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Extreme Numbness and weakness in legs

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Upstate woodworker, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. ever since an episode I had while lifting a trash bag two years ago, I have been experiencing recurring pain and flare ups in my upper back between my scapulas. Over the past four months or so my symptoms had been getting progressively worse, just general discomfort while I worked or lifted heavy objects (I am a woodworker) and flare ups becoming more frequent, until about a month ago I had a severe attack while I was visiting family overseas. I decided to get an x Ray while on the trip because my mother was very worried, but also just to see for myself if there was any structural issue. There was indeed a vertebrae that was obviously out of place, and the physician said this was likely the cause of my pain and tingling sensations I had developed around my rib cage. Recovery from this episode was not smooth and although the worst of it past, the bulk of th3pain persisted as we continued on with our extended stay overseas.

    When I returned home, I decided that I needed to be more proactive in my recovery and decided to take up regular yoga classes and regular visits to my chiropractor. Both instructors had insisted that there would be no problem especially given my relative young age (38) and that I would be back to my old self in no time. My chiropractor reassured me that the results of the x ray indicated nothing significant and that bones tend to move around. Yoga classes were somewhat painful but I was noticing improvements in just a matter of a couple of weeks so I was feelin somewhat upbeat about the future. I then went through a week Without doing the regular exercises that were recommended by my chiropractor and on that friday, which is my day off I experienced another accute attack. Two days later I was able to move around and decideD to go to an acquaintance’s house for an Easter egg hunt (I have two small children) and told my story to my friend. He told me about dr. Sarno’s book Healing Back Pain and that he too had debilitating back problems that were cured by this miracle book. The funny thing was that I had had this book stuffed in my backpack for the past six months because another friend had recommended it to me but I had read only the first fourty pages or so, stuffed it in my bag, and there it stayed for the past six months, even though I could totally identify with the things Dr. Sarno was saying.

    Well, this friend’s enthusiasm had me sold. He was dumbfounded that I hadn’t finished the book, let alone get to the part about treatment. So I promised myself that I would give this book another chance. The following night I came home after work and absolutely devoured the book. I was so ready and eager to take in the contents of the book and absolutely everything made sense to me and I was wholly convinced that I have TMS. I had almost a religious experience and my pain nearly totally disappeared, maybe about 95%. This lasted through the night.

    The following two days were not as great and as I felt my symptoms returning I started to feel anxious and have doubts about what had happened two days before when my pain went away. Was it maybe the Advil I’d taken? Was the book the placebo? Then after that week’s work, again on a Friday, I woke up feeling stiffness and pain in the usual location. The pain grew as the minutes passed as did my fear of another acute attack. What proceeded was the worst attack I have experienced and five days later I am in bed, the back pain slightly subsided, but now I have extreme numbness from the top of my belly to the tips of my toes. This along with tremendous weakness, so much so that it is extremely difficult for me to walk, let alone stand in one place.

    So just to go into detail how the accute attack progressed into my current state. The attack I experienced was a full body spasm. There was no comfortable position and any attempt to move would cause extreme pain and tightening in my back and chest that felt like a black hole that would suck me in to non-existence. At the same time, there was this counter spasm that was happening in my stomach and upper leg muscles which made it feel like my body was trying to crush itself and pull itself apart at the same time and that would not let up. It was the most excruciating day of my life. I was afraid of lying down in bed in fear that I wouldn’t be able to get back up to use the bathroom, so I just stayed seated in a contorted position on my couch for the day. I ended up calling emt because I needed some sort of relief, but they said the emergency room would not do anything more than prescribe some ibuprofen, so we decided not to take the ride since I am currently uninsured. It was a painful night but I feel I was able to put my fears in check because I was still mostly convinced that I had tms. I know I hav3a lot of rage that I suppress. I’m a new father of two beautiful beautiful children. A boy @d a girl. I have a coworker who is insecure yet competitive, condescending, patronizing and extremely sycophantic toward our employer and causes me tremendous amounts of suppressed rage. I resent that I don’t make enough money and I’m the sole financial provider. I’m in the process of trying to start my own furniture business. We bought an olfpd farmhouse with so many issues and I am trying to fix everything on my own because I am trying to be such a perfectionist with something that is so imperfect. My wife is not from this country so I find myself having to deal with everything from taxes and finance to insurance(don’t get me started on how broken our healthcare inducpstry is) and general family budgeting. All this along with a growing credit card debt and although I made many efforts to save on taxes this year, I was still short by $2500. I was sexually abused by my brother as a child, and even as I made attempts to confront this as a general family issue back in my 20’s, the response was generally unsupportive and if anything I was treated as though I was just being emotional and over reacting. I continue to struggle with my relationship with my brothers because they are successful businessmen as a result of having taken over the family business and I’ve learned to suppress my feelings of jealousy and rage toward them in order to keep the peace. On top of this my father was recently diagnosed with psp, a degenerative condition similar to Parkinson’s but more aggressive. I had learned on this trip home that it would most likely be the last time that my father could communicate with me with his own voice.

