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Desperate to resume exercising - Is it safe?

Discussion in 'Mindbody Blogs (was Practitioner's Corner)' started by Shana, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. Shana

    Shana New Member

    After reading Dr. Sarno’s Healing Back Pain approximately two years ago, I’ve slowly freed myself from (self-diagnosed) TMS. No more orthotics, lace-up shoes, compression socks, ankle braces, knee braces. No more “compressed ulnar nerve,” “very high arches,” “constochondria,” and multiple other “diagnoses.” No more incapacitating back or neck spasms every few months.

    However, 2 weeks ago, after a visit to my parents (which my therapist and I thought, apparently incorrectly, could be a part of my emotional healing process), I was in the shower after exercise when I leaned over, heard a “click” — and was in complete agony. Medically, my symptoms indicate a herniated disc. Despite my doctor’s suggestion, I have not agreed to do a CT scan or physio, because I KNOW this is TMS, and I know that doing so will only perpetuate the problem.

    But… a tiny part of me (no doubt aided by my well-meaning friends and doctors) keeps saying, “what if?” What if it really IS a herniated disc? I just read an article about someone with a neglected herniated disc that created permanent damage. A nurse friend insists I could become paralyzed if I don’t properly rule out a disc problem.

    I spent week 1 taking ibubrofen, week 2 without drugs. I’ve been doing lots of walking, both because I feel better after loosening up and because I am quite desperate for exercise. After 2 weeks, I finally begged my doctor for Arcoxia (strong anti-inflammatory and pain killer), figuring that if I could be pain-free for a few days, I can stop being afraid of the pain and move on. I’m far more comfortable, but certain positions still trigger intense pain.

    With this medication, I would like to push past the pain, past the fear of the pain. I would like to begin jogging again. Exercise is the best form of therapy I have, the time when I feel most alive, the most free — and now it has been taken away from me.

    Is it safe to resume exercise?

    (I’d be happy to visit a TMS doctor, but I do not live in the US or UK.)
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hey Shana and Welcome to the Peer Network,

    I think it is a positive that you have been able to use the TMS approach to recover before. I remember the quote from Monte Hueftle - posted in the I'm a TMSer thread by Enrique - that if you are a TMS person then 99.999999% of all these other aches/pains/strains and other mind body symptoms are TMS . We are not docs, so I don't really know if it is or is not TMS. But I do know with TMSers, almost all of these chronic conditions and pains are TMS. In the end, it is up to you to make the final decision. It does sound like you were going through a very stressful time, which most likely was a trigger for your TMS.

    When we visit someone, especially family, we are put in a position where we have to put our own needs or desires aside at times. This can be infuriating to our unconscious, which wants to do what it wants to do. The stress from these visits can grow even more if you are visiting someone, like a parent, where you have had difficult times in the past. Returning home can force you to relive some of the old memories, events, and stresses. As your deep feelings about these events start to arise, you begin to repress them because they are viewed as unaccpetable. Therefore, TMS symptoms arise. Visiting family can be stressful, and there is a good chance this triggered something in you that led to the development to TMS symptoms. The good part is that you can recover from this.

    In terms of exercise, my standard thought is to do is as soon as you can and as soon as you are comfortable with it. Like you, being active and exercising is a great form of therapy, and is what really helped me recover. You could try to start small and build up from there. I would also recommend reading the link above about Enrique's story. It is a great example of a TMSer with a relapse and being active again.

    Dr. Schubiner actually responded to a previous Q&A response to a similar question as yours. The question was How do I know that it's safe to resume normal activities?

    Dr. Schubiner responded with the following:

  3. Shana

    Shana New Member

    Extremely helpful and very reassuring. Thanks! I have begun exercising despite the pain, and I must say I felt twice as good after than I did all week.
    Susan, Forest and veronica73 like this.
  4. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    That is why I recommend it so much. I always felt that I gained so much more confidence when I was active and exercised. I know for me one of my biggest problems was overcoming the believe that I was damaged, fragile, and injured. Of course, this was just because I was thinking physical at the time. When I began exercising all of those negative thoughts began to go away, and I started to feel so much better.
  5. Michael Reinvented

    Michael Reinvented Peer Supporter

    A question which would present itself as one of my lingering doubts about TMS Diagnosis. I accept that in the abesence of any disease my Chronic pain is 100 % TMS. However, recent weeks I have encountered 2 people who volunteered that they take the "edge" off their musculo-skeletal Chronic pain and function fine by using 6-8 paracetamol/day. It's part of their daily diet.

    Why the differentation in pain levels? Do these people suffer TMS of a "lower grade" variety? It seems that this is the case and yet some people are bed ridden with symptoms. Is this just a case of the latter having a much more toxic subconscious?

    I imagine that Dr Sarno's protocol would apply to anyone in Chronic pain, even if it's a mild version.
  6. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    TMS affects everyone in some manner or another. Some people's personality may not be as prone to developing major TMS like that with goodist, perfectionsist, and the obsession personality. Is there a chance that some people can manage their symptoms by taking pain pills? Sure, but the main reason they work is due to a placebo.
  7. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    What I would like to know are the exact statistics regarding people with a so-called 'herniated disk' who have become paralyzed due to their condition? I know. I know. I've heard those dire warnings before, even from a Stanford doctor, who was told he'd risk paralysis if he didn't get a back operation. However, I notice that today - since he retired, didn't get the operation, and moved to Hawaii - he is putting in hundred mile days on his road bike again. Still having aches and pains to be sure, but still a long, long way from being paralyzed in a bed on feeder tubes. My take on it? Warnings about paralysis from nerve compression are largely medical mythology. No doubt that if your spine is crushed in a car accident (or a long fall) nerve and spinal cord damage can result in paralysis. But what about lower back pain diagnosed as due to a herniated disk? How many people with that diagnosis wind up in hospital beds. In my own experience, none. Instead, it's like Dr. Sarno says, people with that diagnosis stay in a limbo of recurring pain episodes that result in their living in fear of doing something that will set "it" off again. As Sarno also points out, the greatest problem these people have is fear of physical activity that might trigger a recurrence of a major back pain attack. That's what really limits them, not the pain, but the fear of its return.

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