1. Our TMS drop-in chat is today (Saturday) from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern U.S.(New York) Daylight Time. It's a great way to get quick and interactive peer support. Celayne is today's host. Click here for more info or just look for the red flag on the menu bar at 3pm Eastern (now US Daylight Time).
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
    Dismiss Notice

Can tension/ Spasms be part of TMS?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Rjrain, Feb 23, 2023.

  1. Rjrain

    Rjrain New Member


    Hope you're well! I'm M 23 years old and just writing to ask some questions regarding TMS as I've only just discovered this and it aligns with me completely. For 5 years I had deep pelvic floor tension and symptoms of CPPS. Urologists, specialists and doctors alike could find nothing wrong. The only specialists to find 'structural' problems were PT's and this was tightness in the pelvis. Nowadays after a long and painful journey, most of my symptoms are clear but sometimes when I'm stressed or stationary (in bed, at around the same times every night) I feel spasms and tension around the pelvis area. Although its not pain, could TMS still cause tensions and be 'piggybacking' on my past traumas of this issue? Obviously this happened from being very young and around a private area it reinforces deeper worries and traumas.

    Any information is appreciated as I truly believe this is the final step!
  2. michaelg21

    michaelg21 Peer Supporter

    All I can tell you is that whenever I have been going through a pain episode, I feel spasms and tension in those areas also. When I had pain in my hands, I sometimes felt spasms in my forearms and thenar. When I had back pain I noticed spasms in my back and sides. When I had pelvic pain I felt spasms around my pelvis. Happens every time.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm almost 72 and I've had such symptoms off and on all my life. When I first started this work in 2011 I also realized that I'd had many other TMS symptoms off and on all my life.

    So this is VERY common. Probably very human, in fact. Our brains are in charge of all physical processes and sensations, after all. Remember that Dr. Sarno's very first example of the TMS mechanism is blushing - a universal symptom that everyone experiences. So we all have the TMS mechanism in our brains. The issue is to not let it get out of control, which is not easy in today's world, and I think it's particularly difficult for young people.

    Don't discount world affairs - I just wrote about that here, and I also just discussed it with my therapist earlier today. She said it's definitely a factor in the continued increase in mental health issues, seen by her and her colleagues.
  4. Rjrain

    Rjrain New Member


    Thank you both for the reply. Michael it seems you’ve grasped the steering wheel of your recovery, especially if the pain is moving around and I hope it continues that way. Right now I’m just grappling with the acceptance of it being TMS and understanding my symptoms more instead of demonising them. It’s hard as it began through my younger years and now my brains conditioned round them! That being said, I’ve always kinda knew it was TMS as my mental health hasn’t been the best either.
  5. Rjrain

    Rjrain New Member

    Hi Jan,

    Thats very true. I think I didn’t link tensions/ spasms too it as Dr Sarno only really mentioned chronic pain. I guess ‘pain’ is subjective and doesn’t necessarily have to be agonising but can define unpleasant sensations in general.

    You’re definitely right about letting it get out of control. I only discovered this term a week ago and my symptoms have already lessened so I believe soon they will fade into nothing. Whenever it happens, I don’t care :).

    I hope you’re recovering well and thanks for the great advice
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    It sounds like you're on the right track @Rjrain. Here's some additional (unsolicited) information that might be useful in your early days!

    Healing Back Pain (1991) is outdated in a number of ways, starting with the fact that Dr. Sarno had not yet incorporated his later belief that TMS could include symptoms other than pain.
    In The MindBody Prescription (1999) Dr. Sarno adds many other symptoms to the list of probably TMS conditions. I've heard that at around the time of his retirement he apparently said that "TMS" should refer to The Mindbody Syndrome" rather than Tension Myositis Syndrome (since Myositis only refers to muscle tissue).
    I always recommend Dr. Sarno's last book, The Divided Mind (2007) as the first book for TMS beginners - which was published 16 years ago, before a lot of new advances in the last decade. I'm also biased about this since it was "my" Dr. Sarno book :D.

    I still believe that Dr. Sarno's basic theory of emotional repression is brilliant, and the best place to get started. The oxygen deprivation theory, for example, even though it's obsolete, is an easy way for new people to visualize tension affecting their physical well-being - and it's also a fact that therapeutic breathing is enormously beneficial for those of us with anxiety.

    Dr. Sarno of course knew all about the neuroscience of pain, which is that physical symptoms are not created at the site of the symptom. For example, in the case of an injury, the nerves at the site of the injury send a danger signal to the brain, which creates the pain message, sending that back to the site of the injury, thus alerting us to take care of the injury. This is a neuroscientific FACT, and in fact every single physical process and sensation in our bodies is created in our brains. This means that pain can be created without a physical cause - and the existence of phantom limb pain has proved this to be true. When physical sensations exist without a physiological reason, it can be due to memorized traumatic pain (phantom limb pain) or it can be purely for distraction and emotional repression (TMS). In our experience here, emotional repression is still the primary reason for what we still call TMS in honor of Dr. Sarno.

    Keep us posted!
    Ellen and Sita like this.
  7. Rjrain

    Rjrain New Member

    Hi Jan,

    Thanks so much for expanding upon this. Your advice has been invaluable. I understand you have your own path to follow so I won’t bombard you with too many questions but as you seem to know your stuff I’ll ask you one more thing; can TMS cause typical symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction? Like can it mirror the symptoms of chronic pelvic pain disorder and their common follow up issues?

    I do believe it is TMS but, seemingly, I need deeper assurance as my mind keeps going back to it being solely pelvic pain and nothing more. This is hard for me to believe as I’m young, healthy and can squat my body weight with no pain but sitting down at bed time on my phone/ reading or when I’m anxious causes me pain.

    thank you
  8. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Different kinds of pain in the pelvic area is really common in the world of TMS, and many people have recovered from it. We have a keyword search function where you can look that up and just read results that are in the Success Stories subforum.

    The very nature of TMS symptoms is that they make no sense. You can literally thank your fearful brain for trying to keep you safe, but that you are actually perfectly safe, and healthy, and these symptoms are completely unnecessary.

    Talking back to my brain has always been one of my most effective techniques in the moment. Long term, we still have to do the work.

Share This Page