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Carpel Tunnel symptoms TMS or from Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by BusyBee, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. BusyBee

    BusyBee New Member

    Hi all,

    This is my first post. I've been lingering and reading for the past week, you all seem to be a supportive and kind group so I feel safe that you'll understand my situation and frustrations.

    Just a brief introduction first. I am 39 yrs old, have had chronic neck and shoulder pain since I was 24 yrs old and numerous other painful conditions in those years. In all this time I never once had a test that came back positive for any disease or structural abnormality. I tried all the treatments known to man kind to stop the pain but not one of them over the years did anything to relieve the pain.
    I haven't worked for over 10 years due to never knowing how I'll feel from one hour to the next, I do have some fairly good days with manageable pain in between the awful ones.

    I only learned about TMS 2 weeks ago and what led me to this, was researching treatment options via Dr Google, my GP has diagnosed me with Carpel Tunnel in both wrists but the left is the worse.

    This pain in the wrist/hand fingers has fast become a nightmare, it is at its worst during the night starting around 2am and waxing and waning until I get out of bed around 7am, from then on it's usually mild to annoying and some days are better than others. This has all developed whilst caring for my Dad that had terminal bowel cancer and taking over the responsibility of care for my mother that has Alzheimer's and trying fertility treatments to get pregnant.!!! Too much stress.lol

    Interestingly when I first learned of TMS and devoured many books on the subject, inc Dr Sarno's and the great pain deception amongst others I convinced myself 100% TMS was my problem and that night I only had a very mild tingling/burning and for the next week I felt fairly much cured of this problem and was even able to do a lot of weeding in the garden, I had no fear. I was about to start working on reducing my neck pain.

    Then something must have shifted in my thoughts, you see I'd also got a blood test result back from the Drs 1 week prior to thinking I had TMS showing that I tested positive for the Rheumatoid Factor (my results weren't off the scales though). I conveniently put it out of my mind because the test results alone aren't definitive of a diagnosis for RA and the treatment options for RA are very hit and miss and it seems hard to get under control so of course my brain would prefer to latch onto a more successful treatment plan and that was TMS also the treatment for RA uses some very strong and nasty drugs which I'm not prepared to take.

    So now my belief in TMS has changed from 100% belief to 60% belief and the carpel tunnel is back with a vengeance despite my best efforts at telling my brain it's not physical it's psychological!

    I don't know what to think I know Dr Sarno says that Rheumatoid arthritis can't be treated with the TMS belief but I'm not convinced one positive test showing I tested for the rheumatoid factor means I have RA, my Dr seems to think there's a possibility I may develop RA in the future but also said RA can be difficult to diagnose as you need to meet a number of criteria and some people can test positive for RA but not have it.
    I just wish I hadn't had the test now as it's given me the doubt that I now have RA and not TMS.

    One question I have is this: is there such a thing as genuine carpel tunnel that can be fixed with surgery or is it mostly from TMS? It's just annoying to me that I'm imagining the carpel tunnel I now have is because I have RA in the wrist/hand even though it's fairly unlikely and from what I've read most carpel tunnel isn't as a direct result of have RA, in fact even those that have RA and also have carpel tunnel don't necessarily get told its because of RA they have carpel tunnel.

    I really don't want to start going on the wild goose chase again with specialists, X-rays,MRIs but there's now this annoying nagging doubt I have RA, I've really latched onto this idea as I think it's preferable to the concept I have TMS that's an emotional problem, the idea I have pain from my emotions is really quite embarrassing to me and I haven't told anyone my latest discovery that I probably have TMS you see I've told numerous specialists over the years the pain is real and not something due to depression or anxiety (which some have hinted at).

    Interestingly since the carpel tunnel has made its appearance the neck pain isn't at its worst, which tends to make me still feel this is really only TMS since you tend to have one problem at a time just like when my IBS is bad then my neck pain takes a back seat.

    I hope I'm making sense, the words seem to be a jumble in my mind and sometimes I find it hard to convey what I really mean, anyway I'm just tying to make sense of my situation and focus on the belief that my health woes are due to TMS nothing else is wrong with me!!!

    I guess I'm just hoping for some reassurance from others I'm one the right path,I definitely fit all the personality traits for TMS I am a very hard task maskers and perfectionist, that's for sure.

    Thanks for reading. Cheers.
    G.R. and Msunn like this.
  2. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Bust Bee)- has all developed whilst caring for my Dad that had terminal bowel cancer and taking over the responsibility of care for my mother that has Alzheimer's and trying fertility treatments to get pregnant.!!! Too much stress

    Eric)- Whether you have RA or CTS its still good to treat it with tms knowledge therapy, you can only get positive benefits. Id say you need to journal and write about the current stressors you have above. To stop fearing the pain and stop focusing on the body. You can really learn how to heal here but not with 60 percent belief. You don't have to disregard what your MD said but you do need to stop all the fear thoughts and having those empty feelings. Look at nature and breath in the fresh air, smile on purpose and become one with life again. Learn to relax more and love yourself more.

