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Always see a medical doctor before you start to treat your symptoms as TMS

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Gigalos, Sep 19, 2017.

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  1. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    We have all read warnings like this numerous times on the forum and in TMS-books. You might just see it as a legal disclaimer, but recently a message has been posted on this forum that proves to be a tragic and painful reminder of why this advice is so important.

    R. was a gentle and active guy in his early 70's who recently joined our forum. He told us that he was very healthy and that he came here because of back spasms and back tightness that he had been experiencing for over 10 years. He contemplated the possibility of TMS and his description of the nature of his symptoms sounded like it could be the case, although he still had reservations.
    Fast-forward two weeks when he posted about a major setback; he had been fishing in the midday sun two days ago and had suffered from a severe episode of overheating, strong dehydration, back spasms that went through the roof and other severe symptoms. Despite efforts of people on the scene when it happened, he had refused to go to the emergency room to get himself checked out. Instead he went home where he had been spending two days in bed in an effort to recover. Warnings here on the forum to get himself checked out never got a response.
    Then three weeks later his daughter posted a message that hit me and other members like a pile of bricks. After his last post, her father apparently had decided to visit the ER that same evening after all. Doctors soon found out that he had been suffering from multiple heart attacks, a leaking valve and an infection in his lungs. He was in dire need of a triple bypass, but tragically he suddenly passed away the next day.

    My thoughts are with his family who suffered a great and tragic loss that could have been prevented in hindsight. It seems her father never mentioned his problems to his family as being so severe and he probably never saw a doctor about it. If I reread his posts, which I did several times as you can imagine, he mentioned that he 'only seen a chiropractor' about his back spasms. However, he also told us that he was very healthy and active otherwise, making us think that he had good reasons to make such a statement.

    I would like to thank his daughter for informing us in such a kind way, while she had just suffered such a tragic loss and had to find out about the nature of her father's physical problems by stumbling upon this forum. It is tragic that this all happened, but it would be even more tragic if we would not draw lessons from it. Therefore I want to quote the most important part of her post:

    "I understand you all and my Dad were reading this book about Pain Deception and healing yourself with your mind but sometimes, there is really something wrong. If my Dad had just gone to a doctor much sooner, I'd still have my Dad and my children would still have their Papa."

    She is completely right of course; sometimes there really is something wrong!!

    Applying TMS to oneself is controversial to many people not familiar with it. It is almost like you have to experience yourself how it can help you and/or others to get better before you are able to accept it. But once you have seen 'the TMS light', that does not mean that each and every (new) symptom is TMS by default. Doctors are here to help us; even when they don't accept the TMS theory, they are your best bet to rule out anything serious. Make use of that possibility, because ultimately we are not medical doctors!!! And be warned, therapists (PT's, chiro's, psychologists, etc.) often only receive a basic medical training to recognize a limited amount of serious conditions, so that doesn't make them medically trained doctors either.

    The difficulty for part of the people here is that their symptoms fall into a gray area: TMS doctors, therapists and well-meaning people who follow the TMS path will say that it is or might be TMS, while the majority of regular doctors and people refuse such a diagnosis. However often they are unable to come up with a better diagnosis that makes sense or with a therapy that may really help you get better. What to do in such a situation?? It is rather difficult to say the least, but still I want to advise to not start seeing everything in black and white. Again, not every new symptom is TMS by default. There are also enough examples of people who suffer from both TMS and a serious condition. TMS can even aggravate symptoms caused by a serious condition, making it look like it is only TMS and therefore benign. Well, keep reminding yourself to once and a while get yourself checked out. This is important for all people, but especially for people who follow the TMS path.

    I also want to take this opportunity to remind all the forum members of the influence their posts might have on others. We are not ultimately responsible for the choices people make regarding their own symptoms, but that doesn't mean we can't be careful regarding our own posts. Better warn somebody explicitly one time too many than one time too little. I wish I had done it earlier in this particular case, although I don't feel I should blame myself for not having done so. Please think about this the next time when you help somebody, here on the forum or in real life for that matter.

    What I would like is that we use this moment to reflect about how we approach our own and other people's symptoms. No need to scare each other to the doctor, but rather discuss in a constructive way how to be realistic and sensible about it, so please write any reactions with that goal in mind.

    Thanks for reading and take care,
    Ellen, Ines, Lavender and 6 others like this.
  2. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi gigalos,

    Thank you for this post, such an important point. I saw the post you mentioned, so sad, and such a distressing thing for the family of this person.

