years. I was convinced that I’d messed up my back for good and there was nothing I could do. Then, when my back was really acting up, my wife’s friend and spiritual mentor recommended a book for me to read. The book was Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection by Dr. John Sarno. Interestingly enough, I had heard of Dr. Sarno many years earlier, because he had cured Howard Stern of severe back pain.

I immediately bought the book (the Kindle version is only $7.99) and read it in two days. The morning after I finished the book, I woke up and my back was completely healed. I don’t think there was ever a point in my life where it felt as loose as it did that morning.

Since then (about three years), I have been completely pain-free, except for a couple day period around the time I was releasing The Orphans and got insanely stressed out. When that happened, I picked up the book, read it again, and my pain disappeared.

I don’t want to go into specifics about what the book says, because you really need to read it to reap the benefits. However, the gist of Dr. Sarno’s theory is that most back pain and joint pain is not due to structural issues (like a herniated disc), but actually a defense mechanism against unconscious stress and emotional issues. Recognizing the symptoms and acknowledging that they serve no purpose allows them to go away. The book isn’t a cure, as much as it as the vehicle to help you cure yourself. For that to happen, you really need to believe the message.

I realize this sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t. And, if you’re experiencing back pain (upper or lower), tension headaches, or any joint pain, you owe it to yourself to read this book. I know a lot of people (especially dudes) who are suffering through pain will probably say that they aren’t stressed. Trust me, I would have said the same thing before I read the book. However, the existence of your pain is evidence of something below the surface. Worst case scenario: You’re out $8. Best case scenario: You get to go back to living a normal life, just like I did.

One last note: If you haven’t heard, I’m giving away free copies of my novel The Orphans. My crazy goal is to give away a million copies. All you have to do to get one is send an email to freebook@matthewsullivanwriter.com. Get your copy and spread the word. Thanks!