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Carpal Tunnel and Cubital Tunnel diagnosis - breakdancing and weightlifting

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by tmsbboy, Oct 21, 2017.

  1. tmsbboy

    tmsbboy New Member

    Hi everyone!

    I just stumbled on this forum and have been reading a lot of the posts and getting a good amount of inspiration. Thank you all so much for sharing your journeys and results.

    I've been dealing with the symptoms of carpal tunnel for a year and cubital tunnel for about half a year. I've made many doctor visits where I've been told repeatedly that testing has showed no structural issues or nerve damage. Their only advice is to reduce activity which is what I have been doing to no avail.

    However, upon reading Dr. Sarno's book on TMS, I found that a lot of the characteristics apply to me. What's more, within a few days I found that I was paying less attention to my symptoms and having great improvements.

    My next hurdle to jump is getting a good night sleep as even though my daytime symptoms are improving. I am still struggling through the night.

    My main question is about physical activity. I really miss weightlifting and was wondering how I could ease back into it. Dr. Sarno says that these physical symptoms stem from the brain, so if I started weightlifting again. It shouldn't affect the severity of the symptoms right? I would love for some insight on how I should ease back into physical activity, specifically something as strenuous as weightlifting.

    Thank you for your time!
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi tmsboy, and welcome!

    This is a great question, and I hope some others will jump in here, because I have a feeling that my experiences at age 60 (in 2011 when I discovered Dr. Sarno) are not particularly relevant to someone who is probably several decades younger ;)

    That being said, I started pushing myself shortly after I self-diagnosed, but I did so with the help of a personal trainer. Also, whenever I experience what I always believe is TMS pain (these days it's my shoulder that gives me issues on and off) I know that I didn't do anything to cause it, and I also know that my shoulders are strong (thanks to my trainer) so I convince myself at the gym that it's perfectly safe to push through it - and I've never regretted doing so.

    In the meantime, check out this thread, which you can bump by responding or asking a question:
    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/your-workouts-could-be-slowing-recovery.16820/#post-88646 (Your workouts could be slowing recovery)
  3. tmsbboy

    tmsbboy New Member

    Hi JanAtheCPA

    Thank you so much for addressing my question! Quite the contrary, your age and experience makes me feel that your response is all the more relevant to my situation. Especially since you have been doing physical training for much longer than I have.

    Just as a follow-up, if you don't mind, do you ignore the physical advice that a medical prescription would prescribe? For example, a medical prescription would advise that I don't do pull-ups as they would cause further compression on my elbow nerves. However, since my nerve compression is a result of TMS, can I just work through it and realize that the pain is only affecting the symptoms and not the cause? I ask this to clarify if your shoulder example is something similar to this?

    Also, I am reading that forum right now so thank you for that as well!
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I have never had an MRI, even though I've had lower back pain, arm pain, shoulder pain, and neck pain at various times. I had a checkup the other day (to discuss my recent bone density scan, which still shows osteoporosis after 7 years - at least it hasn't increased)(and that is definitely an age-related thing esp for women) but I didn't bother mentioning recent shoulder pain to my doctor because I just don't feel, in my personal judgement, that it's anything that I need to worry about.

    My trainer works a lot on shoulder and upper back strength with all of her older clients (older clients are kind of her specialty and she sees a lot of upper-back weakness in us). If she has me do something that hurts, I assess the pain using my own judgement, and determine in that moment if I should continue with that exercise, ask her to modify it, or abandon it. I've done all three at various times, but I always know that I'm doing something that is safe, because I'm being supervised by an expert.

    If I decide to push on through, I engage my conscious brain, banish any negative thoughts, and visualize my muscles getting stronger rather than being injured. Your fearful primitive brain will always try to distract you with visions of hurting yourself. That's the negative inner conversation you have to stop, and replace with a positive and constructive one.

