Hey y’all. So- this is gonna be long. I believe I’m suffering from TMS but I really need some reassurance/guidance. I’ve been suffering from chronic hand and finger pain for the past 6 months. The middle finger of my right hand (the dominant one) constantly feels incredibly sore and stiff and limited in it’s dexterous abilities. I also obsess over the fact that it’s knuckle is slightly larger and wonky— something that makes me question whether it’s a structural issue, despite an x-ray showing nothing wrong. I also get weird electric shock like sensations in my hand from time to time, in addition to having a painful patch of allodynia on the side of my hand. This all started during an extremely stressful part of my life- I was living at a treatment center for substance abuse, my mother had found out I was bisexual, I was having relationship problems, as well as constantly being reprimanded for getting into trouble, at which point my mother told me she was essentially “cutting me off” (I’ve always experience anxiety surrounding abandonment) and she told me I needed to figure out my future on my own- something I’ve always had difficulty with (indecision and self-motivation). I have anxiously cracked my knuckles since childhood- to the point where they would hurt. Well, when my pain developed, I had been cracking my knuckles a lot— only this time, the pain worsened and morphed, and worst of all it has persisted. Relentlessly. When this first developed, both my hands felt extremely hot and burning and sore and I ended up in the ER. This feeling faded but the middle finger pain and weird nerve hand pain in my right hand has remained. When it didn’t go away, I obsessed over the idea that I had given myself arthritis. Dr. Google became my best friend, and I was convinced something was structurally or medically wrong with me. I began taking supplements and started a paleo diet. The paleo diet seemed to help a little. Interestingly enough, I had became concerned with the idea of developing some chronic hand problem since the year prior, when I had a similar but different manifestation of hand pain during my finals at my university. My hands became extremely oversensitive and even brushing through my hair hurt. I went to the doctor and she prescribed me Tylenol and Codeine and it went away after a week. But this particular pain, the one I’m currently experiencing, has never relented. And the disuse of my right hand has caused atrophy (at least I believe it to be disuse atrophy—but of course my anxious mind leads me to question atrophy of a neurological nature). I’ve had success in relieving the middle finger pain by way of compression, however, when I do this, the other nerve-like sensations seem to heighten and I develop them in my left hand as well. Recently, when I compress my finger, a dull ache appears in the middle finger of my LEFT HAND. And I freak out! My hands are so important to me. I use them for everything- writing, typing, physical activities, sports, sex. It’s so depressing to feel this pain and dysfunction. When I’m using my right hand, it feels slightly uncomfortable and kind of like it’s “not working right”, but I have significantly less pain when using it than I do when at rest. Night time is the worst. I should mention that all medical testing revealed nothing abnormal. I was prescribed GabaPentin which seemed to slightly help the nerve pain and allodynia, but the middle finger pain seems to be pain of a different breed and remains, chronically. At one point, I became convinced I might have CRPS and my GP agreed that it might be a possibility. However, I never to my knowledge sustained any real injury—I suppose maybe I strained my finger at one point after over-cracking and stretching my knuckle? Who knows. I’m also not at traditional CRPS pain levels, can move my hand and finger (though it hurts pretty constantly and increases with movement), can typically sleep at night, have no noticeable swelling, and it doesn’t hurt when other people touch it. Do you think it could be CRPS? I honestly do not in my heart. But even so, aren’t CRPS and TMS recovery compatible? After reading about MBS, I know in my heart this is TMS. I have the classic TMS personality- perfectionist, wanting to be liked, stoic and repressive, anxious and depressed, etc. I’m honestly just batshit crazy haha. I’m also incredibly obsessive by nature- I had one severe and debilitating obsessive episode 2 years ago— I was actually able to conquer it by applying similar principles as the ones recommended by Sarno— ie; letting go, accepting it, ignoring it. At this point, I’m wrought with fear but I’m determined to defeat this. I began applying TMS principles- using my hand and finger, breathing exercises, living my life how id like to, self-talk, physical exercise, etc. I stopped compression-taping my finger and just let it be. And while the symptoms haven’t disappeared, I do feel less anxiety around the matter and at times a lessening of the pain. But the awareness and obsession is always there! I suppose I wrote this because I’m searching for help and comfort. Do you think it’s TMS? And how do I beat this? Since learning about TMS and trying to apply it I have noticed that my symptoms have lessened at times (though never disappeared), but I’m still so hyper-aware of my pain and my hand, I feel like it’s all I can think about. It’s really impacting my quality of life. And it’s messing with me a lot, especially as someone with a history of substance abuse. All I want are pain meds. I keep thinking—perhaps if I went on a pain med and a benzo simultaneously, for a short period of time, and just continued to live my life and use my hand— just maybe- my symptoms would go away? Is this logical, objectively? Also- what are your thoughts on the use of ketamine treatment for chronic pain? I have been considering it. Isn’t it pretty much compatible with Sarno’s ideology, as it primarily targets receptors that reset overactive nervous systems? I’m sorry! I know I’m rambling! But how do I beat this? I’m so done with the pain and the obsession that fuels and surrounds it. Please help guide me in my recovery in any way you can! I appreciate any feedback— deeply!