1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by russelld191, Dec 21, 2016.

  1. russelld191

    russelld191 New Member

    I am about 2-3 weeks into the educational program, and I finally realized my focal (musician's dystonia) may be related to TMS. Has anyone heard of patients diagnosed with dystonia recovering following TMS treatment? In a way, I was very stressed about my performance at the time of onset, which may have led my brain to send physical symptoms (muscle contraction and odd posture) to protect me from the tension associated with high level music performance. I came here because of TMJ dizziness, and facial tightness/pain - but my reflection has me wondering about dystonia. If so, I think I may become the dystonia TMS pied piper.


  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Drew,

    If you put "dystonia" in the search box in the upper right hand corner, you'll find a number of threads on this topic. We've had a fair number of musicians participate in this Forum over the years.

    If you have success treating one type of TMS with the educational program, it will work on other manisfestations of TMS as well. I had a lot of symptoms clear up even though I wasn't focusing my treatment on them. TMS is TMS. Treat the underlying cause and recovery will follow.

    Best wishes......
  3. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Hi Russell

    I have been diagnosed with muscle tension dysphonia and have spent 6 months in a lot of pain and silence, also getting a rough husky voice. It's been horrible.

    I can across tms about a month ago and read the mind body prescription. For the first time in 6 months u had about 5 days of feeling I could talk freely again, not completely, but 80 percent better. The last couple of days have been more difficult, but that's always the way. Ups and downs! I'm on day 9 of the strictest educational program you cann find on the wiki.

    Now I'm suffering a bit again my mind is trying to convince me it really is physical and not TMS. It's really hard to fully accept it's tms.

    But you can read my full story in my other thread and there's some useful advice from others there.

    Good luck
  4. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    It is TMS. I have dystonia too. Typing on my phone so can't put a link at the moment, but search for my posts here and google Joaquin Farias. You are in the right place. Fariastechnique.com
  5. dempsey12

    dempsey12 Newcomer

    I was diagnosed with hand dystonia a year ago. I actually attended Farias's workshop in Toronto. His belief is that a traumatic event, or series of traumatic events, can cause what he refers to as movement confusion disorder. In other words, there is a direct correlation between stress/anxiety and motor/movement dysfunction. Farias believes that through neuroplasticity the brain can be retrained and a person can regain full control of their movements. I am new to this forum, but what I've gathered thus far is that TMS is much the same; i.e. prolonged stress can change the brain and manifest in physical symptoms. I plan on reading some of the TMS materials, but does anyone suggest a good place to start in particular? Any reading materials or recommended therapies or treatments?
  6. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    My 90-95% recovery is a proof of his theory, although I have my lay person's explanation of my specific case that does not completely agree with him. What helped me the most were three things, in this particular order:

    1. Unshakable belief that my dystonia is a result of emotional overload, stress, anxiety and insomnia - took almost a year to convince myself
    2. Meditation classes I took from a Buddhist school and then practiced on my own
    3. Qi gong and yoga, with focus on meditational aspects of it, not as a physical exercise.

    I went to Farias' workshop. Per him, my case was not very typical, because I didn't have weakness or twitching and I also had severe neuropathic pain. I had consistent, impenetrable contraction of the muscles in hands & wrists, later spreading to ankles, elbows and knees. I could not bend my wrists and fingers. I just did my first hand stand couple weeks ago. It is very individual, but I tried many generic TMS approaches recommended here on this site and stayed with ones that worked. I focused on anxiety and fear and tried not to be side tracked by extinction bursts (look it up on this site). I am grateful to members here: plum, Eric Herbie Watson, balto and many others. Just read their posts and take it in. Ask questions and believe that you will get better.

    I am putting my story together but it will be months before it is readable. will ask people on this forum to give me feedback.

    Good luck and don't despair!
    plum likes this.
  7. miquelb3

    miquelb3 Well known member

    Hi TG957, and congrats for your recovery !!!

