1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
    Dismiss Notice

Healthy 28 year old - chronic pain w/ no explanation

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by cactus13, Jul 30, 2023.

  1. cactus13

    cactus13 New Member

    Hey everyone! I'm happy to be here after discovering Sarno's work. Clearly a man ahead of his time. So many supportive people and awesome success stories. Excited to dig deeper.

    I'm a healthy 28 year old male. 8 months ago, I strained my right calf while at the beach. I hobbled around for the few remaining days of vacation until returning home. A week later, I began experiencing pain in the left lower quadrant (lower back, butt, hip, etc). While my calf strain is non-existent, the remaining pain continues to persist to this day. Here's my timeline:

    December: intense pain in left buttocks, most movement (ie. in/out of bed) and cough/sneeze caused significant pain, no changed after visiting chiropractor
    January - March: two weeks of sharp rib pain that woke up in middle of night, increased strength/less pain after 14 PT sessions (soft tissue work, dry needling, exercise regiment), still pain in lower left quadrant, able to run and squat
    April - May: another chiro visit, general gait "imbalance", very targeted SI joint pain at night of hiking trip, regression of improvement upon returning home, intense pain during cough/sneeze
    June - July: unable to run or squat, pain when weight placed on left leg, pain most significant after physical activity. Visited DO and conducted lumbar MRI & full body X-ray: no issues or problems with anatomy aside from possible "sacroiliitis" in left SI joint, SI joint steroid injection no change, visit PM&R doc w/ another injection week ago no change, wants to do epidural injection next

    I feel like "traditional" medicine is just throwing darts, hoping something sticks in an infinite rabbit hole. Trying to find an inflamed nerve or structural problem that isn't there (or doesn't actually matter). Chronic inflammation? For a healthy young person, I simply don't believe it. I'm really starting to believe the realness of TMS more, but still have those "but what if it's a pinched nerve" thoughts that pop up sometimes.

    I just finished Healing Back Pain today (more books coming), am starting to journal and practice more mindfulness/meditation. I'm a perfectionist, highly opinionated and like to control most scenarios - I know these are all character traits of those susceptible to TMS. I'm ready to get my young life back - I miss being active, dating with confidence and generally being unrestricted.

    Is this TMS? How do I know for sure? I'm in disbelief that pain like this would persist in a young body for such a long time. I do feel like I've been trained to "expect" pain with most activity due to the last few months experience - I'd like to break that mold.
  2. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    “Is this TMS? How do I know for sure?”
    You make the choice to believe or not.
    Some people can do that freely. Others struggle. An evidence sheet can help you. Basically, you begin relating emotional or thought patterns eg. Like expecting pain or say, an emotion or an event to a symptom: change or spike or perhaps lessen. Maybe symptoms lessen when you do something pleasurable. Maybe they spike when you are angry or expecting pain. Write it down. This can help you connect dots.
    This website offers two free programs: the SEP which is a bit longer and the Pain Program which is what Alan Gordon’s Pain Reprocessing (a book and a method) are based on. Why not choose a program (both expand on Sarno’s work) and slowly complete it - it’s best to read one of Sarno’s books first, then do a program. They guide you through techniques used to calm the nervous system and to retrain your brain. You can find them by scrolling down the first TMSWiki.org page.

    Folks are here to answer questions and offer support!
  3. cactus13

    cactus13 New Member

    Thank you for the thoughtful response. It's good to know others are here to support my journey. I'm glad to know I'm not alone and that everyone has unique context. Holistically, I would say that my pain is least noticeable when I'm living in the moment instead of thinking about things like "this movement may cause pain for me" so that is a TMS indicator. I need to break free of the control it has on every day movements, especially those that have become predictable and I become solely focused on (ie. first step after getting out of bed in the morning).

    I just completed reading Healing Back Pain, but have Alan Gordon's book (The Way Out) and Mindbody Prescription (along with a few others coming too. I completed Day 1 of SEP today, was a very helpful introduction to many success stories and journaling about life without TMS - doing my best to visualize a lifestyle free of restriction and not constrained by situational pain reminders.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hey @cactus13 , welcome to the forum. Your compatriot, @Cactusflower has given you great advice for starting this work and changing how you think.

    The SEP is still a terrific program in spite of the fact that it hasn't been updated in a long time, so don't let your perfectionism be concerned about a few broken links that you might encounter! In the big picture they do not matter.

