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Excrutiating back and neck pain......Need help.

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by TheEagle, Apr 5, 2015.

  1. TheEagle

    TheEagle Newcomer

    Here is my story:

    Lower right side back pain starts in May of 2010. 2009 to 2010 was a stressful year, bought a foreclosed house and fixing it (I enjoyed it, or so I think), also doing IT side projects as well as keeping a full time job, which I was very comfortable. Pain starts slowly after I did a few simple exercises at the gym. I saw PCP and followed the usual routine for a while, rest, muscle relaxants, PT etc, with minimal success. I tried chiropractic as well. I was trying to work out and it would send it in great pain. That's the beginning of frustration, fear, and more pain. A few months later I did an MRI overseas while on a visit. At that point I knew nothing about the back. Radiologist said I had a herniated disc and it scared me. When I came back to the US, I saw an orthopedist who set me down and showed me there was no herniated disc. More NSAIDs and muscle relaxants and PT. I went back a few months later after trying yoga at a gym and he spoke of a possible 'facet syndrome'.

    In the summer of 2011, I changed jobs thinking my job was stressful (as had to work during the night sometimes) and got an 8-5 job at a hospital with hopes that I will get better care of by having more direct access to doctors. The job was a mismatch, much more stressful than the previous one. My anxiety levels went sky high as I was frantically trying to find a solution to my problem. I got cortisone injection shots, which did virtually nothing. I almost got a thermal ablation of my nerves. It would work only temporarily. My frustration grew. Did more XRAYs, MRI's, they showed quite normal. Later that year my wife and I got pregnant so that added stress. I started taking different kinds of medicine to reduce the pain levels. I believe (need to verify) at some point I had taken a benzo and stopped in abruptly after it stopped working. Then the withdrawal from it and/or other drugs kicked in - typical what I thought neurological symptoms. Automatic system went haywire. I became sleep deprived. I could not sleep almost at all. Saw a couple neurologists and rheumatologists, physiatrists, a couple more PCPs, did a sleep study, did a bunch of blood and urine tests including a Lyme disease test, an EMG. All seemed normal besides the sleep study but of course they couldn't tell me what was wrong.

    In 2012 I believe, I discovered John Sarno's "Healing back pain". I read it but it just didn't make sense to me at first. I continued my visits to the doctors and the PT and chiropractic visits while my frustration and thereby depression and pain grew. However, I started thinking psychologically. I realized most of my whole life had been flight or fight with a lot of emotional baggage and unresolved and present emotional issues related to family matters (Grew up overseas in harsh socio-economic times and later lost father to post-war atrocities, had to deal with a depressed mother and problematic brother overseas, oldest in the family so always push push push). But I just could not get out of the funk. PCP gave me a what proved to be useless antidepressant and caused me more trouble. I stopped it after a couple of months. I avoided for as long as I could but eventually I had to see a psychiatrist to help me with sleep. Doc was trying to drug me up with high doses of first generation antidepressants which I resisted. Settled with doctor on milder AD's and they helped somewhat, at least they numbed me. Before that I had tried prescription sleep medicine - to no avail.

    Fast forward to 2014, I was getting worse and worse and had to take time off a couple of times. I used the time to educated myself: I read all the works of Dr. Sarno, Steve Ozanich, Fred Amir, Candace Pert. I got it down. Started working with the unconscious as well as journaling. By November of 2015, the AD's were not helping me with sleep anymore so I stopped them and got a prescription for a benzo. Took that for 2 months or so and finally decided to quit working so I could heal on January 28. That's when I starting tapering off the benzo. Today, April 5, I am almost done with it (2 more weeks) but am experiencing pain all over my body but mainly back and shoulders.

    I told all this to give a bigger picture. I am sure I have missed some steps. I did not take narcotics.
    Now my outlook is better because I have stopped worrying. Once I am through with the withdrawal hurdle, I hope to get better and to start sleeping more. The back muscles just won't relax. They are in constant spasm and I can never sleep more than a few hours at a time. I have been spending more time on this site.

