1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this link: http://go.tmswiki.org/newprogram
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sunspore
Last Activity:
Aug 26, 2020
Joined:
Feb 15, 2019
Messages:
8
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5
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11
Gender:
Male
Birthday:
May 31, 1970 (Age: 50)
Location:
Lancaster County, PA
Occupation:
RF Network Technician

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sunspore

New Member, Male, 50, from Lancaster County, PA

Committed to the Path May 27, 2019

sunspore was last seen:
Aug 26, 2020
  • My Story

    My story is a work in progress toward recovery, and I'm sure I'll update this as I go along this path. I have been in some degree of chronic low back pain since 1994, when I "put my back out" moving a piece of furniture into my car. It has never been the same. I have gone through a litany of medical testing and procedures on and off since then to try to both figure out what's going on, and heal the pain. I've tried most of the common therapies that you have all heard of and probably tried yourselves, including physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, injections, inversion therapy, nerve ablation, and finally a spinal fusion L5-S1. I've had at least 6 MRIs over the years, and more x-rays than I care to count. The biggest structural feature from the very beginning of this was the highly compressed L5-S1 disc, which I now realize was probably that way long before I ever had pain. I was a very physical youngster, having played lots of sports and done physical labor for work.

    My childhood was tumultuous and traumatic, and I developed many issues that I carried into adulthood that made my life difficult. I mention this because I now realize how vitally connected this is with the pain I developed. Research into this is overwhelmingly conclusive that traumatic childhoods have a strong connection to chronic pain later in life, or even not much later. This was a powerful revelation, which I actually intuited on my own before ever hearing about Sarno, TMS, or MBS.

    Somehow I dealt with the pain through my 20's, 30's, and into my 40's. My life was very chaotic, which provided me with a lot of other distractions for much of that time. I certainly had pain during those years, and I periodically tried to address it via the therapies mentioned above, but I would always get just better enough to move on, or resign myself to a certain level of pain. However, in my early-to-mid 40's, the pain took a turn for the worse, and I couldn't move on from it. By that time, my life had become more settled. I had a career and had moved on from the destructive behaviors that provided a distraction in my earlier years. So I guess it was just me and my head at that point. In any case, by back was killing me. That's when I got serious about treatment. It was the typical mainstream treatment, the only kind I was aware of at the time - orthopedic surgeons, imaging, shots, and other invasive procedures. Injections did absolutely nothing for me. I had 2 before my doctor said that there's no use getting any more if the first 2 didn't help. So he sent me to a pain management practice. There I was given a huge bottle of opioids. I was told I could come back for more in 30 days in needed. During the next few weeks, I took them after work every day and started to feel the pull of dependency. So I threw the rest of them down the toilet. The doctor had also given me an injection in my SI joint, and that did relieve the pain for several hours. So he then performed an SI joint ablation for me. The pain was gone! I felt better than I had in years, and I was very hopeful that this was the answer to my problem. Two weeks later I was playing golf, and during the course of the round the pain returned with a vengeance, worse than it had ever been. And it stayed. This was the last straw for me. I went back to a different orthopedic surgeon and asked if there was a surgery that would help. He said a fusion was indicated, so that's what we did. That was in 2015, and the pain that I had before the fusion has never really returned. I am grateful that I no longer have that gut-wrenching pain that I had pre-surgery, but did emerge slowly after surgery was a different brand of low back pain. It has been just as chronic, if not more so. It isn't as acutely painful as the previous pain, but it is still extremely painful and bothersome. Unlike the pre-surgery pain, this pain takes on different personalities in different areas of my low back.

    It was during this phase of pain that I started to feel that something else was going on with me. I noticed that I was having a lot of anxiety around other issues in my life. Much of it had to do with dealing with other people - getting extremely annoyed with other people and just generally having a lot of internal struggles with finding a way to be at peace with other people and the world around me. I was in great emotional pain as well as physical pain, and I strongly felt they had to be connected. I don't remember the exact moment I stumbled upon Dr. Sarno, but this is when it happened. I read Mind Over Back Pain, and it made a lot of sense to me. Like a lot of other people, it was hard to totally accept that the structural issues I was aware of in my back were not the culprit, even though I knew what he was saying in the book made total sense. So I was stuck between two worlds at that point. It took me a few bounces back and forth, and a lot more reading of other books to become fully committed to Dr. Sarno's theories. During one of these bounces, I discovered a coach named Monte Hueftle, who embraced Dr. Sarno's teaching and created a program to help sufferers put them into a life practice. After using Monte's program, I was totally pain free! This lasted several weeks to even a month or two, I can't remember exactly. I was finally free, and ever so grateful. But then the pain returned. Instead of realizing that this is part of the deal for TMS sufferers, I thought that my pain-free time was just a fluke. I was again fed up and eventually went back to my surgeon to get his opinion. After more imaging he found more disc issues and said another fusion was in order. There was absolutely no way I was doing that! It was then that I decided the mainstream orthopedic back pain industry was just out of whack. So since that time I've been really trying to learn as much as I can about TMS and how to proceed with that as my diagnosis. This new period of commitment to TMS began around December of 2018.

