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Big improvements in Ankylosing Spondylitis Pain

Discussion in 'Success Stories Subforum' started by Danle, Feb 7, 2017.

  1. Danle

    Danle New Member

    I have used this forum on and off in the past as I have worked on recovering from my hip, sacrum, leg, and back pain but I have never written a success story. The help that Dr. Sarno has given me (and my husband who has cured his upper back pain) has been immeasurable. I was very active as a child and teenager - competing in track and field, swim team, and on my university rowing team. However, I always processed my emotions in a very physical manner - with headaches as a young child and stomach aches from anxiety and then with neck pain as a teen. A series of big changes (positive changes for the most part) in my life led to a great deal of lasting hip, sacrum, leg and back pain. In a 6 month period I moved from Japan back to my home in the US and then immigrated to Canada a country I had never lived in, I got engaged and quickly married, and I was jobless and unsure what the future held. Then followed two years of fighting the pain unsuccessfully - physio, chiropractic three times a week for nearly a year, acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, sports doctors, changing to a paleo diet, and conventional doctors for bone scans and X-rays. Nothing seemed to help and I struggled mightily with my mobility, sleep, and general happiness. Everything seemed to hurt - walking, sleeping, sitting, bending down, even swimming. Eventually I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis primarily affecting my SI joint. I started on anti-inflamatories and had about a year of much better health. However, once I become pregnant with my daughter I had to go off of the medication and the pain was back with a vengeance. Giving birth and going back on the medication did not give me the same relief and I again started my search for alternative help. I stumbled on a one-liner on a forum for Ankylosing Spondylitis saying how Dr. Sarno had helped this woman kick her pain. I bought the book and put it aside. However, my husband read it and got immediate help with his nearly 7 years of severe back pain. He insisted I read it too. The book was in-line with my own beliefs and it was easy to see myself on the pages. However, it was a long process for me to kick the pain to any lasting effect. I had been struggling with the pain for seven years by the time I read the book and I have been working through the pain with the TMS process for three years now. The first six months I experienced a huge amount of anxiety and panic attacks as I worked through my emotions. I bought Hope and Help for Your Nerves by Claire Weekes which helped me to overcome these huge anxieties which were unearthed in this process. I had used journalling and meditation since my young childhood so that came naturally to me. I used the Structured Educational Program on the TMS wiki along with a variety of other resources in my process (the Presence Process was a big help as well). Initially I had to focus very hard on reprogramming my mind around the activities that had given me pain for so long - consciously walking and telling myself over and over again "you are okay, you are healthy and whole". It took months of this - when something would cause pain to twinge down my leg I would tell myself that the pain wasn't going to win and I would force myself to do the same action again at varying speeds focussing on my wholeness. I also got rid of my prescription anti-inflamatories within a month of reading the book and have been off them for three years now. I started an exercise program (P90X which I have been doing for about 2.5 years and love) and even when I am having a flair up I try to force myself to even do a bit of yoga....just being very conscious about focussing on any emotions that I am having while working out. Exercising and taking the focus to the emotional letting the pain know that it won't influence my actions or decision often helps to stop my flair ups. I tell myself that the pain will just be there with me for a time but not forever. Weeks of pain free existence stretched into about a month at a time with flair ups brought on by obvious emotional stressors (in-law visits, driving in snow, international moves, oddly enough my period). And finally two years into the recovery process I realized I was going a couple of months at a time without flair ups. It appears to be a life long process for me. But considering that I was told I would never get off medication and would simply need stronger and stronger types of medication I am quite happy with the freedom Sarno has given me.

    Things that I have found with my struggle to help are that I usually won't get over a flair up without a good cry. I also find that flair ups often last three days for me but if I stick with it and continue to journal, use positive self talk, exercise, and go on with my life they do pass. I also have found that through this process my self talk has become so much more loving. What a blessing that is. I am not happy for the pain but I can see that it is bringing an awareness to my life and my thoughts that I would have otherwise happily avoided. Good luck to any others on the start of their journey. It is hard and for me it has been long but boy has it been worth it. There were many times when I thought I would rather die than have such pain (starting in my mid twenties and I was told lasting until I die) so I truly feel I have been given the gift of a new life worth living.
    Aziz, Ellen, npoise and 7 others like this.
  2. hoolie

    hoolie Peer Supporter

    This is awesome! An international move was a big contributing factor for me too. I also find crying to be so therapeutic. I used to try to analyze the tears-- trying to figure out the root emotion behind them. I don't do that anymore- I just take it as a sign that I'm at my limit and I need to let it out. I spent a lot of time trying NOT to cry through so many changes, so crying when I need to is a lot more honest and allowing.
  3. resilient

    resilient New Member

    You have an amazing story and it gives me lots of hope! I have foot pain and vibrating sensation as well as a long history of sacroilitis as well as some other back problems. I just had a hysterectomy and pain and paresthesias increased significantly. I am working with TMS counselor and using this website. I am walking up to 5 miles per day and doing some light exercises but standing and sitting are still the hardest things to do.
  4. Calum

