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Day 1- piriformis and low back pain

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Kris, Apr 27, 2015.

  1. Kris

    Kris New Member

    Hello! Today is my first day posting on the site, but I discovered three days ago that I have TMS. I 've been battling what has been termed piriformis syndrome for close to a year. It started with just some nagging pain after sitting at my desk for hours on end while working on an intense project at work last summer. The pain was mostly in my piriformis, but made my lower back also feel very tight. I am prone to anxiety, so it was just enough pain to make me feel like I had to be "careful" of how far I pushed my body. I began a very diligent process of stretching several times a day, having acupuncture, and just generally being very careful about how I moved my body. I got very busy and the pain just kind of lingered in the background, but I felt like I was doing a good job overcoming it. In the fall, while constantly bending to clean up leaves in the yard (and contorting my back as I "guarded" it every time I bent over and straightened up) I felt that I had a minor flare-up. Once again, diligent and frequent stretching, along with weekly or bi-weekly acupuncture. I had my first attack of what I now understand to be acute TMS right before Christmas. It scared me, but I was able to ice, stretch, and treat with acupuncture until it became tolerable. At this point, it had never really gone away since it first began, but I was mostly managing to keep it in the background, while it created a nagging anxiety for me. By this time, I began to negatively associate sitting with pain. When I sat for long periods of time for work or while traveling, I had an overall ache and often shooting pains in my hips, lower back, high hamstring, and piriformis. I began to fear sitting. I told my acupuncture doctor, "sitting is the enemy." Finally, in February, while traveling for work, things came to a head and I had my first full-blown acute TMS attack. I had stretched in my hotel room after a long day of sitting in the office, and I was packing my bags to leave the next day when I could feel my body contorting rapidly and sharply to the left. The dominant side of my body- the left- where I had all the pain was pulling on the rest of my torso, and I was immediately in significant pain. I went to sleep that night knowing the next day would be torture, and I was right. I woke up barely bake to walk. I managed to shower and get to the office, but it was all I could do to pretend I was a functioning human being in my meeting and avoid crying. In the cab on the way to the airport I called my husband and told him I didn't know how I would get through my flight home. It was the most excruciating day I'd ever experienced and I was truly traumatized from it. I googled and became convinced I had a psoas issue, along with my piriformis issue. The next day, I saw my regular doctor, who leans towards more natural healing, and he couldn't get my back muscles to release, so he gave me a Novocain injection in my back. It helped to ease some of the pain, but by now I was scared and traumatized, so I lived with pretty severe pain for a couple more weeks. I was in a state of fear and panic, and I just couldn't relax my mind or body. I still had spasms after that first injection, so the next week he injected my piriformis to help it relax, and once again I had minor relief, but still suffered with pain. It was about at week three that I was slowly walking on the treadmill and doing gentle stretching without significant pain. I started to see a chiro who specialized in ART. She agreed with my regular doc that there was nothing structurally wrong with me and it was just "stubborn muscles" that were in an unhealthy pattern. She made me feel better by reassuring me, like my regular doctor that I WOULD get better. She talked about nerve entrapment with my piriformis and sciatic, said I probably had "dead butt syndrome" and muscle imbalances as a result. As time went on, I hit a plateau and both doctors felt a course of prednisone to hit the inflammation was in order. I felt better after the prednisone, but still not 100%. While on prednisone, I began working on strengthening my core and glutes to address the "dead butt syndrome" and the so-called muscle imbalance. I was doing great and deemed myself 95% healed until this past Wednesday... That morning, I was patting myself on the back for how far I had come, and my control freak personality was proud for "beating" this. However, the incredible stress that I had been not processing well for the last week came back and knocked me down a peg...or ten. By Wednesday afternoon, my previous gleeful state was replaced with a feeling of dread. Pain was creeping in, and fast. Not so ironically, I had a plane to catch the next day- something I had come to associate with pain. By the time I woke up Thursday morning, I was in another acute TMS attack. This time, I had the presence of mind to know I had done everything right and nothing wrong- so how could this be happening?! That's when some lucky googling brought me to Dr. Sarno and TMS. I bought the audiobook for Healing Back Pain and listened to it on my flights. I'm currently still dealing with a great deal of pain from my acute attack that makes me look like an arthritic 90 year-old woman when I get up from a standing or lounging position. I know I can't start the full program until I am past this attack and I can move a little more freely, but I'm starting as much as I can now so that I can begin the healing process. I know in my heart that I have TMS, so now I just need to figure out how to conquer it.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Kris. I am so sorry you are in pain, but very glad that you have learned about TMS and have begun the SEP program.
    I will lead you to healing. It's also good that you don't expect a miracle recovery. I sometimes doubt anyone has had that,'
    but Forest, who hosts this web site, said it happened that fast to him, once he believed 100 percent that his pain was TMS.

    You seem to have been and still are under considerable work stress. That alone can cause TMS. Many of us, I included,
    have a stressful job with a book publisher, but for economic reasons, I put up with the workload and his often impossible demands.
    He is a perfectionist's perfectionist, but I have found that he is often careless.

    Back to you, take your time with the SEP. You may not want to work on each day's suggested activity. Do them at your own pace.
    And don't spend more than half an hour on each activity. Spend more time doing what you enjoy and not thinking about your pain.

    You have begun a wonderful journey of self-discovery.
    Come back here often, daily or even more, if you want. We are all here for you.

    Tell your husband for me that I think he's great for giving you such support. Love is a great healer.
  3. Kris

    Kris New Member

    Thank you Walt. My initial joy at knowing that it's TMS and not "piriformis syndrome" "dead butt syndrome" "shortened psoas" and "muscle imbalances" has been dampened the past couple days over confusion and frustration regarding what I do with that information to heal. Being an anxious person, I've always struggled with calming my busy mind, and this pain is giving me more anxiety than usual. I do have a demanding job, but I actually get a bit of a charge out of the work because I like being in demand because of my talents. My anxiety is 100% centered on my pain right now, so I feel like I'm in a vicious circle. Anxiety = pain, pain = anxiety.
    You are correct about my darling hubby. He doesn't have the same struggle with anxiety, so I'm sure he can't fully understand the grip that anxiety has over a person. However, he is my biggest supporter, cheerleader, builder-upper (I just made that word up!), and soother. He's always there with encouraging words and a loving hug. He, along with our dog, is my biggest blessing in life.

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