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Dealing with skeptical friends and family

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by MindBodyPT, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi all!

    I'm a few weeks into my discovery of TMS and am doing quite well. My back pain is very low at this point and mostly seems to occur on a particularly stressful/emotional day or moment for me...I ignore it and it goes away. I'm working through the SEP, reading TMS books and journaling often.

    The roadblock i've hit is mostly with certain family/close friends and explaining TMS, for those i've chosen to talk to about it. A few people are very receptive/supportive but i've encountered lots of skepticism.

    This is particularly challenging for me since i'm a PT and get lots of questions from friends/family about body related issues. I'm finding it increasingly difficult to give the "traditional" explanation for tendinitis, back pain etc.

    How did you guys deal with skeptical friends and family? Would love to hear stories and advice. Thanks!
     
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    There have been many good threads on this topic in the past. Try a few search terms in the search box in the upper right corner, and I'm sure you'll find some good advice there.
     
  3. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks! I'll search for this. Seems like a common issue for folks so helps to know i'm not alone :)
     
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Also, look in the Ask-A-Therapist sub-forum. I remember a question or two on this topic.
     
  5. Alexis1984

    Alexis1984 New Member

    Hi -- Well, here is something interesting. My family includes many doctors and I live in a city with two major (MAJOR) teaching hospitals in a tiny space. Basically, everyone knows a lot of doctors. It has been rare that a medical professional who I have discussed this with personally was anything but supportive. I think the concept of TMS as a whole, the idea that psychotherapy is the answer, makes them a little skittish. But if I say, "Look, I am pretty sure I am getting these spasms because I am tense and anxious, not because of my discs." They all say "Oh, yeah. We could literally never, ever say that to you in the office but yes. YES." My best friends fiance is an ortho surgeon and he has told me many times he would never recommend back surgery to anyone outside of an emergency situation. He has always said surgery is the patient's choice, not mine. I am incredibly lucky that I had three surgeons at my New Years Eve party and all of them were drunk and nodding as I was telling them that I am very sure my pain is anxiety related. You might need to short cut the conversation and say "My pain seems to be more related to my tension and anxiety." And leave it at that. Really, that is all they need to know. I certainly don't love telling people the root causes of my anxiety. Anxiety is one of those catch-all mental health terms that for some reason, everyone is ok with. My line now is,

    "Man, surgery is really risky. The doctor doesn't think it will help me because I do not have leg pain (which is true). I have noticed I feel better when I deal with my anxiety. (Which is true). My doctor doesn't see a reason why I can't do the things I was doing before I got the MRI. (which is fudging it a little since I saw like a zillion doctors, and typically, the women said "do whatever you want" and the men said "stop running, stop lifting, stop walking." -- yes, a doctor told me to stop walking.)

    You know your body and I think even without using the term TMS you can tell people that you have noticed that fear of pain enhances pain and often times the body will focus in on pain to avoid other stressors.

    I'm sorry people are giving you a hard time. It is probably the last thing you need! But like everyone says, keep doing your thing and its great that you are a PT. With this experience you will likely be able to help so many people. I wish my PT, who was seeing me when my Dad died, would have mentioned that maybe the excruciating back pain was caused/made worse by my grief.
     
    JanAtheCPA, MindBodyPT and Trellis like this.
  6. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    That is awesome to hear! I haven't really brought it up with any doctors but i'm glad to hear you had a positive experience. Thanks for the phrasing suggestion :)
     

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