    To me, the most important part about doing the exercises in the SEP is to be completely 100% honest with yourself, and do not let your brain try to talk you out of skipping things that come up, trying to convince you that something you thought of in the exercises is not important or not significant or too embarrassing to go into, so "let's look at something else that's easier". This work is not about doing what's easy, it's about taking risks and allowing yourself to be emotionally vulnerable. If you can do those things, you will find success, not just for your current physical symptoms, but for the rest of your life, because the TMS mechanism is always going to be there trying to protect you, and the goal is for you to learn skills and techniques now that will help you manage this protection mechanism for the rest of your life.

    It's actually pretty exciting when you realize the power you can have over your physical and mental well being!
    cactus13 likes this.
  5. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    You'll know it's TMS when you figure out why you needed a symptom right then.

    TMS is there to allegedly protect you from something scary in your unconscious. It might be something you are vaguely aware of or it could be totally invisible.... but it isn't arbitrary.

    Why did you need a distraction
    Think back to that day..where were you in life. What were you coming home too? What were you on vacation from? WHO was with you?

    that's where it is...
  6. cactus13

    cactus13 New Member

    Very good advice. The calf strain was a real anatomical injury, but the pain that followed and persists today is most likely related to unemployment and life progression.

    Is it common to have TMS follow an actual injury? As in, the brain uses that opportunity to sneak itself in and start distracting from other things in life?
  7. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    “Anatomical injury” did it heal within 3 months? The body is a marvel, and s real injury heals in 3 months. If it hasn’t healed, then it FEELS like an injury, your brain tells you it’s an injury.. because as @Baseball65 said. “TMS is there to allegedly protect you from something scary in your unconscious.”
    We are conditioned, in our society to think all pain, discomfort or illness is medical or structural or anatomical and the medical profession will try to give you answers to your hurts within a medical model. However, this model isn’t relieving pain or curing people whose pain (which is real) is for psychological reasons.
    Take your mind off of the “injury” for a moment and simply reflect on baseball65’s questions.
  8. cactus13

    cactus13 New Member

    Yes! My right calf was never the pain generator or real "problem" in this whole scenario. After treatment in PT and basic healing time, my calf is fully recovered. It's the manufactured pain in a totally different area on the left side of my body (deemed an area of micro-trauma, inflammation, blah blah) that has continued to persist. After zero explanation from medical professionals and a "let's inject this steroid" approach, I've started to accept TMS is the real culprit.

    I'm going to do some journaling using @Baseball65's questions. I've performed a lot of "distraction" activities over the last 6 months (home remodeling, TV show binge, worrying about sibling life, etc) instead of focusing intently on what is the driving the need for such distractions. I am very critical of myself and have found myself in a bit of a late 20's "life lull," so many emotions are rooted in my life situation and was only accelerated by the pandemic.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  9. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Phantom limb pain. Check it out. It starts out with a real injury that is so incapable of healing that it has to be amputated. And yet the pain persists.

    It's the exact same neurological process as what we call TMS. It's science, baby!
  10. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    What is that? Sarno himself said soemthing like he didn't know what people mean when they say it, other than overworking it?
    But overworked muscles usually feel stiff and maybe weak, but not painful? and it goes away fast.
    No...Yes... 'What is injury' changes it's meaning the longer you do this...in a good way.
    e.g. a common spot for me to get 'tickles' is my left upper quad/hip... it has sometimes happened after a lot of baseball and some times with no activity at all. Since it has literally come out of nowhere, those times I might have thought I 'Hurt' it, what it really was was just a trigger event for the TMS to get a toehold...to get my attention, it literally 'pretends' to be physical

    I'm 57. I have had a lot of injuries that were 'real'..broken bones,cut off my thumb, broke vertebrae in my spine...none of those were particularly painful...TMS on the other hand is VERY painful. In fact, the more it hurts, for a longer duration (more than a day or two) is a guarantee it is TMS.

    Sarno pointed out that breaking the largest bone in the body(leg) only causes pain for a few days and heals in weeks...

    I got drilled in the ankle by a foul ball...whole foot black and blue,swollen..looked terrible...hurt for a day and a half and I was running again in a week. TMS? No way... it hangs in, moves around and makes me miserable and the most frustrating part is there is NOTHING wrong with me...in my body that is.

    That is why the reminders, reading and challenging that 'belief' is so important
    cactus13 and JanAtheCPA like this.

Share This Page