    I should say that my personality is the picture perfect TMS personality. I have also had very many other symptoms of TMS at various stages of my life. I completed Dr. Schubiner's list of ailments that I've experienced during the course of my life, and there are so many "mystery" pains and/or outright stress-related pain syndromes that it just can't be ignored. In fact, I exchanged a few emails with Dr. Schubiner. He looked at my MRI report and my description of my symptoms and reassured me that I have TMS. That was a big deal. So my major activity since my re-devotion to TMS has been working my way through Dr. Schubiner's book, Unlearn Your Pain. I have all but completed the program. I still have low back pain on a daily basis, but it seems to be changing more. When I first started I had been having pain every night at 3 in the morning that would wake me up and keep me awake until it was time to get up. The pain would then usually subside, but sometimes it would morph into another type of back pain that would hurt all day or even a couple days. This went on for 9 months. As I approached the end of Dr. Schubiner's program, that pain slowly subsided and is now gone. But now I have pain most of the day! Ugh, but I know now that this may be a long, slow slog of de-conditioning my brain away from the neural pathways that have been entrenched over the years.

    As I continue to work on the Schubiner exercises, I have also been reading Steve Ozanich's The Great Pain Deception. This is another fantastic book in which the personality description of the TMSer hits the nail on the head. Another resource that I'm looking very forward to getting into is Dr. Alan Gordon's programs on this site. I briefly looked at some of the material and was really intrigued by his "outcome independent" approach to changing the mind's conditioning to pain. I like the idea of addressing the issue directly from a neural perspective in addition to the emotional work. But I have to reign myself in so I don't jump all over the place with all these different resources. I want to give each one a fair shake, not just a cursory dabble. It is very encouraging that there are so many resources out there for people like us, and that we have each other's experiences to lean on as well.

    Right now what I really feel is beneficial to me includes daily meditation focused on the breath and my feelings/energy; journaling (about stressful situations, or using other more structured journaling techniques such as those in Dr. Schubiner's program); daily physical exercise; reading TMS literature.
    1. sunspore
      sunspore
      Committed to the Path
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  • My Story

    Gender:
    Male
    Birthday:
    May 31, 1970 (Age: 50)
    Location:
    Lancaster County, PA
    Occupation:
    RF Network Technician
    Introduction:
    I am a 20+ year back pain sufferer. I had a lumbar fusion 3 years ago, but still have very troubling chronic low back pain. I am starting out on my TMS journey and hoping for the best. I'm looking forward to being a part of this community.
    Diagnoses:
    TMS, chronic low back pain
    My story is a work in progress toward recovery, and I'm sure I'll update this as I go along this path. I have been in some degree of chronic low back pain since 1994, when I "put my back out" moving a piece of furniture into my car. It has never been the same. I have gone through a litany of medical testing and procedures on and off since then to try to both figure out what's going on, and heal the pain. I've tried most of the common therapies that you have all heard of and probably tried yourselves, including physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, injections, inversion therapy, nerve ablation, and finally a spinal fusion L5-S1. I've had at least 6 MRIs over the years, and more x-rays than I care to count. The biggest structural feature from the very beginning of this was the highly compressed L5-S1 disc, which I now realize was probably that way long before I ever had pain. I was a very physical youngster, having played lots of sports and done physical labor for work.

    My childhood was tumultuous and traumatic, and I developed many issues that I carried into adulthood that made my life difficult. I mention this because I now realize how vitally connected this is with the pain I developed. Research into this is overwhelmingly conclusive that traumatic childhoods have a strong connection to chronic pain later in life, or even not much later. This was a powerful revelation, which I actually intuited on my own before ever hearing about Sarno, TMS, or MBS.

