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MOSTLY THORACIC BACK PAIN?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Mtngal, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. Mtngal

    Mtngal Peer Supporter

    Hi there,

    I'm pretty new to this forum. I have a question. For many years, on and off, I've had pretty bad thoracic back pain, sometimes going into the low back. Frankly, have had many diagnoses and treatments, but have had it go away many times although not very quickly, using TMS thinking.
    It seems like most people have either neck or low back pain. Mine gets so bad, I have trouble standing in one place for very long, but I continue to do Yoga, lift wts. and do non-impact machines. I'm now wearing a TENS unit at work, I know this is probably a no-no, but I need to get relief so I can work. Does anyone else out there have mostly thoracic pain?
     
  2. tarala

    tarala Well known member

    Hi Mtngal,
    I don't have it now, but definitely did when my children were young. I was feeling quite stressed and trapped. If you have found things that soothe your pain, so that you can get your mind on to other things, that doesn't seem like a bad thing. Just remember to make "thinking psychological" a priority. Mine eventually shifted to something else, helping me to confirm it really was TMS.
     
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  3. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    My upper back was a big problem for me, but mostly combined with neck and/or shoulders. Like most other symptoms I got it under control by treating it as TMS.
     
  4. Mtngal

    Mtngal Peer Supporter

    Hi Tarala and Gigalos,

    Thanks for your encouragement. I will keep trying to think psychological.
     
  5. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Chronicity and periodicity are two classic characteristics of body-mind symptoms like TMS. Relaxing and having your symptoms go away is a good indicator that the underlying cause is psychological not physical. However, accessing and deprogramming the psychological brain mechanics behind your symptoms, as you've discovered, is the most difficult part of the TMS recovery process. Fortunately, there are a number of tools available here on this web site including the Structure Education Program (SEP) offered on the TMS Wiki. Mindfulness meditation is also extremely useful as described in Howard Schubiner's course book, Unlearn Your Pain. Alan Gordon's recovery program, also available here, is also another way of getting at the deep emotional stuff via a technique known as ISTDP (Instantaneous Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy). I think Steve Ozanich, author of the Great Pain Deception, also offers some very good advice at how to get at the deeper stuff in a string on this Forum:

    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/tms-healing-mistakes-made.2730/#post-16102
     
  6. Mtngal

    Mtngal Peer Supporter

    Hi BruceMC.

    Thanks for your reply. I think I know what is bothering me emotionally - fear of the future, an age/mortality trigger. I was very active (running, sports etc. - nothing like your routines though!) and it pretty much defined me. Used it as a stress reliever, loved it. Read Alan Gordon's "breaking the pain cycle" and it seems you have to pretty much ignore the pain and not obsess with the thoughts and fears it generates. However, this seems easier said than done, depending on the severity.. I also read Steve O's book and he pretty much just started running when still in tremendous pain. I find if I do that, I'm in too much pain the next day. Is this what you do? Do you just go for it even though in a lot of pain? Are you pain-free now? I know that sometimes this strategy defeats the pain because the body is doing more than what the brain thinks it can, and the pain gives way.
     
  7. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    FYI: I'm still not back running because afterwards, like yourself, I hurt too much. However, I find that riding the bike is okay with me and I just keep riding farther, faster and harder. No after workout pain. In fact, I feel much better and looser. Pumping oxygen to the extremities? Meditating while riding so it distracts me from my symptoms? Dunno. After thinking a bit, I'd say find something athletic to do that doesn't cause your TMS to flare up and keep pushing that until you feel confident enough to attack the running. I think it's because my TMS relapse started up after a fall I took running that I associate running with pain, so my symptoms persist. Deprogramming and deconditioning are big part of TMS recovery and it's a subtle, tricky business. For example, an old stationary bike that used to cause me to experience pain after I used it for as little as 20 minutes doesn't cause my lower back and sciatica to flare up anymore. Only thing is that when the conditioning process releases you don't remember the pain. I just noticed it disappear a few weeks ago but didn't exactly notice when the post-biking pain disappeared. Can't put my finger on the exact date, but it sure as heck is gone. So, it's beautiful today and I'm gonna go do a couple of uphill laps on the road bike. All the best!
     
  8. cirrusnarea

    cirrusnarea Well known member

    I have only thoracic back pain, this had me worried since it was more rare than low back pain. Don't worry, thoracic back pain can be TMS as well, it certainly is in my case.
     
  9. Mtngal

    Mtngal Peer Supporter

    Thanks for the information, how did you come to the conclustion it is TMS?
     
  10. cirrusnarea

    cirrusnarea Well known member

    Read Healing Back Pain by Dr. Sarno, he beleives most back pain is TMS. I have a long history of TMS symptoms but just discovered this is what I have this year. I'm doing well, but not out of the woods yet. I have had tests done to make sure my back is okay, and everything checked out.
     
  11. Mtngal

    Mtngal Peer Supporter

    I have read all of Dr. Sarno's books and I've gotten rid of the same pain before by thinking TMS.. but I've battled this for 30 years and it gets pretty discouraging sometimes.. but I try to remain hopeful. I am wondering whether or not to have the MRI this Friday - the regular XRay was normal..
    But thanks, I am trying to re-read Healing Back Pain again.
     
  12. cirrusnarea

    cirrusnarea Well known member

    That's great, well, I know what it's like to be discouraged. I'm there with you, my back pain is not as bad, it usually comes on at the end of the day now, so much more bearable, but it is in my mid to upper back as well. Like you I'm wondering if I'll ever be out of this. When it comes to MRI, remember that they sometimes reveal things such as herniated discs which are often a natural part of the aging process, so if something like that is found don't let it scare you. Of course, I'm not a doctor, just repeating what I've read by Sarno.
     
  13. Mtngal

    Mtngal Peer Supporter

    I'm glad you are getting to the point where you are getting less pain. You are on the right path! And, you are right about the MRI, that's why I'm sitting on the fence about it, as I'm sure it will show the usual "normal "abnormalities" of the spine to take with a grain of salt per Sarno.
    Hang in there!
     
  14. Pilot in pain

    Pilot in pain Peer Supporter

    My thoracic back pain is completely debilitating. I think we have the same issue. I can go to the gym and put 200 lbs on the bench and knock out back pull downs all day long but the 20 minutes it takes me to drive from my house to the gym, I am in so much thoracic pain I could cry. Today for instance I loaded a truck up with 300 10 ft poles of top rail for our fence, did not blink an eye but driving the truck to the place to get them fit, 10-15 mins and I had to pop pain pills as I thought I was going to pass out from the pain. I have it in my neck, L5 as well. MOtion is fine, stationary and I am toast. I have read all teh sarno books, have gone to the shrinks, I fit the profile to the letter but nothing has worked. I am sure it is TMS I just can not get the whole protocols to work no matter how hard I try.
     
  15. Mtngal

    Mtngal Peer Supporter

    The very fact that you can do all those physical things without pain should be very encouraging to you.. and, even though it's very hard, the pain you get back when resting is a conditioned response.. you might try reading Fred Amir's Book - Rapid Recovery from Back and Neck Pain. He outlines a very specific recovery plan that is more "concrete" if you will.. but still applies Sarno's concepts. Also you could write down an "evidence" sheet per Alan Gordon's plan that you really have nothing wrong with your back because you can do a, b c. etc. Hang in there, you are already half-way there in your belief that it IS TMS - but if you aren't sure, maybe you need to go see a doc or another one to get more reassurance there is nothing really structurally wrong with your back?
     

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