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

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Livley MJ, Sep 22, 2017.

  1. Livley MJ

    Livley MJ Newcomer

    I am 33-year-old woman living in Korea.
    I have had pains on my knee for 3 years and on my wrist and foot for 1 year.
    I can't stand up more than 10 minutes, after that I feel severe pain on my heel.
    I can't walk more than 30 minutes, because I feel various pains on my foot including heel, sole, leg .. etc.
    Some doctors diagnosed "chondromalacia patella", "plantar fasciitis" and "achilles tendinitis."
    But I don't agree with them.
    Especially, after looking at the MRI on my knee there was no symtom for my pain. Everything was fine.
    And I got an ultrasound for my heels, there was also nothing at all.
    But I am so sick and hard.
    I am tired of not going outside without car or bicycle.
    I even had to quit my job because I couldn't walk and type on the keyboard for a long time.

    But I've found the book that Dr. Sarno wrote a few days ago, and I also found this website.
    I've read week 0 and Alan's recovery program.
    Now I think I have TMS.
    not sure 100%, I'm just a beginner and learning. Whenever I feel pain I become weaker and weaker.
    How do you make up your mind when you feel your pain?
    I have tried to think this is "fake pain that brain makes." since yesterday.
    And I try not to focus on the pain.

    I have definitely gotten lots of stresses when I had a job. Quite sure and after I got married there was a bunch of big things happened to me that generate stresses.
    But I have thought I overcame those stresses. Because those has not happened to me again.
    After I got pains, I have tried to love myself like Alan says.
    But those stresses has built for a long time, I think that is the reason these pains became chronic.
    Even though my stresses have gone out I still have pains. I know.

    Do you have any advice for me?
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
  2. JBG1963

    JBG1963 Peer Supporter


    Yesterday was also my day 1. I have read the books and tried off and on to work through the principals. I have had some "cure" to the extent that sometimes I can truly see that it's all in my head. I'm still working on a complete cure. I know it's all in my head when my pain changes places in my body. For months my fibromyalgia pain will hurt, then that stops and I get lower back pain. It just travels from place to place in my body. The journaling is important-getting to the root cause of all the reasons we are creating pain for ourselves and forgiving ourselves for setting up this situation. Good luck with your journey. I hope we can both stick with it, because I really want to be cured.

  3. TheWayBackUp

    TheWayBackUp Peer Supporter

    I think the best thing you can do is not focus on the pain and realize it's only pain and it can't really harm your body. Also please continue following the program and journaling a lot. You should start to feel better and then you will be motivated to continue with the program. Just believe everyone's story of how much they improved and you will be there as well. Best of luck.
  4. moon123

    moon123 New Member

    Hi and welcome! I'm pretty new to this process too. I agree with what others have written, and would only add that for me it was important to start *very* gradually increasing my physical activity, slowly proving to myself that things I thought would make my pain worse actually didn't (e.g. putting more pressure on my right leg), and that things I used to do to avoid pain (e.g. always lean to my left) could actually make things worse sometimes. This practice (and making a log of them) has helped me gradually build courage, accept the diagnosis, and break down the association between certain movements and pain.
  5. Mountain Girl

    Mountain Girl Peer Supporter

    I think this is important. I think I need to go more gradually too and learn to be okay with that. I judge myself very harshly that I'm not improving fast enough, which as Alan points out is just putting more pressure on the self and in turn furthering the TMS cycle.

    I am very impatient by nature, so going gradually is super frustrating to me. But the setbacks of pushing too hard are so emotionally crushing that I think I really need to heed this advice.
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Welcome to all of you! Did you all see the Success Story posted by @WantToBelieve a few days ago? I read the whole thing, because her description of the YEARS of intense pain she experienced, and her road to recovery, is very compelling. I highly recommend it to anyone who needs to know that it is absolutely possible to recover from what appeared to be intractable and debilitating symptoms, by rigorously applying TMS knowledge and mindfulness:
    http://tmswiki.org/forum/threads/cant-believe-im-a-success-story-feet-pain-15-years-90-gone.17128/#post-90460 (Can't believe I'm a SUCCESS story - Feet pain 15 years 90% gone!!)

    All the best,

  7. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Mountain Girl likes this.
  8. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    See the HOLMES-RAHE stress list for your TMS science :

    The Holmes and Rahe Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS)

    The Holmes and Rahe stress scale is a list of 43 stressful life events that can contribute to illness. John Sarno, MD devotes almost 2 pages to the stress scale in his third book, The Mindbody Prescription.