    Somehow I dealt with the pain through my 20's, 30's, and into my 40's. My life was very chaotic, which provided me with a lot of other distractions for much of that time. I certainly had pain during those years, and I periodically tried to address it via the therapies mentioned above, but I would always get just better enough to move on, or resign myself to a certain level of pain. However, in my early-to-mid 40's, the pain took a turn for the worse, and I couldn't move on from it. By that time, my life had become more settled. I had a career and had moved on from the destructive behaviors that provided a distraction in my earlier years. So I guess it was just me and my head at that point. In any case, by back was killing me. That's when I got serious about treatment. It was the typical mainstream treatment, the only kind I was aware of at the time - orthopedic surgeons, imaging, shots, and other invasive procedures. Injections did absolutely nothing for me. I had 2 before my doctor said that there's no use getting any more if the first 2 didn't help. So he sent me to a pain management practice. There I was given a huge bottle of opioids. I was told I could come back for more in 30 days in needed. During the next few weeks, I took them after work every day and started to feel the pull of dependency. So I threw the rest of them down the toilet. The doctor had also given me an injection in my SI joint, and that did relieve the pain for several hours. So he then performed an SI joint ablation for me. The pain was gone! I felt better than I had in years, and I was very hopeful that this was the answer to my problem. Two weeks later I was playing golf, and during the course of the round the pain returned with a vengeance, worse than it had ever been. And it stayed. This was the last straw for me. I went back to a different orthopedic surgeon and asked if there was a surgery that would help. He said a fusion was indicated, so that's what we did. That was in 2015, and the pain that I had before the fusion has never really returned. I am grateful that I no longer have that gut-wrenching pain that I had pre-surgery, but did emerge slowly after surgery was a different brand of low back pain. It has been just as chronic, if not more so. It isn't as acutely painful as the previous pain, but it is still extremely painful and bothersome. Unlike the pre-surgery pain, this pain takes on different personalities in different areas of my low back.

    It was during this phase of pain that I started to feel that something else was going on with me. I noticed that I was having a lot of anxiety around other issues in my life. Much of it had to do with dealing with other people - getting extremely annoyed with other people and just generally having a lot of internal struggles with finding a way to be at peace with other people and the world around me. I was in great emotional pain as well as physical pain, and I strongly felt they had to be connected. I don't remember the exact moment I stumbled upon Dr. Sarno, but this is when it happened. I read Mind Over Back Pain, and it made a lot of sense to me. Like a lot of other people, it was hard to totally accept that the structural issues I was aware of in my back were not the culprit, even though I knew what he was saying in the book made total sense. So I was stuck between two worlds at that point. It took me a few bounces back and forth, and a lot more reading of other books to become fully committed to Dr. Sarno's theories. During one of these bounces, I discovered a coach named Monte Hueftle, who embraced Dr. Sarno's teaching and created a program to help sufferers put them into a life practice. After using Monte's program, I was totally pain free! This lasted several weeks to even a month or two, I can't remember exactly. I was finally free, and ever so grateful. But then the pain returned. Instead of realizing that this is part of the deal for TMS sufferers, I thought that my pain-free time was just a fluke. I was again fed up and eventually went back to my surgeon to get his opinion. After more imaging he found more disc issues and said another fusion was in order. There was absolutely no way I was doing that! It was then that I decided the mainstream orthopedic back pain industry was just out of whack. So since that time I've been really trying to learn as much as I can about TMS and how to proceed with that as my diagnosis. This new period of commitment to TMS began around December of 2018.

    I should say that my personality is the picture perfect TMS personality. I have also had very many other symptoms of TMS at various stages of my life. I completed Dr. Schubiner's list of ailments that I've experienced during the course of my life, and there are so many "mystery" pains and/or outright stress-related pain syndromes that it just can't be ignored. In fact, I exchanged a few emails with Dr. Schubiner. He looked at my MRI report and my description of my symptoms and reassured me that I have TMS. That was a big deal. So my major activity since my re-devotion to TMS has been working my way through Dr. Schubiner's book, Unlearn Your Pain. I have all but completed the program. I still have low back pain on a daily basis, but it seems to be changing more. When I first started I had been having pain every night at 3 in the morning that would wake me up and keep me awake until it was time to get up. The pain would then usually subside, but sometimes it would morph into another type of back pain that would hurt all day or even a couple days. This went on for 9 months. As I approached the end of Dr. Schubiner's program, that pain slowly subsided and is now gone. But now I have pain most of the day! Ugh, but I know now that this may be a long, slow slog of de-conditioning my brain away from the neural pathways that have been entrenched over the years.

    As I continue to work on the Schubiner exercises, I have also been reading Steve Ozanich's The Great Pain Deception. This is another fantastic book in which the personality description of the TMSer hits the nail on the head. Another resource that I'm looking very forward to getting into is Dr. Alan Gordon's programs on this site. I briefly looked at some of the material and was really intrigued by his "outcome independent" approach to changing the mind's conditioning to pain. I like the idea of addressing the issue directly from a neural perspective in addition to the emotional work. But I have to reign myself in so I don't jump all over the place with all these different resources. I want to give each one a fair shake, not just a cursory dabble. It is very encouraging that there are so many resources out there for people like us, and that we have each other's experiences to lean on as well.

    Right now what I really feel is beneficial to me includes daily meditation focused on the breath and my feelings/energy; journaling (about stressful situations, or using other more structured journaling techniques such as those in Dr. Schubiner's program); daily physical exercise; reading TMS literature.