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Can't stop being afraid of my arm pain and whether its structural

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Stormshadow, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. Stormshadow

    Stormshadow Peer Supporter

    I have lots of TMS symptoms which I've posted about, however, the thing that I just can't stop obsessing about is my arms. They got a little better for awhile, but two weeks ago I started using my home laptop quite a bit more and my arms are so sore. After using the laptop last night, my right arm is in burning pain along the radial and ulnar nerve pathways and has numbness. My left arm has numbness as well in the last two fingers affected by the ulnar nereve. My right arm also hurt like anything after journaling with it. So i just keep stumbling with the thought of why would using my laptop and mouse cause the pain to spike if it wasn't a real physical structural issue? I mean i assume these along with my elbow pains (tennis and golf) would be considered RSI's. And I know RSI's and carpal tunnel are supposed to be TMS. Before my pain got really bad I had EMG's done of my arms and there was no nerve compression issues. But I'm almost tempted to have them done again. I just don't know why the pain would skyrocket after doing certain physical things. Even with playing a video game. If I play a game that isn't too intense, it isn't so bad, but when I play a 1st person shooter and have to push in on the thumbsticks then my pain gets real bad. So I don't get it? It makes me doubt the diagnosis but I don't want to. Like I've posted about in the past, my arms are my one most obsessive symptom because I use them for working on a keyboard at work, but also they are used for my favorite hobby which is playing video games.

    I mean some of you have gotten cured with TMS treatment from these types of pains right? Some times I just feel liek I'm losing hope and am going backwards. My TMS psychotherapist is telling me the pain is going to get worse before better because of the issues coming to the surface and learning to trust her unconditionally and my body isn't used to that yet. However, I've been able to exercise at the gym and have limited pain, but the minute I do something with my laptop the pain is bad during and horrible the next day. it makes me wonder if all of my other symptoms, back, neck, jaw, leg, hip and numbness in feet are TMS but my arms are structural. It also makes me wonder if I should back off from trying to play or do stuff, but if this is really TMS, I know that's going against the treatment. I just get scared of making things worse or not being able to play my video games again.
     
    G.R. likes this.
  2. Alex Bloom LCSW

    Alex Bloom LCSW TMS Therapist

    Hi Stormshadow,

    I'm sorry that you're suffering so much! It sounds like this pain in your arms is really getting to you, and I know how that can really be unsettling. But there is good news here and I think it's just a matter of tweaking your perspective a bit and remaining focused on what you know about TMS. The biggest thing that stands out here for me is that this issue is in both of your arms. First of all, the chance of having un-healable structural damage from typing in even one of your arms is very low. As you said yourself, almost every single person complaining of RSIs and CTS is indeed suffering from TMS...but you have it in both of your arms! The odds of having separate, independent issues in multiple locations is astronomically low. This can be one of the strongest pieces of evidence for TMS. Indeed, as you have said yourself, you have had scans done and the doctor has found nothing wrong with your arm! Often the simplest explanation is the good one and in your case, it most definitely seems as though you are going through an uptick of TMS symptoms.

    Of course this makes sense! If you arms are what you feel nervous about and pain there has the greatest capacity to create fear and anxiety there then that is exactly where you will get it. As you said yourself, this is where you are the most vulnerable as pain in your arms affects both your work and your leisure time. The pain's purpose is to create those negative reactions and by buying into the lure of structural thinking you are actually reinforcing the pain. You are helping it to fulfill its purpose: to keep you powerless, afraid and anxious.

    Your mind is so focused on the pain right now, to the point of obsession. My guess is when you start to get these fears, questioning the diagnosis, you begin to constantly monitor the symptoms, what makes it lessen, increase, etc. Again, this obsessive thinking is only serving to reinforce the pain as it is accomplishing its purpose. It is important for you to start trying to focus on the emotions that come up with the pain. Are you attacking yourself? Are you despairing of ever getting better? Trying to stand up to these emotions by reminding yourself of the hard work you are putting in to getting better, of the techniques you are learning and of the good treatment you deserve from yourself is one of the best ways to help yourself overcome these times of doubt.
     
    Msunn, Ellen, Aurora and 1 other person like this.
  3. Aurora

    Aurora Peer Supporter

    Hi Stormshadow,

    I thought you might find the following helpful from the website conquer-rsi.com

    "RSI symptoms are caused by a lack of blood flow to the arms. When you use your hands without supplying them enough blood, toxins build up. Muscles brace. Tendons inflame. You hurt. Using your arms becomes harder and harder. Even after you stop using your arms, the pain continues, because your arms don’t get the blood they need to heal.
    Blood flow is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. In RSI, you have learned to cut off the blood to your arms in response to certain activities. Like an allergy, otherwise benign stimuli have become a trigger for a powerful, unpleasant reaction.
    Your conscious fear of RSI reinforces your mind-body response, and your condition worsens as the constriction of your blood vessels increases over time. "

    In regards to having more pain with 1st person shooter games do you think it might have more to do with you tensing up while you play them? Since you expect the pain with these games then you experience the pain.
     
    Msunn and Ellen like this.
  4. Stormshadow

    Stormshadow Peer Supporter

    Thanks Aurora. All of that definitely supports the whole TMS diagnosis. I'm actually trying to do a better job of just pushing myself through the pain. I've also been trying to think logically about some things to confirm the TMS diagnosis in my mind. For example, the pain shifting its intensity from different parts of my body. My neck is particularly bad this week and my jaw. While last week might have been my elbows. I also noticed that when I got really emotional and stressed my back tightened up and my arms flared up even more. And lastly, the fact that the structural diagnosis for my arms would be RSI. However, when my arms started hurting it was pretty much both of them at the same time. How could they both suffer to the degree of creating pain at the exact same time. If it was RSI, wouldn't one become more of an issue than the other? Even if I'm using both for typing or playing or whatever, its hard to believe one wouldn't suffer first. I hope you are doing better!
     
  5. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Alex and Aurora give excellent TMS advice!

    Dr. Sarno mentions regarding keyboarding that at the turn of the century (20th), there were typing pools of secretaries banging away on MANUAL typewriters for long days and RSI was unheard of.

    My GF had tennis elbow for several months, she's a hairstylist, we had a "discussion" a night ago and it went away the next morning.

    Check the Rahe-Holmes list for emotionally charged situations that you've been through in the last year(s) for possible sources of TMS.
     

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