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Hello all...any advice really appreciated

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Huckleberry, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member


    I'm a 45 year old guy from the UK and wanted to run my 'story' past the forum to get some thoughts and opinions on my situation...all input is gratefully received.

    I figured it was best to put some background information which may be relevant in bullet points initially as I'm aware nobody wants to wade through a novel.

    * I have read all of Sarno's books and a plethora of other material about TMS / Mindbody illness. I buy into the concept totally but surprise surprise have huge problems relating it to my condition. I cannot move past a structural explanation for my pain.

    * I have been told by a TMS (stress illness) practitioner in the UK that they are certain I am suffering from TMS. This guy is also a physiotherapist who applies that modality to acute injury and pain...he believes that chronic pain is pretty much always psychological in origin and a result of an overstimulated nervous system and 'always on' neural pathways...this is often the direct result of stress and unexpressed emotions.

    * I have a history of health anxiety and somatisation and am extremely fixated on body noise and function.

    * I fit the traits etc of the typical TMS sufferer to a T. If I was to look at another person in my situation I would say that it was a no brainer that they have TMS.

    So, with that background I started to have a mild back pain about 3 years ago. This would come and go and never trouble me too much. I started an exercise regime 18 months ago and lost about 4 stone in weight....my back ached during this period but there was never a pattern to it.
    As my back pain increased it also became more sciatic in nature and gave me pain in my left leg...the pain has never been that bad, more of an ache...yep, I would call it a distraction if pushed.
    I visited various chiros and osteos at this time and was diagnosed with all the usual stuff like piriformis syndrome, SI joint dysfunction, twisted/tilted pelvis and leg length discrepancy. I believe this
    has planted a huge nocebo in me.
    Over time the pain and aches have increased and I have become more and more concerned that I'm doing damage to my body. My current symptoms are hip pains (mainly one side but can be both) left sided buttock pain which goes down the back of my leg but never below the knee (piriformis?) and pain located in my lower back just over my SI joints. The TMS practioner I have seen is adamant that my range of movement is normal etc and that as I'm still active with zero loss of function he is convinced that my pain is as a result of stress illness...he strongly believes I don't present with any observable signs of structural problems and that the pain cannot be a result of a structural issue.
    I do have a huge amount of stress in my life and believe I'm handling it ok ish but this is obviously on a conscious level...I'm not so sure how my unconscious feels about it. I have lost both my parents in the last 3 years and am currently trying to sell a house that is proving difficult...I also detest my job and feel totally unsatisfied and unfulfilled.

    So, that's the bones of it so to speak. I don't really know what the forum can offer me that the TMS chap I have seen couldn't but I suppose I'm stuck in that trap of analysing to the tiniest degree and hoping somebody can give me that nugget of wisdom that will 'cure' me. I have to admit that whilst I'm genned up on the concept of TMS and haven't really done the work so to speak and still employ the same faulty negative patterns and live my life like Groundhog Day...I don't know why I'm expecting things to change if I carry on doing and thinking the same things.

    Anyway, thanks for reading and I greatly appreciate any advise. If somebody thinks this is a structural thing please don't be afraid to say so as I just want some insight and opinions.
  2. trypp

    trypp Peer Supporter

    Hi, Huck,

    Well, it goes without saying that no one can diagnose you over the internet, but this sounds like a cut and dry case of TMS to me. I kept on reading and thinking that I was going to find something that was going to blow it open and give me doubts, but pretty much everything you said made it sound like TMS. Statistically speaking, pretty much everyone with TMS has a plausible sounding reason to believe it's not TMS. This can pose a challenge for them in healing because they have to accept the diagnosis anyway to heal. But you sound pretty much like the perfect storm.

    I'm tempted to go through all of the reasons why it sounds like TMS, but I think that you already understand them. It sounds like part of you is fighting the diagnosis, though. Do you know what that might be? Any idea what might be motivating it?
  3. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hello. I feel a little shy about responding to your post because I am new to this forum and in the thick of things myself. But a few things you said really resonated with me such as:

    "I don't know why I'm expecting things to change if I carry on doing and thinking the same things."