    You have put a lot of pressure on yourself in your life, you now have to give yourself a break. Your body is speaking to you, it wants to stop being pressured and also wants more joy in life. These are some tms tools you can learn to achieve here. You don't need go out and hurt yourself trying to work against the pain. You need that self compassion first and we will go from there
    Bless You
    Julie-Ellen and Msunn like this.
  3. BusyBee

    BusyBee New Member

    Thanks for taking the time to respond Eric, I really appreciate your kind words and insight.

    So far I have had three journaling sessions and although it felt good to express and feel my emotions the carpel tunnel seems to be getting worse, also as it's very painful at night I can't seem to relax about it and not stress, it feels like my hand will explode from the pressure and the darkness makes me feel alone and negative, I'm always more positive during the day. If my trigger for the carpel tunnel is now night time of let's say 2 o'clock am how on earth do I stop this trigger. I've tried telling my brain I know what it's doing and I know it's not physical but nothing seems to change?

    Can you get relief from TMS even with constant stressors in your life, for eg things are only going to get more difficult in terms of caring and being responsible for my mum (she has Alzheimer's) now that my dad has passed away.
    Is it a matter of just journaling about this and letting go of anger and bitterness I am holding onto?

    Thanks again for your input.
  4. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    "One question I have is this: is there such a thing as genuine carpel tunnel that can be fixed with surgery or is it mostly from TMS? It's just annoying to me that I'm imagining the carpel tunnel I now have is because I have RA in the wrist/hand even though it's fairly unlikely and from what I've read most carpel tunnel isn't as a direct result of have RA, in fact even those that have RA and also have carpel tunnel don't necessarily get told its because of RA they have carpel tunnel." Busy Bee

    Hi Busy Bee. Thanks for sharing your story. You have a lot on your plate. I hope you can take some time to be kind to yourself.

    I was diagnosed first with cubital tunnel (ulnar nerve) and then mild carpal tunnel in both hands. A friend of mine had surgery for carpal tunnel in both hands and tried to get me to go to the surgeon he used, because he was feeling so much better. The last time I saw him he was complaining of the pain being back!(TMS ??) I think Dr Sarno views Carpal Tunnel as an epidemic created in the computer era and a TMS equivalent.

    I know in my case I've gotten better, by accepting the TMS diagnosis. It's taken me a while to accept it 100%, but at this point I do. I was able to play last night at about 95% ability, (I'm a professional guitarist) which is a great improvement from having to take off work for three months and getting worse with a variety of treatments. I don't know how to factor in the RA in your case and I can see where it would be confusing. The fact that you read TMS books and had a big reduction in pain would be good evidence that a large part of what you have is TMS.

    A big factor for me is trying too hard to solve this-- making that in itself another stress, fueling anxiety, fear, obsessing etc. So calming down, meditating, practicing self compassion for myself are as important as journaling about other stressors, and repressed emotions.

    This is a great place to get support. there are many caring people here who have helped me very much. I hope you'll continue to share your story and progress here.

    All the best
    Ellen and Eric "Herbie" Watson like this.
  5. BusyBee

    BusyBee New Member

    Hi Msunn,

    I greatly appreciate you sharing you personal experiences, it gave me comfort in the knowledge I am not alone.
    That's very interesting that your friend that had the surgery for carpel tunnel had initial relief and now has the pain back again, it certainly suggests TMS. Like you mentioned, it points to some of my pain problems being Tms. I'm going to focus my energies on believing in the Tms diagnosis and putting the RA positive factor test out of my mind after all it may never progress to anything more. Instead I'll try and focus on being a lot nicer to myself and exploring the many hidden fears I have hiding in my closet thru journaling.
    G.R., Msunn and Eric "Herbie" Watson like this.
  6. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Sounds good Busy Bee. If you search the different pages on the site you'll find other RSI success stories. It does really help to see how others have recovered. Take care.
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Busy Bee, yes, lighten up on yourself.
    But do spend some time looking into fears through journaling.
    It will probably show that you've worried about a lot that never happened.
    And we even survive most of what we feared that did happen.

    As FDRoosevelt said at the start of the 1930s Depression,
    "The only thing we need to fear is fear itself."