    Calum Peer Supporter

    Hi Danle, thanks for sharing your success story. I am going skiing today with ankle pain that I know is tms induced. Your story and how you coped with your flare ups has really helped me to remember the positive talk I need to give to myself I need to get through this. Thank you.
  5. sofiah

    sofiah New Member

    Man your story is super similar to mine. The very first hip pain I got was a month after I left my home country to come to Canada to study. It was such a hard leave because I was only 19 and left my family behind I felt like I abandoned everyone and it was so hard to be away form my family. It started then, and after graduation I also was jobless and just worried and anxious about the unknown and where I'm heading in life. I couldn't think of a day when I didn't have pain. I got all sorts of diagnoses from piriformis syndrome and disc herniation to ankylosing spondylitis (couple months ago)..I had to say that after I found out about Sarno's books I abandoned his therapy after I was diagnosed with AS because I thought ooh this makes more sense I have an autoimmune disease and the pain makes more sense..but after doing everything under the sun to address the inflammation this past week I lost my job and I got one of the worst flareups in the history of flareups. It was very different in that it's not just inflammation in the SI joint but the piriformis muscles were both spasming which made me think back of Dr Sarno and watched his youtube videos again. I have tried every treatment under the sun and I'm still seeing a chiropractor and doing athletic therapy and acupuncture but I only improve for few weeks to go back 20 steps backwards which makes me feel like I'm throwing money down the drain.

    I am going to start the structured educational program (along with Dr Schubiner book which I already started this week). I notice that meditaiton and journaling kinda maks my symtoms worse. At this point I can barely move much. Walking is very painful and I can't even dream of going to the gym because my hip hurts a lot I lose my strength to control it sometimes.

    I have been trying to find psychotherapist with who specializes in the mind and body because I can't find any TMS practitioners in my city.

    Thank you for your story about AS
    Aziz likes this.
  6. Aziz

    Aziz Peer Supporter

    Danle thank you for sharing! This is very inspiring for me.

    I came across Dr. Sarno's work 4 years ago in 2013 and used it to heal SO many things - plantar fasciitis, chronic neck and upper back pain, ankle pain, RSI in my wrist, TMJ in my jaw, and so much more. My symptom imperative is strong : )

    BUT, the very first pain I had started when I was 15 years old (I'm 34 now), and it was in my buttock, sometimes down my leg, and in my low back. I went to different doctors and through many different treatments for 4 years, with no benefit at all...

    And then at 19 I was given the diagnosis: Ankylosing Spondylitis. The rheumatologist seemed SO sure. And he gave me a medication - Enbrel - which worked! It removed pain... or so I thought. Because then my symptoms when to all those other places I mentioned earlier (ankle, wrist, neck, etc.).

    So, after healing all of those, I've begun working in my low back/buttock pain. Here, my biggest challenge is repudiating the structural diagnosis... So much authority vested in the man in the white lab coat telling me I have this impressive sounding condition.

    And so, I notice my biggest battle is with my own fear and doubt with these symptoms. Your story helps me see through the old diagnosis, and realize I am a TMS-prone guy, and so this, like everything else is TMS.

    Thank you.
    npoise likes this.
  7. Aziz

    Aziz Peer Supporter

    Sofiah - I was diagnosed with Piriformis syndrome as well. Also, tons of other explanations (including "one hip is higher than the other" - all very scientific, eh : )

    I too believed in the "Ahh, I am an autoimmune disease. It's DIFFERENT than all this TMS stuff. It truly is biological you see..."

    But I am in a process of deeply questioning/challenging that now, and guess what? Tons of emotions come up. Tons of pain and sadness and anger from my childhood before my symptoms started. I truly believe deep down that it is TMS, just like every other pain condition I've conquered (that all had fancy, official sounding diagnosis like Plantar Fasciitis, Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, etc.)

    The people that diagnosed me with A.S. (and I'm guessing the person that did that for you as well), did not ask ONE question about the emotional environment when symptoms started. Nothing about ANYTHING psychological. It's the invisible elephant in the room.

    Good luck on your journey!

  8. laugiss

    laugiss New Member

    [QUOTE = "resilient, post: 79809, member: 5480"] ¡Tienes una historia increíble y me da mucha esperanza! Tengo dolor en el pie y sensación de vibración, así como una larga historia de sacroilitis, así como algunos otros problemas de espalda. Acabo de tener una histerectomía y el dolor y las parestesias aumentaron significativamente. Estoy trabajando con el consejero de TMS y utilizando este sitio web. Estoy caminando hasta 5 millas por día y haciendo algunos ejercicios ligeros, pero pararme y sentarme son las cosas más difíciles de hacer. [/ QUOTE]
    Tu historia se parece a la mía. Solo que el dolor es tan intenso q ya poco puedo caminar. Mis pasos son cortos el dolor lumbar. Es incapacitante duele vivir así.

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