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Chronic Testicular Pain (long read)

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Ben117, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. Ben117

    Ben117 New Member

    Hi everyone, this is going to be a long post so thanks to those that make it to the end!

    To begin with I should say that until very recently I had never heard of TMS, but right now I think it may be the answer to the problem I will go on to describe. I would love to hear responses from people who've experienced anything similar, or any advice as to whether this could be TMS, or just any advice in general!

    My name is Ben and I'm a 21 year old university student from the UK. As described in the title, I'm currently experiencing chronic testicular pain. The pain has been present for the past four months. For me, the pain is centred just above my right testicle, but I also have occasional inner thigh pain, hip pain, low back pain and lower abdomen pain - all on my right side. The pain can be anywhere from a 2/10 (more uncomfortable than pain) to painful enough that I've even been to A and E (accident and emergency) a few times.

    I've been through the medical labyrinth trying to find a diagnosis and solution to my pain. To begin with I was diagnosed with Epididymitis (an infection) and I took multiple courses of antibiotics, the pain did improve, although it would always come back just as bad as before eventually, and to begin with I never showed any signs of infection that you would expect (urine analysis came up completely normal, for example).

    After deciding it wasn't an infection, I began to look into muscular / skeletal causes. I researched trigger point therapy after reading about it online and got a few treatments. The therapist told me that I definitely DID have trigger points, some of which were known to refer pain to the testicles, so this was a great relief. However, once again I never experienced any long lasting relief. And now all the tender points/areas identified as trigger points seem to have resolved themselves, so I think this is unlikely to be the primary cause.

    I then looked into more structural issues, I read about how problems with the hip and spine could cause testicular pain. Once again I thought this was my answer, so I saw both a physiotherapist and a chiropractor (despite being fairly skeptical of chiropractic treatment). Both the physio and the chiropractor identified issues which they said could be causing my pain. They said I had very tight muscles in my hip, and my lower back was not as mobile as it should be, which could apparently irritate nerves in some way causing the pain.

    Once again I felt fairly relieved, so I began treatment feeling relatively optimistic. I was instructed to do plenty of stretching of the involved muscles, and the chiropractor carried out manipulations of my spine.

    The stretching has mad little difference, but I have to say that the spinal manipulation did improve things, which I began to notice in the 48 hours after treatment. The pain seemed to almost completely go from my testicles and instead centre in the middle of my lower back. However, this effect was also temporary and once again I found myself back in exactly the same position - with exactly the same symptoms I began with.

    I'm still keeping up with the physiotherapy and seeing a chiropractor. If there is a physical cause, I feel this is it. I have bad posture and did injure my lower abdomen/hip falling off my bike a few weeks before my symptoms started, which apparently could have led to the muscle tightness and stiffness in my hip.

    That brings me pretty up to date with where I am now. Although there is a plausible physical cause, I still feel something like TMS is a possibility for me. The physio and chiropractor (and all the doctors/urologists/specialists I've seen for that matter) seem very vague and unsure - it's always 'could' or 'maybe', and none of them have seen something like this before, at least not something they managed to completely treat (although there are accounts of this online).

    One of the main reasons I feel like this could be TMS, or at least TMS related, is just due to my personality and circumstances.

    I'm a very anxious person, despite rarely showing this outwardly, I worry about all manner of things and at previous times in my life have suffered from panic attacks and crippling anxiety - to the point where I didn't want to leave my room and became very withdrawn socially.

    This came to a head in my first year of university, and in a way is continuing to this day. Before university I had a very secure and stable group of friends and family life. However, perhaps because of this, I found it very difficult to fit in and meet people once I began university. I became very lonely, anxious and withdrawn. To top all this off my parents split up that Christmas. I had always valued having a 'secure' family life, and felt very lucky and grateful for this when other things in my life weren't going to plan. It felt like a huge blow that the secure part of my life that I could fall back on was suddenly not there anymore - at least not in the same way.

    I also had relationship trouble with my girlfriend of 5 years, I don't think theres any need to go into detail but as you can imagine this did not help my overall psychological state.