    Naturally, I can't comment on specifics, but if you're concerned about over-doing things or doing something that could be damaging after so much time taking it easy, and since you've been checked out by a medical professional who has found nothing wrong, then I would recommend engaging a trainer to get you back in shape using the right techniques in a reasonable time frame. This will go a long way towards boosting your positive vision!
    Lizzy likes this.
  5. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Well, as someone who lifts weights and suffers from TMS I thought I could say something. As soon as I discovered I had TMS (rather than the multi-diagnoses I had received) I went back to weightlifting ignoring EVERY thing I had learned in PT. In fact, I only avoided the exercises that I associated with PT, such as 'strengthening the core' and other mythologies. I have always stuck to the simple approach of Healing Back Pain. Sarno said to return to exercise, the more vigorous the better. It repudiates the notion that you are injured.

    I still occasionally have a flare-up. I tend to exercise against the flare-up...so If my shoulder is TMSing, I do pushups, if I am having an arm pain I do reverse curls... IN 20 years I have NEVER injured myself doing this. If my leg cramps, I run. You get the picture? Oftentimes when I sit down to play guitar and I am under a lot of stress, my hand goes numb. I just keep focusing harder on the sheet music or play really difficult scales....same idea.

    I am sure if I had ever gone to an MD about my hand numbness they would give me all sorts of instructions and warnings. Fortunately I already knew it was a TMS conversion symptom.
    bodybuilder123, Lizzy and JanAtheCPA like this.
  6. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    Hi tmsboy,
    I'm here with my two cents worth. As I was reading this thread I thought I would add that as you work out more, you must remind yourself everyone gets sore, but don't let your brain scare you. That now you've really done it, you've hurt yourself. That is a sneaky thing our tms brains do, they try to fool us.

    Then I read Baseball's post and I had to laugh at my sneaky brain, because it did it again! I also will push being active with someplace that I'm hurting. However, I haven't thought about that in awhile. My conscious brain will "forget" what has worked for me in the past. When I read what he said I felt a bit awed by how it has got me again!

    I've known about tms for about 20 years. I first became aware of it with plantar fasciitis, but over all those years my wrists have never hurt for more than a few minutes. One or both will get limp, weak and hurt every so often when I am driving, but I have always been able to talk my brain out of it quickly. Not so other areas of pain, such as back, shoulder, knee, and hip.

    Anyway, all that to let you know, your unconscious mind will have another thing to say about why you can't get well, you just be ready with an answer back!
    All the best,
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  7. tmsbboy

    tmsbboy New Member

    Baseball65, Lizzy, and Jan. Thanks so much for all your insights! I'm feeling a lot more confident about moving forward with my injuries. It's extremely annoying how my brain is providing me with all these pain signals in the form of guyons tunnel and cubital tunnel but I am working through it as you have advised and it's been doing wonders for my emotional health as well as physical health.

    I think I need to continue to remind myself that my brain is being petulant with pain paranoia and your stories are affirmations of that. Appreciate the personal anecdotes and looking forward to that full rcovery!
    Lizzy likes this.
  8. stradivarius

    stradivarius Peer Supporter

    tmsbboy, will you let us know how you get on? I am starting to get symptoms of ulnar nerve entrapment in my elbow too, so am very interested. Do you get the numbness and angling at night? Thanks.
  9. Odrog

    Odrog New Member

    I had terrible Carpal Tunnel like pain years ago (TMS), including numbness and tingling that would wake me up in the middle of the night. Typing on a computer was almost unbearable. If you've got TMS, the standard recommendation is to ignore the pain, laugh at it even, and continue to use those parts of your body, heck, maybe even use them more, let your brain know that generating pain in this part of your body is not going to distract you, and that you will deal with your underlying issues in some other way that doesn't involve physical pain. That said, and I hesitate to even mention this, because I think it was a mind trick, but at the time I was dealing with the CTS, I wasn't yet up to speed on TMS, and I found some medical device called a CTrac, which I used, and it very rapidly eliminated all of my hand pain. Clinical study for this device is here. I could not tell you for sure if there is any real value in buying this for TMS, since its your brain generating the pain, but perhaps having confidence in a device that is proven to work, will speed your brain into accepting that generating that pain is worthless, and it will stop. I'd even be willing to mail my device to someone to try out (and pass on to someone else in a continuous share) but I already mailed it to someone and never got it back ;) I work with computers every day, typing for hours, and this pain has not returned even after almost a decade.
  10. tmsbboy

    tmsbboy New Member

    @stradivarius For sure! My cubital tunnel syndrome is definitely not structural as I was able to get it checked up a while back with multiple EMG nerve conduction studies where results showed no signs. The only result I was able to get back was that my nerves were inflamed but that is just a symptom of the TMS. I have done nothing to physically cause TMS such as holding my elbow in flexion for extended periods of time or banging it against hard surfaces, yet the symptoms got worse as I googled more and more results.