    If I am not wrong the Farias Thechnique is body-centered... while Dr. Sarno's one rejects the atention to the body and sees any physical/anatomical/postural/structural treatment (Phisyotherapy, osteopathy, shiatsu, Feldenkrais, Rolfing, Alexander, ...) as a DISTRACTION of the truly root of symptoms (pain,...): threatening/negative emotions.
    Is actually Dystonia one of such symptoms? Is related with pain? Painless dystonia does make sense?
    I'm a little bit confused !
    TG957 likes this.
  8. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    This common confusion derives from misunderstanding the true nature of the mind~body. They are one, intertwined and embodied. What modern neuroscience is proving today has been known by every ancient culture, from @TG957's Tibetans, through to India's chakra system, embracing all manner of shamanic practice and pagan belief along the way.

    Sarno followed Freud's lead and therefore embraced a more freudian conception of the unconscious. Had he looked to Carl Jung his magnificent theories would have been enriched further.

    Here is Jung writing on the nature of the unconscious:

    "The unconscious is the psyche that reaches down from the daylight of mentality and morally lucid consciousness into the nervous system that for ages has been known as the "sympathetic".

    This does not govern perception and muscular activity like the cerebrospinal system, and thus control the environment; but, though functioning without sense-organs, it maintains the balance of life and through the mysterious paths of sympathetic excitation, not only gives us knowledge of the innermost life of other beings but also has an inner effect upon them. In this sense it is an extremely collective system, the operative basis of all participation mystique, whereas the cerebrospinal function reaches its high point in seperating off the specific qualities of the ego, and only apprehends surfaces and externals - always through the medium of space.

    It experiences everything as outside, whereas the sympathetic system experiences everything as an inside."

    ~ Carl Jung

    Sarno sadly didn't explore this rich vein and we had to wait decades before the slack was picked up by neuropsychologists like Rick Hanson and Candace Pert.

    The truth is, given the fact that the mind and the body cannot be seperated, you can access the network at any point along the mind~body continuum.

    I believe that Sarno was actually trying to encourage his patients to assume agency over their own health and well-being since the majority of people relinquish this power to the medical professional or to whichever alternative practitioner they choose.

    Sarno's emphasis on the emotional inherently embraces mind~body because emotions possess physiological and cognitive correlates. In short, if you keep your eye firmly on the emotional ball whichever healing modality you choose is powerfully intention led.

    Also many people have over-sensitised nervous systems which need physical, body-oriented methods to calm and soothe them. I spent years following the strict, pure Sarno approach and I got worse. I was suicidal with the mind-loosening pain. When I opened to a more intuitive, body-oriented approach I started to heal. I spent a long, long time holding myself back by thinking there was only one way to heal. I had to relinquish that. My choice was to accept that the total rejection of physical was correct and to stay in hell, or to let my own body-centred experience of pain lessening, pain leaving as truth.

    Is it better to be "right" (to be perfectionistic) or to heal?

    That's not confusing at all.

    EileenS, TG957 and Tennis Tom like this.
  9. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Dempsey12, plum beat me to the chase and, as always, she is spot on and as eloquent as I will never be :=). She is 100% correct.

    There is no wall between physical and psychological. It is one whole. Ancient physicians did not separate body and mind. Ironically, advent of science tilted the medical field to cause-effect, truth-or-fake approach. Sarno started his revolution in 1970-ies, when it was all about physical, and, in my very very humble opinion, he probably went slightly overboard while trying to tilt it towards psychological.

    As plum points out, over-sensitized brains need physical stimulation to calm down.

    I don't know much about Rolfing, Alexander and such, but shiatsu is based on ancient Chinese medicine, which, if practiced in its true spirit, not as a mere physical act of piercing the body, does not separate body and mind. Those are passive approaches to body-mind connection, when somebody is working on you.

    Yoga is an active approach, mostly physical initially, increasingly mental as practice goes along. If practiced not as a pure physical exercise, but as a mental preparation for savasana (you are just lying on your back, relaxed). Turns out, it is the hardest pose to achieve, as it allows both body and mind to reach the perfect equilibrium of being a whole not disturbed by the external world. Turns out, yoga calms the nerves through rigorous exertion of the body.

    On the other side of the active spectrum is meditation. No physical at all. Mental 100%.

