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Bilateral wrist pain that I suspect is due to TMS, but that I cannot cure.

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by JohnSnow, May 24, 2022.

  1. JohnSnow

    JohnSnow Newcomer

    Hi everyone,

    I am a new poster on the forum, but have been an avid follower for quite some time.

    [TLDR] I suffer from bilateral wrist pain, which I believe is caused by TMS, but have been unable to cure the pain using Dr. Sarno's approach and am now looking for further advice (or other things to try and cure my TMS pain). In the rest of this blog post, I will describe the pain in my wrists, my long and unsuccessful journey with traditional medicine, and the steps I have taken to cure my TMS wrist pain.

    1) History and description of my bilateral wrist pain:
    The pain started in January 2020, when I was preparing for a conference (I am a professor, but was a postdoctoral researcher at the time). I was running behind on my work and was overly stressed out about this conference, I actually experienced my first minor panic attack while preparing for this talk. And it is during that very same day that I started feeling pain in my right wrist. It felt like a minor sprain (which I have often had in the past), but rapidly evolved into a more severe pain by the next morning. If I were to put it on a scale from 1 to 10 I would say it was a 7. Given that I still needed to prepare for the conference, I decided to use my computer mouse with my left hand instead of my right hand to avoid experiencing pain in my wrist. Low and behold, by the end of that second day I now had pain in my left wrist as well. The pain in my left wrist was slightly different and felt less like a sprain and more like pins and needles or a numbness inside my wrist. Once again, were I to put it on a scale from 1 to 10 I would say it was a 4. By the end of the second day I now had pain in both my wrists and was feeling quite distraught as I could no longer use my computer without experiencing pain. The pain in my wrist was not present all the time, and would usually only flare up when I was typing on a computer. Over time, I also discovered that I could make it flare up (to a lower extent) when using a screwdriver (darn Ikea furniture!), when reading, or when driving long distances. It is at this point that I started seeking medical advice.

    2) My long and unsuccessful journey with traditional medicine:
    After a few days of rest, I realized that the pain in my wrist was still not going away and decided to seek medical help. All in all, I saw a total of 4 physiotherapists, 2 massage therapists, a chiropractor, and a wrist specialist, which each diagnosed me with a different ailment (i.e. Carpal tunnel, tendonitis, a small wrist fracture, etc.) and gave me a varying regiment of exercises to follow. They also had me undergo a series of medical tests including x-rays, ultrasounds, a nerve conduction test, and an MRI, all of which came back negative, meaning that there was nothing physically/structurally wrong with my wrists. The wrist specialist also had me take an alarming amount of Ibuprofen for a month to see whether this would reduce inflammation (which it didn't), but luckily steered me away from the cortisone injection saying that it would likely have no effect. The wrist specialist also opted not to operate on my wrist as they would be going in blind, given that all the tests had been negative. At this point, it is also worth mentioning that I live in Canada so much of these costs were covered by our generous health care system, otherwise there is no way I could have afforded all these tests/specialists. Feeling helpless, I put my heart and soul behind each of these different exercise regiments and really gave them a chance. I also wore wrist braces while sleeping and while on a computer. But ultimately, nothing seemed to work. The only thing that helped was purchasing a dictation software (Dragon by Nuance) as it reduced my typing load. After about a year of trying every form of traditional medicine under the sun to no avail, I started exploring other venues and it is at that point that I came across the TMS Wiki forum.

    3) Why I think I have TMS:
    Upon reading some of the inspiring stories on this website, I increasingly became convinced that the pain in my wrist was due to TMS. For one thing, the pain in my wrist had developed quite suddenly (It started in my right wrist on Jan 8th, and started in my left wrist the very next day), which seemed quite rapid for an RSI injury to develop. The injuries had also appeared following a stressful event (remember, I had suffered from a minor panic attack that very same day). Moreover, the year prior (and months since) the injury had also been quite stressful; during that time, I got married, was on the job market, quit my job and got a new job, moved to a new apartment, and my wife gave birth to our first child. Another reason I believe the pain in my wrist is due to TMS is that all other medical test (i.e. X-rays, ultrasounds, nerve conduction test, and MRI) came back negative, meaning that there was nothing structurally wrong with my wrist. I also fit Dr. Sarno's pain-prone personality types. I am a people-pleaser and a perfectionist and have the unfortunate tendency to bottle up and repress my emotions, especially stress and guilt.