    It's always a tough spot to be in, deciding what to treat medically and what to write off as TMS. You are right- as a PT (and this goes for any non MD professionals), we cannot diagnose or even order medical testing. If in doubt, always see a doctor to rule out the scary stuff. I try to always advice people to do this if they are in doubt and haven't seen a doctor for new symptoms, both here and at my job.

    There is lots of grey area with TMS, even for the seasoned doctors. This is important to keep in mind! Seeing a TMS doc when you're able to is the best thing, but if not possible, good to know the difference between things any doctor would diagnose as true structural issues (heart blockages, strokes, etc) versus something a TMS doc wouldn't worry about (arthritis, tendonitis, etc).
    Lunarlass66, Lainey, plum and 2 others like this.
  3. JoeHealingTms

    JoeHealingTms Peer Supporter

    I have seen in many posts of new people the phrase " I have embraced that I have TMS " , and the first thing I think is, if they have already checked all the other possibilities or simply decided by themselves. In my case, I have more than 12 years of medical exams and tests, MRI's and CT's, sonograms,heart studies,blood tests, brain MRI's, X-rays and more than 20 doctors having seen me in all that time, including 3 or 4 neurologists and at least 2 neurosurgeons and 2 back surgeons. I also have had the alternate medicine like chiropractors (like 6 of them, and one of them specifically making my neck worst), massage therapy and accupunture. I started to write in the group recently, but have been reading and analyzing TMS in me for about 2 years. Only recently I decided to go full on with the program and apply all that knowledge. I know exactly what structural or other problems are real for me, and what of those could possibly be TMS(symptoms that come and go and move to different parts or can be activated/deactivated by meditation, thoughts or feelings.) People should check everything before getting into TMS, much less by themselves. The case you mentioned is very sad and tragic, but there were also some factors that even in a healthy person should have been checked, like dehydration, which can actually kill you by itself. You also mentioned "other severe symptoms". We dont know his history of checkups in the last 20 years, and the heart is something that after your 40's you should check every few years in a regular basis. We certainly won't be able to tell to what extent it was lack of proper attention on time, or if it would have made no difference. Maybe even going on time the outcome would have been the same, maybe at 70 he would have not survived a triple bypass. But the message is clear. Get checked before starting a TMS approach.
  4. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    Gigalos ... your entire post was perfect. I want to add my voice to yours in this ... not everything is TMS. I've seen criticism towards some who question this, when it is exactly what we should do. As you said, not everything is black and white. Symptoms that may be TMS for one, may actually be structural issues for another. We cannot judge this for another person.

    Thank you so much for giving this issue your voice.

    .... always with Love and Gratitude ^_^
    hodini, Gigalos and plum like this.
  5. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    God Bless You Gigalos, and Thank You for writing such an essential post with a lovely balance of respect and sensitivity.

    Doctors employ a method called Differential Diagnosis where they weigh up conditions with similar clinical symptoms. This not only distinguishes the right diagnosis, it flags anything serious or life-threatening. Ideally by the time someone lands on this forum they have been through this process and have a diagnosis that is benign. Of course even in these circumstances consideration should be given to enlisting a TMS trained professional. It's basic stuff.

    No book, author or peer/member can or should replace these requisites. Over the years I have been very uncomfortable at advise given and diagnosis made by proxy. I have referred to this as hubris, and it is the reason I left the forum a couple of years ago.

    I'm deeply saddened by this man's tragic and needless death and it has given me cause to self-reflect these past few days. I am so glad I stuck to my guns and completely eschewed repeated suggestions that my husband's Parkinson's was TMS; an observation made casually with scant regard to the consequences. It led to people contacting me privately on the matter as to whether or not their friend or loved one with a diagnosis of Parkinson's should treat it as TMS. The answer is an emphatic NO.

    It makes my blood run cold to think that someone could treat it such, and in line with other cavalier protocol cease taking their tablets. This can be fatal. Coming off medications should be done in a controlled, supervised, mindful way. This is common sense.

    A part of me wants to delete most of this post but it is countered by the innumerable times I have been sickened but said nothing or toned down my reply.

    There is good reason to have these discussions. Before Forest created this forum there was something cult-like in the way Sarno's work was being treated. For people who are vulnerable, naive or scared this psychological bolt-hole has appeal and we must always guard against it. Yes, emotions play a profound role in our health and illness but please let us not add denial (an unconscious defence mechanism in itself) to this.