    At the same time I am a bit concerned it could be something else other than TMS. Yes I know I have to accept it 100 percent in order to start healing....

    Any help I would appreciate it.......


  2. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    hi, Eagle. I read your post and have a few suggestions.
    You have gone the test route, with MRIs and doctors and chiro, and outside of that foreign doctor
    getting it wrong and you do not have a herniated disc, If I were you I would not spend any more
    time or money trying to learn if your back and shoulder pain are structural. In my non-medical opinion,
    they are caused by TMS, repressed emotions and/or a perfectionist and "goodist" personality. That's
    what our subconscious turns into pain so we deal with our TMS.

    I had severe back and shoulder pain and healed after I told myself it was 100 percent from TMS.
    I had withheld about 10 percent believing it was structural because of my age, 82, and only about
    90 percent of the pain went away after I journaled and learned that I had been repressing feelings of
    anger and insecurity after my parents divorced when I was 7. I came to understand them better and that
    they had their own TMS pain, which led me to forgive them, and that ended my pain.

    The Structural Education Program is great in helping us to discover our repressed emotions so we heal.

    If you still have trouble sleeping, I find it helpful to drink a hot cup of milk or tea just before bedtime,
    and maybe watch a Youtube video on relaxation and sleep. But I don't watch tv or do anything mentally stimulating
    before bed. I spend some time meditating and just relaxing my body and mind. Absolutely never watch tv news
    before bedtime. In fact, I never watch TV news at all. It's just bad news that gives us more to worry about and
    is only there to advertise products we don't need and pharmaceuticals that are actually doing us no good or are even harmful.

    While working on discovering your repressed emotions (be sure to go back to your childhood), try to live in the present,
    not the past or future. Just take each day as it comes and enjoy yourself. You are a parent now, so enjoy the child
    and your spouse. The happier you are, the happier they will be and the happier will be your marriage.

    If you are still in a job you do not like, keep looking for something you like. Meanwhile, try to spend evenings and
    weekends in a hobby or something else that gives you pleasure.

    Happy Easter.

    Here is what I do to fall asleep.

    In bed, I breathe deeply in bed, tighten and
    then relax my muscles from neck all the way down to my toes. I try not to think or worry about anything
    and if I do worry I tell myself I will think about that tomorrow. If I can't get anxious thoughts out of
    my mind, I count backwards from 100 to 1 while deep breathing. Eventually, I get to sleep.

    Here are some other suggestions:

    7 Best Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

    Nearly all of us have struggled with sleep at some point. Between careers, families, activities and everyday life, sleep can take a backseat to our “more important” priorities. But the fact is, getting enough sleep is crucial for us to function at 100%, affecting everything from our weight to our performance at the office. Whether you’re a chronic insomniac or just up late worrying about tomorrow’s big presentation, these tips can help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

    1) Melatonin
    Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body that helps regulate our sleep schedules. It plays a role in when we wake up and when we go to sleep. When we’re getting ready for bed, our melatonin levels begin to rise. They stay high through the night while we’re sleeping, and then taper off and drop when we wake up and start the day. It’d be great if we could control this hormone, feeling sleepy or awake whenever we needed to, right? Well, there are supplements to help us do just that.

    While you can’t fully control how your body produces and regulates melatonin, many people report that taking a melatonin supplement an hour or two before they go to bed helps them fall asleep and stay asleep at night. It’s a great solution for people who find their mind racing when their head hits the people and for those who work abnormal hours and need to sleep while it’s light outside. Recommended doses vary widely between healthy adults, so consult with your doctor about the proper supplement size for you.

