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Best Intro to TMS for Someone 100% New to the Concept?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by jt99, May 19, 2020.

  1. jt99

    jt99 New Member

    There's someone in my professional life I think almost certainly has TMS. She is young, with a recent fibromyalgia diagnosis (and previous histories of chronic pain TMS-suspect conditions). Her personality is right on the money with a typical TMS profile (perfectionism, goodist, sensitive, anxious, ambitious, pleaser, hard working, hyper responsible).

    However, as someone who was really frustrated with how her body was betraying her, she is understandably very invested in her new diagnosis. While fibro treatments haven't made any significant difference for her, she feels empowered by the legitimacy it's bringing her.

    To be clear, I don't know if she has TMS. But I highly suspect it, and feel I would be doing her a disservice to not share some resources so she could (choose to) investigate it herself. So that opens up a question: what intro is best? Personally I'm a lot more convinced by more recent learned neural pathway fear-as-pain-perpetuator framings from Schubiner, Gordon et al (rather than, say, Sarno's conception of reduced tissue oxygenation). But much of what's out there is a mix of conceptions/theories/etc.

    So I'm just curious from you all: what's the best TMS intro for someone brand new to the concept?
    plum likes this.
  2. sarah2254

    sarah2254 Peer Supporter

    I'm by no means a TMS expert, but if I were to put myself in her shoes, I would say try to explain it from a scientific perspective without diminishing her physical pain. I was not receptive to anything related to TMS in the beginning, because I had the misconception that people were insinuating my pain was purely psychological. To me, that came across as them implying my pain wasn't real.

    If someone had introduced TMS to me as a psychologically-induced syndrome WITH REAL PHYSICAL PROCESSES, I would have accepted TMS much earlier. Maybe try explaining that the pain she is feeling is very real, but may be due to conditioned/learned neural pathways in her brain rather than a structural abnormality. Or, you could maybe touch on Dr. Sarno's ideas about mild oxygen deprivation.

    As long as she gets the idea that TMS is not just a psychological disorder (i.e., that it's not "just in her head") and that it is reversible, maybe this will give her hope.

    I hope this helps.
    plum likes this.
  3. JohnP79

    JohnP79 New Member

    I recently had a similar situation at work. I gave her a copy of Healing Back Pain and told her it was written in the 90s. I said "take a look at the Amazon reviews...Amazon didn't even exist for 10 years."
    Baseball65 likes this.
  4. Ted the Old

    Ted the Old New Member

    I’ve been telling people with different pain to try it for years. I don’t think anyone has ever listened to me. It sounds too new-agey maybe. More recently I’ve just said “read this book, will take 2 or 3 hours. Changed my life.”

    I think more details of the underlying theories before someone sees it as maybe a real solution is too much. They need to come to it themselves I’m afraid.
  5. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hear, Hear!!!!.... this is STILL my 'go to' text after all of these years. The diagnosis, solution and concept are layed out in beautiful order.
  6. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia back in 1998. I read Sarno years ago - and somehow missed the bit where he says that the discomfort and pain from TMS can be due to mild oxygen deprivation to the tissues (hypoxia) which the brain/mind causes to attract your attention - and so, when I found that I was one of those whose symptoms didn't go away purely after reading 'Healing Back Pain', I, very sadly, gave up on the idea.

    The book that in recent years got me believing that my brain/mind is causing my symptoms was Dr James Alexander's 'The Hidden Psychology of Pain" https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hidden-Psy...ords=dr+james+alexander&qid=1589988130&sr=8-1 which explains in great detail about the hypoxia aspect - that mild hypoxia affecting the muscles and other tissues can cause a seemingly disproportionate amount of debilitating pain.