    This post is a salutary yet sobering heads up for everyone. Let us embrace it with compassion and bless the immense courage it took his daughter to convey concerns that need to be heard.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
    Ines, Lily Rose, Lainey and 1 other person like this.
  6. Everly

    Everly Peer Supporter

    I am glad this is acknowledged. It is extremely important and I thought about it recently as well. My friend called me complaining about severe body pain and dizziness (which are exactly my symptoms, so I was biased from the start). She said she had been to doctor and told its osteoarthritis and to take some vitamins and calcium. I immediately thought its TMS, because she is an extreme goodist, very lovely and kind, never angry and for the last year she has had very emotionally hard stuff going on, feeling very helpless etc so yeah, I thought she is the perfect candidate, it must be TMS. I also suggested this to her. Then next day she calls me, she visited a different doctor, turns out she has meningitis and will be admitted to hospital. I felt so awful for jumping to conclusions so quickly. I forget that not everybody has been to 20 doctors and done all the blood tests and MRI's possible like me...
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  7. Everly

    Everly Peer Supporter

    I forgot to mention - after the conversation with her yesterday, I had a flare up of my own pain. So there's that. I suppose it triggered something in me, like what if I am mistaken about myself like I was about her. So, its tricky, you need to be careful to exclude the organic illness, but cant dwell on this subject too much.
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  8. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Appreciate and love yourself, Elina. We are only human. So are doctors by the way.

    Once in the pre-TMS days I tried to massage my mother's sore shoulder to no avail. She also didn't feel too well, had a lack of energy and a weird throat, later she even got a bit of a gray look to her. It turned out to be her heart, missed by the first MD (only human) although he suggested to revisit if things didn't improve. Till this day she has episodes of TMS though, as she is the classis caretaker. A sore shoulder, stiff neck or sciatic like symptoms are common symptoms. But she simply visits her MD to have herself checked out once and a while. In the beginning she had fear of it happening again, but she now is much more relaxed about it and admits that being anxious doesn't help. And having a MD rule out anything serious really helps with bringing down any anxiety.

    Years later I had pain on my chest, a weird throat and I didn't feel too well. The doc saw me and it turned out to be nothing serious. I cried in my car before I was able to drive home as you can imagine.

    The simple message is again to simply not avoid seeing the doctor. Yes, a MD can also be wrong, so if you have second thoughts, have a second opinion if only to bring down any anxiety.
  9. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

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  10. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    I am very grateful that you did not delete this post. I, too, have veered away from some posts that pushed TMS as the 'only' answer and words that were scornful towards those who were hesitant to 'fully' embrace it. This kind of pressure is, to use your word, cult-like.

    This forum has been a key factor in my ability to come off pharmaceuticals, and to take responsibility for my own health. But I was selective in the aspects that I embraced.

    As for Forest .... bless his kind soul and hard work for what he does here, and the many other sensitive souls who contribute and voice their vulnerabilities. We are all unique, and our approach to healing must reflect that.

    .... always with Love and Gratitude <3
    hodini, Gigalos, plum and 2 others like this.
  11. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Joe makes some excellent points here :

    This is a line in my signature below :

    "Step #1
    is to see a physician to rule out anything serious. Preferably a TMS physician for an objective opinion. Serious things like cancer, infection, trauma and fracture need to be ruled out or treated."

    A chiroquacter is NOT an MD/physician. The term "doctor " has become muddled in recent years. If the deceased had gone to the ER or an MD, as was suggested to him strongly by members of this board, his heart condition would have been immediately dx'ed. He did not heed that advice given to him here until it was perhaps too late. I've had several panic attacks that I thought were heart attacks. I went to my doc the first time, he was a cardiologist. He administered a tread-mill EKG in his office and deemed me healthy enough to climb Mt. Everest-- gave me an RX for Xanax, told me to take one if I felt like that again. This was about twenty years ago, I've taken half of a Xanax since then. I had a second panic attack about ten years later--thinking you're dying from a heart attack can make you a bit panicky--did a midnight run to the ER, and once again it dx'ed as a panic attack. The kindly ER doc said panic attacks are one of the two biggest causes for ER visits, the other being bleeds from over use of NSAIDS. My point is : I went to a REAL doctor/physician/MD and not to a shaman or a voo-doo doctor, being it was a new pain to me.