    The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale and TMS, by Eric Sherman, Psy.D.
    The following introduction to how the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale is used in TMS treatment was donated by Eric Sherman, PsyD. Dr. Sherman is a co-author of Pathways to Pain Relief, with Frances Sommer Anderson, PhD, SEP. He completed his clinical psychology internship at The Rusk Institute of the Langone Medical Center in New York where he rotated through the Psychophysiological Pain Service, under the direction of John E. Sarno, MD, and Arlene Feinblatt, PhD. He worked with Dr. Sarno for 29 years, providing psychotherapy to Dr. Sarno's patients.

    As part of Dr. Sarno’s psycho-educational approach to treating TMS/PPD, he introduces patients to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. The scale predicts a person’s chances of developing a physical or emotional condition, based on cumulative exposure to stressful external events in the preceding year. Events range from mundane nuisances like getting a parking ticket to catastrophic events like the death of a spouse or the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness. The events are weighted: The parking ticket receives l point, the death of a spouse is assigned 50 points. Research indicates that when an individual accumulates more than 200 points in a year, he or she is at much greater risk of developing serious physical, emotional, or psychophysiologic conditions.

    Although constitutional factors and personality variables play a role in an individual’s vulnerability and resistance to stress, no one can imagine an individual entirely unaffected by experiencing one or more of the following in the same year: the loss of a spouse, the amputation of a limb, an adult child’s bitter divorce, or a hefty assessment by the co-op board. However, the specific nature and magnitude of these effects vary greatly because of the highly subjective ways in which different people experience the same situation.

    Personality variables, childhood experiences, and external stressors all contribute to the development of TMS/PPD. Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale is predicated upon the idea that individuals react in typical and therefore predictable ways to life events. Although this observation is largely true, there are no events that are intrinsically stressful, or benign. The experience of stress is always the co-creation of the event and how a particular individual subjectively perceives it. Let me illustrate this concept with an example from my own life. During a brief break in between appointments with patients, I dashed across the street to the bank to deposit a Canadian check. I live in New York City. The check had been declined for deposit by the ATM earlier that same day and I was advised to visit my branch manager. Upon my arrival, I encountered a line with 6 people ahead of me. In my impatient and pressured state of mind, it seemed that the customers couldn’t have been processed more slowly if the tellers had all been corpses. Then, much to my surprise and fascination, a young man, probably no more than 19 or 20 arrives 3 places behind me in line; he couldn’t be happier. I briefly entertained the possibility that he was one of those preternaturally cheerful people before I realized the long line represented a cherished escape from his job. The boss had sent him to make a deposit and the longer and slower the line, the more time he spent away from the office, a place he detested. That same line that tormented me in my hurried attempts to accomplish yet one more task in an already over-scheduled day was the answer to this young man’s prayers.

    Therefore, the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale should never be used either as the basis for diagnosing TMS/PPD, or excluding a diagnosis of TMS/PPD. The Holmes and Rahe Scale is an adjunct to a thorough examination by a physician experienced in diagnosing and treating TMS/PPD and a carefully conducted clinical inquiry by a mental health professional familiar with the varied presentations of TMS/PPD. Because of the highly subjective nature of the experience of stress, the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale is not to be viewed as Gospel. However, it is a valuable tool for generating hypotheses about a person’s condition and guiding introspection in individuals who have already received a diagnosis of TMS/PPD.

    The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale can be viewed as a portal into an individual’s psychological interior. If an individual is appropriately diagnosed with TMS/PPD and his or her score on the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale says “tilt”, one’s understanding of that person is far from complete and has only just begun. If the person is mourning the loss of a significant relationship, is the patient bereft or guilt-ridden because now there are no longer any obstacles standing in the way of an outside relationship? Or, does the death of the person force the individual to confront his or her own ambivalence about formalizing this outside relationship? Also, many people with TMS/PPD are so estranged from their own needs and feelings that they are genuinely surprised when they recognize the cumulative toll of their suffering. These people are often highly adept at rationalizing why their own needs and feelings should go unmet. The discrepancy between their own self-experience and the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale illuminates how disconnected they are from recognizing the impact of events on their emotional state. The scores do not tell the story; they are footprints that can lead you to the heart of the matter when used correctly.

    Similarly, when someone with a score that is “off the charts” doesn’t manifest any significant physical, emotional, or mindbody symptomatology, it doesn’t necessarily mean the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale is no longer useful. Instead, several intriguing possibilities are raised. Is this individual someone who is genetically resistant to stress, as demonstrated by his or her history? Or, does this person have extraordinary coping resources and/or an extensive support network? Another possibility is that this individual cannot report distress that he or she is oblivious to. When this situation occurs, it suggests other lines of inquiry, for example: is the individual cognitively impaired; is the person deliberately providing an inaccurate account; is this behavior symptomatic of a personality disorder characterized by dissociative tendencies; is this person soothing him or herself with drugs and alcohol, thereby averting any experience of distress?