    Going back to modern science, there are clinical studies suggesting that patients with neurological conditions improve if they meditate, or practice qi gong or yoga on a regular basis. The share of physical vs psychological is very individual. Open mind - is what you need to figure out your own path. Listen to everybody,try everything that looks reasonable, but chart your own way as you are the one who knows your body and has the best chance to understand your mind.
    plum likes this.
  10. dempsey12

    dempsey12 Newcomer

    Thank you so much everyone for taking the time to respond. Like one of the posters above, I am a bit confused as to where my dystonia falls into all of this. Dr. Farias convinced me and many others that our dystonias were the result of a trauma or series of stressful events. In other words, certain stresses or traumatic events caused something in the brain that manifests in physical symptoms. In the case of dystonia, those symptoms manifest in muscle tension, spasms, twitching, fixed postures, etc. Do any of you believe that TMS can manifest as dystonia? Or do you instead believe they are separate and distinct, but that dystonia can be exacerbated by TMS?

    And where I get confused is that Farias believes that you have to address both the emotions and the physical symptoms. His workshop helps one come up with ways to relieve stress and anxiety (e.g. meditation, tai chi) while at the same time doing physical exercises to reconnect communication between the brain and the parts of the body affected by dystonia. With hand dystonia, for example, he has slow finger/wrist movement exercises to help "re-map" the body as it is seen by the brain. TMS, on the other hand, seems to suggest that one should ignore the physical exercises and instead focus exclusively on the brain.

    So for those of you with dystonia, are you focusing on both the physical and mental exercises? Or have you focused exclusively on the brain, and if so, has your dystonia improved without any physical exercises or therapies whatsoever? I'm just looking for some guidance on what types of exercises or "training" any of you with dystonia have done.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
  11. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Dystonia is a breakdown in mind-body connection. Dystonia is TMS. You have to accept it as a postulate. It is a fundamental part of the effort to change one's brain.

    I would describe my approach as pull-push. I would focus on the mental, mostly meditation (pull) . But I would still do as much as my dystonia and pain allowed in terms of physical: swim, hike, yoga, etc. When yoga was too much, I switched to qi gong. Once I realize some improvements in intensity of pain and muscle tension, I add more exercise (push). I had to scale physical down many times, to adjust to what my dystonia allowed. But I would always try again, to see if I can push my limits. I highly recommend the book by Norman Doidge, The Brain That Changes Itself. It will help you understand the way the brain works. It does not cover emotional aspects of it as much as it should. I have to warn you that part of the journey is to adjust your brain to the new concepts. Your brain is plastic, but it may take some time. Once you "feel" these concepts instead of "analyzing" them, you will start moving.

    But be very very patient. I had a timeline of 3 months to recover, against every advice I got on this forum. A year later, I stopped setting deadlines, simply because my brain adjusted and I started "feeling" more patient. When all added and counted, it took me 2 years to mostly recover. Deadlines are manifestation of anxiety. And I cannot emphasize enough the value of Buddhist concepts of mind-body connection and role of emotions.

    I still have numbness and occasional pain, stiffness in my hands at night and random, sometimes terrifying episodes of cramping or muscles contraction. For example, I would be seating on the couch reading and all of a sudden two fingers on my hand would start moving, being pulled by the tension in my muscles. If I get scared, it continues. If I ignore it, it goes away. But I no longer give into the fear and continue to recover.
    EileenS, dempsey12 and plum like this.
  12. EileenS

    EileenS Well known member

    So well put Plum. I never adhered to Sarno's strict rules for more than maybe 3 months because I know my intuition on what's right for me is best. I used to think I would be drummed off this site for admitting this though, so thank you for speaking up. Since discovering Dr Sarno 2 years ago I have used his methods as the foundation for healing from pain and am very thankful for his work, but I let my internal guidance lead me to other things too. For example, I got regular massages to help relax my overanxious nervous system, but found last year it no longer did anything for me beyond feeling good for the hour. My yoga helps keep my centred and flexible and I feel better when I do it regularly. I started with a TCM acupuncturist in February who has made me so I can sleep on my left side for the first time since left parotid gland surgery 10 years ago which left nerve damage (and she talked me into magnesium supplements 2 weeks ago which have improved my sleep and relieved all my anxiety feelings). I started meditating soon after the pain hit me 4 years ago and it has always been a help.
    plum likes this.
  13. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Agreed. We need to be pragmatic. If there is anything that can get the pain level down to the point that you can focus on non-medication healing - use acupuncture, painkillers, whatever - and at some point start working on getting off the crutches so you can walk on your own. I did just that and cannot be happier.
    plum likes this.

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