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Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Lala, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. Lala

    Lala Well known member

    I have TMS plantar fasciitis type pain. This is the second time I have had pain in both my feet. The first bout was 10 years ago and I successfully treated myself with Dr. Sarno's Mindbody book and psychotherapy. Though I was also wearing orthotics at the time, I knew the healing was truly a recognition of the TMS diagnosis and the subsequent psychological work I did.

    I am presently 2 weeks into my TMS healing (via this forum, therapy, journaling etc.) though my pain started up again about 8 weeks ago after wearing unsupportive flip flops for too many weeks. At first I didn't think of my foot pain as TMS, it seems so obvious that the unsupportive flip flops had caused my arch and heel pain...then as the weeks went on and I threw out my flops and wore more supportive shoes the pain only intensified...then I knew it was TMS (I might also add that I have throbbing pain occasionally in my palms and wrists, which led me to the TMS self diagnosis as well).

    The last 2 weeks have been up and down. Last week I had 3 days in a row where I had a 50-70% reduction in foot pain. Then 5 minutes after exiting my therapy appointment the pain flaired up again. I am trying to think of this flare up as what has been called an "extinction burst"...my unconscious' last attempt to distract me as I begin to dredge up some unpleasent repressed emotions.

    In the meantime I have a foot doctor appointment sheduled for 2 days from now, with the intention of getting new orthotics to help me cope. I do not believe the orthotics will cure my pain, as I am convinced it is TMS, but I was hoping the orthotics would at least give me some temporary relief, while I continue to work on the psychological stuff. I am a teacher and on my feet all day...it has been very hard to work the last few weeks. I had made the appointment before I recognized my foot pain as TMS. Now I don't know what to do? Do I keep the appointment? Do I get the orthotics? Will talking with this doctor (I doubt he supports the TMS theory, but I dont' know) play into my unconscious' plan to keep me focused on my body? Will the orthotics only provide a placebo?
  2. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    I had plantar fasciitis too (and a few other foot related issues). Before knowing about TMS I got orthotics which were about $400. My feet started to feel a lot better. Then headaches (my main TMS symptom) came back with a vengeance.

    Now I never wear the orthotics. I do all the things I was told I would never do again--wearing normal shoes (even heels), dancing barefoot (I bellydance), walking in the sand, etc. My foot pain is just not there anymore, after being with me for 12 years.

    Normally I'd say if something is helping you, is providing temporary relief, it might not be such a bad thing...but orthotics are super-expensive!
    Lala likes this.
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Lala! Like Veronica, I also used to wear very expensive orthotics, which initially felt great and seemed to help, but as time wore on, symptoms would appear (or re-appear) and my specialist kept tweaking them more and more. It was a cranial-sacral doc who suggested, after one of his treatments, that I try not wearing them anymore - and that was the end of them - just like that! (And after discovering TMS and Dr. Sarno I don't see the CS doc anymore, either, although he was very helpful and "primed" me to understand TMS when I finally came across it).

    So back to you - I feel pretty confident in saying that your orthotics doc truly believes that his orthotics will solve all your problems, so don't expect him to listen to anything about TMS.

    I also feel pretty confident in saying that orthotics do in fact work really well - as a placebo.

    Now, the placebo effect is a very powerful and effective component of TMS, if you're willing to recognize what it's doing. But as Veronica says, orthotics are a pretty expensive form of the old sugar pill!

    If you are willing to see them as a placebo, you can eventually give up your dependence on them. You may have to replace them with another form of placebo for a while (in my case, I had a belief in the cranial-sacral treatment). This could be foot-strengthening exercise, or maybe a little extra arch support in one or both feet (I did that too, the CS doc said I could put a little extra support under the right insole of my shoes because my right foot is in fact a bit wanky from a childhood injury, but most of those pads have totally worn down now).

    A little over a year ago I was wearing only a very few extremely supportive pairs of shoes with those orthotics, but now I wear everything in my closet (although I have to admit, most of my shoes and sandals do have a reasonable amount of support) (but at my age, I think that's okay, LOL!)

    Good luck, and, by the way, welcome to our community! Keep posting!

