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Could this be TMS myofascial pain syndrome?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by pectoralismyofascial, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. Hello everybody!

    I will tell my story in hopes that others who have more knowledge and experience can hopefully help out!

    It began a little over a year ago. In may 2019, I went on my first 10 day meditation retreat and had life changing insight that turned my life around. From that point on I got really into meditation and was sitting a lot and was the happiest I had ever been. Then in about October 2019, I started to experience a sort of existential crisis. This insight I previously had took a shift into a realization of the meaninglessness of everything in the world and I went through a six month period which is called in the meditative world (The dark night of the soul). Basically, all I wanted to do at this point was go to a monastery and live as a monk and meditate. Needless to say I quit my job and went on a 1 month retreat in March. However, because of Covid it only went 2 weeks and they sent us home. At this point, I figured I have a lot of time and I'll wait out this virus (So I thought lol). So I continued practiced intensively at home, sitting anywhere from 5-7 hours a day. I was also really pushing my sits practicing what is called "strong determination sitting", where I would sit for 2 hours without moving and putting up with the pain. I did a lot of these. By May 2020, I started to feel pain in my right pectoralis major with a tender lump but ignored it. It wasn't so bad. I continued practicing a lot and kept forcing sits through the summer. Then in July 2020, I went on another 10 day retreat that opened up for registration. This is when things got BAD. About half way into the retreat the pain in the right pec got so bad. Unbelievably painful, as if something was going to burst out of my chest. I thought I was going to have to leave the retreat but ended up finishing it. At this point I knew something was wrong. In September 2020, I went to the doctor and got X-rays and Ultrasounds but they showed nothing. Everything looked fine, except for the hard marble under my skin and constant nagging pain. I then learned about trigger points and realized that this was a muscle knot that had developed. I have seen every doctor under the sun. I got acupuncture, massage, dry needling, trigger point injections, I have been seeing a physical therapist, cupping. Nothing has done anything except add temporary relief. I have consistently had these large muscle knots under the skin on the right side of my chest. This is the only place where I have deep, aching, nagging, shooting pain on my body and I can physically feel these marbles in there. I have been left hopeless reading so many cases of people saying what I believe this to be Myofascial pain syndrome, to have no cure and people just suffer through it. Originally I thought it was my breathing that caused it. All of this meditation focusing on the breath, perhaps I was overworking certain muscles, especially because it got so much worse at a meditation retreat, so I thought for sure it was connected to something with meditation. I soon rejected that as it didn't seem to hold true. Then I figured it must be the posture that did it. I heard slouching causes the chest muscles to tighten, so I have stopped sitting meditation and now meditate lying down in fear that my posture is the cause. I have been doing this for some but not much has changed. I have felt defeated and upset and then today I ran across Dr. Sarno and this TMS community. After reading a little bit about it and reflecting on my experience to how it developed; I am wondering if this is the cause.

    I ask anyone on this forum who took the time to read my story, if this sounds like it could be the reason for this myofascial pain syndrome that has developed? Is it consistent with what TMS says? Thank you so much!!
  2. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    Everything you describe is TMS...conditioned response to triggers (certain movements or activities), onset of pain linked to an emotional event (dark night of the soul), the fact that doctors see nothing catastrophic going on physically. The latent undercurrent of your post is that there's a history of anxiety (and possibly trauma). I'm assuming that the spiritual/meditative quest you embarked on was spurred on by emotional reasons (existential crisis) to begin with. There's nothing wrong with meditation and it's a great mindfulness practice, but when taken to the extreme that you describe, (even considering joining a monastery and becoming a monk), I have to question whether there is something you are avoiding?? Your life? Your self? What is the REAL issue underneath all of this? If you are spending most of your waking hours in a blissed out meditative trance, what time is left over for interpersonal connection and other activities?? Some people choose the contemplative/spiritual life (monks and cloistered nuns for example) because they feel the call and usually they are praying for others and working in a community. Is that your true path or simply a distraction from life? The pain is learned pain, and serves as a distraction of the brain that is trying to "protect" you from threatening emotions.
  3. Hi thank you for your response!

    Yes, I do have a call for the contemplative life. The quest was spurred by insight into the nature of reality. So the motivation is joy and meaning. However, during that dark night period, a meditator is prone to unpleasant phenomena and this caused a sense of exaggerated spiritual urgency. Currently, I have reached a sense of balance and been living a normal lay life with a job, however I still have aspirations to ordain sometime in the future when the time is right. However during that period last year, I was certainly overdoing it and felt an xtreme feeling of repulsion to the societal life. I don't feel that way anymore but I do find the most meaning in the contemplative lifestyle. I think now I'm dealing with the aftermath of that period of forcing and overdoing. What would you suggest for my current moves on this pain?
  4. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think there may be some inner conflicts regarding the decision to join that kind of life. It's a huge decision that requires a lot of self inquiry. Usually it entails renouncing worldly things and relationships. There is a great deal of sacrifice involved. My advice would be to not rush and take your time before committing to anything. Figure out the reasons why you want to go in this direction and how it gives you meaning. Only you can decide what is right for you but usually monasteries and convents and other groups have a whole process of "discernment". The fact that you are experiencing physical symptoms is an indicator that there are still unprocessed emotions, as well as fears and doubts. The pain and TMS is merely a symptom. This is an emotional journey and in your case possibly a spiritual one as well. Maybe sitting for 7 hours a day is not you cup of tea and there are religious orders (groups) that are structured differently. If you look at nuns for ex., some are cloistered and mostly pray behind closed gates, whereas others are teachers, nurses, missionaries and baseball coaches or whatever. You'll have to figure out where you belong and that involves being true to yourself.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2021

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