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First time post - Do I have TMS?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by joshcm, Jul 27, 2016.

  1. joshcm

    joshcm Peer Supporter

    Hi All,

    My first time here and I am happy to have found support through likeminded people. I guess I am after the common validation question - Do I have TMS etc.? or at least a sound and balanced judgement from someone with more experience than I. Only recently came across the concept of TMS - through reading comments on a back pain site. Subsequently read both of John Sarno's books and it was like someone just turned a light bulb on - made so much sense! I fully accept that I have TMS although my pain has been around for 2yrs so shifting that is hard, and not something I have managed to do yet.

    I first felt mild pain in my hamstring in October 2014 after deadlifting weights at the gym - it didn't worry me as was very mild, but it continued for 6mths - at which point I moved to New Zealand from the UK. Over the next 6mths, the pain hadn't improved so I went to see a physio - didn't help so saw a second physio (who contradicted the first). All the time I was still exercising and the pain was more annoying that anything else. The opinion of the physio was that I had a disc bulge and that I should stop all exercise immediately - usual 6--12mths to heal etc etc. So I stopped all exercise - and got referred for an xray (came back fine) then MRI - which showed 2 disc bulges l4-l5 & l5-s1 both showing mild bulges with the nerve root slightly compressed on l5-s1. So after this and 9mths with minimal exercise I am baffled as to why the pain has not only got no better but has got worse! (Mainly sciatic)

    I am definitely the perfectionist/obsessive type and have had anxiety for 15yrs which manifests in mild hives on face, inner trembling, tinnitus and more recently muscle spasms in arms. At the time of my pain starting I had lost a job, had significant debt and had a life changing move to the other side of the world whilst my girlfriend had decided to move to Dubai to work in aviation - so had to juggle a long distance relationship. I had also had a back problem for 1.5yrs previously in 2008 after a messy break in a 5yr relationship.

    To summarise my pain - sciatic, right side, pain going down to calf, no pain when running/working out (crossfit) etc. but bad when sitting or when bending forward. More recently I developed stomach pain and started waking up with pain which seemed to be radiating from inside the postural muscles and 3mths ago I developed postural pain in the lumbar vertebrae.

    I also get a funny sort of sensation (not painful) feeling in my left shin when I stretch my right hamstring (which is painful) even though there is no structural reason for this, as evidenced on the MRI.Over the last 2wks I have also started to develop little electric type current sensations in right foot (not leg) even though my back is better - they don't hurt at all and occasionally move into left foot. They get worse, as does sciatic pain when I am stressed.

    Since I starting reading Sarno's work 1mth ago my sciatica has improved. I no longer has stomach pain or pain upon waking, don't use a car seat for pain or sleep with a rolled up towel. Can also sleep on my sides now which I haven't been able to do for 9mths. Getting back into full exercise which helps although against the conventional advice. I am no longer willing to put my life on hold - but I still have little doubts, Re Am I making it worse/casing damage by exercise??

    Sorry about the rambling post and thanks in advance for any advice

  2. TimmyH

    TimmyH Peer Supporter

    I think you need to look at it with a logical mind by looking at the evidence both for and against. That has what has helped me greatly in my recovery. I drew up on a big piece of cardboard a for and against column for whether or not I had tms. Looking at your case you would have such things as evidence pro tms as:
    1. Your anxiety
    2. History of back pain at stressful times.
    3. Pain that gets worse with rest (real injuries get better with rest)
    4.pain that has gone on more than 3 months with no known cause (studies have shown that all human tissue heals in within 3 months)
    5. Pain starting when you were suffering emotional turmoil with your girlfriend and moving to new Zealand
    6. Only minor pain when you originally "injured" your back. (Real injuries that take many months to recover have significant physical trauma therefore great pain initially.
    7.only improvements in pain levels have occurred with a mental approach.
    8. You have begun exercising again with an improvement in your pain. Should be the opposite if something was inflammed.
    9. Only minor changes on your mri which you would see in many pain free people.

    There will be many more which I'm sure you could figure out.

    In the structural cause for the pain column I would have


    Everybody has disc bulges. Everyone has had back pain from tweaking their back ie. Tms. What you need to realise and myself at times is all pain is real and produced in your head and rarely represents the state of your tissues. Pain is a judgement that your brain is making. And when you feel stressed, down, frustrated, scared this comes into the judgement that your brain is making whether to feel pain or not. Combine this with your brains knowledge of having had previous back pain, societies view that the back is fragile and that you shouldn't lift anything heavy like you were. It's hardly surprising that your brain produced pain. The human back is strong, the nerves slide freely around obstructions and you have lifted things all your life.

    Make your own evidence sheet and pin it to your wall.

    Good luck
  3. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    Chapter 13, GPD, Do I Have TMS?

    Well said TimmyH, joshcm is a typical TMS story, but make sure you realize that you're not "partially compressing a nerve." Those erroneous thoughts are dangerous.

    You are not doing any damage with exercise. Keep going with confidence.

  4. joshcm

    joshcm Peer Supporter

    TimmyH & Steve,

    Thank you for the considered and entirely logical response. It really does make sense but always the niggling worry that squatting, deadlifting etc will reinjure the back...... I really have to undo all the conditioning that I have been subject to from physio's & doctors etc.. Looking back - I was told to stop running and even push ups! wish I d never listened!
  5. TimmyH

    TimmyH Peer Supporter

    If I was you josh I would start out squatting and dead lifting the bar without weights on it. Do this over and over just to train the brain to get used to what the action feels like pain free. Then in tiny increments maybe 5 kilos a time bump it up over a period of weeks. Just tell yourself whenever you increase the weight that you lifted this weight last week with 5 kgs less. Of course I will handle it and won't cause pain. The exercises that cause you pain are only mental triggers and not causing you harm. This method is how you overcome triggers. Start slow and gradually increase from there.
    Tennis Tom likes this.

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