    2) Work Out–Early
    Studies have shown that getting in a good workout during the day leads to better and less restless sleep at night. They key, though, is working out early enough in the day so that it doesn’t do more harm than good. Though many of us like to hit the gym after work, experts say exercising that late in the day could actually be keeping you up at night because you’re kicking your energy level into high gear. If you find you have trouble falling asleep at night, try incorporating an early-morning workout or even a lunch break power walk. It might make all the difference, and you’ll reap a host of other physical benefits from exercise, too!

    3) De-stress
    Easier said than done, right? When you’re juggling, work, family and other life obligations, stress tends to rear its ugly head pretty frequently. Unfortunately, it affects more than just your blood pressure. When you’re stressed out, your body produces more of a hormone called cortisol. Too much cortisol leads to lower immunity to sickness, weight gain, and you guessed it–poor sleep.
    There are a few things you can do to help de-stress and bring down your cortisol levels to sleep better at night. First, dim the lights. The melatonin we talked about earlier? Your body naturally produces more of it when it’s darker, plus the dim lighting will help put you in a sleepy mood. Next, take a hot, relaxing bath. Focus on letting go of what happened to you that day and putting your to-do list out of your mind until the next morning. Finally, practice deep breathing. Oftentimes when you’re faced with a stressful situation, a few deep breaths will help you calm down and look at the scenario from a clearer perspective.

    4) Snack on (Healthy) Carbs

    You know that sluggish 3 p.m. feeling you get when you binge on a snack like chips in the middle of the workday? That’s exactly what we’re going for here, only without the greasy, unhealthy chips (sorry!). Having a small bedtime snack of a healthy carbohydrate, like whole wheat toast, helps your body produce serotonin and tryptophan, both of which induce feelings of sleepiness. Just be sure not to overdo it—a couple bites is enough! If you overindulge, your stomach will actually be up even later working to break down what you ate.

    5) Eat Dinner Early

    Expert opinions vary on the perfect time to eat dinner, but most agree it should be at least two to three hours before your intended bed time. This gives your body plenty of time to break down things like sugar and insulin, both of which can keep you up at night. Plus, studies have shown that eating earlier leads to improved weight loss, so your skinny jeans will thank you as well!

    6) Disconnect

    Most of us are wired to our cell phones and tablets nearly 24/7 (don’t feel bad—we’re guilty of it too!). But the fact is, being “connected” causes our brains to function in high gear. This applies not only to our mobile devices, but to the television, making it harder to settle into sleep mode. For ideal sleep, give your body at least an hour of technology downtime before bed—no phone, no TV. If you’re accustomed to falling asleep with the tube on, try switching to soothing music or reading a chapter of a book every night before bed. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much quicker you nod off.

    7) Cut Out Alcohol

    Many people have the misconception that alcohol makes them sleepy. While your mind may feel foggy, alcohol is in fact a stimulant, which leads to poor quality sleep if you drink it before bed (that’s why hangovers are so awful—not only are you physically ill, your body is exhausted too!). If you find you have trouble falling or staying asleep, stick to no more than one glass of wine or beer per evening, preferably a few hours before bed. This will give your body plenty of time to process the alcohol content so that it doesn’t keep you awake.

  3. TheEagle

    TheEagle Newcomer

    Hi Walt,

    Thank you for replying and for all the tips. I have tried many of the sleep promoting methods. The conscious tensing and untensing of the muscles and the counting backwards has helped a couple of times but I need to resume practicing. Part of the issue is muscle stiffness and insomnia from the medicine and from withdrawing from it. The ANS takes over and there is not much I can do....although sometimes I have had success commanding the unconscious to release the muscles. I have not had alcohol at all for one year. Melatonin helps sometimes. As you may know benzos are horrible to get rid of. But I should be done in a couple of weeks.

    I just started working on the structural education program and am excited to move forward with it.

    Questions for you: how long did you have the neck and back pain for? How intense was it? Before you started TMS therapy, did you use medications? How was your sleep? How long did it take you to heal? where in the back was the pain? Mine is on the right side for the most part.

    Thanks and regards


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