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Confused about Osteoarthritis

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Ferndale37, Aug 31, 2016.

  1. Ferndale37

    Ferndale37 Peer Supporter

    I know Dr Sarno speaks about spinal arthritis and mild/moderate hip arthritis in Healing Back Pain and the Mind Body Prescription. He describes Arthritis as grey hairs of the body and part of the natural ageing process. He states that in his experience spinal arthritis is rarely the cause of pain and that he has seen patients who are due to have a hip replacement, and treated them with TMS principles, with good results.

    I notice a fair few posts on these forums stating that Osteoarthritis is a structural problem that does cause pain. How can this be so? Surely if spinal and hip arthritis rarely cause pain, then knee, foot, shoulder etc etc, should also rarely cause pain?

    My own experience is with big toe Arthritis, that only seems to hurt when I start accepting my back pain (and my back stops hurting) and there is a symptom shift. I can go months without any toe pain and had totally accepted the TMS diagnosis re my pain. My thinking was " yes, I have big toe arthritis and a bone spur (confirmed by x ray), but the pain comes and goes/alternates with my back pain, so it must be TMS" - So basically, I have a structural abnormality but it doesn't cause me pain.

    I recently managed to work more on TMS and got to a point where I had no back pain and no foot pain, until I came across some posts on here talking about how arthritis does cause pain. I started wondering about my feet again, and sure enough the pain has returned.

    My own experience points to TMS, but posts on here have made me doubt it and again focus on the structural. I was in a place where I completely stopped worrying about my feet and was able to say "the wear and tear probably will get worse, but arthritis is natural and non painful, so I wont be in any more pain". I stopped wearing my Orthotics and everything, but now im wondering whether I should use them again, in case my pain is structurally based and worse degeneration = worse pain?.

    Surely if the TMS theory is that certain forms of Osteoarthritis arent painful, this should apply to Osteoarthritis anywhere in the body and I should be able to relax and apply the TMS principles?

    Why would pain come and go if it was the structure that is causing pain? surely I should always be in pain?

    Also there have been studies which state that only 20% of poeople with big toe arthritis get a worsening in pain, despite obvious further structural degeneration. How could this be so if the degeneration causes pain? Could this 20% be struggling with tms and be attributing this to further degeneration?

    The pain i'm in with my feet isn't that great, and the fear of thinking I need to baby my feet with orthotics, or risk more pain and surgery in the future is causing me the most problems.

    I need to get back to my original thinking, but certain posts on here have completely confused me. Does anyone have a view or any advice on this?

    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
    Griffy's Mom likes this.
  2. Jane2

    Jane2 New Member

    I can relate. I'm trying to figure out if my pain is TMS or arthritis. I did get a diagnosis of bilateral advanced arthritis in my hips and was told by the Othro doctor that hip replacement the recommended treatment. But then I read that it could be TMS and started the structured education and seemed to improve a lot at first. Then I went looking for posts about arthritis and began to have doubts. I also started doing all the physical activities I love. Now my pain is really bad again. I was hoping there would be some responses to your posting. How are you doing now?
  3. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi there,

    Jane- I had been thinking about this issue in answer to your last post. You're both right, there aren't a ton of mentions of hip and knee osteoarthritis in Sarno's books or others. Logically though, I do believe severe pain in an arthritic joint to be TMS. I looked up a couple of supporting studies:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/art.24837/full (Psychophysical and functional imaging evidence supporting the presence of central sensitization in a cohort of osteoarthritis patients) This one shows that people with arthritis have a large component of central sensitization (aka TMSlike pain originating in the brain) and also mentions poor correlation between stage of arthritis and severity of pain.

    It doesn't make sense that pain "from" arthritis would come and go in this way when the joint is unchanging. I really believe that a large component of OA pain is really TMS. I think some stiffness and occasional pain might be expected but the rest is "centrally" explained or TMS-caused. Furthermore, i've had many patients diagnosed with arthritis with only mild pain, and some with severe pain with mild arthritis...so i've observed this to be the case in practice.

    Hope that helps solidify your TMS beliefs!
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  4. Dahlia

    Dahlia Well known member

    Thank you so much for posting this. Yesterday I got a hip OA diagnosis and recommendation for total hip replacement. It's good to have this TMS evidence to help me decide what to do!
    MindBodyPT likes this.
  5. Lainey

    Lainey Well known member

    In 2011 I too was diagnosed with severe hip, cartilage deterioration, along with spondylothesis in two of my lower discs (L3 L4 i think??) I have put this mostly out of my mind. I used a walking stick for about a year, taking naproxen, and went to pt and also pool pt. I became stronger, stopped the stick but continued the NSAIDs. Pain was nearly gone, no limp, could use the painful hip leg for ascending stairs. I lowered Naproxen use and was doing ok, most of the time. BUT, about three years ago my life took a few turns, retiring from a very stressful job, estrangement from a beloved adopted daughter, death of several friends and a sibling (with unfinished business between the two of us), and finally this past winter, after two years of angsting over the unfinished business with my daughter, my body broke. I knew it was mind related, having read Sarno years back, but I was truly in a funk. I deteriorated from November of 2016 until March of 2017, when I decided to pull out HBP and re-read what I had read so long ago. After about four weeks of daily writing, tears and pain, the acute sciatica was healed, (overnight) after about three months of acute pain and lots of agony. My hip and sometimes my lumbar back still ache. The hip being the most painful. The pain radiates down my thigh at times. My shoulders will ache. I am again using the stick. Yet, now, I am hopeful. I have some better days than others, my outlook is much better. I am learning and applying new tricks, e.g. anxiety awareness. I have decided I will not do a hip replacement because what I have should not be causing all of the pain I am currently experiencing. My life has been painful, emotionally. My body is affirming this. I understand the doubts that people write about, but I cannot go there. I have never had a good experience with a doctor and find most of them dismissive, at best.
    Anyway, for me, TMS is the ONLY way to think about these problems. Thanks to anyone for listening. I find this site to offer folk like me encouragement and hope and I appreciate your feedback.
  6. Jane2