    Lala likes this.
  4. Lala

    Lala Well known member

    Thanks guys for your response. I totally agree that the orthotics are only a temporary placebo. Fortunately my insurance will cover the cost, so money is no object...its more just a concern of whether or not the doc visit and the orthotics will thwart my focus on my true TMS recovery. As I mentioned, I am a teacher and I am on my feet for most of the work day on concrete floors. What is happening now is that the pain is sooo bad while I'm working to the point where I can barely concentrate on work, no less ignoring the pain or doing my positive TMS related affirmations. I find the intensity of the pain is so distracting that I am depressed and feeling defeated by the end of the work day. Then I come home and am running after my 2 year old son until I can collapse in bed...and even then the pain sometimes continues. I know I need to stay strong and try not to give into the pain, try not to focus on my feet, or how much it hurts, or why it won't go away...but I'm finding it so difficult. Today I called in sick, I was in much better spirits today and much better able to focus on the psychological instead of the physical....but I know when I return to work the negative cycle might start again...I guess I was just hoping that the orthotics will give me some temporary relief, so I can function at work and really focus on the emotional work that lays ahead. My therapist said as long as I don't see the doctor visit as a long term solution to my problems and I understand that I still have a lot of emotional work to do. I haven't cancelled my appointment yet. I am going to sleep on it. Thank you for your thoughts and support.
  5. Michael Reinvented

    Michael Reinvented Peer Supporter

    Hi Lala,

    As an add on observation, I have tried 4 lots of Orthotics over 2 years, and finally ditched 'em about a year ago. The trend was similar to Jan & Veronica, temporary relief, then the real TMS cause broke through whatever ?placebo benefit they gave.

    You would therefore be surprised that I would suggest you get them. I can only imagine the courage you have to muster to teach on hurting feet all day. Be kind to yourself, tell yourself that they are a bridge to better health, and hopefully give yourself a break.

    Also may be worth asking yourself if Teaching is still your True purpose? I have deliberately re-worked my sales business to give my feet (Chronic Bilateral Plantar fasciitis/ tendonitis) some time to finally heal, spending a lot less than the previous 8km/day on them.

    We will someday walk pain free in more glorious light than ever known. Hang in there.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  6. Lala

    Lala Well known member

    Michael, Thank you so much for your thoughts. I agree. I think I have decided to go to the appointment. I fully understand that the orthotics are in no way a solution to my problem...I just need, like you said, a "bridge,"...something to help me cope. I am totally committed to the structured educational program, journaling, therapy, affirmations etc and I do not plan to slow down on these very important psychological tools to true healing. I am getting the orthotics to help me cope with the right now (sort of like someone who is depressed taking anti-depressants so their head could be clear enough to focus on the hard work of psychotherapy) so that I can focus both on my job and on the emotional exploration I am so deeply involved in.

    It is so funny that you questioned my feelings about Teaching. I had a horrible anxiety dream about work last night and its got me thinking. I am 41 and have been teaching since I was 23. I teach art, ceramics specifically, at a good high school in the Hudson Valley of NY. I am very good at what I do and have always felt it was my true calling. However, lately, with the foot pain being really intense at work I have been questioning my true feeling or my repressed reactions to my job. 18 months ago I had a horrible falling out with 2 of the colleagues in my art department. The issues were personal but have profoundly affected my relationship with them at work. My department of 6 used to be all buddy buddy...socializing outside of work, eating lunch together, involved in each other's family life. With this falling out all that has changed, and despite the fact that I was on the receiving end of some "bullying" and passive-agressive behavoir, I have been the one who has been ostrisized. Now they are all polite and professional towards me, but the warm feeling of comradery are gone and I feel like black sheep of my department.

    Combine this with a 5am wakeup, a 40-min commute, all the new State Education Dept standards and demands being placed on teachers (without adequate work time to learn it all), a former principal (who was my mentor, whom I loved) being falsely accused of sex acts against a student, and being part of a disgruntled union that has not been able to secure a contract in 2 years and it all adds up to a LOT of repressed and conscious resentment, anger, rage, frustration, hurt and sadness in my work environment.

    To add to this I am the breadwinner of my family (I am married with a young son and a mortgage). I receive all the benefits for my family. I make close to $90,000/year and my husband only $35,000. Leaving my job is not an option. My family could not financially survive without my salary and benefits, not to mention all the time I get off to spend with them. And where we live, I could never find another job that would pay me this amount of money, offer such good benefits and time off. Talk about more repressed emotions...can you imagine how my Id feels about this..how pissed off she is that all this responsibility is weighing on her.

    The truth is, when I'm in my classroom I love my job. I love being with teenagers, I love working with clay, I love developing new lessons and showcasing my student's beautiful work. It is mostly all the stuff that is going on outside of the classroom that is possibly driving a lot of my TMS pain...much of it I don't have control over.