    Now that I am back to working out and ignoring the pain, my ulnar nerve compression has all but healed completely. The pain has now moved to my guyon's canal which is located in the wrists where the ulnar nerve travels. Before I couldn't really get any sleep with the cubital tunnel even with braces and now I can sleep very well at night. If you have verified that it is truly TMS then definitely stop doing any of the stretches they advise you to do and allow the pain to subside on its own. Recognize that TMS is causing it and it will go away. The stretches only aggravated the cubital tunnel for me and once I was completely able to accept the psychological nature of my problem was I able to recover.

    @Oldrog I actually bought the device a while back and it didn't really work for me. The device is a little overpriced in my opinion and it mitigates carpal tunnel through a structural approach of traction to open up the carpal tunnel which is what Dr. Sarno advises against. I feel that it does structurally work but there are alternatives that aren't as expensive such as stretching, massage therapy, taping etc. that would not break the bank. Really appreciate you bringing it up though. Also what is a little sketchy is that the Ctrac studies are sponsored by the company itself so there is a bit of conflict of interest there.
  11. Flowers

    Flowers Newcomer

    Hi, I am also a new member here too. I have had chronic pain for awhile now almost 5 yrs. I am doing a chronic pain group session run by a tms therapist. I definitely have tms. But I slammed my funny bone or ulcer nerve very hard on my desk. It numbed my pinky and ring finger for a long time. Usually hitting your funny bone can cause a feeling like that but only for a minute. Not the case with me. I started helping my husband at work 2 days later which I had to use my hands. And a few hours into it my wrist was killing me. I couldn't use my hand. I went to see a hand surgeon about it. after 6 wks my elbow or right where I hit my nerve was painful to rest my elbow on the couch or anywhere. It would go down into my wrist and pinky and ring finger and feel numb. It was pretty painful. I had to keep my arm straight pretty much and not bend it or use it too much, or would start hurting. The Surgeon said to try to not bend it too much just some. Get hand therapy to show me ways to use my hand and elbow and see if that helps.. but unfortunately my insurance wouldn't cover it. I used up physical therapy for the year. But he said it may have been badly contused and to rest it for 7 wks using it gently. But it just isn't going away. Its been 3-4 wks since I saw Dr. My inner side of elbow hurts upon using my arm and hand and it gets painful and goes directly from elbow to outside of wrist to pinky and ring finger where they get nub when using my arm or bending it. The Dr recommended a Nerve conductions study test if it doesn't get better in the 7 wks. All together when I first slammed it it has been 9 wks. I have another 4 wks to go when I see Dr. The Dr said a nerve that have been injured can take a long time to heal. Like weeks or months. And to Make sure its not a compressed nerve. I have seen a tms Dr. he said all injuries heal and so does a nerve. And a compressed or nerve damage dr's throw around words like this that can make you worry, which I am a huge worrier. And he reiterated it would heal and shouldn't take that long. It was told by my tms person too. That it is a 100% TMS and to work on considering that it I may need to consider it that this could be TMS. Believe me I want to. I haven't had a nerve conduction study test yet. It is too early right now to have it done. I keep my arm fairly straight as to not adgitate this ulner nerve. When I sleep I keep it straight and keep nerve off surface. It feels better in the morning. But it starts back up again after using arm or bending it too far then finger goes a little numb and there's pain. I don't want to do this test. But should you do it to rule out possible nerve compression. Tests aren't completely accurate but maybe it is helpful? It feels like this is a structural physical issue going on right now. Or maybe it just needs time to heal or just coming from my brain still causing this pain and numbing? not sure. I saw this forum and wanted to ask If anyone has advice or has dealt with a similar experience your help would be so appreciated. Thank you
  12. tmsbboy

    tmsbboy New Member

    Hi @Flowers, your story really resonates with me and I hope you've been doing well.