    Jane2 New Member

    Hi, It's good to hear from others with hip pain. I was diagnosed 1 year ago with severe arthritis in both hips. It's been up and down since then. But now I am off all NSAID's. I'm having more good days than bad ones. Moving better and resuming most exercise although walking can still be painful. But I'm hopeful since some days I can walk without pain- it must be TMS. Trying to see this as a way to heal my old emotional baggage, become more mindful and present. Learning to be with those difficult feelings instead of pushing them away. I do love alternative medicine and have not stopped using acupuncture, herbs and massage since it does help physically and emotionally. I know that's not recommended but it works for me. I think of the arthritis as just the stiffness and the pain as TMS. Thanks for your posts.
    Sprocket likes this.
  7. Sprocket

    Sprocket New Member

    Thanks to all for sharing your hip OA stories. I have found it interesting that while walking and climbing the steps hurts, sitting does not. I really, really do not want to go the hip replacement route - partially because of the downtime and restrictions, and partially for fear that the pain will just come back - there or in a different part of my body. The complicating factor for me is that my knee constantly pops now - it feels as if the tendon is just to tight. There is no pain in the knee but it makes me feel very unstable.
  8. Ferndale37

    Ferndale37 Peer Supporter

    Hi Jane, I'm doing pretty well. Decided to just go with the TMS diagnosis and managed to speak to a Tms friendly podiatrist which really helped.

    She said similar things that are mentioned in this thread re severity of pain not correlating with how advanced the arthritis is.

    I relaxed and have been pain free in my feet for a while.

    Good luck
    MindBodyPT likes this.
  9. chasflax

    chasflax New Member

    Hi everyone,

    I am hoping that this thread is still active. I have been searching for a long time on this site before I came across these hip related posts that are the very closest descriptions to what I have been suffering from. I have not been able to find a logical explanation for the pain coming from the diagnosis of arthritis, since it is in so many places, the inner groin, the front of the leg and the side as well as a great deal of clicking and instability if I try to do things on that one leg. the differences I see for myself are that I am a bit older 60/s then most of the TMS folks although I have had other TMS related symptoms throughout my life and the pain does not go away and come back - it has really only worsened. Some of my questions are does hip arthritis cause this type of pain and what constitutes advanced arthritis? Are there people whose Xrays are worse then mine walking around pain free?

    Thanks to all who post for sharing their human experiences.
  10. Lainey

    Lainey Well known member

    Hi chasflax

    Glad you found this site. You have joined a forum where there are many helpful and caring people willing to share their thoughts and ideas. Also, you are joined by many who are in your age cohort, but, as you may soon discover, age is not the main issue here. All of us are looking for help, someway, to alleviate our pain and other symptoms. Each of us struggles to understand what we need to do to find healing. Sometimes there are nuggets of wisdom from someone who does not necessarily have the same issue, but the ideas presented can often be broadly applied to many of our TMS concerns.

    Have your read any of the books (or listened to the tapes/YouTube/ videos) addressing TMS principals? Books include those by Dr. Sarno, Steve Ovanich and others. These are a good starting point. Keep journaling, reading, watching the healing tapes/videos. There are the Specialized Education Program (SEP), and Alan Gordon's Pain Recovery Program, both found on this site, that are good, step-by-step programs to help in healing. Take some time and work through one or the other (or both). Meditation has helped me, and comfort from different modalities, such as massage and other mind/body techniques. Maybe something will appeal to you.

    It is not always easy and can be discouraging. There are lots of people on these forums that will help, by reaching out and sharing. I have found lots of insight and ideas from many others here.

    Just as a sidebar, aging, in and of itself, can set us up for pain syndromes. Aging can be a scary thought. There are lots of factors that can create TMS. Learn about them, journal about them, and keep going.

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  11. chasflax

    chasflax New Member


    thanks for the reply, I have read the books by both Steve and Dr Sarno but I really appreciate that you rank aging right up there for a possible cause . I will certainly keep on writing and reading but of course would like to get to the point where it is not the focus of my day. At any rate it is always a relief to know you are not alone and that others are looking for more options than surgery that often will not help.

    Thanks again,

  12. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    Many wise people on this forum recommend doing tms work for no more than an hour a day. They also recommend that you live and enjoy life the rest of your free time. Don't wait until you are well to do things you enjoy and have fun with friends or family!
  13. chasflax

    chasflax New Member

    Yes thanks for that ! I am hopefully getting to that point.
    Lizzy likes this.

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