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Amygdala connection..?

Discussion in 'Research' started by Bawbee, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. Bawbee

    Bawbee Peer Supporter

    Hi....I just wrote my story but lost it to who knows where......havent energy or arm power to retype at present.

    Ive been following a prog by Ashok Gupta...the idea being that the amygdala is always on high alert when cfs and fibromyalgia are present ......and all the symptoms come from this overstimulated amygdala.

    Would the slight oxygen deprivation be nother symtom from a hyperarpused nervous system?

    I just wrote most of my story....but lost it. Not enought energy to re type right now. Love the forum...but need more time to get used to how to use it.

    Thank you all for your helpful threads
  2. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think you might want to check out the results of the recent study at Stanford University (see link below) that traces the connection between activity in various areas of the brain in a volunteer group of back pain patients. It was a public survey that requested volunteers from throughout the Bay Area to undergo CAT brain scans. Don't know what they found out yet about the Amygdal but sure would like to find out! It seems obvious to me that there is some direct relationship between the biochemistry of the brain and various manifestations of TMS pain syndromes. And the biochemistry of the brain changes no doubt when the individual is subjected to various kinds of catastrophic and developmental stress in their social and psychological environments. The most obvious example is of course PTSD in vets returning to 'normal' civilian life from foreign wars. But similar biochemical changes must also take place when an individual is subjected to violence and conflicted relationships while growing up in dysfunctional families with warring superego figures. I do recall that when I was in conventional PT for a herniated disk (not coincidentally following my mother's death in 2001) that all of my "fellow suffers" there had undergone recent traumatic life-changing catastrophic events: death of a parent, divorce, loss of income, demented parent moving in with adult children, the list was endless. As Sarno suggests, each of those patients also exhibited (I realize now) symptoms of repressed rage, deep depression and profound sorrow. And, as Sarno suggests likewise, the more catastrophic the pain-precipitating event was the worse the symptoms. For example, a woman who had just been divorced at the same time her father died and had also recently lost her house, her money and her job exhibited the worst back symptoms among the patients and had in fact a double back fusion operation. And she was also one who was the most POed at the world in general and any make-believe enemy she found in her social environment. Whereas the woman who had had a demented mother move in with her and her husband only had CTS. The important point to note it seems to me is that all these individuals with TMS or TMS equivalent pain had also recently been severely traumatized one way or another in such a way that their emotional outlook was adversely impacted, which probably indicates a change in their brain's biochemistry.
    Forest likes this.
  3. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Forest likes this.
  4. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Bawbee and welcome to our community! I'm really glad that you found our threads helpful. We'll keep them coming. :)

    I think that the amygdala is absolutely key in TMS because it is the root of fear and fear is a key ingredient of TMS. One thing that some of Dr. Sarno's most trusted psychologists have been investigating recently is the role of trauma in TMS, (click here for more info on trauma) and that trauma gets unconsciously stored in the amygdala.

    Here's how it works: the amygdala is directly connected to our sensory systems - sight, hearing, touch, etc. - and gets input from them. When a stimulus comes in that "reminds" the amygdala of something traumatic in the past, it has a direct connection to other parts of our brain that determine how our body reacts to the stimulus. What's important here is that it happens completely unconsciously. We just see or hear something that unconsciously reminds us of something traumatic from the past and all of a sudden our pulse is racing and we start to sweat. We're afraid!

    It's simple classical conditioning, exactly like what Sarno describes as a root cause of TMS. We see something that simply reminds us of something that hurts and suddenly our body goes on alert and brings on symptoms. Quite powerful, really.

    Howard Schubiner describes the Amygdala's role in all of this in a blog post which I'll paste below. (To support our nonprofit, he has kindly given the wiki blanket permission to paste any of his blog posts on our site, so I'm not abusing copyright.)
    In another thread (click here), Dr. Zafirides mentions how Dr. Schubiner, the person who wrote the blog post, above, has published some very important research about TMS. You had mentioned Fibromyalgia, so I thought I'd mention that the people who he helped recover in that study had Fibromyalgia. This definitely makes me trust his model, if he is able to scientifically show that he can cure the condition!
  5. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Interesting in this context, that my acupuncturist Chinese medicine holistic health guy says that the pain in the region of what he calls the "aural kidneys" (one of the most common locations of TMS, incidentally) is also considered in his system a sign of deep-seated "fear" and "anxiety". Interesting too that in the Chinese system there are maps of pressure points on the body, running down both sides from the base of the skull, that roughly correspond to the same tender points that Dr. Sarno palpitates to confirm a diagnosis of TMS. In Chines medicine, they're called "meridians" and run down through the neck, the shoulders, the lower back, the outside of the buttocks and so on. Almost an absolute correspondence in fact. Sounds like Sarno, coming from the Western medical tradition, and the Chinese coming from theirs, are both talking about the same phenomena, though using different terminology. The Neo-Freudian revisionists like Sarno talk about emotions repressed in the unconscious and the Chinese talk about "imbalances" in the Ying and Yang Chi forces. I know there are similar diagrams of the human body in the Renaissance alchemical and astrological texts too. When in doubt, check in with Hermes Trismagistos and the Alexandrine Neo-Platonists! They were dealing with this same stuff twenty-three hundred years ago.
    fibri likes this.
  6. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    It makes sense. Chinese medicine may not be the same as western medicine, but all one has to do is look at the recent explosion of interest in Mindfulness and TMS/PPD (for example, Howard Schubiner and Alan Gordon) to see that sources other than western medicine can come up with valuable wisdom.

    Returning to Bawbee's original post, I would say that the amygdala definitely can be involved in TMS/PPD. I think that we are learning that fear and trauma are important parts of TMS/PPD and that the amygdala seems to be very tightly hooked up to them.

    Does that help? I'm curious, why do you ask?
    BruceMC likes this.
  7. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    By the way, speaking of how the amygdala relates to trauma, I found a very nice introduction that wasn't super hard to read or confusing (though, when neuroscience is being discussed, nothing is actually easy).

    (Warning: the article may trigger people sensitive to rape.)

    I have to say that what he wrote about rape is right on the money. I have a close friend who was raped almost 20 years ago. The experience gave her PTSD, which has stuck with her to this very day. The following paragraph describes her experiences (as she describes them to me) very well:

    My friend's experience is certainly an extreme one and I have so much sympathy for her. Yet, I think that in some ways her experience is similar to all of our experiences. We can all be triggered by little cues that travel through our amygdala and bring back emotions from long ago.
    fibri likes this.
  8. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I thought providing this Wiki entry might be apropos to include here because the handy overview it provides of how the Amygdala interacts with other parts of the brain:


    It's role in emotional learning sounds as though it has a great deal to do with conditioning the fear response described above and the creation of TMS symptoms, doesn't it?
  9. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    The Amygdala is probably playing a major role in the development of TMS/PPD symptoms. As the Wikipedia article mentions it plays a big role in the Fight, Flight, Freeze reactions. The Freeze reaction plays a huge role in the development of PPD symptoms. A while back Dr. Schubiner participated in an interview with the wiki, and he mentioned the Amygdala saying,

    To read the full interview go to Interview with Howard Schbuiner. He also made this really good video about the role the brain plays in creating PPD symptoms. The Amygdala comes up around the 4:40 mark


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