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First post - it's a long one... seeking help

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Stephanie71, May 26, 2016.

  1. Stephanie71

    Stephanie71 Peer Supporter

    I'm Stephanie. Thank you for reading this. I have worked a TMS program over the past five years to get rid of neck and shoulder pain successfully, but I have had chronic leg pain (ONLY in the left leg, all my pain has been on left side) since I was eighteen, and nothing seems to make it go away completely. The symptoms are not always severe or painful, but there is always strange discomfort and a feeling of something being structurally wrong with the leg. For example, if I am sitting on the floor and I straighten both legs, the left one feels hyperextended, as if there is a brick sitting on top of the knee. There is also pain in the back of the knee. I also have buttock pain, as well as some nerve symptoms in the outer ankle and foot; if I press that area, there are tingly zappy sensations and slight numbness. The leg feels weaker than the the right one and just in a constant state of tightness, as if there is a metal rod in it or something. I can stretch it and be active (yoga, running) without excruciating pain, but the problem is that it just constantly feels “off” and different from the right leg. The leg hurts too if I stretch it. The knee feels unstable. The sciatica nerve hurts. It’s like symptoms in every region of the leg! And it feels very structural. I had a knee MRI done way back in 2004, and that showed nothing. I was diagnosed with piriformis syndrome and did physical therapy before I discovered Sarno in 2010. I later had a low back MRI in 2011, and that was also clean as a whistle.

    I have done a lot of TMS work, with a therapist, with writing, with getting active again, with ignoring the pain. Much of the pain in other parts of the body lessoned or went away, like the neck pain. But the leg symptoms have never seemed to truly leave, and I am really struggling with believing that there is not something “wrong” with my leg. I admit I have a lot of fear.

    Here’s why: When I was eighteen, (I’m 30 now) I was doing a very deep dancer stretch after a run (my right leg pulled behind me nearly to my head) and I heard something snap loudly in my left leg. I don’t remember there being a great amount of pain, and I never saw a doctor or anything for it. I don’t even think I told my parents. I just kept doing what I did, like dancing, yoga, and I remember there being discomfort but never excruciating pain. This happened around June 2003. Then in October, I began to notice the symptoms I described above, mostly a sharpness and tightness in the back of the leg and knee area and a discomfort when I tried to exercise. The leg just felt “off.” I did not have any low back pain yet. I ignored it for a long time, (was going through a whole bunch of other concerning stuff) until finally a few years later I began seeing doctors. I mentioned to them what I believed was a hamstring injury, but no doctor seemed concerned or like it needed any testing or imaging done. I am now afraid that I really damaged a muscle, nerve, or ligament in the left leg and it was never properly diagnosed and treated. I am wondering If I may have even avulsed the hamstring from the bone in some area or had terrible ligament or tendon tears. It feels that way. The leg pain has never moved to the leg - it has always been in the left, making me think even more it is structural.

    I admit fully that I fit the TMS type. I am hard on myself, goodist, people-pleasing, critical, striving, etc. I come from a lot of trauma and abuse. I totally believe in TMS - I have done TMS work to get rid of other pain. I have read and re-read Sarno books and all the others. I have begun listening to his audiobooks, too. I am trying again from scratch, to see if I can be free from this once and for all. I don’t know if my reservations about the leg stuff are real or because my mind is being stubborn due to the fact that I once had a an injury there that I never treated. I have found stuff on google that say that old hamstring injuries can in fact cause chronic pain… (I know, I know, I should avoid Google!) and so I feel a lot of guilt and anger about not addressing it “properly” when I was a teen. Sarno says that leg pain comes from what is happening in low back and buttocks, but I had leg pain first, before I had any symptoms in the low back and buttock - I had this leg stuff from eighteen to twenty-two before it really started to bother me enough to finally seek doctors and get to the bottom of it. I sometimes fear I have damaged my left leg inalterably, and that TMS work is not going to address it. I know these are strong feelings. But after re-reading Sarno, I feel like this leg stuff doesn’t totally fit the typical TMS process. The injuries Sarno speaks of are ones in the back, no? Or am I reading it wrong? I feel discouraged because there is a part of me that totally believes this is TMS and is willing to go to any lengths, and I just keep feeling discouraged by waves of doubt.

    Can anyone relate to this? Does anyone have advice? I am desperate. I was very depressed and suicidal seven years ago because of the pain, but the past five years have been mostly positive as I rebuilt my life in many ways. And I learned to just live with the leg stuff and ignore it. I often did not have pain, but there were ALWAYS symptoms, if that makes sense. It has never felt right to straighten the leg while sitting or lying in bed. I do it anyway, but it often feels uncomfortable. It always feel heavy, tight, over-stretched, hyperextended feeling and sometimes a lot of pain. There is always more pain after running or doing a vinyasa yoga class, and then it subsides slightly but still symptoms. I don't want to just ignore it anymore - I want to be free!

    So to summarize this grand opus, I guess my question is, is it really normal for TMS to strike in any region where there was an injury, not just in the back? Do all injuries really heal, even without proper rest and intervention? Could my leg have become damaged due to changing the way I functioned from when I first started to have pain? Thank you so much for reading my post and for your responses.
    eskimoeskimo likes this.
  2. IvanSO

    IvanSO New Member

    Hi Stephanie,
    I can relate somewhat to this. I've never heard any snap, but the first time I had some very bad lower back pain was after an intense weightlifting session with lots of deadlifts and squats with no rest. Afterwards I had a burning lower back pain. I worried that it was not just DOMS, but something bad... I was finishing my 2nd year at the university and didn't tell anyone about this pain. It got worse, echoed in my left leg and butt. But the summer came and I had a lot of fun and no time for pain. And the pain stopped. For a few years. So when it returned, I thought "oh, I should have treated this back then..." Actually, the second time I had lower back pain (also after a deadlift-heavy Crossfit workout), I didn't even tell the doctor I've had an earlier episode. The last time (two months ago), the pain came without any trigger and was so debilitating that I often thought about how stupid I was to lift at all as I might now be disabled for the rest of my life...

    Now I just realize how silly and outright damaging were various warnings about my back - doctors, my parents, trainers, and websites warned that deadlifts are dangerous. Now I believe I did NOT have an injury after that weightlifting session. Thinking psychologically, I was going through a lot during both episodes, but prided myself on being emotionally resilient - repressed it all well.

    Dr Sarno wrote that various neck, back, leg, and arm pains are caused by mild oxygen deprivation, which is a distraction from repressed anger. Remind yourself about this when you have any leg pain. That's what I do with the pain I still have.

    To me your leg pain sounds very TMS - old "injury" (but if so how were you able to dance, do yoga, etc?), the snap, started mild and got worse, shifting and varied symptoms ("like symptoms in every region of the leg"). I think looking at your leg in isolation is not going to help - you can always find medical theories for various structural causes. Unfortunately, I don't think any doctor specializing in leg traumas would tell you that this pain could be caused by repressed rage. They'll find something "structural", it's just their job. Again, think psychologically.

    Hope my response opus helps at least a bit. Just remember - you've already done a lot of great work!
  3. Stephanie71

    Stephanie71 Peer Supporter

    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond and share your story. I don't know why my mind mind is so very stubborn about accepting this as TMS. Sometimes I do, but there is often doubt. It's bizarre. I am so clear that I have repressed (and conscious) rage and other strong emotions that would create pain in my body. But as of now I cannot get past the lingering doubt. I am going back to see my TMS doctor in a couple of weeks, so hopefully that will set me on a new course of deeper conviction and acceptance. I am continually working on it. Thanks again!

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