    When the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale is not used mechanically, another layer of understanding about an individual’s inner world is often revealed. If the person reports, for example, a bankruptcy or serious health problem in the past year, a history of financial recklessness or self-destructive habits might emerge. This same approach can also identify resources which mitigate the impact of stressful events. And of course, not all divorces are created equally. Some represent liberation and a new beginning; others are experienced as grievous losses and shameful failures.

    Never should a high score on the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale be used to blame anyone for his or her TMS/PPD symptomatology. As mentioned earlier, TMS/PPD symptomatology is a multifactorial phenomenon involving genetic resistance or vulnerability to stress, personality variables, the effects of childhood experiences, and the impact of external stressors. TMS/PPD can be likened to a perfect storm; no single contributing factor in and of itself ever leads to the development of this condition. Therefore, the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale should never be misused to establish, confirm, or refute the diagnosis of a mindbody disorder. However, the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale is a valuable tool to examine and understand an individual’s history and psychodynamics with respect to the development of TMS/PPD.

    In 1967, psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe examined the medical records of over 5,000 medical patients as a way to determine whether stressful events might cause illnesses. Patients were asked to tally a list of 43 life events based on a relative score. A positive correlation of 0.118 was found between their life events and their illnesses.

    Their results were published as the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS),[1] known more commonly as the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. Subsequent validation has supported the links between stress and illness.[2]

    Supporting research
    Rahe carried out a study in 1970 testing the reliability of the stress scale as a predictor of illness.[3] The scale was given to 2,500 US sailors and they were asked to rate scores of 'life events' over the previous six months. Over the next six months, detailed records were kept of the sailors' health. There was a +0.118 correlation between stress scale scores and illness, which was sufficient to support the hypothesis of a link between life events and illness.[4]

    In conjunction with the Cornell medical index assessing, the stress scale correlated with visits to medical dispensaries, and the H&R stress scale's scores also correlated independently with individuals dropping out of stressful underwater demolitions training due to medical problems.[4] The scale was also assessed against different populations within the United States (with African American|African, Hispanic and White American groups).[5] The scale was also tested cross-culturally, comparing Japanese[6] and Malaysian[7] groups with American populations.

    In The Mindbody Prescription
    In the chapter on "The Psychology of Mindbody Disorders" in The Mindbody Prescription, Dr. Sarno identified three sources of rage: "Trauma in Infancy and Childhood," "Personality Traits," and "The World Around Us." For the section on "The World Around Us," he reviewed how Holmes and Rahe constructed the list of life events in the stress scale and he also reproduced the entire list of 42 life events. Commenting on the list, he wrote: “We postulate that these events produce 'disease' through the mechanism of internal rage. ... Both positive and negative stress generate unconscious anger, whether or not one is consciously angry. Accumulated anger is rage, and frightening, unconscious rage leads to the development of physical symptoms.” He noted that the list, while it contains negative events, as might be expected, also contains positive events that could be socially desirable and “consonant with the American values of achievement, success, materialism, practicality, efficiency, future orientation, conformism, and self-reliance.”

    This arguably suggests that even positive events, because they lead to change, can be stressful to our unconscious minds.

    To measure stress according to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, the number of "Life Change Units" that apply to events in the past year of an individual's life are added and the final score will give a rough estimate of how stress affects health.

    Life event Life change units
    Death of a spouse 100
    Divorce 73
    Marital separation 65
    Imprisonment 63
    Death of a close family member 63
    Personal injury or illness 53
    Marriage 50
    Dismissal from work 47
    Marital reconciliation 45
    Retirement 45
    Change in health of family member 44
    Pregnancy 40
    Sexual difficulties 39
    Gain a new family member 39
    Business readjustment 39
    Change in financial state 38
    Death of a close friend 37
    Change to different line of work 36
    Change in frequency of arguments 35
    Major mortgage 32
    Foreclosure of mortgage or loan 30
    Change in responsibilities at work 29
    Child leaving home 29
    Trouble with in-laws 29
    Outstanding personal achievement 28
    Spouse starts or stops work 26
    Begin or end school 26
    Change in living conditions 25
    Revision of personal habits 24
    Trouble with boss 23
    Change in working hours or conditions 20
    Change in residence 20
    Change in schools 20
    Change in recreation 19
    Change in church activities 19
    Change in social activities 18
    Minor mortgage or loan 17
    Change in sleeping habits 16
    Change in number of family reunions 15
    Change in eating habits 15
    Vacation 13
    Christmas 12
    Minor violation of law 11
    Score of 300+: At risk of illness.

    Score of 150-299: Risk of illness is moderate (reduced by 30% from the above risk).

    Score <150: Only have a slight risk of illness.

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