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Day 1 - Facial pain

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Eric, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. Eric

    Eric New Member

    Today I started with the TMS Recovery Program. I am 49 years old, live in The Netherlands and have facial pain (TMJ?) for about 5 years now. I went to many doctors and had various scans in the past including an MRI and no real cause was found for my pain. I have had various treatments, including physiotherapy, acupuncture, dental treatments, psychological treatments, drugs and chiropraxie but none of these worked or only gave little relieve for a very short time. I have pain whole day and lost my job about 4 years ago because of the financial crisis. My pain started about the time the restructering of our company started. Further, I now know that I have worked too long (20 years) in a too stressful job for me. With the pain I feel now, I think it is impossible for me to work again, which makes me even more stressed and frustrated. I really do not know what to do with my life anymore, except from suffering pain. My wife also suffers from this. Strange thing is that when I went on holidays the past years, my pain reduced from a 7 to a 3 and was much better to handle. I cannot get control over it, however, when I am back at home in daily life and expierence the stress and fear of the pain itself, not having work/money, how to take care of my children and wife, etc. I have read a lot about TMS now and found a lot of recognition in it. I almost have all traits that are described on this website for people having TMS. I also believe that my pain may have a psychological origin, but find it difficult how to handle this. My doubts and fear are that the program may not work for me, since it is more for people with backpain. Neither did I find any success story from people that healed from facial pain through this program.
  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Eric, I have the same problem, and by turns, have had the same doubts as you. I've reached the point where I know in my bones that my TMJ is TMS and is therefore psychogenic. It took me a long time to accept this deeply. Intellectually the theory made sense but I couldn't shake my fears that it is physical. This is a natural part of the healing process, many people speak of it before acceptance settles over them.

    The programs here are not specifically for back pain, they really are appropriate for all chronic pain, irrespective of where it is located. I do understand the way you feel about this though because back pain dominates the forum and it can leave one wondering whether the process will really work. You're right, TMJ/trigeminal neuralgia success stories seem non-existent but there is one woman on the other tms forum who has overcome it. Follow this link, read down till you find 'wavy soul'. In this post she offers a short version of her healing but you may find more by searching around.


    Anyway, welcome here. You're in good company.
  3. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Eric, I have had back pain in the past but my latest chronic pain condition is occipital neuralgia. I sometimes have numbness, pain in the right side of my face, teeth... mostly a constant headache on the back of the right side of my head, sometimes wrapping around to be back of my eye, sometimes numbness in my hands, pain in my shoulder... but I have also had other pain conditions such as bladder spasms, plantar faciitis, back pain, anxiety.... I am not a recovery story yet but since I started working on the TMS, the pain has moved all over the place, sometimes to old conditions I hadn't felt in years. So I think anytime you have a chronic pain condition that the doctors can't figure out the exact cause(and sometime even when they think they know such as ruptured discs) then it probably is TMS, especially if you recognize yourself in the personality traits and profiles.
  4. Eric

    Eric New Member

    Hi Plum and Anne. Thank you for your replies. It is the end of the day here and I have more pain now. My pain is located near both temples and just before/below my left ear. The pain before my ear is similar to a toothache. Because of the chronic pain I also have fears and feel depressed sometimes, which I believe amplifies the pain. It is good to see that there also are success stories for facial pain and I will continue with the program in the hope that I will find some relieve. I also believe my pain has a psychogenic origin and can think of different negative life events and traits that have contributed to the origin of my pain. It will be difficult, however, to explore what really triggered my pain. I assume both of you also followed the program. What did it bring for you you till now?
  5. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Eric, I have been working with a couple of therapists and I did the book version of Schubiner's Unlearn Your Pain and also Monte Hueftle's The Master Practice. Currently I am working with a Somatic Experiencing Therapist. I have been working on the TMS for about 5 months. I wish I could say I was pain free, but I have had good days and I am beginning to function beyond my pain obsession on many days. I am starting to think about a future again and feeling hopeful that I will be pain free at some point. I know months ago when all the various books and forums were recommending doing things that made you feel happy, I was having a very hard time connecting with what that might be because nothing made me very happy other than finding ways to numb and distract myself from the pain. I could not even sit up and meditate, it was so uncomfortable to just sit in my body. So, although my progress has been slow, I am beginning to truly trust that things will work out and my life will be richer in the end. You don't have to figure out the precise origin of your pain. You just need to be willing to explore and think psychological. How are you feeling emotionally, not where is the pain physically. I have become hyper aware of anxious, negative thought patterns that are contributing to my symptoms, but changing, redirecting my thinking has been challenging. I always do recommend keeping an evidence sheet of anything you notice that might confirm the pain is from TMS. I found that extremely helpful.
  6. Eric

