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Derek S. TMS and rheumatoid arthritis

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by Guest, Nov 14, 2014.

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    Question
    A couple years ago, I was diagnosed with TMS after struggling for years with fibromyalgia as well as numbness, weakness, and tingling sensations throughout my body that I feared were from MS. Once I received the diagnosis (as well as a clear brain scan), the symptoms went away. Shortly after, I tore a ligament in my hand. While being examined by a hand surgeon, I was asked if I had ever been diagnosed with arthritis. I told him that I hadn't, though I had family members with rheumatoid arthritis. He told me that I should expect to be in pain within 5 years based on the swelling he observed in my finger joints. I was a bit perplexed since I couldn't see any noticeable swelling. After a string of extremely stressful events this summer, I developed excruciating pain in all the joints of my fingers. In a short time, I was experiencing similar pain in my toes. I read in Dr. Sarno's book that rhematoid arthritis is not TMS so I'm wondering if I need to see a rheumalogist now.

    Thanks for your help!

    Jennifer
     
  2. Derek Sapico MFT

    Derek Sapico MFT TMS Therapist

    Answer
    Hi Jennifer,

    First of all, congratulations on the successful elimination of your "fibromyalgia" symptoms. It's great that you were able to interrupt the TMS cycle to become symptom-free.

    It sounds like the hand surgeon really injected a lot of fear and concern into your mind with his comment about developing symptoms in the future. It's impossible for me to know what it is that he saw. It sounds like he may have seen something that concerned him and that this, combined with your family history of Rheumatoid Arthritis, caused him to make the statement that he did (though it does seem that the information could have been more delicately delivered).

    There is absolutely a genetic component to RA, however some family history of RA does not mean that it is an inevitability for you.

    While the onset of these recent symptoms coinciding with a stressful time in your life is certainly suggestive of TMS, I would strongly urge you to see a specialist (Rheumatologist) to ensure that you are not neglecting something serious.

    There are a number of diagnostic blood tests that can be done which can tell, with a high degree of certainty, whether or not you have an Autoimmune Response that is indicative of RA. Blood tests include Rheumatoid Factor (RF), ACPAs (or anti-CCP), and anti-MCV which all test for the presence of RA-specific antibodies. Additionally, the point-of-care test (POCT) combines the RF and anti-MCV tests and can diagnose RA with a sensitivity of 72% and specificity of 99%.

    They will likely give you more rule out blood tests for other causes of arthritis, some of which are the ESR, C-RP, and ANA.

    I don't want to overwhelm you with scientific sounding acronyms, I just want you to know that there are very specific markers that will either confirm or deny a diagnosis of RA. I implore you to see a specialist and get tested so you don't neglect something serious and can end the agonizing uncertainty of not knowing.

    If you go through the tests and it is found that you have typical symptoms of arthritis, unrelated to an autoimmune condition, then you should feel free to approach your pain from a TMS perspective, as arthritis is common and doesn't always have to cause chronic pain.

    I hope this is helpful and I wish you all the best!

    -Derek


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