    I went to a chiroquackter once, I've seen maybe three of four during my chronic pain odyssey, he was recommended highly by my coach, because he was "really a kinesiologist". Conveniently, he had an x-ray machine in his office, and scared the hell out of me when he thought he saw a "tumor". He said let's make sure and take another image. He told me to hold my testicles to the side--he looked at the second set of x-ray and said it was OK, what he thought was a "tumor" was just my left testicle-whew. I don't know if he was totally incompetent or just wanted to scare me. I saw him for a few sessions, joining the regulars in his waiting room, for their lunch time adjustments. After three sessions, I quit seeing him, deciding the long freeway drive was more dangerous then the "L5/L5 pinched nerve".

    The deceased unfortunately went to a chiro, who blew the dx, made an "adjustment", and should have sent him to the ER for an EKG. Ultimately we are all responsible for our own mindbody health, and that is one of the great messages of TMS KNOWLEDGE.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
    karinabrown, Gigalos and Click#7 like this.
  12. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes Tom, great example. Chiro's aren't MD's. Any chiro with a x-ray in his office is basically playing doctor, or at least giving a false impression to the patient that he has the right certificates to interpret a x-ray.

    The thing with the tragic case that I mentioned is that we didn't explicitly warn this person when he got here, only when he posted something weeks later alarm bells went off. Again, there are warnings in the book he read and on this forum at several locations, so we shouldn't need to give such an explicit warning. I like your signature line and I have something similar in mine, but the thing with signatures is that they are static so they start to fade to the background.

    What I am suggesting to all people here is to just drop the question explicitly once and while and especially with new members or when your gut tells you that something is fishy.

    Also, we don't know exactly why R. didn't get diagnosed earlier; maybe he visited a doctor many years ago who sent him home, just like what happened to my mother at first. Maybe he got warnings, but he ignored them out of fear. We simply don't know based on the little information we have, so I propose that we do not speculate further about it, rather let us focus on what we can learn from it on a personal and community level.
    karinabrown and Tennis Tom like this.
  13. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member

    Hi all ,

    Terrible tragedy ! Feel deeply sorry for this man and his family.

    Its absolutely important to let things checked out.
    But my only worry when it comes to certain pains is : by how many doctors?
    I see post as ‘i saw 3 neurologist, 4 orthopedist etc etc . Me myself had a part of that too. 6 is not better than 4 etc i fear. Not in this man’s case i pressume. But in general : when you ask multiple you end up most of the time with multiple answers. So then which to believe, that is common and risky too
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  14. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi all-

    Just want to put out the general point to be careful not to descend into total freak out mode! This is a terrible thing that this man had happen to him but it isn’t cause to panic. No one has suggested that you must see 7 doctors before you can get a TMS diagnosis. I saw just one doctor myself, it totally depends on the situation.

    If there is a definite diagnosis (even if benign like herniated discs) and you have imaging and tests done to rule out the scary stuff you’re done. Some people require more specialists to rule things in and out. When in doubt consult a TMS doctor if you can. Or even another TMS professional who can get you the right referral :)
    Tennis Tom, JanAtheCPA and Gigalos like this.
  15. hodini

    hodini Peer Supporter

    Hi Gigalos,

    Thank you for starting this thread and bringing attention to this. It is fortunate that this mans daughter had the courage to make contact.

    "Again, there are warnings in the book he read and on this forum at several locations, so we shouldn't need to give such an explicit warning."

    Those who are old enough to remember, the Kitty Genovese Murder in Queens NYC, where I think it was 28 or more people witnessed her brutal stabbing murder and no one called the Police; all were astounded at this fact. all who witnessed it had survivor guilt. The studies that developed form investigating that phenomena clearly demonstrated a "bystander effect". No one had called because they all assumed someone else had. This type of behavior is found more often in highly populated areas because there are more people around so one thinks someone else will take care of "it".

    This is a good thing to keep in mind because should you ever find yourself in a big city and in trouble it is not enough to just cry out for help. Studies have found that your chances for being helped increase significantly if you can identify someone specifically and ask them for help. In other words "You, in the red shirt, I need help!"

    The internet is probably one of the most populated communities around so this effect is strongly at work here. When I first came to this site, I read the full disclaimer. I must say, it is one of the most complete disclaimers I have ever read and I read a lot of them. Forest had a very talented attorney.