    Anyway, It's only now I'm making the connection between my emotional state and the chronic pain I've been experiencing. The pain is definitely worse in times of increased stress (although I understand this is the same with all pain) and I definitely feel a bit better when I manage to stop worrying about it so much (rarely)

    It's only now I'm really realising the degree of catastrophic thinking and obsession I've had over this pain, I've spent countless hours googling and reading though pages and pages of medical forums (which of course did not help). I suppose I'm just terrified of having this pain my whole life, and it's only now I'm realising that my emotional response to the pain (and other things in my life) are in fact the reason, or at least part of the reason, I'm not feeling any better.

    Seeing a few other threads on here that seem to provide situations similar to mine that have resolved after realising they were caused by TMS and taking the appropriate action has been greatly encouraging. There's more than one but this was the one that made me decide to actually post myself


    Anyway, thank you so much for reading all that. I'm sorry it was so long!

    Any responses would be greatly appreciated!
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
  2. DwightD

    DwightD New Member

  3. DwightD

    DwightD New Member

    I got testicular pain just over 5 years ago and I too was first diagnosed with Epididymis and given multiple courses of antibiotics. Like you I began searching - several doctors, physiotherapists, accupuncture, massage and on and on. Always getting my hopes up only to come crashing down. I don't even want to think about how much money I've spent looking for a cure. Pelvic floor therapy did give my some initial improvement but it plateaued and I couldn't get any further improvement. Internal trigger points I was told and tight adductors. Yet no matter how much I stretched, massaged and manipulated those trigger points the relief was only temporary. I came across this site about 3 -4 weeks ago. The first thing I did was read Healing Back Pain. While my pain wasn't so much in my back, although I do have occasional back pain, everything else fit including my personality traits. Also the pain moving around, getting worse as the day progressed, no physical explanation for why some days it was better or worse etc. I am convinced I have TMS and it sure sounds like you do also. I'm on day 16 of this program and so far have not seen any significant improvement but I think part of that is probably because I'm putting pressure on myself to improve. I suggest you start. It's a whole lot easier, cheaper and less painful than all the stretching, trigger point massage etc.
  4. Ben117

    Ben117 New Member

    Thanks for the reply Dwight, sorry to hear you've had such a rough time.

    How does the pain follow your thoughts? It was the fact that the more I thought about the pain the worse it got that got me thinking about non-physical causes, which then led me to TMS. It's also the fact that I will have days where its significantly better (or worse) with no identifiable physical trigger, like you do, that makes me think its something psychological/emotional.

    If it is TMS then even someone completely new to it like me can tell you it takes a lot longer than 16 days to cure yourself, so just hang in there. Keep me updated and I'll do the same.
  5. DwightD

    DwightD New Member

    The times I've had the least pain have been when I have not been obsessing over it. When I stop treating it or thinking about it (easier said then done). Usually when I'm engaged in something that preoccupies my mind and thoughts and I'm content and at peace with myself I notice it less. I've read some posts that basically say forget about it altogether and get back to living your normal pre TMS life. Again that's much easier said then done. I'll keep you updated on my progress. Good luck!
  6. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member


    I had testicular, groin, pelvic floor pain for about 6 months, about 7 years ago. Coincidentally, I was also a university student in the UK at the time. I was convinced that I had some sort of horrible condition, be it testicular cancer, prostate cancer, or something more esoteric and terrifying. A few times, the pain was severe enough that I dragged myself to the emergency room. I was obsessed by it. Eventually, this obsession was replaced by obsessions regarding other symptoms and on down the line to the present. Of course, I can't diagnose you, nor can I definitely tell you the best way to go forward (as I'm still struggling with TMS)... but I can tell you, especially in retrospect, that my testicular/pelvis/groin pain was the product of obsession and not of disease. The doctors never found anything, and it completely resolved as my obsession lessened. So I guess the moral of the story is... to get rid of your testicular pain, develop another pain the scares you more :).

    - E
  7. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member


    I admit, I posted that previous response after having only read the first part of your post. Just now, I went back and read the rest. I couldn't believe it. I teared up because of the extent to which your experience sounds like my own. The transition from secure family life to first year of college... The relationship trouble with long-term girlfriend... The little intermittent periods of relief from different kinds of doctors and then the return of symptoms... The attempt to link it to specific injuries, falls, posture, etc. Social withdrawal, crippling anxiety, endless googling. The chiropractors, the stretching, the massage, the occasion relief of distraction.... The suspicion that it's my fear that the pain is permanent and will ruin my life is the root cause.