    So what to do? Yes, you are right, be gentle to myself. Give myself a break (orthotics if it will give me temporary relief, a massage now and then, or a mental health day once and a while for some alone time)...but also I think the only other option (since I can't change my job) is to change the way I think about my job. I need to acknowledge my repressed feelings...give voice to the anger/frustration/hurt/sadness and disappointment at the state of education right now. I need to give voice to my feelings of pressure and resentment from my family. I need to accept that feeling these things is normal and part of being human. Then I need to decide what I can change, my attitude. I need to learn to focus on what I have control over (my relationship with my students, my friendships with great ppl outside of my art department, my awesome lessons and projects) and learn to let go (and not internalize) the things that I don't have control over.

    I know this is a long response. If you are still with me I appreciate you listening. Guess its more of a journal entry...hehe. So yes, I will take your advice and give myself a break. I will go to the doctor today. I will not allow myself to get sucked into any of his talk of the structure of the foot and the reasons for plantar fasciitis. I will allow him to fit me for orthotics and understand that this is a bridge, not a solution. I considered cancelling the appointment...really standing up to my unconscious and saying, "screw you, I know there is nothing wrong with me, I am not going to get orthotics, I am going to stay strong," but the truth is I need some relief. I am human. As long as I keep in perspective i think I'll be okay and I know the orthotics will once again come out of my shoes and back on the shelf as they did many years ago.

    Thank you for your support.
  7. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Hi Lala,

    When I first saw my TMS doctor I had already been reading Sarno and talking to people on here for about a month. I was still wearing orthotics sometimes (my main TMS symptom was headaches so I wasn't even sure the foot problems were TMS but they started to clear up as I began this work). I had asked my doctor about the orthotics and he said it was OK to wear them...that with time I would be more confident in TMS and I probably would let go of them on my own. And that's what happened. I haven't worn them in months and I'm fine.

    I threw out most of my "TMS stuff" (pt bands, braces, ice packs, etc.) but I still have the orthotics because they were so damn expensive I can't bring myself to part with them :)
  8. Lala

    Lala Well known member

    Thanks Veronica, I did go to the doc yesterday and he was very nice and I kept my discussion with him very simple (I didn't get into the whole TMS thing, I just said my old orthotics wore out and I'd like new ones because I have high arches). He didn't give me a whole lecture on the structure of the foot or why this or that causes pain. He just asked a few questions, took a mold of my feet and send me on my way. The whole time I kept saying (in my head), "Its TMS, there is nothing structural wrong with my feet, these orthotics are just a bridge to healing." This seemed to help.

    : )
  9. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    ive had foot pain in both of my feet whenever i walk or stand for more than 20 minutes for the last 7 and a half years. i tried everything (shockwave, orthodics, cortisone, lots and lots of stretching, massage, ice, you name it i did it). the one thing i refused to do was surgery for what they called "plantar fasciitis" in my feet which i think is bullshit. my pain in my feet is exactly the same as it was when it started a long time ago and i haven't worked on my feet in years. i thought once i got out of the standing job my foot pain would go away but it didn't so i know exactly where you're coming from lala. i had to quit my job too after a year of every single day putting up with foot pain that was excruciating so i know what you're going through.

    i had the custom orthodics made too that cost $400 bucks and they were very very rigid.. it was like walking on a boulder (the doctors reasoning was that it needed to be this rigid to prevent my arch from collapsing since i had high arches). this is all garbage though. i stopped wearing these custom orthodics a long time ago and i dont wear any in my feet now and the pain hasn't changed at all. this further reinforces that my foot pain is conditioned so whenever i walk or stand for a while it hurts.

    i know its very hard to keep going when your feet are killing you and you have to finish the day up at work it blows all you want to do is sit down. using the new orthodics you just got i dont think will hinder your recovery but the biggest thing is to try your hardest not to worry about it. the more focus you place on it each day, the more you read about it, the more you think about it, the worse off you will be. i feel bad for you because i know what its like to be stuck in a situation like a job you can't get out of, but the pain is pushing you out the door every day. if you've tried everything i have and didn't get relief or fix the problem you know the cause and since you treated it before you know how to fix it again. its all about how much fear and worry you place on the pain and how much attention/affect you let it have on your life.
  10. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    if deep down you dont like your job for some reason anymore but you're forced into staying there because if you left you wouldn't make enough to survive, this is one of the biggest problems. its like being trapped and you can't get out.
  11. Lala

    Lala Well known member

    thanks dabatross,

    THanks for your thoughts. I agree. The foot pain is TMS, I healed it once before and I will heal it again...by doing the emotional work. the orthotics might or might not give me some temporary relief...that is all I am expecting of them nothing more. They seemed to help, a little, in the past...anything that gives me even some temporary relief will better enable me to focus on both work and the personal work I need to do (I spend my lunch periods at work journaling)

    I don't think I hate my job, I think I hate aspects of it...and i have never really acknowledged that before....I have never even allowed myself to take a moment and really think about whether or not its still "my calling. Or to dissect what I like and don't like. Now I am doing that emotional work (its on my list of things to tackle in therapy and I've been journaling about it). I am taking a hard look at what it is about teaching I love and what I don't...about what things I have control over and what I don't. And then the things that I can't control (new rules from the State Ed. department, the immature people who work in my department etc.) I hope I am learning to let go of...sort of accept and make peace with.

