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Arthritis TMS or not?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Mala, Aug 3, 2023.

  1. Mala

    Mala Well known member

    I was watching a video by Dr. Howard Schubiner today & in it he talks about how to determine if pain is from the neural circuit or not . He very clearly mentions cancer as a disease that is to be treated by medication & not as TMS as well as arthritis of the joints. He says that arthritis of the joints requires medication & is not neural circuit pain.

    So I'm confused here. My understanding that wear & tear of the joints is normal just like greying hair & is to be treated as TMS.

    Could someone explain? Any thoughts please.

    Much appreciated.

  2. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    ANYTHING in your body can be effected by your mind. They are not two separate entities. Dr. Hanscom amongst others has recently been discussing the chemical body changes and stress. They increase inflammation.
    So even if an illness is “structural”, reducing stress has significant impact on your wellness.
    Fear about symptoms can make any symptom: structural or not, worse. Dr. Schubiner is not saying that he would not suggest stress reducing methods to his clients with cancer, he’s saying that they alone, in his professional opinion be enough. Medication and physical treatment may called for. There is a growing number of hospitals and medical centers who are recognizing that a mind/body approach is very helpful in treating the whole person.
    Meditation and journaling seem to be their go-to for treatment.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  3. Mala

    Mala Well known member

    Thx for responding @Cactusflower. I'm well aware of how the mind & thoughts can influence the body. My question is does arthritis fall into the category of a real structural issue that requires conventional treatment along with mind body therapies or is it straight out TMS which can be ignored.

  4. mbo

    mbo Well known member

    Arthritis is not the issue. It is a normal aging process, like hair graying. The problem is the warning signal --some kind of old fashioned neon light-- produced by our brain: "pain in your arthritic knee" (for instance). So, you feel pain in your arthritic knee and presumes (so your doctors) pain is due to osteoarthritis. The mouse has entered the trap. Activating the danger signal (pain) the brain sets in action its protective/distractive strategy.
    JanAtheCPA and Cactusflower like this.
  5. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think to summarize, you have to anticipate pain in your brain to feel pain in the brain. The anticipation response is key to the experience of pain later on. I guess if you're a behavioral psychologist, you'd say pain is a learned, programmed or conditioned response and hence highly subjective and situational.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2023
    Mala likes this.
  6. michaelg21

    michaelg21 Peer Supporter

    I’m firmly on board with the notion that all pain experiences are heavily influenced by our beliefs and emotions. However, in the case of “arthritis”, we should clearly define whether or not we are discussing osteoarthritis or an autoimmune arthritis (rheumatoid, psoriatic, juvenile etc). In cases of rheumatic arthritis, there are measurable changes that occur in your immune system and the structures in and around your joints, which often cause other symptoms alongside pain (swelling being a big tell). Rheumatoid arthritis will also commonly present bilaterally, and onset in most cases begins in small joints of the hands.

    If the cause of arthritis is autoimmune, which thankfully doctors are good at distinguishing, it is important you treat the autoimmune condition (whether that be pharmacologically, with supplements, elimination diet, etc). That being said, we should never understate the role of beliefs and negative feelings in any pain experience, structurally caused or otherwise. Research suggests that patients with underlying depression and/or anxiety have a lesser chance of joint remission in Rheumatoid Arthritis. With findings like these, we always have to be mindful of what we are to interpret. However, knowing what we know about the nervous system’s role in chronic pain conditions - including the likes of CRPS, which often includes visible changes to bodily structure - I would imagine there is definitely some sort of therapeutic benefit to be gained by keeping the mind and body in a relaxed, content, restful state (something those with active anxiety and depression struggle to do).
    Mala and BruceMC like this.
  7. Mala

    Mala Well known member

    Thank you @BruceMC & @michaelg21. I'll try to rephrase my question

    I'm posting the link of the video i was watching on Howard Schubiner's site.