    That said, I also noticed something else; That while there were well over 1-1/4 million views on the introductory page to the TMS Wiki, there were only a little over 6,000 views on the disclaimer page despite the fact that there are many mentions on the site where it says "..click here to read the full disclaimer".

    Less then one percent!. I do not know how that stacks up with other sites, I could see where it may be similar but am not sure if to that extent.

    Without meaning to be hyperbolic, perhaps there could be some way that those who are daily on the site could find a way to shout out "hey you in the red shirt, make sure you read the full disclaimer!"?
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  16. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Hodini, great analysis, but what you are basically suggesting is to ask the same question twice... :) Really the only other thing I can think off is to add a little check box on your personal page, for every member to see: "Yes, I am aware that you need to visit a Medical Doctor to rule out anything serious before you start treating symptoms as TMS". Is this feasible and is it realistic to expect that people become more aware? I simply don't know, but I have serious doubts about it all.

    One very important thing that we can do is have discussions like this once and a while. Raise awareness for the fact that the way you approach this forum has consequences for your own and other people's health, be it positive or negative. What members do next once they are more aware is really up to each individual, I can only hope that it makes members in general a bit more careful. I certainly hope the next discussion will be triggered by something a lot less tragic, but it is important that we have them.

    That said, if people have ideas about this, please feel free to post them.
  17. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Corrollarily, (try to find that word in the dictionary), every website that deals with the physical model for the source of dis-eases, should have boilerplate warnings, that :

    "It has been conclusively found, that 80% of doctor and ER visits are due to TMS/psychosomatic emotional causes. Please see a psychiatrist or a TMS trained physician, to rule out psychological causality, to prevent miss-diagnoses, with potentially harmful invasive surgical treatments, that may have serious side-effects, or spending thousands of dollars on useless quack procedures, devices and un-tested homeopathic supplements."

    This warning can be called the "IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD DISCLAIMER".
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017
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  18. hodini

    hodini Peer Supporter

    "One very important thing that we can do is have discussions like this once and a while. Raise awareness for the fact that the way you approach this forum has consequences for your own and other people's health, be it positive or negative. What members do next once they are more aware is really up to each individual, I can only hope that it makes members in general a bit more careful. I certainly hope the next discussion will be triggered by something a lot less tragic, but it is important that we have them."

    You are absolutely right! It should not go unsaid that you have already contributed much in the way of helping provide an informed environment through your initiation of this thread. Could you post a link to the initial threads involved, I never read them and can't seem to locate them.

    What would you think if there were a list of suggested links within the forum for suggested reading prior to participation lets say 5 or some other number and this was one of them?
    Gigalos likes this.
  19. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hmmm.... I don't think that will work, because the more information you present, the more people will probably not read it. But I am getting your drift, Hodini...

    I think I also get your drift about the link to the initial thread and I appreciate it. My decision not to post it is probably emotionally colored, but I simply don't know if it is sensible or not. The thread can be found quickly through the search function by using some obvious keywords. I really will leave it up to other members to decide if posting a direct link is sensible or not, my only intent is to start a respectful discussion about what we can learn from it all.
    Lily Rose likes this.
  20. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    Great advice and great post.

    Couple of comments:

    1. This may come as a shock but the same way back surgeries have been found ineffective so are bypass surgeries and angioplasties. With one big difference: unlike back surgeries, heart bypass and angioplasty come with death as a possible side effect.

    My dad went to the ER with chest pain, ended up dying during angioplasty. To learn what happened and why we should avoid angiogram, angioplasty, and bypass surgery see my blogpost on the topic.

    http://www.fredamir.com/single-post/2016/07/11/Heart-Attack-Avoid-Angiogram-Angioplasty-and-Bypass-Surgery (Back Pain)

    2. When I finally decided the pain on the right side of my abdomen, which sometimes radiated into my groin, might not be TMS and went to see a doctor to check for a possible hernia or appendicitis, I was told nothing was wrong. Even the CT scan was normal.

    So assuming it was TMS, I continued to carry heavy stuff until the hernia bulged out of my groin. By then, of course, it was too late to avoid surgery, even though I tried alternative treatments for six months to avoid it.

    Trying to find a surgeon that would repair my hernia without a mesh turn into quite an adventure!

    http://www.fredamir.com/hernia (Back Pain)

    So not always going to the doctor can help, but it can become necessary. In most cases, I first go to alternative health practitioners before going to my primary care physician.
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