Q&A: Can I start TMS treatment while still taking pain medicines?

From The TMS Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search


I have been on pain medication for a long time and I don’t think I can just stop taking them. I’m not sure I can start a TMS treatment program while continuing to take them. I’m not sure what to do. Will this hinder my progress?

Answer by Peter Zafirides, MD

An image of Practitioner Peter Zafirides
Practitioner Peter Zafirides

Who's Who page / Profile Page / The Invisible Gorilla and TMS / The Monkey Trap / Psychophysiologic Disorders Association (PPDA) Board Member / Website

This is a very common question. Before you change or stop any medications, make sure that you speak with your health care professional. Some pain medications can be very difficult - or dangerous - to stop abruptly.

Overall though, you can begin the TMS program without changing your medications. In fact, Dr. Sarno himself feels that the only type of medication that perhaps might be acceptable while doing the program are pain medications. In TMS, there is no "site" of injury. As such, the use of anti-inflammatory medications or muscle relaxants will not yield results. Why? Again, in TMS, the origin of the pain is due to emotions, not physical injury. The body uses physical pain as a very important distraction away from any threatening emotions that may be coming to the surface. If we understand the origination of pain in this way, you can now see why various medications will not improve the physical pain of TMS.

But this does not mean you have to wait until you stop your pain medications to begin. This is the beauty of the TMS program. Once an individual begins to see improvement as a result of engaging in the TMS program, what usually happens is that the validation of the improved pain motivates an individual to reconsider the medication. Hopefully, this will be the case for your experience.

I know how hard it is for individuals to really understand or come to terms with the fact that their emotions can cause physical symptoms. Don't worry about that right now. Don't worry about how the TMS program will exactly work to reduce your pain. Believe me, you are not alone in the way that you feel. In fact, it is very common.

But start your TMS reading today! Don't wait another second. Give yourself permission - with an open mind - to take in what you are reading about TMS and not worry about the pain medications you are on right now. As you move along and you're reading, you will see your pain and improve. And that will serve for even more motivation in the future.

Start reading today! You have nothing to lose but your chronic pain!

Peter Zafirides


It is important to recognize that no information on this wiki can be considered a specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. Reading information here does not create a doctor/patient or other professional relationship between you and the answering professional. As always, you should consult with your physicians and counselors regarding new symptoms and any changes that you might make in medications or activities.

Our goal is to get multiple answers for each question so that readers can benefit from a diversity of perspectives. To contribute your answer, click here.

Other Resources

DISCLAIMER: The TMS Wiki is for informational and support purposes only and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. See Full Disclaimer.