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Convincing spouse to explore possibility of TMS

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by orangjul, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. orangjul

    orangjul New Member

    My 43 y/o husband has been dealing with chronic pain in his knees for about 2 years, and in his elbows for about 1 year. Both knees have had injuries in the past and he was treated at the time of the injuries, but as of now the doctors can't find anything seriously wrong with them. He's been diagnosed with tendinitis in both elbows. Every day he lives with the fear of re-injuring or aggravating his joints, and avoids walking, climbing stairs, typing, lifting and other simple things (he "can't" even open a jar for me). He also has quit all the sports that he used to enjoy on a daily or weekly basis (skiing, biking, hiking). He is in pain all the time and because of it, sometimes suffers from depression.

    We've been to 2 nationally regarded orthopaedic surgeons, a rhuematologist and a naturopathic doctor. He's tried 2 chiropractors (one with a neurology degree), acupuncture, massage, and has been in and out of physical therapy. Nothing seems to make him better, regardless of the fact that he hasn't been diagnosed with anything serious. After reading "The Mindbody Prescription" this week, I am convinced he has TMS. The onset of his pain aligns almost perfectly with several pressure-causing events we've/he's been through in the past 2 years.

    The last time he hit bottom with the depression (about 3 months ago), I told him I wanted him to see a psychotherapist. He was reluctant but said if the depression came back bad again, he would consider it (he has never seen one before). This past weekend he hit bottom again but is starting to come out of it a little bit. I haven't brought up psychotherapy again, or that I read Dr. Sarno's book. I'd like to bring it up and suggest that he read the book, but I'm scared that he will write it off. My opinion is, what does he have to lose?? But I know that as a patient you have to be open to the possibility that your mind is causing the pain, and I don't know if my husband is capable of buying into that or not. He certainly has a history of ignoring/suppressing feelings.

    Does anyone have any experience with getting a loved one to consider that they may have TMS? Any advice on how to convince them that this is real and they need to give it a chance? What if they reject the idea?

    Thanks for your ideas!
  2. tmsandrew

    tmsandrew Peer Supporter

    I think it is very difficult to convince someone they have TMS if they are not receptive to the idea first. Even if they are only half-hearted to the idea then it won't work.
    On the other hand, when people hit the bottom (i.e tried all the doctors they can and nothing has worked) then they are much more likely to embrace a new idea. It depends on what sort of things convince your husband. If he's scientifically minded, or sceptical of alternative ideas, well the first thing would be to direct him to the medical evidence section of the TMS wiki. Then ideally arrange an appointment with a medical professional listed on the site with whom he can discuss things. I'd also give him a copy of Dr Sarno's book - as you say if he's already in the position of having nothing to lose then he probably will give it a go - either now or relatively soon.

    I know my sister tried to raise the idea of a non-physical cause for my RSI and at the time it made me angry with her, because it felt like she was saying it wasn't "real". But it was the seed of the idea that helped me come back to the concept when I was ready. So, even if he rejects it in the short term, he may thank you in the longer term....
    Anne Walker and Ellen like this.
  3. orangjul

    orangjul New Member

    Thank you. I think that he is definitely more scientifically minded since he is trained as a paramedic and teaches emergency medicine (as a side note he had to give up his part-time job on the ambulance because of his pain - one of the events I suspect is causing internal rage).

    About how much time passed from when your sister initially talked to you and when you came back to the concept of TMS?
  4. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Orangjul. Your husband having been trained as a paramedic and being scientifically-minded may be more open to believing his pain is psychological, from TMS. His training as a paramedic has taught him how to treat people who are in pain structurally, from an auto accident, a fire, a heart attack. Now he needs to know there can be other factors causing pain. Those are pain caused by our emotions.

    His depression is to be expected since he has worried himself so much that he has stopped normal activities. Resuming normal daily activities such as walking, sitting, climbing stairs, typing at the computer will be helpful in healing and not harmful at all.

    Since we would like him to believe in TMS as quickly as possible, do get Dr. Sarno's book Healing Back Pain, but before asking him to read it, have him look at some videos that summarize the book. Dr. Sarno has some videos I will suggest in a moment. Let me find one I think could be one of the most helpful.

    There are other videos in the Mindbody Video Library that also are good in explaining TMS and helping people believe in it.

    Good luck and try to encourage your husband that he is not only going to be free of pain and get his life back, it's going to be an even happier, healthier life than he's ever known. TMS knowledge really is what Dr. Sarno calls "Knowledge Penicillin."
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Here is another video, an interview with Steve Ozanich, that also is very helpful:

  7. orangjul

    orangjul New Member

    Walt, thank you so much, I think the videos may help. One of the orthopaedic surgeons suggested that my husband have an exploratory knee scope, even though the MRI and X-rays of the knee showed nothing wrong. I think the part of Steve's video explaining that surgery is not needed may really catch my husband's attention.

