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Debilitating sciatica, won't go away

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by rgm82, Mar 9, 2020.

  1. rgm82

    rgm82 New Member

    This is my first post...I've dealt with on again/off again tms for 20 years, fortunately mostly off but lately it's been real bad and exceptionally persistent and I'm hoping somebody here can offer me any kind of advice to help...there are no TMS doctors in my area I've even been able to find so I've always dealt with this on my own and that's worked OK until recently, I was hoping to post in the Ask a TMS Therapist section but I didn't have the posting privileges so I guess I'll try here.

    I had a sports injury at 16, herniated lumbar disc with subsequent sciatic pain, I beat that with p.t. but the pain would come back intermittently over the years and eventually I discovered sarno's book and never really had much issue again. Occasionally I'd have a recurrence of sciatic pain, but I never concerned myself too much over it, it would generally be pretty mild and would go away on it's own, I just decided I wouldn't alter my activities in any way and it would eventually be fine.

    This time has been different though, a little over a month ago I threw my back out lifting weights. This happens every now and then, and I never worry too much, it's all muscle pain, I just rest it for a few days and it's fine but this time it was real bad. I took some time away from the gym, came back a week later, and hurt it worse. Took another week off, then went back to work - I have a physical job with lots of walking around and lifting stuff, and it got even worse.

    It started out as entirely muscular issues, spasms, seizing up, etc., and I had very limited range of motion. Eventually all the muscle/range of motion problems cleared up but then it morphed into basically the worst sciatica I've ever experienced, it was so bad for a while I couldn't walk or even stand for longer than a couple minutes. I was limping, constantly having to take breaks from walking to sit down or crouch, taking loads of anti-inflammatories hoping it would calm down - I know giving the physical element weight in theory just feeds the strategy but it was so painful I didn't really have any recourse but to subject myself to it, anything that offered even mild relieve I just had to do. I grew very concerned because I've always had sciatica on and off but it's never been more than a nuisance and this time it's been debilitating, when it would hit it was like a shot to the kidneys, it just dropped me in my tracks wherever I was.

    I've been taking it easy at home the last week, reading up on dealing with the pain strategy for the umpteenth time, desperately trying to convince myself it's psychological but it just won't take. It's been a little better since I haven't been going to the gym or to work. I know that if it is pure TMS this line of thinking is just feeding the beast, but I just can't shake the feeling I might have done some actual physical damage this time, I can't stand up straight half the time, my spine just won't straighten all the way and I find that very disconcerting.

    I do have some psychological factors that could be at play, a few big life changes that have happened recently as well as a few major decisions coming up, so anxiety about all that could definitely be an element at play...but it's also never been this severe or physically incapacitating either so I really don't know what to think, kind of in uncharted waters...anybody have any similar experiences at any point? Any bits of advice or new strategies to offer?
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  2. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

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  3. rgm82

    rgm82 New Member

    Thanks for the reply, but I think I'm going to skip the book...I'm not totally sure, but I think I've probably read that one, I think I've probably read every book ever written on back pain and sarno's is the only one that's ever helped. I've also been doing yoga, I've been practicing off and on for 10 years, I had been doing it every morning for the past 6 months but I can't do it now because it aggravates the sciatica (or possibly my brain has me convinced that's the case so close enough).

    As far as an exercise program goes I'll give it a shot, I'm seeing a chiropractor tomorrow and I'm sure he'll have some p.t. for me to try but I'm always hesitant to fully jump into physical therapy, this always goes the same way for me: I injure myself, I go see a specialist, I spend many months and a lot of $ on a p.t. program, it accomplishes little, possibly makes the pain worse, I get real frustrated, start getting pissy with my doctors, quit the program, and eventually decide it's tms and the pain goes away on it's own but not before I spend a little time wallowing in utter misery and being the worst version of myself. I'm really hoping I can find a way to skip all the stuff in the middle and go straight to a healthier healing program, but apparently my dick of an unconscious really needs me to hit rock bottom every now and then before it release me from the pain cycle...this only happens once every few years, but it sure is getting old and I would really like to find a way out of it.