    I had been seeing an analyst for a number of years until two years ago, just months before I had my first “back snapping episode”, I decided to indefinitely stop sessions because I was falling behind on payments. So I had a pretty good reason to believe that I was a perfect candidate to be suffering from tms. And as I’m going through the first two days of this extreme episode I get the sense that the floodgates have been opened and I’m just completely overwhelmed by all these rageful, sad, painful p, and fearful emotions I have been suppressing for the past two years(if not an entire lifetime). I keep trying to think psychological, but I just have so many places to choose from that I don’t know where to start. I’ve gotten some support and advice from the friend who had insisted that I finish the book. He has been incredibly generous and supportive and he encouraged me to wage war with my brain an$just talk to it, write letters to it, and I had this kind of frantic fear-driven quest to get that pain out of my body as fast as I could. It was really sound advice but I was being really hard on my self. Way too hard.

    The second day, I was able to walk around with somewhat manageable pain, even though I’m sure I looked like a zombie. I started to notice that I was still having these spasms in my stomach and some light tingling in my legs. I didn’t think much of it, since I figured I was only going to get better at that point. That night though My spasms in my stomach began to intensify along with spasms in the legs and tingling numbness. I thought this was very strange. I assumed it was a way for the tms to move into these areas that had never affected me before. I sort of felt I was maybe on th3right track, repeatedly telling my brain that I wasn’t going to fall for it. Then the 3rd morning, things were a little worse. The back spasms were mostly gone, although I was still feeling intense pain, but I woke up feelin very week in my legs along with more numbness. And the numbness was also extending up in to my stomach. I was staggering when I walked around. No pain, but just numb and weak. I scoured the web p, reading forums and amazon book reviews, looking for anyone who might be going through what I was going through. But nothing. Dr. Sarno does in fact state that tingling, numbness and sometimes considerable weakness in the legs is a common occurrence in tms patients, but he never gave an example of anyone with this condition. Given these doubts, I was still mostly convinced of my self diagnosis of tms, but realized I needed to get confirmation from a certified physician specializing in tms. I think dr sarno’s repeated insistence on first getting an examination from a qualified physician made the perfectionist in me to need to play by the book, literally. So I scheduled an appointment with Dr. ira Rashbaum who worked with Dr. Sarno for over 20 years and now has taken over Dr. Sarno’s position at the rusk institute of rehab at NYU med. in the mean time though, I decided I needed to have immediate attention from my regular physician just to get that part of the requirement out of the way, and hopefully get a prescription for an mri and some muscle relaxants to reduce the muscle spasms. This was on day four. And on this day my condition had worsened even more. The numbness and weakness was so intense that I staggered and wobbled into the doctor’s office. His reaction was pretty much what I had expected, and although I was getting this feeling like this guy has no idea, his opinion had a hugely negative impact on my psyche. You must have a herniated disk. It must be pulling on your nerves in the lower regions of the back. It’s causing severe damage and could cause permanent paralysis if you don’t go to the hospital and most likely have surgery. This is definitely a mechanical problem. All this without looking at a single extra or barely touching me. But the fear was definitely planted.

    Today is day five and my numbness is spreading to my lower rib cage and around the lower back. Everything feels weaker. I can still barely stand on my own and go to the bathroom, but I’m suddenly in fear of moving around at all because of what my pcp said to me the previous day. What if I cause permanent damage? Do I need to b3in the hospital now? Should I wait it out for another 9 days until my appointment with Dr. Rashbaum? It’s. All so very frightening and the thing is, all this rest is not improving this numbness weakness condition, it is spreading. But given these fears, I can’t think of any logical reason why this would be happening to me in my lower torso and extreme ties when my problem has always been with the upper back. I want it to be psychosomatic but it is difficult when I am not seeing improvements.

    I don’t know what kind of support I’m looking for from this forum. I think I’m just searching fo anyone who has had the same experience ive had and overcame their experience, because I am such a cynical person that the slightest inkling of doubt is preventing me from breaking through that last shred of doubt. Anyway it’s been an extremely emotionally draining week. Ive been lettin*all o&these emotions out without censorship, and to be honest, I feel at times like this is only going to improve my life, EVEN if I end up in a wheelchair. I’m also just so exhausted from reading everything, although it is, for the most part,keeping the hope alive in me.