    The funny this is since I have acknowledged these strong feelings of anger, ambivalence, frustration and the like about work, I seem to be doing better. I caught myself today working with my students and I was truly enjoying myself and I didn't feel any pain...I was just in the moment, enjoying the teenage company and feeling important and needed in a good way. So perhaps I am on the right track? Right? Perhaps its about living with my eyes wide open and allowing myself to feel whatever I need to feel and by doing so I open up the pathways for more positivity and joy, because I am allowing some of the heavy/ugly stuff to clear out and make room?

    And I agree, I try hard not to think about it and I don't do any medical research about plantar fasciitis....I am (at least consciously) in total belief that my foot pain is TMS...as you said I cured it once before...so I have to keep believing its in my power to do it again.

    Thanks for your support
  12. Michael Reinvented

    Michael Reinvented Peer Supporter

    Lala said:

    I caught myself today working with my students and I was truly enjoying myself and I didn't feel any pain...I was just in the moment..

    That's a breakthrough Lala. The work you are doing is already shifting the pain. Hold onto this!!

    There is 0 doubt in my mind that TMS pain is greatly influenced by the self talk of the moment. UP and Down.


    With you.
    Lala likes this.
  13. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I just caught myself up on this thread and there are a lot of interesting points made in it. One of the most significant sources of stress in our lives are our careers. As you mentioned, overall you can love your job, but that doesn't mean there still are not things that frustrate you. With the pleasing/goodist TMS personality we tend to reject any thoughts or emotions about negative aspects of things. We think there is something wrong about having anger or frustration over our aspects of our careers. This of course leads us to develop TMS. The first step for anyone with TMS is to simply recongize that they have do in fact have anger and rage towards their jobs and/or families. Just recognizing this can lead to a signficant reduction of symptoms.

    Lala, it does sound like you have a lot of stress revolving around your career. As Dabatross touched on, having a career that you can't leave because you have to support your family can create a lot of inner rage. Of course, you don't actually have to quit your job to get better. You simply need to understand that you have anger and rage about this situation. A lot of what you said reminded me of the Existential Psychotherapy approach, which Dr. Zafirides touches upon in several of his podcasts and in his webinar with us.

    As for the devices and orthopedics it is up to you. There is some validity in the point that it may help you in the short term, which may be helpful as you learn more about TMS and gain confidence in yourself. I also see a lot of validity in Dr. Sarno's suggestion that we throw out all of those aids and devices. You always have to consider the message you are sending to your unconcsious when you use them.

    I have always tended to think that the aids reinforced the believe that I was disabled and fragile. Personally, I also never found that they reduced my symptoms at all. In most cases, I think they made me develop new symptoms. For instance, when I started using Voice Recongition Software, because I couldn't type on a keyboard, my voice went out. I seemed to develop TMS symptoms in places where I needed to use a certain body part, i.e. wrist, shoulders, legs.

    Due to my own experience with these devices I would not recommend using them, but then again that is just me. With that said everyone is different, and you need to find out what works for you.

    The good part is that it does sound like you are identify when you are repressing and making big inroads into recovering. Try not to worry about your pain level at any specific time and focus on the present. If you continue doing the work, you will get there.
  14. Lala

    Lala Well known member

    thanks forest, I ended up getting the orthotics (mostly because I had already budgeted the money in my flexible spending account and if i don't use it i loose it, but also b/c I was hoping they would at least be a temporary bridge to my healing). They are on order, but the truth is I haven't been thinking of them that much or yearning for them, b/c I know ultimately they will not heal my pain, only perhaps ease it a bit temporarily so i can work more comfortably and also so I have the energy and focus to do the intense emotional work I've been doing.

