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Arm pain

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by tmrf, Apr 19, 2014.

  1. tmrf

    tmrf New Member

    I just joined the Wiki and am reaching out for information about RSI and arm pain. I believe I am a TMS sufferer. Three years ago I had a terrible bout of neck and back pain. That is when I discovered Dr. Sarno's work. I recovered, but it took time to believe nothing was really wrong with me, particularly after having the usual physician ordered imaging. About 1 month ago I developed arm pain in both arms. It is on the inside of my elbows and progresses down my forearms. I have had x-rays and nothing was indicated. There are no visible bulges that would indicate some sort of tear and my strength is mostly unchanged. My left hand grip is a little weaker and I am left hand dominant. However, the left arm hurts more, so of course my grip would be weaker. I am pretty athletic despite my age of 51. I have been going to the gym 3 times a week for years. I was noticing some tenderness in my biceps over the last couple of months, so I have been easing off the curls. The pain came on gradually and then never left. I stopped going to the gym 4 weeks ago. I am on an anti-inflammatory and going to PT twice a week. There has been little change. I am trying to determine causation. Is this a new bout of TMS or a sports injury? I am looking for some stories of TMS sufferers that are similar which would give me some solace. In my mind I am skeptical when the PT says these injuries can take months and months to heal. If there is anything on the Wiki or the Forum anybody could point me to, I would appreciate it. My name is Tom.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Tom.

    Your arm pain is apparently pure TMS because nothing structural has been discovered.
    The best advice for you is given by Steve Ozanich in his fantastic book, The Great Pain Deception.

    He suffered back and other pain for years and had surgery and other treatments including medication,
    but finally healed when he realized he had TMS repressed anger. It came from careless doctors
    making his wife paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair.

    He also says he healed by continuing to exercise and play golf despite the pain.
    He stopped thinking he was in pain when he resumed physical activity.

    You can find many posts from and about Ozanich in the forums here.
    He is an inspiration to us all and you will see yourself in his book.
    Msunn likes this.
  3. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think it is TMS too, especially since both arms show problems... this is the same for carpal tunnel syndrome, why would someone develop that in both arms at the same time or shortly after each other?
    By any chance, do you have other problem area's in your arms or shoulders? Is there still some tension in your neck and/or upper back and/or just below the collar bone?? I often use trigger point patterns to prove that something is TMS (trigger points = painful, cramped up muscle fibres there where the motor nerve connects to the muscle = oxygen deprived tissue = TMS!). I have seen many common patterns with myself and the pains only went away from treating the whole shebang as TMS. And even when I couldn't find a common trigger point pattern for a certain pain, treating it as TMS was the key to recovery.
    Trigger points in your biceps are the only one I know of that give pain in the inside of your elbow. Sometimes they give pain in the shoulder too. Palpate your biceps until you find one or two spots (bi-ceps) that are pretty painful when you press down on them, you may be able to feel it radiate in your elbow or shoulder.
    Another common pattern is that is coming from the subclavius just below and half way the collar bone. This one can give pain in the biceps and also on the thumb side of the arm, tingly arms or fingers. Pressing this muscle can be pretty painful, so be warned.
    Again, do the above only to become convinced that it is TMS! Or even better, don't investigate and just believe it is.... :)
    Msunn likes this.
  4. tmrf

    tmrf New Member

    Thank you for your comments Walt. I read Steve's book about one year ago. I found it to be very compelling. I think I turned down or highlighted 50% of the pages. I liked it so much, I loaned it to a friend who has been dealing with rheumatoid type pain. I do not know why I am struggling so much to believe this is TMS. I guess I think I injured myself and I am afraid I will make things worse by resuming my regular activity. In terms of thinking psychologically, I know I am under a tremendous amount of psychological stress right now as a result of some personal matters that just have no good resolution. I have always been a "fixer" and I cannot fix these things. Moreover, I am not really responsible for them, so I feel a tremendous amount of rage. It is not unconscious, but I have to keep stuffing it down because I do not know what else to do. These feelings have been festering for the last 6 years or so, and I have had nothing but a string of symptoms concurrently; everything from panic attacks to GI distress to severe neck and upper back pain. I know it all fits together. Working out has been one of the few outlets I have and a real self-esteem booster for me. I guess I am just a little scared.
  5. tmrf