    From my own experience as a diagnosed 'fibromyalgic' - and knowing many others with the same diagnosis - it is extremely difficult for us to believe that our mind is causing the pain. Our prejudice regarding this is usually as a result of not being taken seriously by the medical profession when seeking a diagnosis and a diagnosis can take many years. So often our pain - the intensity of it and the disability it causes - is disbelieved - with some of us even being sent to a psychiatrist. I therefore understand why your colleague is very invested in her new diagnosis. I hope though that she will read Dr Alexander's book if you tell her about it. I have spent decades looking for a successful treatment for my so called 'fibromyalgia' - wasting my money and wasting so much of what should have been the best years of my life.
    miffybunny and plum like this.
  7. had

    had Peer Supporter

    Overall, and even more so if they are more science and medically minded, Dr. Schubiner's "Unlearn Your Pain" is in my opinion the best book. It describes anatomy and physiology and is more than just generalized concepts. It also has a step by step workbook to follow. As much as I respect Sarno..his work is not detailed in it's explanations, more anecdotes, and there is not a structured program to follow to do anything about what you have learned. Not saying don't read the classics...but they will leave you wanting and Schubiner wrote the book that helped me the most personally.
    TG957, plum and sarah2254 like this.
  8. sarah2254

    sarah2254 Peer Supporter

    Thanks for sharing your story. What recovery tips did you find most useful from Dr. James Alexander's book?
    BloodMoon likes this.
  9. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    First, I should say that I am not pain free, but I am better than I have been for many years. The most important thing about reading Dr Alexander's book for me was that it made me believe that my problem was TMS caused by the brain/mind creating hypoxia/ischemia.

    In his book Dr Alexander recommends EMDR; here's a description on wikipedia in case you've not heard of it before https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_movement_desensitization_and_reprocessing (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing - Wikipedia). I would have liked to have tried EMDR, but I have an eye disease (definitely structural and not TMS) which ruled EMDR out for me.

    Also, in the past I had tried CBT and it didn't help me and what Dr Alexander says about CBT in his book explained to me why. He also recommends meditation. So, I've experimented to find what method of meditation might work best for me and found yoga nidra really helpful.

    What I found inspirational in Dr Alexander's book is his recovery story; he suffered with chronic pain for 18 years. Other than these things there are no specific suggestions in his book that I would class as 'tips' that I found useful to pass on to you - in my opinion the book in its entirety is greater than the sum of its parts. You can see inside more of the book on google books than you can on amazon. (I've given a link to it on google books further on in this reply.) I had a quick look at some of your postings - just to give me an idea of what symptoms are troubling you and gather that you have RSI-like discomfort/pain etc. Dr Alexander writes a bit about RSI and this link takes you to the appropriate section (on google books) - click on page 55 https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=tLbM7wfV6p4C&printsec=copyright&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=RSI&f=false (The Hidden Psychology of Pain).

    Someone called Alix did a review of the book on TMS Help Forum, which might interest you; it can be found here http://www.tmshelp.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=8138 (TMSHelp Forum - Review of Dr.James Alexander's book).

    I downloaded Dr Alexander's 'Guided Imagery for Chronic Pain' from his website and find it very helpful; here's a link to it with a description of the guided imagery https://www.drjamesalexander-psychologist.com/apps/webstore/products/show/3402664 (Dr James Alexander).

    Hope some of this might be of some help. Best wishes.
    Last edited: May 21, 2020
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  10. sarah2254

    sarah2254 Peer Supporter

    thanks so much for your response! This is super helpful. Best of luck :)
    BloodMoon likes this.
  11. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is quite a good book imo! It doesn't get a lot of attention I noticed but I have it and it's quite thorough! I even recommended it in my success story! Glad to see it mentioned...
    BloodMoon likes this.
  12. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    There is a book on Fibromyalgia specifically, by Nancy Selfridge. I believe she was a Sarno patient. It is written from a very TMS prospective and is pretty good, with the exception of one caveat to it that was very disappointing to me: she put a 5-week timeline on recovery, which defeats the very purpose of the idea of outcome independence. Fibromyalgia is not an easy condition to heal from, and those who can't make it in 5 weeks may conclude that TMS method is not effective or, even worse, a complete fraud. For me personally, if I did not receive a repeated encouragement from the veterans of the forum (and Dr. Sarno!) to not worry about timeline, I would have given up after the first few months. I stuck it through for almost 2 years and got to the full recovery.

    So, if that is taken into consideration, I would recommend it.

    miffybunny likes this.

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