    From 1:30 -2:01 he says that cancer & severe arthritis of a joint are both structural that require medication & also a mind body approach.

    What I want to ask is:
    -isn't 'normal wear & tear' the same as 'arthritis'? In my mind the two are the same.If so why does Dr Schubiner say its structural & requires meds whereas Dr Sarno says it's normal wear & tear does not hurt & is like grey hair & should be ignored. Arthritis is the same as wear & tear isn't it?

    I'm not talking about rheumatoid arthritis which is an immune disorder & I dont think Dr Schubiner is either.

    Last edited: Aug 7, 2023
    BruceMC likes this.
  8. Orzabelle

    Orzabelle Newcomer

    I have hallux rigidus, a kind of arthritis in my big toe that is absolutely wear & tear related rather than generalized. I am a long-time runner and I've had this for a long time and it doesn't keep me from running, but I have almost zero flexibility in that toe and it would certainly be easier if I didn't have this issue. I am going to soon have surgery to regain that flexibility & maybe get to wear some of my cuter shoes again (and I hope to continue running for many many years more). But I have somehow zero TMS-related thinking about my toe. It sucks, but I've never gotten upset about it and it hasn't kept me from enjoying myself and putting in the miles. I just keep putting off the surgery because I don't want to miss out on running/hiking in nice weather.
    Mala and JanAtheCPA like this.
  9. theacrobat

    theacrobat Peer Supporter

    Arthritis is basically greek for inflammation(itis) of the joints (arth). So ALL arthritis is of the joints, by definition. It is well established by Sarno and others that most osteoarthritis related pains are TMS exploiting a known structural abnormality to spark off a distraction in that high-anxiety site (the anxiety being a way bigger problem than the wear and tear). Most mind body practitioners think autoimmune arthritis (i.e. rheumatoid, caused by the immune system attacking the joints) cannot be treated like TMS or at least requires meds.

    Frankly, pain cannot occur in a worn out joint or an autoimmune joint or anywhere else without the nervous system being involved. Nerves and neurons are essential for pain. Without any nerves, even in a totally worn out or inflamed joint, all you're left with is no pain and perhaps some lack of flexibility. And the nervous system has a big influence on the immune system; there's a ton of research proving this in the field of psychoneuroimmunology. It's not like they're totally hermetically sealed separate systems; it all goes on in the same body, after all.

    As for autoimmune diseases being 'incurable' via TMS methods, doctors are cautious here because there isn't hard scientific proof of this. But there is indirect scientific evidence and some anecdotal evidence. Of course it is proven that stress causes inflammation, an essential component of autoimmunity. There's also a very strong correlation between adverse childhood events and autoimmunity. Another established correlation between autoimmunity and perfectionist/nice personalities. And there are success stories. I probably had a severe autoimmune disease (not fully confirmed but 5 doctors thought so) and made a full recovery. And then there's ozzyville, who was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis and has been completely transformed. You can read his success story here: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/freedom-after-all-these-years-of-pain.27313/ (Freedom after all these years of pain...)

    Ozzy's main point is that believing that his condition could be cured (something very few people were saying to him) was crucial to his recovery. Frankly his story hasn't received enough attention, as it is pretty much the first clear cut case on record (there are probably more 'off-record' cases that get fixed and move on with their lives) of AD healed exclusively with Sarno methods (there are others making use primarily of meditation and visualisation but no meds, or weaning off meds). Also re structural abnormalities, my structural lordosis has been fixed by doing the work. I'm almost 2 inches taller now. Mind>body.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  10. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    That's very cool to hear, and confirms my personal belief.

    Mala, when Dr Schu says "severe arthritis" I'll bet he's including RA, along with extreme OA, because, as @theacrobat says, it's all inflammatory in nature.