    This is a long post. Thanks for reading through it.
    plum likes this.
  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sweetheart, it is impossible for anyone here to know if you are suffering from an extreme nocebo due to what your doctor said, or if you need someone to look you over.

    Everything you write absolutely says TMS but it would remiss of me or anyone here to guarantee that. We always say have someone look at you to rule out the serious stuff, and if nothing else you need a break from this level of fear. Fear can unravel you and create a huge amplication in symptoms. An all clear on the serious front would go far.

    Dr. Rashbaum is a legend. Can you speak to him ahead of time? 9 days is a hell of a wait.

    Or maybe send @Steve Ozanich a private message. He's a TMS author and coach not a physican but he does know his stuff and may be able to Skype some relief your way.
    Upstate woodworker and Lizzy like this.
  3. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Or @Nicole J. Sachs LCSW

    She suffered from terrible and disabling back woes. She was a patient of Sarno who is now in practice herself. Link to her website is on her member page.
    Upstate woodworker and Lizzy like this.
  4. Plum, thank you for your response. I think more than anything I needed to get these thoughts and experiences out to people who might understand what I am going through. I find myself avoiding communication with my closest friends because unless one has in the least read Dr Sarno’s books, it almost feels like a burden to try to explain what I am feeling. I have been so lucky to have an incredibly loving and supportive wife to whom I feel more connection and compassion than ever as a result of my current circumstances. Same goes for my children. To some degree though I see this as a journey I must make on my own under my own conditions.

    I’ve had a couple of email exchanges with dr. Rashbaum but he is unable to give any sort of advice until I am officially his patient, presumably for legal reasons. Yes nine days is a long time which is mostly what is driving my fear. I’m also currently uninsured whic has been an enormous source of stress as it makes the decision to seek official medical advice financially restrictive. I did receive a prescription from my pcp for an MRI but there is a part of me that wants to avoid this until I see Dr. Rashbaum as it would hav3to be paid from out of pocket.
    plum likes this.
  5. And thank you for your references. I have gone through a few of Nichole sach’s YouTube videos and they were very helpful.
    plum likes this.
  6. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Most people here have experienced some form of an intense fear episode so you are truly not alone. I had a particularity bad one around 3-4 years ago where I had to wait a month to see someone and I swear to god, I almost lost my mind. For me it turned out to be a stress-induced reaction and I am still amazed that something benign can appear anything but. The great thing about an experience of this nature is that once the floodgates of relief open, healing becomes much easier. It's the not knowing that is so troubling.

    During that waiting time I read and listened to a lot of Claire Weekes. Have you heard of her? She is the patron saint of anxiety, fear and panic sufferers. There are loads of folk on the forum who employ her sane advice. Hopefully it will help make the next week more bearable.


    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/claire-weekes-audio.2569/ (Claire Weekes Audio)
    Upstate woodworker and Lizzy like this.
  7. KevinB

    KevinB Well known member

    Hey man,

    So I thought I'd write and hopefully give you some hope. I learned about TMS about 3 years ago after several massive struggles with back and sciatica issues. I got better after doing the Structured Educational Program here on this site (I highly recommend it). That lasted several months, but then a very close friend suddenly died, and my wife was pregnant with our first baby, and I had a relapse. Not as bad as previous ones since I had knowledge of TMS and was convinced I had it. That episode went away with the birth of kid (a sufficient enough distraction I suppose) and stayed at bay for several months. But mounting stress and tension lead me to a slow return of symptoms, not as bad as before, but just nagging enough to have my attention and make me scared. Oh, I should mention that prior to learning of TMS I had had 2 MRIs 5 years apart showing disk herniations and bulges, some canal narrowing, etc... the usual stuff they find on MRIs. But like you, those concepts were pretty deep in me, so very hard to discard that information....

    At that point I finally decided to go see a TMS doctor, Dr. Gwozdz out in NJ. I brought my MRI results and all of questions, met with him for like 2 hours, and he officially diagnosed me with TMS. Hallelujah. I thought the pain would vanish after that... it did not. It improved, but it was quickly becoming apparent that I needed some therapy to address some crap I couldn't access on my own. So I bit the bullet and decided to go out-of-pocket to see a Brooklyn-based TMS therapist. I started to really unravel things with her and my symptoms slowly went away. They never fully went away, for I still had some lingering fear to do certain activities, but my life was totally manageable. During the year+ working with her, during times of stress my mind attempted a TMS flare up on a few occasions, but I was able to beat them for the most part.