    I told my husband that I wanted to discuss something I'd discovered that gave me hope, and we agreed to talk tomorrow (Saturday). I'll update this thread with how it goes.
  8. dreissner

    dreissner New Member

    Ask him to listen to this interview (even if he doesn't believe in TMS). He may recognize himself in the type T personality description:

  9. orangjul

    orangjul New Member

    Thanks, I haven't had a chance to listen to the last interview suggested yet. I will check it out later this weekend.

    This morning I told my husband about "The Mind Body Prescription" and also had him watch the 20/20 segment with John Stossel and Janette Barber. He is so down in the dumps right now that I think he's given up all hope that he will ever get his life back. He said he would read the book but that he is skeptical. I don't know how to make him not be skeptical...and I've read over and over again that if he is skeptical, he won't heal.

    He also kept saying "I've read this book before", but I know he has not. He is confusing it with "Back in Control" by David Hascom. I don't know anything about this book, but I don't think the author approaches chronic pain the same way as Sarno does, and I don't see any mention of TMS at a glance. Has anyone read this book?

    This is so frustrating. He is so difficult to be around, and we are only 1 year into our marriage. I'm trying not to give up hope. Honestly, I just want him to be happy...of course I want him to be able to do all the active things that we love(d) to do together, and to not be in pain. But more than anything I just want him to stop being depressed, and to be able to connect with me again and to stop shutting me out. But unfortunately the ability to do things is so tied into his happiness, not to mention his identity. He was a talented skier and mountaineer for 20 years, and on the Search and Rescue team for 12 years. He's established an identity in the community as a hero and a talented athlete. I think that because he doesn't have those things any more, he feels like he's lost himself. I would incredibly enraged about that if I were him! How the hell do I get him out of this downward spiral?? How do I get him to believe in this? I know realistically that only he can make himself believe it, but I need to try everything I can to help him.
  10. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle


    This post today could be helpful in convincing your husband his pain is from TMS:

    I have a stabbing pain in my left low back which radiates down both sides, both legs, arms as well lol anyways I have had great success in reducing my symptoms tingling etc, no numbness tho, until today after my daily hill walk I bend down and felt a very tiny pull, slowly the pain has flared up badly. I will continue to use ALL the Tools available I read about and continue to enjoy life as I heal from TMS . Thank you for your story ukAdr it was exactly what I needed to ease my fears...and Liam keep reading, keep visiting the forum, use the tools, and listen to others advice. No matter how long it seems to be taking to heal, don't give up it has worked for many people, it will work for us. [​IMG]

    alexandra, Thursday at 7:29 PM Report

    alexandra Peer Supporter

    Walt you won't believe this! After writing my previous post about the pain increasing to a very painful level, I went on to read some pages of the great pain deception, I said a few affirmations, deep breathing, and told myself there's nothing wrong with my body, i told my brain to stop producing this pain and to send blood flow and oxygen to my back, soon the panicky feeling I was having eased and I went to bed, slept well and woke up completely pain free! Only a tiny bit of tingling in my feet is left...if there was an injury or pinched nerve etc causing such strong pain (throbbing and stabbing pain) there's no way it would have left over night! TMS healing is the only thing that can work like magic. It may come back or it may not, but I will continue to do as I've been doing until a full recovery. Thank you for your motivating words and thanks to everyone else in this forum! [​IMG]

    alexandra, Yesterday at 11:02 PM Report
  11. orangjul

    orangjul New Member

    Thanks again for your supportive words and helpful bits.

    I have some happy and encouraging news. My husband has read about 3/4 of the Mindbody Prescription and I think he's giving it a chance! He said he's been telling himself that his brain is causing the pain. Hopefully he is getting onto the right track! He also said that if in a few weeks the pain (and/or fear) haven't decreased he'll consider talking to a therapist that is familiar with TMS.

    I'm really praying this is the beginning of his healing for good.

    Thanks again, everyone!
  12. Colly

    Colly Beloved Grand Eagle

    Orangjul if he's got 3/4 of the way through Mindbody Perscription AND is "giving it a chance" then you've both made a giant leap for mankind! Only last weekend I was visiting some dear friends who live interstate, and one of the couple who has suffered terribly from TMS for decades, had borrowed my copy of Mindbody Perscription several months ago. The whole weekend went by without him mentioning it, yet I noticed he had left it back beside my suitcase. On the last morning of my visit he told me he had left my book in my room, and added "I read about eight pages of it, but it's a bit of a chick book, so not for me"…. needless to say my heart sank. I suspect he didn't even make it to page eight.

    So celebrate your wins at this stage because you've both got over the first hurdle, and believe me some, like my friend may never get past page eight.

    Well done:)
  13. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    It amazes me that anyone would give up on the Mindbody Prescription book after just eight pages
    and yet (probably) watch the stupid stuff on television for hours, even sports, and the dumb movies.

    He may just have been unable to face the reality that his pain is psychological and not structural,
    and is still hoping a simple pill will cure him.