    I'm a skeptic of the highest degree, and the 'personality type' and 'similarities of experience' component of TMS teaching/literature doesn't resonate much with me. In fact, it detracts from my ability to believe fully in TMS because it makes it sound like something anybody could read themselves into... like an astrology reading. But jeez, we must be cut from the same cloth. I keep going back to your post and I have to constantly remind myself that I'm not rereading a post that was written by me when I was a university student in the UK.

    Perhaps it will be helpful to you to know that someone out there is working through the same issues. It was for me, so thank you.

    I wish you relief!

    - E
  8. Ben117

    Ben117 New Member


    Thanks so much for your reply. Your reply is the type of response I was 'hoping' for (if that makes sense). Someone to confirm that the pain I'm feeling is a product of obsession and my mind rather than something physical - and someone who can relate to my psychological circumstances, quite specifically in your case. At this point I would love for the pain I'm feeling to be replaced by some other type of pain that effects some other part of my body, be it back pain, neck pain, leg pain etc. But I'm sure those suffering those types of pain feel the same way in the sense that they would trade the pain they are feeling now for some other type of pain. This in itself seems to fit with my limited understanding of TMS, in that the pain effects the parts of your body that will effect you most psychologically at the time - perhaps back pain is so common because its a type of pain that can often be very debilitating, so it fits with the psychological 'purpose' of TMS pain, in that the purpose of the pain is to distract you most from the underlying emotional issues which are actually the root of the problem.

    It really is a great comfort to know someone is working through similar issues to me, and that those issues have manifested themselves similarly in terms of physical pain. For me personally, I'm sure your response will be a great help in terms of me 100% accepting TMS as the cause of my pain, so I would like to thank you for that.

    I'm yet to even read any of Sarno's books, but I'm going to order them in the next few days. I'm pretty convinced my pain has, at the very least, a psychological component, which may well be the entire cause of my pain. For example, I was feeling especially desperate and hopeless last night, but after reading about TMS and realising how it fit with the characteristics of my pain and my own possible psychological issues so well, I immediately began to feel a bit better, even if the following morning I felt just as bad as ever.

    I really wish you all the best, I'll be sure to update you with my progress via this this thread, and if you feel like messaging me privately please feel free. I sincerely hope we stay in contact!

    All the best,

    oceana15 likes this.
  9. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member


    I think it's a great sign that moments of hope, optimism, assurance affect your symptoms. And, I'd say that the mere fact that you feel like another, different pain would be a welcome distraction says to me that you already understand how psychological this is. I don't think a football player with a broken leg says to himself, "If only my shoulder hurt too." Chronic pain, for me at least, is first and foremost an obsession. Sometimes when I go running, my knees hurt and as strange as it sounds... I'm glad when this happens because it pulls my obsessive focus away from my neck. A few years ago, my pain moved from my back to my neck when, for whatever combination of reasons, neck pain became much scarier to me. I never think about my upper back anymore, even though it had troubled me in the same way for 4 years.

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the Sarno books, and to hearing about your (imminent!)progress.

  10. joe house

    joe house Peer Supporter

    I'm sorry that you are going through this. I feel your pain as I have the same problem but mostly my left testicle. I too have seen many doctors even had an ultra sound imaging done and nothing to explain the pain. I can only sit a few minutes and I have to sleep on my right side or I can trigger the pain. My last flare up was a week ago which I could not move for 11 hours. I could not go to the ER if I wanted to. I think my is a nerve issue because it is triggered by putting pressure on my left side. But I think I have the nerve problem because of piriformis problems caused by TMS. Or it could be TMS directly affecting the testicle but I have so much other pain in my hip back inguinal tendons butt and SI joints that if I could get rid of that I'm sure the testcle would heal up too.

    I have done a lot of research on what it could be and if you like I can share that with you what I've learned but PM for info if you like. One thing I will say I found a lot of college students leaving home for the first time having this issue looking for answers and it's not an infection or STD. Your not alone and I'm here because something ring true about this TMS and I'm betting my problems are all related to TMS. But I'm still going to PT and chiropractor but not sure for how much longer. I wish you the best and will pray for you
  11. Ben117

    Ben117 New Member

    Thought I would post a bit of an update.

    It's just over a month since I've been aware of TMS, and fairly convinced that TMS is the cause of my pain.

    During that time I've had periods of the least groin/testicle pain since this whole ordeal started. So that's definitely positive.