    Eric New Member

    Anne. Thank you for informing me of the progress you made so far. English is not my native language so it is not always perfect. Further, I find it difficult to express myself anyhow, which I believe is also one of the symptoms that may have lead to the situation I am currently in. I recognize a lot in your story such as the pain obsession. Today I had to complete in the "program commitment" what my favorite activities are/were. I find it difficult to do so and really have to think about it because I do not know. It also makes me realize that I did not have that many other activities in the past, but to work. Now the pain has come into my life, the only thing I want to have is less or no pain at all but I am five years further now and made no real progress, except for feeling more hopeless and depressed, and the pain is still there. I realize that in order to try and become pain free I have to pay more attention to my emotions and I hope the program will help me with that. I did attend a psychosomatic program last year and already feel my emotions better now, but most of the times I do not know what to do with it so it does not bring me any further. I will also make an evidence sheet as you recommended although my thoughts already say right now that I can also find many arguments that the pain is not from TMS. Probably because we are used to explain pain physically and I think to much. Really difficult. Hopefully the evidence sheet will help.
  7. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, of course, we can come up with lots of evidence for why the pain could be structural. This is where our minds have naturally been focused and is part of the pain distraction. The purpose of the evidence sheet is to start gathering evidence to help us think in a different direction. Also, start becoming aware, perhaps through journaling or just taking notes, on what your most common thought patterns are. What is you most typical thought response to things that happen? When something happens that is not very positive, rejection, failure, perceived slight or inadequacy, how do you respond? Do you take immediate responsibility and blame yourself? Do you think that this is further proof that things will never work out the way you want? These are just simple examples, it could be something completely different. Just notice. And then notice how those thoughts are making you feel. This is the first step toward change. Ultimately you want to be kind and forgiving toward yourself. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Let me know how it goes.
  8. Eric

    Eric New Member

    It sounds simple, but is so difficult! The pain distracts me all time, and it is a big job to think psychological. I do believe it can be TMS, since I have/had many stressors, of which I did not know how to deal with these emotionally and just let these pass. In fact I still do not know what to do with these past events and stresses. On the other hand, many people experience stressors during life and they do not develop chronic pain. I will start with journaling and try to become more aware of my common thought patterns. I also started with an evidence sheet, which hopefully will help me to think in a different direction. I will let you now how it goes.
  9. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, it is true, not everyone who has a lot of stress suffers from TMS. It is not the stress itself, but how we process and deal with it. The syndrome is as complex as our brains are and the specific causes as varied as each of our individual experience. But there are many commonalties you will discover. Many of us think we know how we feel, but knowing is in the head and feeling is in our bodies. When we are not accustomed to allowing ourselves to feel our emotions without judgement, then we constrict and repress. I have always been a very practical and production minded person. If I am very angry with someone, I tend to do an internal analysis of how productive it would be to allow myself to be angry, how it might effect the relationship, what the consequences might be. It has taken a lot of practice for me to stop and allow my anger, or other emotions, to just be. I don't have to change anything, or fix the "problem" just not stop myself from feeling whatever it is. That doesn't mean I take my anger out on anyone around whenever I am feeling it. It is enough to be internally aware, write about it, mentally acknowledge the feeling and accept it whatever it is. I have a lot of anxiety so it is particularly difficult when it comes to fear. That makes me want to panic and flee. But how do we run from ourselves? My anxiety has gotten much better now that I am learning to accept and acknowledge my emotions. This is what I think is a big part of thinking psychological, noticing how you are actually feeling and exploring it, either through journaling or contemplation. You don't have to fix it, just don't control, repress or stop the natural communication that goes on between your body and your mind. The truly tricky part of this is that if we have been interpreting our pain as evidence that there is something seriously wrong with our body than we are only perpetuating the syndrome. The pain is only a distraction to avoid experiencing our emotions. Pain is not an emotion. "How are you feeling?" "I am feeling a lot of pain still.." No, that is not how you are feeling. We are so much more than the pain and you have to really push to find yourself beyond the pain. That is where the healing is.
    Ellen likes this.
  10. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wow, Anne! So much wisdom contained in your post. This brings it all together for me. Thanks!

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