    4) Steps I have Taken to cure my TMS injury:
    Once convinced I had TMS, I began reading everything I could on the topic. This includes Dr. Sarno's mindbody prescription, Dr Scott Brady's pain-free for life, and Dr. Howard Schubiner's Unlearn Your Pain, among others. I also began seeing a psychologist to unpack some of my deep-rooted emotional baggage (and have been doing so once a week for over three months now). I also started following the steps prescribed by Dr. Sarno, which include emotional journaling (30mins per day) and meditating + pain talk (30 mins per day) and have been doing these steps on a consistent daily basis for 3 months now. Unfortunately, the pain in my wrists has not diminished thus far. When I feel pain, I am still not able to persuade my subconscious mind to stop sending pain signals and continue to suffer.

    At this point, I am writing this post to see if others believe my pain (and story) is likely a TMS injury. And to see if there are others here who are convinced they have TMS but have not (yet) been successful in curing their pain, despite following the steps prescribed by Dr. Sarno. I will of course continue journaling and meditating as this can do no harm, but I welcome any other ideas/advice people may have to help cure the TMS pain in my wrists.

    I thank you for your time and for your advice.
  2. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    I would suggest you try the SEP on this forum. Seeing a psychologist is completely different than being able to feel emotions and see patterns that create tension. This is something only a TMS versed therapist can help guide you through if needed. There’s also a huge personality component to TMS that needs to be realized and explored, and the SEP will guide you through this. It can take place of your journalling (it suggests a lot of journalling.) When folks go into long and precise detailed first posts, i see anxiety and personality as something to look into (personal experience!)
    Your post focuses on the pain, but the pain is just the signal. Remember it’s the distraction of deeper issues. As you slowly begin to accept that your personality and the way you react to stress is the real culprit, and focus more on that than the pain, it should recede. It can take time. A lot of time, so being patient and kind to yourself, not setting healing deadlines, enjoying self discovery.. it will happen. Suffering is the mental anguish we put ourselves through, it’s not the physical sensation of pain. Big lesson for me was no more than 1 hr day of tms work, and that many of the SEP days are really 2-3 days for me - going slow is better than rushing!
    https://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Structured_Educational_Program (Structured Educational Program)
    Good luck!
    JohnSnow and Ellen like this.
  3. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I already knew it was TMS at this point in the post. I have had this exact phenomenon happen in even shorter time periods (for me it was at the base of my thumbs)
    Conditioning. It's hard to admit to our very 'smart' brains, that we who understand the process of conditioning are actually suffering from it, but it is true.
    THAT is at the heart of the matter. Period That combined with your personality. That doesn't mean if you left your wife and child it would go away, but the deep dark fear of not being a good enough father/husband and the anger to the narcissistic self that we have to play that role is at the root of TMS for sooooo many guys. Was for me. My symptoms peaked right after the birth of my second son when I became sole bread winner (20+ years ago)

    .. I would bet my checking account's balance that you have TMS, BUT it does NOT matter what we believe... it matters what YOU believe!

    The rage that causes TMS is always the Taboo thing.. it's not that I haven't achieved my goals, that I got cut off in traffic, that the political party I prefer got flanked.... those are all seasoning on the top and might exacerbate it, BUT the anger, rage and shame that causes TMS is the stuff that's hidden in plain sight. I have worked with so many guys and, not to hurt your feelings; your story is completely stock. That is actually the good news. That means you will be able to recover

    I myself have always thought that "Healing Back Pain" was the best organized of the books...diagnosis, indications, plan of recovery. I just had a relapse of face pain, got out my 1990's dog eared copy of "Healing Back Pain" and just switched "Face and Teeth" for every time he said "Back and legs". I always sit with a blank notebook and any time I have a mini "aha!" of identification with the text, I scribble it down...sometimes it's a sentence, sometimes I write four pages. The most important part is the motion towards understanding, refuting the exterior physical diagnosis and then realizing how very angry I SHOULD have been but was not.

    You might also notice that a majority of the male patients Sarno speaks of all just had changes in their domestic life.... marriage, children and career. You my friend have hit the TMS trifecta! As soon as you can get that down into yourself, the symptoms will stop . period.

    JohnSnow, backhand and Ellen like this.
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    @Baseball65 hitting this one out of the park. Great post and advice.
    JohnSnow likes this.

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