    However, I'm having a bit of a relapse at the moment and the pain has gotten worse over the past week to as bad as it ever was.

    The good news is I'm pretty certain I know why this is. The truth is, I haven't really 'committed' to the treatment for TMS. I haven't done any journaling, and not enough reading. I read the Mind Body Prescription and found it very helpful and informative, and it made me feel very optimistic. And I've definitely been feeling better. But if I'm honest, I haven't gone back over the important bits that really resonated with me enough, and I still find myself going back into the worried, panicked phases that invariably make the pain get worse. I now know that I need to commit and put the work in if in going to get completely better, and not just make significant (but temporary) improvements.

    Things have also been complicated by the fact I actually need to have an operation to remove two varicoceles (Like varicose veins but around testicles) so even though I know it's VERY unlikely these are the cause of my pain, and I'm having them removed just because they could cause fertility problems down the line, sometimes it makes me question whether there's a physical cause to the pain. So I'm looking forward to getting the procedure and having that cause ruled out.

    Also, when I first started suspecting I had TMS, I instantly forced myself to go out, socialise, do lots of work, and just be as normal as possible. Of course I began feeling better. This is another thing I've lapsed on recently.

    One other interesting thing I observed is that on one day last week I got intensely angry. It wasn't over anything specific, but I really FELT angry, to the point where I was physically shaking. For about 3 days after this, I had basically NO PAIN.

    Anyway, that's where I'm at now. Would be very interested to know what anyone thinks.

  12. fridaynotes

    fridaynotes Peer Supporter

    Hi Ben-

    I'm wondering how you are now?
    I have had similar experiences with testicular pain and I am 100% convinced they are TMS related.
    Many men's testicles have varicoceles but most don't cause pain. Like many people have herniated discs and scoliosis but it doesn't cause back pain.
    It seems to only cause pain in people prone to TMS because the subconscious mind knows where plausible 'weak points' are in the body and reduces oxygen to them.
    I am sure this is what causes the pain of the varicocele.
    Many years ago I had a successful embolization surgery for a chronic varicocele. 7 years later it began acting up again but that time I have the deep knowledge of TMS and the pain went away after some serious soul searching, journaling and talking to my mind.
    I think the more you can accept the nature of TMS, the more you can radically face your emotions and stressors and the more you can relax and get on with you life you'll find the pain goes away.
    Alfredoflrs likes this.
  13. Ben117

    Ben117 New Member

    Hi Friday notes, sorry for the delayed reply!

    I still have my pain, and I'm still going to have the Varicocele removed in about a month.

    But I think your theory is completely correct. Of course I am hoping the Varicocele is the 'cause' of the pain, and that removing it will also remove the pain, and your experience seems to back that up. But there's such a strong correlation with stress, anger etc. that I have no doubt TMS is involved in some way. Also, If I manage to distract my mind or get really involved in work the pain seems to fade away. I've also had some moving pain, which obviously can't technically be caused by the Varicocele, but my worrying over the Varicocele has probably put my mind in such a TMS prone state that I've started getting other moving symptoms. At least that's my theory.

    I haven't fully engaged with journaling or the TMS approach, mostly because until I have the Varicocele dealt with it will be so difficult for me to fully believe TMS is the cause of the pain, even though I'm completely convinced my TMS prone mind has something to do with it and is almost certainly making the pain much worse than what is usually caused by varicoceles.

    And thanks for your advice, it's really helpful to hear that from someone who has dealt with the same problem and had success!

    Hope you're doing well, and I'll be sure to update this thread with the outcome of getting the Varicocele removed, and hopefully also engaging with the TMS approach much more than I have done in the past.

  14. Pingman

    Pingman Well known member

    I had the same pain back in my mid 20's on and off for 3-4 years. My doctor called it Epididymitis and told me that very rarely does antibiotics help. He also said it was very common in bicycle riders and men whos testicles hang lower.
    I was told to buy and old fashion jock strap and wear that around for 2-3 weeks. Each time I did that it went away.

    It could be TMS but you might try the jock strap and see if that helps.
  15. bhkhan

    bhkhan Newcomer

    Any update?
  16. Ben117

    Ben117 New Member

    Hi Bhkhan,

    I've still got my pain, but I'm making progress and becoming more convinced it's TMS. I've begun noticing more and more things that suggest it's TMS and not physical.

