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A Physician's TMS story - RSI, Hyperacusis and much more.....

Discussion in 'Success Stories Subforum' started by Alicia Batson MD, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. Alicia Batson MD

    Alicia Batson MD Peer Supporter

    I am often asked what “my story” is. Everyone who has suffered from Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) or a Psychophysiologic Disorder (PPD) has a long, tortuous story to tell - that is, if they are lucking enough to have found a TMS-trained physician or therapist who has helped them step off the Merry-Go-Round Epidemic of Chronic Pain in the 21st Century.

    So, I’m posting “My Story” today. My goal in posting such an honest account of my experience is to allow others who suffer from TMS/PPD a window into another’s experience, so that they may see themselves and find hope that they too can recover. PPD is a trickster. It can make you believe you will never get better, that every one will get better but you. Often, it helps to see that someone else had the very same symptom and recovered.

    I can’t say when my story began. As I look back, there were signs in my childhood that my body was crying out. But, the big problems that I could no longer ignore started in 2003 while working in a fast-paced, high stress medical practice - too little time with patients, too much time at the computer and doing paper work, too little sleep. I developed pain in my elbows which quickly blossomed into disabling “repetitive strain injury” which resulted in my having to stop work. For the next 10 years, I stumbled from treatment to treatment trying to figure out what was wrong with my arms and meanwhile, collecting more symptoms as time went on. Well-intentioned practitioners offered me their expert treatments, doing their best to help me, to no avail. Some treatments would help for awhile, but the symptoms would always return - or would go away only to make way for another, new symptom to appear. I was only able to return to work for brief stents, ultimately being brought to my knees again by the intense computer usage - or so I believed. I spent a great deal of money trying to find the answer since most of my care occurred in the alternative medicine world. It was exhausting. It was devastating. It was terrifying. It affected every aspect of my life - my work, my family, my marriage, my social life, my health. I could list all the things the pain prevented me from doing, but just know that every aspect of my life was adversely affected. Eventually, one of my physical therapist referred me to Dr. Howard Schubiner’s website, www.unlearnyourpain.com . I am eternally grateful for this. I knew immediately that this was my problem - my mind was causing all of these physical symptoms. Even with 9 years of medical training in both psychiatry and internal medicine, this never occurred to me. What a huge relief it was for me to find someone who knew the truth, to tell me the truth ! This affirmed my experience and gave me a way forward - a way home. Considering what I had gone through the prior ten years, the treatment was a cake walk. Though it took time to undo all the fear and autonomic nervous system activation I had built up over a lifetime, recovery was steady. In a year, I began training for my first triathlon which for me, was a celebratory marker for my healing.

    Below are the TMS symptoms I had and the treatments I underwent. The quotes contain diagnoses I was given.

    My TMS Symptoms:

    Bilateral forearm pain, tingling, numbness, subjective weakness (“repetitive strain injury”)
    Trapezius/neck muscle tightness, swelling, tingling, sensitivity to touch (“long neck syndrome”)
    Hyperacusis (sound sensitivity)
    Ear pain, popping, pressure changes
    Temporomandibular Joint pain (“TMJ”)
    Teeth sensitivity
    Jaw clinching resulting in multiple cracked teeth
    Tension headaches
    Upper back muscle spasm
    Lower back muscle tightness
    Buttock Pain (“sacroiliac joint pain” and “pyriformis syndrome”)
    Lower back and leg pain (“sciatica”)
    Ankle pain (“peroneal tendonitis”)
    Knee pain (“chondromalacia patella”)
    Femoral Muscle strain
    Ham string strain
    Achilles tendonitis
    Plantar Fasciitis
    Rectal muscle spasm (“endometriosis”)
    Nighttime urinary frequency
    Skin Rashes
    Multiple food sensitivities
    Eye twitches
    Bilateral hand tremor
    Chronic cough
    Generalized Anxiety
    Panic Attacks

    Workups, specialists and treatments I underwent:

    Orthopedic Surgeon - normal lab work, nerve conduction studies, and cervical MRI
    Ear, Nose and Throat specialist
    Dentistry - retainer
    Acupuncture x 3 different practitioners
    Alternative medicine physician x 2 - prescribed bio-identical hormones, vitamins, supplements and herbs
    Physical Therapy x 4 different practitioners
    Massage - several practitioners over the years
    Myofascial Release x 2 different practitioners
    Non-TMS Psychotherapy
    Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga
    Food Sensitivity Antibody Testing - I was told I was sensitive to 13 different foods. My diet became impossible.