    He may yet ask for the book back, or more likely he may order a copy so you don't know about it.
  14. Colly

    Colly Beloved Grand Eagle

    I hope so Walt. It was really hard to watch him popping Celebrex and fish oil every morning and had to bite my lip the whole weekend. I would dearly love to see him heal.

    On a brighter note, I caught up with some running friends for breakfast last weekend, and one of the group had given the Mindbody prescription to his partner, who had been struggling with back pain for years. She was all giddy, telling me she had "the book cure"! My running friend who had struggled with TMS also embraced Sarno and SteveO immediately, and is now doing well.

    In my experience I find that when I suggest TMS healing to family or very close friends the resistance is VERY strong, yet other friends and work colleagues who I see suffering with TMS react very enthusiastically about embracing Sarno etc. Perhaps those closest to us feel embarrassed admitting they have TMS.
  15. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Colly. You may be right, that family and close friends may not want to admit they have any psychological problem.
    You're reaching others about TMS and it's working for them. That's great.
  16. orangjul

    orangjul New Member

    Thanks for sharing, Colly, I hope you are right about this being major progress. I was feeling super optimistic over the last couple weeks...my husband (I'm going to start calling him "B0b") was consistently positive for almost 2 weeks, and I was starting to feel he had turned over a new leaf. He even went on a short, easy bike ride yesterday and told me he told himself he couldn't hurt himself by biking, but was still anxious to see if he had any knee/elbow flare-ups in the days after.

    However, today something strange happened. His mood switched to quiet and somber and I could tell something was wrong, but at first he wouldn't tell me what. Eventually he revealed that when we were running errands this morning, I slammed on the brakes of my car too hard, and he threw out his back (?!). He had some back pain on and off back in 2010 or 2011, but hasn't recently had any back problems. This seems too random that I almost think it HAS to be a manifestation of TMS. He went to the pharmacy to fill a prescription he'd been sitting on for oxycoton, and while he was gone I put the Mindbody Prescription on his pillow. But later when I asked him about it, he said earlier he tried "talking to his brain about the pain" and meditating for an hour, and the pain wouldn't go away. He really thinks the pain is from me stopping too quickly in the car, but I just don't buy it. What do you guys think?

    I did order "The Great Pain Deception" and it should be here later this week...
  17. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Orangjul, I'm sorry "Bob" equates new back ache with you braking too hard. I doubt that caused any physical problem but must have
    triggered an emotional one. Bob doesn't say it's whiplash, but it could be, in his mind, a form of that. Dr. Sarno and others says suddenly braking of cars does not cause neck or back pain. It's that people think it does. In many countries studied, there is no complaint of pain from sudden braking of cars.

    I hope he can let go of the idea and return to believing in TMS. His subconscious may just have seen an opportunity to make him doubt TMS.
    He needs to talk to his brain about the pain for longer than an hour. I hope by now he feels better.
  18. orangjul

    orangjul New Member

    Thank you for your kind words, Walt. Bob is doing much better now. He made an appointment with the chiropractor as soon as he could, but then later canceled when he felt better. He only took the narcotics on Sunday and that was it. He went back to The Mindbody Prescription and reread some parts, and the pain subsided over a couple of days. He went on 3 or 4 more little bike rides (15-20 minutes each) this week, and is increasing his time each time he goes out. And now he is reading The Great Pain Deception and can't seem to put it down...and he just told me he's going to get the rest of Sarno's books on audiobook, since that's when things "clicked" for Steve O.

    So, I would I say the incident with me hitting the brakes too hard was a minor hiccup and he is back on the right track! He said he wants to go do a bigger bike ride together next weekend...this will be a major step for us since we haven't done anything like this together in a long, long time. Very excited, and very thankful we found the books and this website!
    Ryan likes this.
  19. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    What I think, and I am not a doctor only a tennis player, is NO WAY could that happen!!! Backs are strong, it's minds that are weak. He'd pretty much have to fall out a fourth story window to really get hurt. Even in a rear-ender, "whip-lash" has been proven to be TMS brought on by ambulance chasing lawyers. Show Bob what Dr. Sarno has to say specifically about backs and that will reassure him it's just TMS again. Backs do NOT go out!!!

  20. Colly

    Colly Beloved Grand Eagle

    Orangjul, I totally agree with Tennis Tom. I find that my hubby and I always have our best scraps while driving haha. I suspect he was tense about something and your sudden stop added more tension to his thoughts, which tipped him over, and induced symptoms. It's always helpful to be aware of any inner-tension, and work on understanding where it's coming from. Yesterday I had a lovely Saturday, however was irritable about an annoying email from a work colleague which I read after work on Friday night. It played on my mind all day Saturday, and I had to stop several times to catch myself feeling tense about it. Tell your hubby to explore the origins of any tense thoughts, and sit with them for a while, while practising forgiveness of those who might be the cause.

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