    When I received my RA diagnosis (age 69, abnormally late in life, but I did not have childhood trauma) I already knew that it was caused by extreme stress in 2020 on top of building distress over current social and environmental disorder - and no one has provided a better answer. I consulted with Dr. Schecter (well-known TMS MD) who said that I should absolutely continue to visualize remission using my TMS knowledge and techniques, and that he has seen remissions - but he also said that I had to follow orders and take the medication, because subjecting my body to those levels of inflammation would cause serious damage, not just to my joints, but to my heart and eventually my brain.

    Inflammation heals, but it was never designed to exist long-term. Our stressful modern world has turned long-term chronic inflammation into an epidemic, and it is well-known by the medical world that inflammation is at the source of many chronic conditions.

    What the medical world refuses to acknowledge is that stress is the cause of the inflammation, and that trying to find a genetic or environmental or viral cause for these chronic conditions is a huge waste of time and resources. This is, of course, my thoroughly non-qualified opinion based solely on twelve years of close observation and continuing accumulation of knowledge since I discovered Dr. Sarno in 2011, and now personal experience since developing sudden RA in 2020.

    In any case, I've made some lifestyle changes, but I am still stressed, I still allow myself to become stressed, and I seem to be absolutely incapable of doing the one thing which I believe would make a difference, which is to make a commitment to a regular and substantial mindfulness practice.

    Mind you, I've experienced significant improvement by increasing my exercise, and I'm doing great with that, five days a week without fail. I also cut WAY down on "added sugars" and I avoid "ultra-processed foods" like the plague.

    I'm also breathing MUCH deeper, more regularly, which has greatly improved my GI health. But I still can't seem to turn everything "off" and just sit down for even ten minutes a day. It's absolutely crazy, and it is SO CLEARLY my brain on TMS.

    Humans crave certainty and clear answers, but unfortunately none of this is black & white, @Mala.
    BruceMC likes this.
  11. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Okay, @Mala, when I finally sat down at my PC, I decided to play this video and find the point where you say that this is mentioned. And I need to point something out to you: You are obsessing over one sentence that takes the narrator two seconds to make, out of a less-than-10-minutes-long, very basic, introductory video.

    The actual statement is "the same is true if there is severe arthritis of a joint".

    This is a time-waster, and I can assure you that your TMS brain is very happy that you are floundering around in doubt yet again.

    The thing is, you are probably not at all conscious of doing this. This is absolutely classic behavior of the TMS brain mechanism. It is a distraction, cleverly designed to fool you into thinking that you are accomplishing something towards your recovery. Sadly, you are NOT.

    Time for some tough love, @Mala. You have been around a while, and I would expect your TMS knowledge to be at a level that you should not even be wasting your time on ten-minute "cartoon" introductions (as Dr. Schu himself described this series of videos). Even if you want a quick reminder of the basic principles, you need to acknowledge that this video is for beginners, who will need a lot more information and do a lot more deep work if they actually want to recover.

    We don't know what is meant by "severe", but it's certainly safe to say, by virtue of negative deduction, that they are not talking about "non-severe" arthritis. We know that Rheumatoid Arthritis is, by definition, "severe". In the case of Osteoarthritis, we do not know where the dividing line is between "severe" and "not severe" and neither does the medical community, because of the influence of the mindbody component upon the perception of pain and disability in OA. There are people who become extremely disabled with OA, and others who refuse to let it impede their lives. It is suspected that mindset (including lifestyle changes, which require a positive mindset to make those changes happen) has a lot to do with the different outcomes.

    I know you want black & white answers - everyone here wants that. But as I said before, this is not black & white. Expecting black & white answers, or any kind of certainty, is an exercise in disappointment. Accepting uncertainty, and accepting that you have to find your own path, without being distracted, is the only road to recovery.

    Please notice that every single member who commented on your thread has indicated, from their own unique and different points of view, their beliefs that ALL conditions, whether "real", or measurable, or visible, or whatever, should always be treated by the patient with their own vision of self-healing and recovery, in addition to following medical orders when that is recommended. @michaelg21 mentioned research showing the power of mindbody awareness in recovery from autoimmune conditions, and I also am aware of a growing body of research which shows that people with a constructive and self-motivated desire to enable their own recovery will always recover better and faster from all kinds of illnesses and injuries than individuals who won't visualize success, and who expect medicine and others to do it for them. This fact is becoming well-accepted in the medical world.