    What I find most concerning about this experience is that it not unusual. Many people suffer from chronic pain today and they are all on the Chronic Pain Merry-Go-Around - cycling through the hope and disappointment over and over again with each attempt at a new treatment.

    My goal is to reach as many chronic pain sufferers as possible - to help them step out of the pain-hope-disappointment cycle and get back to the lives they left behind.

    Alicia B. Batson MD
    Center for the Treatment of Psychophysiologic Disorders, PLLC
    2021 Richard Jones Road, 340B
    Nashville, TN 37215


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  2. Zumbafan

    Zumbafan Well known member

    I wish you well in your endeavours. We spend a lot of money on tests and treatments, that don't address our internal world. Hope you can get the TMS message out. :)
    Meggy8868 likes this.
  3. Alicia Batson MD

    Alicia Batson MD Peer Supporter

    Thanks Zumbafan. It will take all of us to get the job done. The TMS community is full of very smart, talented people and I'm confident the medical establishment is coming around.
    Balsa11, Meggy8868 and Lizzy like this.
  4. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Alicia,

    Thanks for your dense summary of symptoms, failed treatments, and your testimony for the success of Dr. Sarno's approach. I will share with clients. Very inspiring.

    I am sending my three page condensed medical history to all the specialists who recommended surgery for my debilitating foot pain, as a follow-up to how my pain ended. I feel it is so important to get back to these people, and inform them. This is posted on my front page, if you want to take a look under "History" link. Shocking, the endless wrong advice we get....

    Andy B.
    Mind-Body Pain Relief
    Lotus, Bodhigirl, Ellen and 1 other person like this.
  5. Alicia Batson MD

    Alicia Batson MD Peer Supporter

    Wow Andy - what a story. I'm so glad you didn't have surgery. That was close. 21st century medicine is so far off the mark and there are so many special interests at this point. Must stay hopeful. I also have shared my story with all the practitioners who tried to help me. It is amazing how many still do not change their practice - over 90% in my experience.
    Best to you and wonderful hiking adventures - beautiful!
    Lotus, jimmylaw9, Balsa11 and 4 others like this.
  6. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Awesome and encouraging story, doc. Thanks so much for sharing! If I lived in Franklin still, I'd be knocking on your door. :) Your laundry list of symptoms and interventions mirrors my own. (My symptoms began with "growing pains" at a very young age.) It's taking me awhile - I even drove across the country to see Dr. Schubiner (wonderful, wonderful human being) and am now working with a TMS therapist.

    So glad you're here!
    fredb, Balsa11 and Bodhigirl like this.
  7. Alicia Batson MD

    Alicia Batson MD Peer Supporter

    Hi North Star - thank you for the welcoming feedback. I'm so glad we are ALL here and know many others will find us everyday. I also have symptoms from time to time. Psychotherapy with a TMS-trained therapist was critical for me. There was so much to overcome. I'm sure you are in good hands now.
    Take Good Care,
    Balsa11 and North Star like this.
  8. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Dr. Alicia. I really love your post and thank you for such an open personal account and how TMS knowledge has helped you.
    This definitely helps spread the word. I've learned so much about myself and those who gave me stress in my boyhood,
    and learned to forgive. God bless and keep spreading the word.
    Balsa11 and North Star like this.
  9. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member

    Wow! Great story. Thank you for posting!!

    By the way, after I found out about TMS and was healed from all my own pains, I also trained for a triathlon. :)

    Keep up the great work!
  10. Alicia Batson MD

    Alicia Batson MD Peer Supporter

    Thanks Walt. Yes, forgiveness is important.
  11. alexandra

    alexandra Peer Supporter

    Hi Alicia, I share some of the symptoms you have but doctors have never formally diagnosed me after tons of normal tests and scans I am still suffering with, left si joint pain, sciatic type pain in back, both butts,hips, legs, feet. And Both Forearm pain with tingling, burning, and stabbing. Recovered from 10 days of severe vertigo, have anxiety and mild OCD. For the past 4 years I have thought it was a nerve disorder and made me doubt TMS . If only someone could diagnose my with RSI my recovery would be easier. The neurologist didnt know what i have and said to him i am perfectly healthy. I have been told possible piriformis syndrome but the physiatrist wasn't sure.
  12. Alicia Batson MD