    For example, before going to work the pain will invariably get worse, I don't hate my job but sometimes, especially on weekends, I would rather be doing something else. I've noticed this is the case with doing many things that are for other people, and things that I don't necessarily want to do. Anyway, what I've noticed is that when work is very busy (I work in a busy kitchen when I'm not at university), my pain will almost completely disappear. This is only when I'm so busy I don't have time to even look at the clock. But, as I believe is the case with many, as soon as I think 'my pain is gone' it will almost instantly come back. Another thing to add would be at work I'm doing more strenuous things and / twisting and lifting heavy items, so if there was a physical cause it's likely this type of activity would make it worse, not better to the point it's almost non existent. My guess is that that as I am completely distracted and not thinking about my pain at all, it goes away. I think almost everyone with TMS notices this at some point.

    The other thing I've noticed is how linked my pain is to my emotional state and things that make me angry. This has probably always been the case, but as its only recently I've began to convince myself my condition is TMS and not physical, I never noticed it. The correlation is really quite striking. For example, I can be driving home from work, and may have reduced pain after a very busy shift where I haven't been thinking about my pain and literally within a FEW MINUTES of entering my house, which is where a lot of the sources of my anger are (parents etc.) the pain will be back, and bad. What physical change could have taken place in my body that would cause that to happen? For the pain to change in intensity so rapidly, it really has to be instigated by the mind (I.e TMS). This, I am starting to convince myself, is the most plausible cause of my pain.

    If you're anything like I was you're probably feeling very worried and hopeless now, I know I was. I had been reading seemingly endless horror stories of people with the same type of pain having it for years and it ruining their lives. I thought my future would be miserable because of my pain. Then I found this site and found many people like me, and most (if not all) had gotten better or were well on the way to recovery.

    As I said, I still have my pain, but I'm making progress. I'm a skeptical person and it's going to take me longer to fully convince myself i have TMS and to do the emotional work necessary to recover.

    For now my best advice would be do what you can to not focus on your pain, as hard as that is. If you've had all the physical checks, and I'm assuming you have as you're here, then it's very likely the cause of your pain is psychological, and something that you can get better from.

  17. Zerkon

    Zerkon New Member

    Hi Ben, any updates?

    I have had pain in my testicles since September. Sometimes it is a dull pain, a sharp pain, and it is also painful to the touch/to sit down.

    Can anyone else relate to these symptoms? Would stress cause your testicles to hurt to the touch?

    Urologist did bloodwork, urine test, ultrasound, all normal. No tumor, torsion, varicocele, STDs, bacterial infection, epididymo-orchitis, hernia, etc. So there is nothing physically wrong that they can find, but I still have pain. Antibiotics did not help. Advil did not help.

    Trying TMS now.
  18. RichieRich

    RichieRich Well known member

    I had an odd bought of this a few years ago. I just woke up with it one day. I didn't freak out too much, but I did look online for a fix to no avail. I convinced myself it was probably "ball-strain" for lack of better terminology, and switched to tighter underwear as a means to cradle them puppies. After about 8 weeks, the pain simply vanished. I can assure you though, I had ever bit of pain and discomfort everyone else on here had. It would especially kill me as I jogged some days, almost like a punch to the gut.

    All the best.
  19. Zerkon

    Zerkon New Member

    Thank you. Good to know it can get better. Lucky for you, in 2 months! Some people take years, decades...

    I just don't understand how TMS can cause physical inflammation, soreness to the touch, etc. Could someone explain this to me? Then maybe I can believe it is caused by stress...
  20. DwightD

    DwightD New Member

    It didn't make any sense to me and still probably doesn't but I had the same symptoms you did when I first began having problems. Testicles were really sore, some days the right other days the left. Penis was so sore I could not have any clothing touch it. I too had all the tests, bloodwork, antibiotics etc. and saw numerous Doctors. The beginning of the healing began when I first read Dr. Sarno's book. I quickly identified with what he said. Unlike many who experience instant healing I did not but I have gotten progressively better. I am able to do much more physical exercise without the flare ups I used to get. While not 100% gone the pain is very manageable and getting better. For me a big part was getting on with my life and not constantly obsessing over my condition which I know is hard. I just tried my best to forget about and not always be searching for an answer. In fact this is the first time I've been on this forum in many months. Sounds to me like you have TMS as well. I hope this helps.
    Zerkon likes this.

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