    Further exacerbating the issue is the fact that I have a physical job and I need my body to be functional to make money, so often times when I go through these little pain cycles I find myself missing work, and of course I need to work to make money but also it's a union job so more importantly I need to work to keep my health insurance, so then I start to panic a little when I miss too much work, which creates a fun little negative emotion feed back loop and the condition hence begins to feed itself...it takes a while sometimes to break out of this sorry state of affairs.

    It might help a little if I could actually talk to my chiro or any health specialist for that matter about all this, but I feel like if I tell him I'm 80% sure this is all in my head he's probably either going to look at me like I'm cuckoo, or he'll just say "then what the hell are you paying me for?"
    For those of us without tms-knowledgable doctors in our local area this is a terribly lonely condition to suffer from, which may be part of the problem...I don't know if I really came on this forum to do anything other than bitch about my pain but who knows, that may be helpful, there isn't really anybody else in my real life I can talk about this when pain starts flaring up, nobody I personally know is aware of it.
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  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hello @rgm82, and you're better off posting here, because no one is responding to Ask A Therapist anymore (I'm lobbying to deactivate it, in fact)

    Anyway, our disclaimer is always to say that if you have any doubt about a new symptom, it's best to get it checked out, partly because we are not medical professionals here, and partly because you can't really make progress with TMS if you have any doubt.

    I am getting a whiff of overthinking when I read your posts. Overthinking is just another distraction created by your brain to keep you stuck in rumination instead of dealing with your negative emotions.

    The following thread from 2015 is about knee pain, but the overall discussion about belief and healing is relevant, and there's a post by me about a very debilitating back spasm incident I had two years after I discovered Dr Sarno and TMS:
    https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/legitimate-injury-to-the-knee.9446/ (Legitimate injury to the knee?)
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  5. rgm82

    rgm82 New Member

    Well I know in theory that's true, but in the past getting checked out has lead me astray...I'm sure many people have a similar story, but 10 years ago when I was going through a really bad recurrence of sciatic/low back pain I had been seeing a physical therapist for several months and was getting really frustrated that it wasn't working, and she recommended that I go ahead and have an MRI done just to see what the current condition of the spine was.

    So I did and the results came back and she told me that same disc I had herniated was now completely degenerated and that the whole lumbar region was in pretty terrible shape and that there was legit structural damage. I was really upset when I heard the news and kind of obsessing over the diagnosis but a few weeks later I read Sarno's book for the first time and was completely fine within days in spite of the diagnosis and the imaging, and I didn't have any back or sciatic pain again for a very long time.

    A few years later though I had an opposite experience - tore a hamstring, did a bunch of months of p.t., didn't see any improvement, got really frustrated again, finally got an MRI done and they told me it looked fine, all healed up with no lasting damage so boom, tms thinking kicked in immediately and the pain went away...so I guess my point is getting checked out is kind of a roll of the dice, isn't it? Could be the right thing, could unnecessarily become an obstacle and delay the healing process, right? I mean I saw a chiropractor this morning and he was like "probable disc herniation, I prescribe chiro and p.t. but I have no idea why the heavy dose of corticosteroids you've been taking didn't work, those are super strong pain killers so that's weird" so you know, same old story, no real answers there.

    I think what I'm mostly getting at is I really want to find a way to at least talk to and get some advice from a doctor that's familiar with this disorder, because I don't feel like I'm ever entirely going to trust the diagnosis from a doctor who doesn't know anything about it, they're always just going to say pain killers, p.t. and chiro, and that treatment has never gotten me all that far in the past. That's why I was really hoping to be able to take advantage of the Ask a Therapist section, but if that's no longer an option is there any other way I can get in touch with a TMS doctor and describe what's going on, either online or over the phone, since as far as I know there isn't one in my area?
    I live in Austin TX btw if that's helpful to anyone, I don't know of any tms doctors around here but maybe someone else does.
  6. Avnita Suri

    Avnita Suri New Member

    Hi @rgm82 , I'm wondering how the pain is? If it's still bad (and you're looking for a TMS doctor, so believe it's emotional) then I suggest the following:
    Have a think what's been going on in your life just before the symptoms flared up - that would have triggered it off. Can you sort it out in real life, such as confront the other person involved, forgive them, make your mind to be at peace etc... You see, we can enjoy good health until we get triggered off by something in our LIVES. I believe working on the emotional (root cause/s) is the best way to coming out of pain.

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