    Alicia Batson MD Peer Supporter

    Hi Alexandra, if your doctors can't find anything wrong and you have been reading about TMS for 4 years as your previous posts say without benefit, it may be wise to contact a TMS-trained therapist or physician and begin one on one treatment for TMS. TMS treatment, once begun, doesn't usually take that long, as long as you are convinced of the diagnosis. And if you aren't convinced that is ok too - your therapist can help you with that too.
    Take Good Care.
    Lotus and Balsa11 like this.
  13. alexandra

    alexandra Peer Supporter

    My question to the post above is, were you diagnosed with these ailments or do you believe you had them? I believe I have either tendonitis or RSI in my arms and the back and leg pain to be piriformis, sciatica or si joint dysfunction which are all TMS but I am missing the title of the diagnosis to help me recover . My mom has fibromialgia which is TMS so I'm sure I have TMS too. Thank you for your detailed post ☺
    Balsa11 likes this.
  14. alexandra

    alexandra Peer Supporter

    Thank you I wasn't expecting such fast response and I added a question! Lol I have been doing lots of reading but not doing any journaling or emotional work. Everything I begin a program I fall apart with anxiety and panic but I must push through and continue.
    Balsa11 likes this.
  15. Alicia Batson MD

    Alicia Batson MD Peer Supporter

    I believed I had them at the time, except for the "long neck syndrome" which was a ridiculous diagnosis that simply doesn't exist. But once I learned about TMS and successfully underwent treatment, I now realize that I did not have any of these diagnosed ailments. I had TMS and the TMS was causing all of these symptoms. At this point, I'm not even sure that most of those diagnoses exist in anyone, except in their acute form.
    IrishSceptic and alexandra like this.
  16. Alicia Batson MD

    Alicia Batson MD Peer Supporter

    If you are experiencing anxiety and panic whenever you start a program, that may be a sign that it would be beneficial for you to work closely with a therapist. I had that experience also - whenever I would begin to read a book about TMS, my anxiety would worsen. That is why I contacted a therapist. Once I did that, my progress was fast.
    Balsa11, Grateful17 and alexandra like this.
  17. alexandra

    alexandra Peer Supporter

    Thank you so much I will look into getting help from a therapist in vancouver canada where I live and in the mean time continue with the journaling I just began, thank you for your help, I wish u think best!
  18. Alicia Batson MD

    Alicia Batson MD Peer Supporter

    Good Luck !
    alexandra likes this.
  19. Barb M.

    Barb M. Peer Supporter

    Hi Alicia! Thanks for sharing your story. I am a psychologist whose career has been curtailed due to RSI/upper body pain. It's heartening to hear a physician get her life back like you have! And by the way, my parents lived in Nashville for many years... I see that's where you're from. I have had pain for 9 years and first a surgeon told me I had neck issues and I had a cervical fusion. Didn't help. Recently I had positive carpal tunnel nerve conduction/EMG tests and the doctor said surgery will take care of 90% of my problems (I'm skeptical). I also did the alternative medicine route a few years ago and was told I have MTHFR--a genetic mutation that can be related to all sorts of things. He thought it could be related to my pain and I was on all kinds of expensive supplements for about 9 months. Didn't help.Have you heard of it? I wrote it off as quackery but now I've had a respected neurologist tell me I need to see a hematologist (have an appointment Tuesday). I'm leaving out many, many things. My list is long like yours. (I wrote some on my profile page) It hurts to type so I'm keeping this short. I keep dipping my toe into the TMS/PPD stuff but then get side tracked. I haven't started journaling because of my typing issue. Can't handwrite. I could dictate, but I don't like to very much--I don't like hearing my voice.
    Balsa11 and IrishSceptic like this.
  20. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Barb - Your mention of MTHFR caught my attention. I used to do some writing for a naturopath (she gave me the info, I packaged it into a neat and tidy newsletter). Anyhoo. This was during the time when I just started learning about TMS and I remember thinking…hmmmm…this sounds like TMS. All of the shadowy symptoms supposedly caused by this MTHFR. I can't help but wonder if eventually, it will be found that most everyone has this…sort of like the ubiquitous bacteria discovery behind ulcers. It also sounds like a great new vein to open up for somatization as awareness spreads. (Ie, the new "carpal tunnel syndrome"?) And boom…here's the $upplements to heal (via placebo?).

    Of course, I am no doctor so this could all be fluff that I'm postulating. I wish you the best with your journey. I know how tough it is….my TMS list is quite lengthy…complete with scary neurological symptoms.

    Alexandra, I started working via Skype with Daniel Lyman. He is wonderful. His observations are helping me see somethings about myself. Namely, how damn hard I am on myself. Sure, you read that on the TMS personality traits but of course…*I'm not that hard on myself* Good luck to you!

    Finally, Alicia, thank you so much for taking time for the conversation here. We especially treasure any expertise and experience shared here by docs and therapists. Bless you!
    Balsa11, IrishSceptic and Barb M. like this.

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