    tmrf New Member

    Thank you for taking the time to post. I agree, it seems a little uncanny. I attributed it to the fact that I was working both arms on the same curling machine. As a matter of fact I get pain on my left side where my neck and shoulder meet. I am never sure whether this is TMS or a result of rolling my shoulders forward, particularly when I sleep on my side. This pain is intermittent. That area is always very tender to the touch. I tend to lift my shoulders when I raise my arms and have been told that puts constant stress on these muscles. Just before this episode came on, I was noticing a pinching feeling in the center of my left bicep. I did not have that feeling in my right arm. The pain is definitely worse in the left arm. It is so hard to sort out an injury from TMS.
  6. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yep, that is probably the levator scapulae. As much as I'd like to, I will stop connecting all the trigger points, although I can draw some relation between it and the biceps. I did and it was one of the keys to recovery for me. A whole bunch of nerves travels from your neck to the tips of your fingers. Therefore I am not at all surprised that there are several painful areas along this path.
    I personally believe that TMS lowers your tolerance against exercise. Things you'd normally recover from quickly or that wouldn't even bother you, now give much more pain than reasonable and take a long time to disappear. So all of a sudden raising your shoulders or using the curler results in unreasonable pain. Destress the mind and the body will follow...
    You sound like you are in a classic survival mode called 'freeze'. You can't flee or fight, so you remain frozen. Steve Ozanich (the great pain deception) covers this subject, but I see you already read his book. I hope you become more confident that this is what causes all the weird symptoms.
    good luck to you Tom,
    donavanf likes this.
  7. tmrf

    tmrf New Member

    Any tips for moving beyond this frozen state Gigalos? I loaned Steve's book to somebody who is far worse off than me, but I sure could use it now.
    donavanf likes this.
  8. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    - To break out of the frozen state, you could flee or fight.... or establish that there is no threat.... by accepting, forgiving (yourself), outing your emotions.
    - What helped you recover the first time?
    - Did or do you follow the program on this site?
    - Try meditation/mindfulness to feel your emotions.
    - Use affirmations to think and feel more positively. Some examples: "I accept myself, I appreciate myself, I love myself", "I forgive and let go easily", "I feel calm, relaxed, patient and confident", "I am always easy on myself". etc. etc.
    - Buy another copy of Steve's book or buy the book by two of our most dedicated forum members Eric 'Herbie' Watson and Walt Oleksy. It covers all kinds of techniques to conquer TMS.
    - I don't know your issue, but it might be helpful to talk about it with someone. It may release some emotions in you and it may result in a fresh view on the situation you are in.
    donavanf and Msunn like this.
  9. tmrf

    tmrf New Member

  10. tmrf

    tmrf New Member

    Thanks again for responding. Last time I recovered after I got good and mad over being in pain for almost three years. I quit the PT, Chiropractic, medication and special exercises. I threw away the special pillows and various devices I had purchased to correct my problems. I went back to the gym and worked hard. 6-8 months later I felt better and looked better than I had in years. I want to do that now, but I have that little voice telling me I injured my arms and I am afraid to ignore it. What if it is correct and I make myself worse?
    Msunn likes this.
  11. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    I've been there tmrf and am still working through TMS healing. I'm a musician with RSI symptoms, and my risk similar to yours, that kept me stuck is what if I there is really something wrong with my arms and I make it worse where I won't be able to play? Or what if the TMS symptoms increase to where I'm immobilized? For me I got to the point where I just had to take that risk. I also have a huge evidence sheet that really proves that it can only be TMS, lots of moving and changing symptoms.

    With kindness toward myself I've just been getting back to normal activities as much as possible and letting the results happen as they will. Of course once I do that I've had much less pain, shorter bouts of symptoms etc.

    For me, the fear of symptoms is TMS, as much or maybe more so, than any other repressed emotions. I've named that inner voice that tries to make me fearful "the terrorist" and somehow it helps to be able to distance myself and laugh at that voice. I just meet all symptoms as much as possible with self compassion and acceptance. I know for others talking forcefully to the pain seems to help, but that hasn't worked too well for me.

    I do challenge the TMS and tell it can take it's best shot, give me whatever symptoms it wants, rather than try to control it, or react with fear. I think for me to face the fear I've had to face the worst case scenario and be ok with it. That may not be standard TMS coping but it's worked well for me. I think the line is "what you resist persists." Ultimately there is so much in life I have very little control over. I could be totally healed from TMS and be hit by a car tomorrow for instance, so having faith that in the bigger picture everything is happening as it should helps me be more peaceful. Ultimately the "what ifs" just keep me out of the present moment and only cause anxiety.

    Dr. Sarno says virtually all RSI symptoms are TMS, and with no problems indicated from your tests it would seem that your symptoms are TMS. If it takes you a while to be convinced of that it's ok. You also have the great experience of healing from neck and back pain. Be gentle with yourself, give yourself some time, and respect the healing process. I really like the affirmations Gigalos suggested and use similar ones myself.

