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Can a Stiff Upper Back only in the Morning be TMS?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by magicjim, Feb 12, 2023.

  1. magicjim

    magicjim Peer Supporter

    Hi Gang!

    I healed from lower back pain 10+ years ago thanks to Sarno's books after all else failed.

    For the past 6 weeks, I have woken up with a VERY stiff and sore upper back (muscles, not spine). Could this be TMS? I question it because it seems like it wouldn't come on while I am sleeping. It would make more sense to come on while I am awake and possibly stressed. Can the mind specifically make the symptoms come on overnight?

    I'd LOVE to hear from somebody who recovered from this sort of thing.

    Oh - I did buy a new mattress. No help.


  2. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Dear @magicjim
    My suggestion is to return to your tms teachings, your roots, to Sarno. what do you know about tms?
    Have you asked yourself “what am I feeling right now”?
    You bought a new bed, but do you really, truly think it’s the bed (we all need new ones sometime) or is there an underlaying stressor or stress pattern happening that your brain feels you need to avoid?
    Are you engaging in tms personality traits that can drive stressors?
    Have you tried tms techniques again? Journal, re start the SEP?
    Do what you need to do to squelch any doubts, and take care of yourself. It sounds like you could be holding stress in your body. It’s very common to have stressors at night, when your subconscious is taking control and running wild.
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Morning symptoms are actually very indicative of TMS!

    Back "before Sarno" I would get what I referred to as "5-ibuprofen" headaches that took most of a day to deal with. These things almost always occurred on a weekend morning when we didn't have anything planned, and they would come on with a vengeance within a few minutes of waking up, before I got out of bed.

    ANYTHING can be TMS. The more unusual, the better (why would your TMS brain want to give you a symptom that's easy to dismiss because it's exactly like other people's TMS symptoms?:rolleyes:)

    As Cactusflower said, this is a sign to get back to the essential work. I have other symptoms that bother me off and on, and occasionally they are alarming enough that I need to get out the pen and paper, but those particularly specific and debilitating morning headaches never occurred again after I "did the work" back in 2011. Go figure.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2023
  4. magicjim

    magicjim Peer Supporter

    Thank you Cactusflower and JanAtheCPA!

    I am currently listening to the Divided Mind on Audible. I think I will try journaling even though I didn't need to do that last time.

    Jan, you mentioned symptoms coming on within a few minutes of waking up. My back stiffness is actually waking me up. In other words, I go to bed comfortably, and I wake up with an extremely sore, stiff back. It doesn't start after I wake up and think about my day. I wake up with it. Still possibly TMS? Do you know anybody who had this issue and got better?

    Thanks again!
  5. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Bonnard likes this.
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Cactusflower has provided a similar response to mine which I mostly wrote earlier, before becoming distracted by that television event that was on today. So I'll go ahead and post this anyway :cool:

    The point I wanted to make (apparently not successfully :sorry:) is that ANY format in which symptoms appear can be TMS, and that from the point of view of the brain mechanism that decides how to produce TMS symptoms, the less they are comparable to other people's symptoms, the better. This is significant, because it means that asking if we know anybody who had a particular issue and got better is not a good use of your time** It is, in fact, a distraction (aka a repression technique) created by your fearful brain to make you think you are doing something constructive toward your recovery. I'm sorry to tell you this, but you are being fooled by your extremely skilled TMS mechanism (which is no surprise, since this mechanism has had, literally, eons to develop in our brains, probably from before we became sapiens).

    You will do yourself a huge favor if you can give up the effort to analyze your symptom details, and stop your overthinking in its tracks when you see yourself succumbing to it, because TMS makes no sense. The fact that this particular symptom makes no sense is one key indicator that your symptoms are TMS. The fact that it only occurs at a particular time and apparently disappears at some point during the day is a really good indicator that it's TMS. This is all you need to know in order to proceed.

    Rereading TDM will help you remember this, but I have to say that lots of people come back with symptoms years after their "book cure", due to life changes, world changes, and new stressors, some of which trigger different hidden emotions than when they were younger. If you never did the SEP (the Structured Educational Program ) it's probably high time to do so. It's a good guided format, especially to learn about and try different writing exercises.

    All the best!

    **and anyways most of us who hang out here to offer our points of view don't pay attention to symptom details, because they ultimately do not matter. I can definitively say that this forum is full of many different examples of an incredible variety of symptoms from which people have recovered. Too many to count.
    Bonnard likes this.
  7. magicjim

    magicjim Peer Supporter

    Thank you both for another thoughtful reply. I truly appreciate it.

    Cactusflower, I'd like to answer your question directly. The reason I doubt it might be TMS is because it happens only while sleeping. Since my anger and rage can bring on symptoms, I figured that would happen while I am awake. While sleeping, I am not ruminating on things that anger me. I hope that makes sense.

    That being said, you have both given me EXCELLENT responses, and I can't thank you enough. I am going to click on Cactusflower's link now to read a bit more.

    With great appreciation,

  8. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hm. I actually don't think that makes any sense given that TMS is a function of the unconscious brain, and in fact I think neuroscience is discovering that sleep is a great time for the unconscious brain to ruminate. Perhaps your repression is so incredibly resistant that it won't even allow you to work stuff out in your sleep. You really need to do the work!
  9. magicjim

    magicjim Peer Supporter

    EXCELLENT point. Thanks for pointing that out, Jan!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  10. Sharada Devi

    Sharada Devi New Member

    This certainly sounds like a pattern has reemerged. During sleep is actually the perfect time for a brain pain pattern to do its thing, I agree with those who've recommended you return to your TMS roots.
  11. magicjim

    magicjim Peer Supporter

    Thank you, Sharada! I have started to do exactly that!
  12. map76

    map76 Peer Supporter

    I had this type of pain for several months. I would wake up in the wee hours with mid/upper back pain and not be able to get back to sleep. It felt different from my usual TMS symptoms.

    I tried a new mattress and some abdominal strengthening but it didn’t help. Eventually it resolved on its own and hasn’t returned.
  13. magicjim

    magicjim Peer Supporter

    Thanks, map76.

    Even though it felt different from your previous TMS symptoms, did you try treating it like tms? If so, do you think that helped? Based on the previous responses, that is my current plan of attack, but I am curious if it is what you did.

    Thanks again!
  14. map76

    map76 Peer Supporter

    Yes, I accepted it as TMS after I tried the mattress and exercises. I tend to do well at dealing with new symptoms once I recognize them as TMS. I have long term symptoms that are more stubborn, but that back pain from sleeping resolved once I stopped worrying about a physical issue.
  15. magicjim

    magicjim Peer Supporter

    Thanks again. I wish you nothing but success in the long term stubborn issues. I know you will get through it and be pain free. You clearly understand tms.
    map76 likes this.
  16. map76

    map76 Peer Supporter

    Thank you! If you have any advice to share on handling stubborn issues, I’m all ears. I have a few threads I’ve started.
  17. magicjim

    magicjim Peer Supporter

    I was fortunate enough to be one of the book cures after reading sarno's books. It truly was amazing. I assume you have already read those books. If my issues persisted beyond that, my next thought was to do journaling with the help of Nicole Sachs podcasts. I still listen to them even though I never had to do the journaling. I might try it for my current issue.

    Dan buglio has great, brief daily videos on YouTube con his channel called "pain free you."
    map76 likes this.

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