    Unless you caused some serious debilitating nerve damage, which doesn't sound to me like you did, our bodies will heal on their own. Us worryers do tend to notice the tiniest pain or feelings but evolutionarily our ancestors have survived so much more and in this day and age we are now focused on back pain and nerve pain from typing too much.

    It really does sound like you are going through what I went through as well and I did all the range of tests from basic to the nerve conduction study. When I was told that they found inflammation it made me believe in structural issues even more. 6 years later here I am, fully recovered, able to breakdance, lift weights, and do all sorts of strenuous activity even though at one point I was waking up in the middle of the night with nerve pain the forearms and elbows from cubital and carpal tunnel. Since then, I've had scares in the rotator cuff, back pain from herniated disc, and right now I am struggling the most with acid reflux. But I have found that it is due to my personality disorder and some of my past childhood trauma that I hone into these symptoms and get caught up in worrying whether or not the pain will come back if I don't keep my arms relaxed enough or if I don't take enough breaks.

    My advice. Continue to read through his material and affirm for yourself that this is not a structural abnormality. I've got Dr. Sarno's material in audiobook format and it took me a while since getting rid of that fear that has been so ingrained in us takes a long time. Especially since you said you've been dealing with this for 5 years. It won't go away in a night but just slowly and assuredly remind yourself that your body is fine. You don't have anything structurally wrong with you. Your brain is just holding onto the pain as it can distract you from your anxiety/worry/other emotional stress you are dealing with. Pain doesn't always indicate there is something structurally wrong. It's just a mechanism your body uses to keep you safe. Think about when you touch a hot stove, the pain is there to let you know that the hot stove is dangerous. There are people that cannot feel pain as their brain does not send them the signal and those people are at risk of exposing themselves to damaging situations without even knowing it. We should be grateful to our brains for being able to use pain as a signal for situations to avoid and recovery. However in rare cases like ours, the brain can use these signal as a way to trick us into avoiding other difficult things like trauma or anxious thoughts. So Flowers, while I am not a doctor, I really do believe that you have not actually caused yourself any serious damage that you cannot recover from. Especially since your TMS doctor said you are fine. Have there been moments where you forgot about your pain or that your pain seemed to disappear while other times it comes in full force? If we broke an arm then that broken joint should always be in pain but with TMS you'll find that this pain can be inconsistent and that it's more of you focusing on when it will hurt or if some sort of activity causes it more pain.

    Best of luck in your healing journey. Feel free to ask me any more questions. The people in this group are so wonderful and their shared experiences have helped me so much. So far I've had cubital tunnel (ulnar nerve pain), carpal tunnel, herniated disc, wrist tendonitis, and acid reflux. The pain will switch when it finds it is not doing enough to distract me.

    I'm back to doing breakdance power moves, hand stand push-ups, bench pressing in the gym, sleeping without wrist braces at night, slouching in front of the computer for long periods of time, keeping my arms bent. I still have fear so the pain is not completely gone but I recognize it is not structural and my mind has a funny habit of trying to keep me safe from painful thoughts and trauma.

    12 reminders:
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  13. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Oh my, @Flowers, you have received such a gift from @tmsbboy! This is an awesome and perfect response - and five years after this thread was active! Please pay serious attention to everything he told you, and appreciate the fact that five years after he attacked his symptoms with TMS knowledge (and in spite of two years of world dysfunction, resulting in a worldwide mental health crisis) he still has his life back. This is powerful work.

    @tmsbboy, what can I say? Awesome post, awesome recovery, and a HUGE Thank You for contributing dancea

  14. tmsbboy

    tmsbboy New Member

    @JanAtheCPA, definitely! I truly appreciate your help and your shared experiences. It feels so empowering to have taken life back in control and it's amazing what you and others in this community do for TMS sufferers. Figured if I provided more details it would motivate others with similar situations to be able to combat and recognize their own TMS.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.

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