    I know for myself it has been a bit overwhelming as I recognize myself in the MBS profile and begin to develop awareness of how I am, the ways I am being, that are contributing to the MBS symptoms. On the one hand, there is so much to learn, investigate, listening to advice, programs to follow. And on the other hand, there is our life, the pain, the continuous compulsive thoughts, the reactions. For me, recovery from MBS requires what I have always felt I lack the most of - confidence, belief and trust in my body.
    I have no doubt that I have MBS and the pain distraction has been enormously effective in encouraging me to chase my tail in panic for over 30 years. What I need to somehow learn is how to stop, relax, and convince myself it is okay even when it really doesn't feel okay. And if learning how to be with, express and accept my feelings leads me to some dark place, that needs to be okay to0. I guess what I am trying to say is that the gap between accepting the MBS diagnosis and then all of the work and discipline that may need to be applied in order to reverse the symptoms, can sometimes seem daunting. I have had every pain symptom you described in your post. I had surgery for a ruptured disc in my lower back and still had chronic pain and sciatica for many years. I am 50 years old and have a different pain condition now(occipital neuralgia). As serious as all the lower back pain, hip and sciatica was for me at the time, I can't even remember what it feels like to have pain in my lower back now(that was 20 years ago). And I had therapists tell me exactly what they are telling you with the exception they did not realize or suggest to me that I had MBS. Oh, how I wish they had! I did read Sarno's book and spent about six months with therapists trying to uncover the traumatic event or emotion that was causing my back pain. I can see clearly now that I was looking for a fix, a cure, something that I would uncover that would just make the pain go away. And at least in my case, it doesn't work like that. So, I think you have every reason to begin the process of doing this work. You can only benefit. How are you hurting yourself and doing yourself damage? I recently got an MRI of my neck because the pain is so intense it is very difficult for me to believe it is MBS. The MRI does show herniated discs and all the neurosurgeons in my area would be more than happy to go in and fuse my neck or remove the disc. Its not an easy decision because I want so much for the pain to go away. But I have been down that road before and it did not give me the results I wanted. So, I am giving myself some time to work with this MBS and give it all I've got.
    It has only been a few months and it has been a rocky road because I suffer from so much anxiety. But I can see small improvements and I am perhaps getting better at not letting the disappointment of the pain still being there derail me as much as in the beginning. Good luck. I think things will go well for you.
  4. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    Many thanks for your replies and apologies for not replying earlier.

    I just actually posted something in another thread about a massive nocebo that was planted in my head by an osteopath about 10 months ago...my pain has got worse like she said it would and I just can't look past the structural explanation. When things get worse over a period of time this just seems so physical.

    I know this is a massive stumbling bloke as the fear of the physical and the inability to totally accept the TMS diagnosis just means I'm dumping more and more fear and anxiety on my nervous system. It really is the perfect viscous circle.

    Thanks again.
  5. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    Huckleberry (I love your name!), if you are still having trouble accepting the TMS diagnosis even though you've seen a TMS doctor, I would heartily recommend you start the Structured Education Program. You can find it here: http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Structured_Educational_Program

    Perhaps you will find yourself believing more and more as you do the program.
  6. MatthewNJ

    MatthewNJ Well known member


    I agree with Gail and Ann who both gave you fabulous advice. I will tell you my experience has been there is no "cure", no "silver bullet". There is hard work that is rewarded by decreased symptoms. There are a plethora of stories on this site and others attesting to that. You said yourself "...and haven't really done the work so to speak...". So you have to ask yourself a question, do want to reduce or eradicate your symptoms or not? You are just 2 years older than I was when I was diagnosed. I have been on this path 10 years and I am not stopping now! So, do you want to get better or no? You lost 4 stone, (my understanding is that is about 60lbs correct?), If you can do that, you can do anything.

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