    All the best
    donavanf and Ellen like this.
  12. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    We can feel better or worse on any given day, and not have a clue as to why we feel more pain or less
    or more anxiety and fear than less. My thing is to not think that today's pain or down feeling is what to expect
    tomorrow or days later. Let tomorrow take care of itself. Today, think as positive as possible and spend
    as much time as I can on enjoying myself.

    And we need to keep telling out unconscious that our symptoms are from TMS for one reason or another,
    from repressed emotions or our personality.
  13. alexandra

    alexandra Peer Supporter

    I have the same pain in my arms, it comes from the inside of the elbows and spreads into forearms, and fingers. I've has x rays on both elbows plus a nerve test which was perfect. I also have back, hips, and legs pain, tingling etc...I have it all. For me it's TMS and it is how I'm treating it after a million medical tests have come back normal. I was an acrobat so very athletic. I have been 98 percent pain free a few times since learning about dr sarno but when fear or depression creeps in it flares up again...don't give up, I'm not!
  14. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Alexandra, sounds like you know you have TMS and have been working on it to heal. We all have our
    ups and downs, good days and bad, but your progress is inspiring and no, don't give up.
    It must be a relief to have taken all those tests and nothing structural was found.
    You'll be back to being the woman on the flying trapeze!
    alexandra likes this.
  15. tmrf

    tmrf New Member

    Thank you all for your encouraging words. It helps so much to read stories of over-comers!
  16. Waterbear

    Waterbear Peer Supporter

    I had the exact same pain as you: both inner elbows, forearms, and fingers.

    I'm a left handed artist and I couldn't hold a pencil for more than 10 mins for over a year.

    I did PT and Graston massage. No dice.

    I discovered TMS in Oct 2013, I can now draw for hours, lift weights at the gym, do work around the house, sleep with bent arms. Zero pain most of the time.

    Occasionally, it'll act up for a few mins here and there, but it passes quickly.

    Just wanted to let you know that what you have, exactly what you have, goes away completely. :)
    Ellen likes this.
  17. tmrf

    tmrf New Member

    I am curious to hear more Waterbear. I went to the gym this morning and have a lot of pain now. Did some dips and chest exercises. Feel worse than I have for 3 weeks. I just wish I knew what to believe. I had xrays of my arm and elbow and the doctor saw nothing. Is there such a thing as soft tissue injury which comes from over working an area? I have been doing the same exercises for years and never had problems until now. I have changed nothing about my exercise routine in years either. I went back to the gym once last week and did all lower body and one chest exercise. I felt pretty good. It had been 4 weeks since I was there. Today I did the same routine and added dips for my triceps. It did not hurt when I was doing the exercises. My physical therapist probably would not have approved of the dips. She says soft tissue injuries can take a very long time to heal. I am very confused, frustrated and a little depressed.

    Oh - by the way, I have pain when I sleep with bent arms. What is that all about?
  18. Waterbear

    Waterbear Peer Supporter

    The bent arm sleeping thing plagued me for months, but I didn't know about tms then. I used to brace my arms straight to sleep like some Frankenstein monster but that never helped the pain.

    For the sleeping thing, one day I just kind of did it, pain free, and figured that was that.

    The gym was a bit more difficult. Drop your weight down a few pounds. Yes, it'll be easier but it helped me mentality to feel good afterwards. You will feel pain after working out for a bit if you're like me. It takes time and try not to stress it. For a long while, I'd work out at the lower weight and be sore until the next day. My elbow or hand might even be numb and tingling, but if I didn't think about it, it would go away the next day.

    Gradually, increase weight as you feel more comfortable.

    Use the assisted dips and pull-ups.

    Never give up!
    Gigalos likes this.
  19. tmrf

    tmrf New Member

    Thank you. This is helpful. Your situation does sound a lot like mine. I will try out your suggestions.

    Your last line is interesting. I just watched the You Tube video called "Never give up" which features Arthur's story. Very inspirational.
    Gigalos likes this.
  20. Waterbear

    Waterbear Peer Supporter

    Given more thought to this, here's my workout to say screw you to tms: upper body

    Abdominal circuit - all explain this more if requested

    *All sets= 10 reps
    * I added in chest after I was comfortable with part one. You could do it sooner if you want
    * mix and match this. I'm a tiny girl, so your muscles are probably developed differently from mine.

    Lat pulldowns: 1 warmup set, 1-2 working sets

    Cable rows: same as lat pulldowns

    Bicep hammer curls: 2 sets

    Preacher curls: 2 sets

    Triceps pulldowns: 2 sets

    Forearm curls: 2 sets

    When that felt good, I added:

    Cable flyes: 2 sets

    Bench press : 2 sets

    Assisted dip: 2 sets

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