    Where are you at in your recovery? What else could you be doing that would accomplish something?
  12. Mala

    Mala Well known member

    Hi @Orzabelle. Thx for replying. I have a huge bunion (hallus valgus) that sometimes gets inflamed & makes its difficult to wear certain shoes but I still go walking, hiking. Podiatrist told me to wear orthotics but I ignore it. I'm somehow not so bothered by that as I am by having arthritis & spondylolisthesis in my lower back.
  13. Mala

    Mala Well known member

    @theacrobat thx for responding. I have over the many years since learning about TMS pretty much gotten rid of many pains & ailments that have cropped up using mind body techniques but with my advancing age, ( I'm 65 in September) arthrosis in lumbar facet joints plus a nasty fall in 2019 which caused Grade 1 spondylolisthesis in my spine I wonder how much is structural & whether the spondylolisthesis has progressed. I dare not go do another Xray in case I find that it has progressed.

    From recent blood tests I know there is not anything systemic.

    Yes I understand that anything can be helped with mind body techniques & I'm a great fan of The Curable app which i use from time to time but just wanted to understand better what is really structural requiring physical intervention vs structural but TMS.

    I have hyperlordosis as well, quite severe for many years but always treated it as TMS despite some drs saying it could be contributing to LBP but now with the arthrosis & spondy, it's getting harder to ignore.Very interesting that yours was 'fixed', in fact amazing. Could you elaborate on that pls?

    Thank you.

  14. theacrobat

    theacrobat Peer Supporter

    @Mala I get where you're coming from, it can be worrying when there are severe structural problems and the more 'physical' it is, the harder it becomes to believe a recovery is possible. Of course with a very severe physical problem like a gunshot wound etc some pain is inevitable (I think this is probably where Dr. Schubiner was coming from), but I have to agree with @JanA that this video-related anxiety sounds like a distraction. The idea that tormented me most with my illness was that my cartilege was being eroded, doing 'permanent damage'. When I found Sarno and finally decided to sh*tcan the idea that what I had was irreversible, I started getting better. The inner psychological factor that generates distractions will tend to leap on any grey areas or things people say might not be TMS as a major source of anxiety; hence so many people on the forum are asking, 'is this TMS?' Whatever else it is, it certainly seems to be a fear-inducing (distracting) line of thought, and I'll bet you're not thinking about repressed emotions while you're worrying?

    Many of Sarno's patients had structural abnormalities and what tended to happen was, the ones who believed his diagnosis wound up pain free or mostly pain free but with some lack of flexibility, as the structural (i.e. bone) problem was not healed, but the neural circuits (the cause of the pain) were switched off or turned down. We're talking multiple slipped discs, osteoarthritis, stenosis, etc, some pretty gnarly spines, and they came out pain free. Perhaps you will find it reassuring that Sarno, Schubiner and others generally write that only rarely do structural issues require physical intervention. You're probably aware of all this but a little repetition can't hurt.

    My spine basically straightened out without me noticing at first as I was doing some very heavy duty journalling about the most deeply repressed emotions, while also taking a very no holds barred approach to ignoring the fear and pain and gradually building up the list of things I could do. It was a side effect of doing the TMS work; there was no separate technique for the lordosis. Here's my success story: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/recovery-from-back-pain-foot-pain-stomach-pain-intolerances-possible-severe-autoimmune-disease.26991/ (Recovery from back pain, foot pain, stomach pain, intolerances, possible severe autoimmune disease). If you're interested in more detail I have a recovery memoir coming out soon, I can message it to you for free.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  15. Mala

    Mala Well known member

    @JanAtheCPA many thx for taking the time to watch the video & for some of your' tough love';).