    He didn't call it "Mindbody," but it was.
    Forest likes this.
  8. BusyBee

    BusyBee New Member

    Hi Walt,

    So true, even when things seemed so bad and yes the worst did happen I managed to survive.
    Losing my dearest fur friend 'Cleo' my boxer dog showed me this, I didn't think I'd survive without her in my life but yes you somehow manage, this has taught me that life will go on and each passing season things get easier, it helped with the recent loss of my beautiful father.
    What I'm having trouble coping with now is my mother, although she is still early stages of Alzheimer's she's not the same anymore it's like this disease has taken away her true identity and replaced her with an imposter mimicking as my mum, we are best friends almost like sisters but now I'm her carer that seems to falling away, I feel quite alone in this journey with mum and no one seems to understand the pressures this is placing on me, apart for my husband which I dare say I'm very lucky to have his support, my brother just doesn't seem to care and happily uses the excuse he's busy with his family, anyway sorry for the rumblings but it felt good to let my frustrations out.

    Msunn, I have read some of your posts and your successes have been very inspiring, well done, I can only imagine the stress you must have felt with the RSI, carpel tunnel and not being able to play your beloved instrument. Thank goodness you came across the TMS diagnoses and worked thru your fears, it has given me a lot of hope that I too can one day do the things I love without the pain and get back to living.
    Even before I came across the idea of TMS I decided to just get outside and garden even though I had the terrible pain in my neck as I was so sick and tired of not moving and getting projects completed, amazingly the pain never got any worse with all the activity but it was the negative self talk that got me unstuck, something I really want to work on.
    Thanks again for your words of wisdom and support.
    Julie-Ellen likes this.
  9. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    How do you stop a night time trigger. Well stop fearing it. It takes time and practice but if you stop fearing and focusing on the symptoms youll be fine. You will only begin to learn as you start one of the programs here. The tms recovery program is awesome and it will really help you get to where your going ok.
    Or you can try the SEP but id say you need to start with Alan Gordon cause he will teach you how to gain control over your catastrophizing. It will take some time for you to start to recondition but it will happen when you set your heart to it.
    Walker449 and Msunn like this.
  10. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Thanks Busy Bee. I think that's how this works, we help each other. I don't mean to represent that I'm totally pain free, because that is not the case. I have had some very good nights playing recently so I'm really grateful for the progress I've made.

    One of the unsettling aspects of TMS is the way symptoms can return, move around etc. But knowing that others go through the same episodes lets me know I'm on the right path.

    I've also found the structured education program here very valuable, and following the directions for treatment in dr Sarno's books also has helped me. I've been doing a lot of journaling these days.

    The latest tool that has helped me is to realize that fear and anxiety about TMS really make things worse. So at this point I'm making peace with the pain rather than fighting it. That sounded a little weird the first time I saw that suggested, but when I don't react to the symptoms I don't fuel the distraction the subconscious is creating.

    best of luck. Please keep posting here. We'll help each other.
    Ellen likes this.
  11. BusyBee

    BusyBee New Member

    Hi Herbie, I tried that approach last night, just watched and felt the pain in my hand but didn't stress about it, as a result it didn't bother me as much, certainly still very painful but I survived it.
    I have started the Tms recovery program and have started journaling, it's opening up a can of worms but I guess it needs to be worked thru. Thanks again for your encouragement.
    Julie-Ellen likes this.
  12. BusyBee

    BusyBee New Member

    Msunn, I know it would be wonderful being 100% pain free! At this stage I'll gladly settle for 50%, I guess as you improve its easy to lose track of just how much progress you have made and always want more.

    I think I'm onto something with this TMS, I'm already getting all sorts of funny pains throughout my body but because I have never had them before I've been able to laugh as they come up for example I felt a sharp twinge in my lower back this morning, then laughed at it and it seemed to vanish into thin air, ten minutes later I had a pain in my stomach, I laughed again and it disappeared, then my wrist started playing up and I laughed but it hasn't gone.lol it must be that I'm familiar with the wrist pain and unconsciously still feel it's a structural problem not a psychological one, I can't fool the pain as I must be attached to it, same with the neck pain, it's such a part of me now it may be a little harder to let go but any new pains I feel able to commit they are 100% TMS and bam they vanish!

    Thanks again for your words of wisdom.
    Julie-Ellen, cdub, G.R. and 1 other person like this.
  13. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Good point Busy Bee! I have to remember the first night I went back to play I almost didn't finish the night because of the pain! I have played so many years without problems that I do still see that as a real possibility. Lets see.....what is one of the TMS traits I could be the poster child for?? oh yeah perfectionism:)

    Sounds like you are already making some good progress. glad to hear it.
    cdub likes this.
  14. cdub

    cdub Peer Supporter

    Any update @BusyBee?

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