When I went into the office one Saturday afternoon in August 1994, I planned to spend a few hours finishing a brief that was due in federal court Monday morning. At the time, I was a civil rights attorney for the justice department. After 30 minutes of working at my desk, my back started to burn; it felt as if acid were eating my spine. In rapid succession, my muscles seized and threw me from my chair. I landed on the floor, stunned, as my body filled with searing pain.