    To answer your question as to where I am at the moment well I guess I'm in the midst of a flare.

    Being an old timer doesn't make one immune to pain, new afflictions nor does knowing about TMS always completely take away the fear. As Sarno said it's a lifelong thing. Hence the lifelong learning, asking questions & occasional visits to the forum now & again for support. My cup is never too full to add more 'knowledge' & there are many here who are so generous with their time & advice so why would i not want to avail of this support then.

    I have over the many years since learning about TMS pretty much gotten rid of many pains & ailments that have cropped up using mind body techniques but with my advancing age, ( I'm 65 in September) arthrosis in lumbar facet joints plus a nasty fall in 2019 which caused Grade 1 spondylolisthesis in my spine I wonder how much is structural & whether the spondylolisthesis has gotten worse because it can. I dare not go do another X Ray in case I find that it has progressed coz that may then require some sort of physical intervention & spondylolisthesis is a TMS 'grey area'. Even Sarno was not sure about this condition.

    From recent blood tests I know there is not anything systemic but my cholesterol is way thru the roof & doctors are pushing me to use statins which I would rather avoid. The good thing is my calcium test score is zero & I am using that as my leverage.

    Where am I at my recovery?

    I'm in pain but carry on doing everything things including my charity work, travelling when possible, exercising daily.

    I'm addressing 'life' issues that may be causing worry & writing things down. For eg. my mom is 91, still healthy but has signs of early dementia. Between my sister & I & some lovely helpers who give her round the clock care, she is doing v well. There are other things too. I'm also using the Curable App which is extremely helpful.

    I meditate & do yoga to relax.

    I've been asked to lose 10kgs & exercise more in order to try to bring down my LDL & up my HDL since I don't want to take statins. I'm 162 cm & weigh 63 kgs now. I eat very healthily, no sugar, exercise regularly anyway. 10kg goal is impossible for me & I told the dietician this & all she said was that then I'd have to do the statins so I dumped her. It was too stressful.

    As for asking about the severe arthritis thing, I guess I'm in two minds right now about a visit to the doctor to get an Xray knowing how 'knowing' can make things worse hence the questions.

    Thanks Jan

  16. Mala

    Mala Well known member

    @theacrobat thank you again for your very kind response.

    How amazing & wonderful that yr spine straightened out by doing Journal work. The power of the mind is truly amazing!

    Yes you hit the nail on the head. Fixating on the spondylolisthesis is no doubt creating a lot of fear & even more anxiety especially since I read that Sarno is ambivalent about whether its truly TMS or not. Strangely though, contrary to what you may think, despite the flare I am paying a lot of attention to my thoughts & emotions. I think as a TMS old timer I'm almost conditioned if you like to 'do the work'. I 'fear' but still do everything despite the fear.

    Being an old timer however doesn't make one immune to pain, new afflictions nor does knowing about TMS always completely take away the fear. As Sarno said it's a lifelong thing. I feel old age & the prospect of the future that looms as one gets older is very TMS inducing.

    I'm in pain but carry on doing everything things including my charity work, travelling when possible, exercising daily.

    I'm addressing 'life' issues that may be causing worry & writing things down. For eg. my mom is 91, still healthy but has signs of early dementia. Between my sister & I & some lovely helpers who give her round the clock care, she is doing v well. My husband had double hip replacement 2 months ago which caused some worry, but is doing so well & is back to almost normal activity. There are other things too. I'm also using the Curable App which is extremely helpful. And I do David Butler's SIM & DIM work.

    I also meditate & do yoga to relax.

    Your recovery story is simply incredible & so inspiring. Thx for sharing that.

    As for your offer to read yr memoir, that is ever so kind. Of course I would love to read it but I feel that I should buy it instead. Is it available on Kindle?

    Can you message me & we can discuss this further?

    Much appreciated.

    Last edited: Aug 11, 2023

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