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Arm pain - is it TMS?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by melkien, Nov 19, 2018.

  1. melkien

    melkien New Member

    Hi guys! I read a similar post down below about nerve pain in arm, but preferred to write my own so as to get some insight into what you might think about my specific situation.

    Basically, I've had a pretty tough 2 years. I'm 27 years old and live in Argentina. My parents moved out of the country a year ago due to monetary issues, which was pretty tough for me and them, but I decided to stay because I've got my girlfriend and life here. I also have a chronic deformation of my right pinky finger because of an injury and how badly I took care of it after, and which at the time I didn't realize. That shifted my view of the world and has been very difficult for me to get over and forgive myself, mostly because it brought up thoughts about my mortality, the permanency of life, my anger towards my parents, and because I use the computer a lot as a hobby and job so I feel that has affected my performance. After the finger, I also had some other medical issues, one of which is the one referrs to why I am posting:

    A year and 2 months ago two of my dogs were fighting and I had to pull really hard on one of them to separate them, which at the time was very stressful. I can't remember much, I dont think I got bitten but I had a bruise on the left forearm near the elbow. Three days later I suddenly felt sharp tingling- / pins and needles on my left arm, more so when I stretched it. At the time I consulted with doctors and after an ultrasound where I had the bruise on the forearm and they found nothing. Then they told me I should get an EMG and NCV but after reading about it I was scared and decided to wait to see if it might go away. Eventually it became more bearable but it never fully went away. It would come and go, mostly when I lift things I feel it come back for some days, or out of the blue it also happens, then subsides. After some time I did get the EMG and NCV done and doctors found no large fiber damage, and I also had a MRI on my cervical to see if there was a disc herniation, to which they only noticed that I have a rectification. Therefore, I was told it probably was mental and that I should consult with a psychiatrist.

    I must mention some things. First, I recall reading about TMS around 4 years ago for back problems and it did go away, and now a month ago I bought and read Dr Sarno's book. Almost at that same time I started taking antidepressants (Sertraline 100mg) after visiting the psychiatrist, who is a very renounded doctor here in my country. I have a history of anxiety and have taken my country's equivalent to Lexapro in the past, and my history combined with the last 2 years and doctors not finding anytthing has led said psychiatrist to believe that the arm tingling, pins and needles and pain is a somatization.

    After reading the book and starting with the medication, the situation got better, I didn't feel it for a while until this Friday when I was lifting a box (not that heavy) and after that I started feeling it again. I think I wasn't directly thinking about it before lifting the box, but my unconcious mind probably is a different story. While I am writing this, I do feel it, and have felt it this whole weekend.

    Overall, when thinking about the situation, I come to the conclusion that I am the exact type described by Dr Sarno: I am a perfectionist, have felt a lot of guilt recently due to the finger and arm, I like to get people to like me, I have issues with my parents due to their decision and in retrospect I am very angry with my father for so many things he has selfishly done in the past, and I have recently started working at a company, when previously I was freelance and that is what I wanted, but it clearly was going to be much tougher. I also think a lot about the relationship I have with my girlfriend, with whom we are very compatible but she has no desire to go study abroad/live some time abroad, while I would like to do that, and would love for her to like it. And to add more to it, I still live at my parent's house here in Argentina even after they left (they come and go), would like to have a place of my own to not have to talk to my father and mother for some time, but feel I cannot leave because I have 2 dogs, one of which is aggressive with other male dogs and is big, and the country's situation is bad so it is tough for me to rent something if I currently want to save some money for the future. So yes, I think my life has been full of opposing thoughts lately and I am a prime candidate for TMS.

    However, the reason I am posting this question is because even trying to fix it, and I know it might take time, I feel I am not 100% convinced, mostly because this happened exactly after an incident, and I felt strong sharp pain which diminished, but not completely. Thus, I really don't know if my body has healed and my mind has taken this as a cue to distract me from other things and initiated TMS to imitate a previous injury I did have. Also, when I go lift things, if I do it for a while I will eventually feel pain/stabbing, but I have read this might happen because of the mild oxygen deprivation but isn't really causing any damage to my body.

    Thanks for taking the time to read my post, and I would really appreciate your insight and comments.
  2. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi. It sounds like you are on the verge of deciding many important things in your life.
    This is a good thing. It means that you care about your own happiness.

    It sounds to me like your arm sensations are TMS. It's interesting that it all happened when you were trying to stop conflict between your dogs.

    Here's my thought, even if it is not TMS, there is no action to take to fix it. They aren't going to do surgery on your arm for pain that comes and goes.
    Your doctors haven't found any true damage.

    The good news is that you are figuring this out at a very young age of 27. Be happy about that.
    Sit at a table with a pad of paper and a pen. At the top of the paper write this: "If I weren't worried or afraid, I would....." Then, write freely about how you would picture your life. Remember, no one else has to read this. Be honest on paper.
    Then, know that is what your heart really longs to have.

    I know relationships with parents and loved ones can be complicated. But, please take it from me...don't waste your young years in fear or doing what you think you "should" do and not what you want to do.
    You've already said that your dad does what he wants to do.

    Your arm pain will heal when you no longer fear it being there. Stop beating yourself up.

    I know things are bad in Argentina. I'm sorry. We are not helping ourselves out in the U.S. either.

    Go find some joy. You're young. You deserve to find your happiness.

    best wishes.
    starseed likes this.
  3. melkien

    melkien New Member

    MW, thank you so much for your answer. Sorry for the delayed response.

    What you mention is very valuable, so thanks again for taking the time. I'll do the best I can, and these words are important to me:

    "don't waste your young years in fear or doing what you think you "should" do and not what you want to do.
    You've already said that your dad does what he wants to do. "

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