    I think the thing that is hardest for me is I am finding my process to be more up and down this time around. When I had foot/hand related TMS 10 years ago I think I remember my healing to be more linear....the pain just gradually went away (at least this is my vague memory of it)....this time feels like more of a rollercoaster ride...but perhaps that is because my life is much more complex now and I have a lot more responsibility. Last time my TMS was more about pain from my parents divorce. This time it feels much more about repressed rage connected to good things in my life (marriage, child, successful career)....perhaps on some level it felt more acceptable to me to be angry/enraged about my parent's divorce. Whereas to be angry/enraged or resentful about all the things in my life that are good is less acceptable. How dare I secretly resent my loving and supportive husband (who is handsome and hardworking to boot). How dare I secretly recent and feel enraged by the demands my 2.5 year old (healthy and charming) son places on me. How dare I sometimes hate my (creative, well-paying, lots of time off) job, when there are so many teachers desperately searching for work. To be honest. This realization is just hitting me as I write this. Funny how the forum can bring up things that just journaling alone does not. I have been trying to figure out for a while why my last bout of TMS healing did not feel as emotionally and physically challenging as this time around.

    Thanks for sharing and inspiring an important emotional breakthrough/understanding...
  15. Pandamonium

    Pandamonium Well known member

    Hi Lala,

    I can empathise with the situation you are facing at work, I love my job but all the people in my team have changed recently and I am unhappy. I am trying to avoid some of them and am trying to live more in the now, one day at a time. It is hard though. I think you have done the right thing re the orthotics. Sarno says take an aspirin and don't stress about it and I agree, as long as you know it's a placebo effect and you're not out of pocket then give yourself a little break. Hope things improve soon for you, sounds like you are on the right track.
    Forest likes this.
  16. Lala

    Lala Well known member

    thanks Pandamonium...yes, I remember Sarno saying that too....sometimes you just have to give yourself a break....and you can't obsess about not being the "perfect TMS healer," that would be counter productive wouldn't it?

    did you read my response to Forest above? It's interesting I really think that the different reasons we have for repressed rage determines what kind of a healing path we take. The first time around (TMS healing 10 years ago) my anger was a more acceptable form of anger (makes total sense that someone would be pissed about their parents divorce) so I seemed to heal pretty quickly and easily. But to be angry about all the things in our life we are told to be grateful for has been a hard thing for me to accept. My perfectionist/goodist ways lead me to feel really guilty about unconsciously resenting my husband/child/job....working through that guilt and the feelings of self-loathing that come with it is really hard work...but I am determined to see it through. I am REALLY looking forward to my therapy session tomorrow.

    1 month ago my therapist asked me, "so you have spent your whole life wishing for a happy marriage, a career, and a child, now that you have it are you happy?" And I immediately got welled up with tears and had a hard time giving her a direct answer. It took me several weeks to figure out why I had such an uncomfortable and visceral response.
  17. Lala

    Lala Well known member

    and yes, i think learning to live in the now and learning to let go of the things we cannot control is really important...not just for healing from TMS, but to live a happy and fulfilled life!
  18. Michael Reinvented

    Michael Reinvented Peer Supporter

    Hi Lala,

    I can relate to this thread. My business was my identity for 12 happy years, consistent success, loved 80% of the people I dealt with. Last 3 years has been a grind out as my feet have steadily become more symptomatic, the 80% ratio has reversed. In the background, my beloved wife has been supportive of my battle with foot pain, increasing her work hours and exercise, turning into a machine of health and endurance, which at times I has made me secretly intensely jealous of her stamina.. How unfair/confusing is that?

    With my symptoms flaring I am more aware than ever of the power of self talk, and am doing all possible to not get sucked into negative impatient commentary. Even worse is cutting off projected fears at the pass, as I have found myself worrying in advance of social engagements requiring additional "foot work".. How the hell will I get through this?

    Overall from what I have read, lineal recovery from TMS is mostly the exception. So allow for the ups and downs. Thanks for reading as writing this gives me some additional strength.
  19. Lala

    Lala Well known member

    Hi Michael. It's nice to be in touch with others whose pain manifests in the feet....i do the same as you...stress about what shoes I am going to wear or how I am going to get through this event or that activity...this all feeds the negative process and is hard to break...it takes time. Knowing that others struggle with the same inner battle gives me strength too.
  20. tarala

    tarala Well known member

    Hi Lala,

    Being angry about things that are good in your life really rang a bell for me. I have a great family, a job I love very much, beautiful place to live ... and sometimes I wish it would all go away. I feel ungrateful thinking this, so mostly I don't. Or maybe it's not as perfect as I make out. I get confused sometimes between the two processes of allowing and acknowledging negative emotions, and trying to focus on thoughts that make me feel good. Perhaps I skip over the acknowledging bit a little too much. :)

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