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First Post. I think I have TMS but....

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Msunn, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Hi Everyone. This is my first post here. Thank you so much for having this forum available.
    This may be long and drawn out, but I’d like to describe what’s been going on with me.
    I do fit the TMS symptoms very well but I still have the feeling that there could be physical factors as well. Thanks for reading this. I welcome your feedback.

    I’m a guitarist. I’ve played professionally most of my life and have, up to this year, never had hand problems. I have played a solo guitar gig for the last six years on the weekends. It is a long gig, 5 hours, and there is a lot of repetitive motion in the songs I play. I’m 61 now and have played since I was 12.

    At the beginning of this year I started having problems with my ring and pinky fingers getting hard to move or “locked up” when i was playing.
    I’ve played music most of my life and still very much love playing, so from the start I was obsessive about dealing with this.
    I looked on the internet (a dangerous thing to do I think), and found information about ulnar nerve problems, which affect those two fingers.

    When it didn’t get better after a few months I ended up at a physical therapist.
    The therapist diagnosed ulnar nerve entrapment based on my description.
    She used the machine that ran electricity into my arms, ultrasound, massage, and stretching exercises to treat the problem and I immediately got worse, so much so that I had to take off work for three months. She also gave me range of motion exercises for my neck since I’ve had chronic neck pain for at least twenty years.

    These exercises led to the problems compounding, I had only had pain in the left hand but then I started having burning and shooting pains in the right hand. I also started having tingling in the hands and feet after these sessions. This is where things start really fitting the TMS model I believe. These symptoms come and go and even the original symptoms in the left hand have changed to a variety of symptoms. The tingling in the feet should not be able to happen from the neck exercises according to three different doctors.

    I’ve had X-rays done of my hand which showed no arthritis.
    X-ray of my neck which shows two degenerative disks. The physician who looked at the neck X-ray said that if he looked at X-rays of a hundred people my age there would probably be 50 or 60 sixty with the same type of problems and many of them would not have pain or unusual symptoms.

    He recommended I see a neurologist.
    She did a nerve conduction test, a second test to test for pinched nerves in the neck area and an MRI of my neck area.
    The nerve conduction test showed the ulnar nerve to be functioning well, but she did mention that it could still be irritated.
    She also said I had the beginnings of Carpal Tunnel in both hands and recommended wearing braces at night when I sleep.
    She told me I could be experiencing focal dystonia although I don’t think there are any definite tests to establish that.
    She did not think I needed surgery on the degenerative disks from the MRI findings.

    I had read The Mind Body Prescription about then and did feel like I fit the pattern.
    I’m a perfectionist. I’m an alcoholic, sober 6 years through AA, and though AA has changed my life in a very positive way, I think it’s made me really over emphasize “goodist” qualities and probably suppress some negative less acceptable feelings.
    Before my years in recovery I had a problem with what I would call “free floating anxiety” for several years, just feeling out of sorts and anxious quite often without being able to pinpoint a cause or solution. In recent years That has been gone for the most part.

    Once I had to take off work though, my thinking about this problem has been even more obsessive and I’ve had a lot of fear and anxiety, even panic attacks at times. It’s surprised me how much fear is still there in my mind triggered by the threat of not being able to play music, not to mention that is this has been my only source of income all my life.

    I've seen a kenesiologist several times who also does deep tissue massage, chiropractic adjustments and is known for being able to heal people spiritually.
    I’ve been back at work three weeks now and it’s still been difficult to play. All the treatments etc. have led to very little if any progress. If anything I now have a variety of symptoms that don’t get better in any logical way.

    I guess one question is do I need more tests to establish this is TMS? I know if I go to enough doctors some will be willing to find more problems.

    I am very willing to accept that this is mentally caused but up to this point I’ve still done stretches massages etc. which I know from reading the books probably doesn’t work.
    I guess I’m just not sure what to do next, but I do think sharing this and connecting with others who have similar problems has to be a good thing.

    As I said at the beginning I’m very happy to find this forum and look forward to your feedback. Thanks!
  2. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Msunn, welcome!

    When I read your story I am convinced it is TMS. I think you have seen enough people to rule out anything serious.

    Just a side question, do you have pain in your upper back by any chance? Cramped muscles (triggerpoints = TMS!!) in your neck and upper back often show a pattern of pain and weird sensations in your arms and even fingers. If I am wrong, I still think you have TMS, it is just something that might be added to the evidence sheet you already filled in yourself.

    I hope you find the necessary help and support here,
    good luck :)
  3. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Thanks for the reply Gigalos. Yes I have had chronic pain in my neck for many years and also the shoulder areas. So in the TMS treatment would I just be aware of that tension, which of course I am, or would I still get massages etc to loosen up these symptoms?
  4. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Msunn, it isn't bad to get massages, but the goal of those should be relaxation. Massages directly focussed on clearing the affected areas will probably have a temporary relief at most.
    A massage that relaxes the mind also relaxes the body. Not that it will "cure" you, that is something you have to do yourself, but it helps and it is good to treat yourself to it once and a while.
    I had the luck of running into TMS beginning of this year and I have made so much progress. My neck and upper back had been a burden for a couple of years. Treating the mind, not the body was key for my recovery.
    I bet you will get some more reactions from people with similar stories. In the meantime, take a look at the recovery program here to get you started.
  5. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Thanks for the replies Gigalos. I get what you are saying. Up to this point I've been obsessed with the physical symptoms and treating them, which has not worked. It's encouraging to know you were able to get relief. Did you follow the recovery program here to do that?
  6. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    I followed "Ace's Keys" on another site called TMSHelp. In essence it is all the same. A program like here gives you some structure to start, while I just started to pick out things to work on myself.

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