    So we ended therapy on a good note this past February. Fast forward about 2 months, work tension, wife pregnant with our 2nd, interpersonal difficulties, massive self pressure on things like diet, exercise, spirituality, etc., another damn flare up hit me about two weeks ago. But this time it's different. It started the same, with usual go-to spot, which is left low back and left leg issues. I immediately started to do some work, journaling, talking, reaching out for some support here and with Steve O (mentioned above). It seemed like I was about to get out of the flare up when all of the sudden it switched sides on me, moving to my right low back and right leg... this has never happened, so of course my fear and anxiety shot up. The thing is, Sarno and other mention frequently the "symptom imperative" which is when the mind moves locations so you think its a "real" structural issue.

    So after mine switched to the right, I started getting all new and very frightening symptoms, similar to yours, numbness and massive weakness in my legs. Every time I stand and walk, it feels as though I have just ran a marathon... not so much pain, but just mass weakness and even motor difficulties. My calf muscles are essentially not working, I'm unable to go on my tippy-toes, so this makes it very hard to walk and go up stairs... panic of course. So I called my TMS doctor last week. I was terrified that he'd say "you need to go to the ER right now" because it felt like an emergency. He called me back this past Friday. I explained all of my symptoms and he said "Ok, so what's going on in your life?" I told him about the recent pregnancy, hard time with my 2 year old, etc. I then asked him out right if I was having an emergency, he asked "are you peeing or pooping in your pants uncontrollably?" - I said no. "Did you have a massive fall or any other sort of traumatic accident before these symptoms" - again, no, nothing at all like that. He then said "no, this is not an emergency". I expressed my worry about nerve damage, he said not to worry. He said he deals with this stuff often, patients with significant things, foot drop, etc. Dr. Sarno also discusses these symptoms quite a lot throughout his books. The thing is, I never noticed his mention of them before because I never had those symptoms. But now that I am, having looked through my TMS literature these past several days, there are many mentions of this phenomenon.

    I'm not out of the woods yet, but my far and anxiety are improving. Yesterday I had to do quite a bit of walking and, although it was very hard and I had to take many rests, I got through it and am no worse today.

    I'm trying to believe that this flare up might be the last "big" one, something like an "extinction burst" like Alan Gordon says here. The main thing for me, for now, is just to accept where I'm at and take it moment by moment. I can easily get carried away thinking of all the possible horrible things that could happen, but that just makes everything worse. It's hard as hell to do, but well worth it in the long run.

    All that said, I hope you find some relief from reading this. If you're paying out of pocket, I would suggest you contact Dr. Gwozdz out in NJ. It's a bit of a trek, but I believe it's less expensive and he may be able to get you in sooner. http://www.gwozdzmd.com/

    Good luck man and keep us posted!
    Jeather and Upstate woodworker like this.
  8. Plum and Kevin, thank you both for your words of encouragement. I am really not used to reaching out for help from people, definitely not from strangers, I’ve always pounded into my head to go it alone, and this is my first time writing into a forum of any kind. Hearing about your experiences, especially yours, Kevin, has been incredibly helpful for me to get past the fear and anxiety, or at least put it aside for the time being. I’m still very new to this. Yes, I am aware of the symptom imparative and I believe that’s what is going on with me, and your story only reenforces that. I only became aware of tms after I read Dr. Sarno ‘s book for the first time just over a week ago and I just went into manic mode, trying to rush through this process and I think my body just went into overdrive to take me out because it didn’t like what I had to say.

    The whole insurance thing has been really awful. I don’t know if this is the right place to get into it, but every now and then my coverage would drop for no reason and I end up spending months trying to get the government and provider to communicate with each other that my account needs reinstement and it’s the same story every time. Each time I’d have to get bounced around endlessly, each party blaming the other, an$when I finally was able to convince someone on the provider end to have a 3 way call with NYSOH (the New York aca agency) these people were seething with animosity toward each other. And there I am lying in bed, feeling an impending sense of doom, feeling like I’m going to be paralized, Trying to mediate these people’s feeling so they can communicate with each other so that I can finally go see a doctor. It makes me so angry!
  9. Curious to read more about this, as my current situation certainly feels extinction level epic
  10. KevinB

    KevinB Well known member

    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/day-19-extinction-bursts.16651/ (New Program - Day 19: Extinction Bursts)

    Can start there, though I highly recommend doing the entire program. The Steuctured educational program, also offered on this website, and for free, is much more detailed and long, but I did it twice all the way through and really recommend it.
    Upstate woodworker likes this.
  11. KevinB

    KevinB Well known member

    So how you been man?

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