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Day 1 here goes! sick of chronic knee and back pain

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by dancerwannabe, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. dancerwannabe

    dancerwannabe Newcomer

    My right knee started hurting 20 years ago. Originally I attributed the pain to an "injury" during a tae kwon do class, only because I had a memory of my knee twisting or hyperextending once and feeling pain at the time. Over the years I've seen many medical professionals for the pain, including orthopedists, a rheumatologist, an osteopath, several physical therapists, massage therapists, acupuncturists, and even a homeopathic practitioner. I've been x-rayed and MRI'd many times. Although a few of the professionals I saw gave me some kind of nebulous diagnosis, like chondromalacia patella or patellofemoral syndrome, most concluded there was nothing really structurally wrong with me, and they could not account for the pain, which is constant, but fluctuates in degree. I tried every solution that was recommended (including surgery), to no avail.

    Then almost 10 years ago I started having regular pain in my lower back. (I've also had bouts of neck pain and shoulder/arm pain, but the lower back pain is the persistent symptom.) It hurts every day. There's no rhyme or reason as to what makes it worse: either rest or overuse, sitting or standing, morning or evening. Again, doctors, chiropractors and other professionals have varying opinions on the cause of pain and recommended course of treatment. Nothing I've tried seems to help.

    I first heard of Dr. Sarno's theory more than a decade ago (before I had chronic back pain), from someone I met who said it helped him. I thought it sounded interesting, but didn't think it applied to me - I don't have an anger problem!! armscrosseddenial

    A week ago I listened to the audiobook version of Dr. Sarno's "Mindbody Prescription." And yup, saw myself on every page, especially the perfectionist and "goodist" tendencies. So I bought "Healing Back Pain" and "The Divided Mind" and Ozanich's "Great Pain Deception" and started looking at this wiki and watching some of the videos posted here.

    I'm convinced I have TMS/PPD/Mindbody Syndrome. I'm feeling hopeful about recovery, but also afraid that it won't work for me. I'm so used to being the "medical mystery" - the patient who defies explanation and who doesn't respond to treatment (not for lack of trying). And as much as I think of myself as an emotionally expressive person, or at least someone who is in touch with her feelings, as well as someone who's had a lot of psychotherapy, I know I still need to do a lot of hard work in that area. And that feels scary to me. Which is why I avoided reading Dr. Sarno's books or really exploring the pain/emotion connection in myself, even though I've known deep down (but didn't want to admit to myself) for at least 5 years that my pain was primarily psychogenic.

    The Day 1 question is "what would a life without TMS mean to me?" First, I've been cutting down on, or avoiding altogether, certain activities I love, like tennis and dancing (hence my name here). So life without TMS means I'd be more active and having a lot more fun. It also means peace and freedom. I'm paying too big a price by holding onto my pain.
     
  2. trichick2

    trichick2 Newcomer

    I love this post. I can totally relate.

    Like you, I am an emotionally expressive person and am currently taking part in psychotherapy too! You (we) ARE doing the work! Know that everytime you do your journalling and the work on yourself, just stay CONFIDENT and stay positive. Our brains are smart. We both need to stay positive and let's have fun!!

    Hooray for tennis and dancing- go do it! For me it's in my throat and I avoid things like going out and meeting new people because I'm worried I will injure my voice. And I love how you wrote a life without TMS means "having a lot more fun". ME TOO! For me a life without TMS means having a lot more fun and maybe meeting some cute guys! HAHA!
     
    dancerwannabe likes this.
  3. dancerwannabe

    dancerwannabe Newcomer

    Thanks, trichick2! We all deserve more fun (and you deserve to meet plenty of cute guys!). :) I will focus on staying positive and acknowledging that writing and shifting my thinking is work, and that it will change things for the better.

    Have fun! (I mean that!!)
     
  4. mina

    mina Peer Supporter

    Hi dancer!

    I can totally relate to a lot of stuff you wrote. I did therapy on and off for 20 + years and my last shrink said there was no way such intense pain could be caused by
    anything psychological.... If I had heard of Dr Sarno before, I would have done the program and lived a beautiful life, the life it took me years to build and then pain
    showed up and everything was shattered.
    Without tms, my answer is that I would be free and feel empowered, thus go back to extensive swimming and be strong enough to settle in a new line of business,
    give up my teaching job, which I have grown to hate: how can you enjoy doing any job when your legs hurt so much that you cannot even do it standing up? TMS
    has made me sad and grumpy but now I know that, just like you, I am on the right tracks.
    We are going to knock pain down and possibly be much happier in our lives than before being sick.
    I wish you the best in your recovery.

    Mina
     
  5. dancerwannabe

    dancerwannabe Newcomer

    Thank you, Mina! I wish you the best too. When I read your post I thought how brave you are, "breaking up" with your parents and taking time off from your teaching job. I've had the nagging suspicion for many years that my pain flares up when there's something I know I should do to be happier (like leaving a relationship or job that isn't quite right for me), but I don't do it because I'm afraid. I've developed a lot of fears over the years. I think it's part of that perfectionist streak. And I'm afraid of what others will think of me - probably because in reality I judge myself too hard.

    I believe Dr. Sarno's theory that physical pain is a distraction from the emotional issues we think may be too hard to deal with. But the flip side to this is that we can use the pain as a signal to ourselves. When we feel physical pain caused by TMS we can ask ourselves, "what am I trying to avoid?" Acknowledging that there are emotions (anger, fear) we are avoiding may sometimes be enough, but other times I think the pain won't abate until we take action, even a small one. You are taking action and I know you will benefit from your bravery. You are moving in the right direction. Keep going! :)
     
  6. mina

    mina Peer Supporter

    Thanks dancer!
    Breaking up with my parents was made easy by my father's attitude and it happened completely out of the blue. So I do believe that some events occur at some
    moments as some guidelines to be followed. I won't try to reconnect with them till I am pain free and when (and if) I do try to reconnect, I will always keep my
    distances and allow myself to hate their behavior, stupidness, etc.
    Regarding my job, I understood my body had been crying for a break and I spent 5 years stubbornly ignoring this signal, continuing to go to school, becoming
    a sitting teacher (which was a massive humiliation for me) and now I have made up my mind since I have changed school and the new principal is a judgemental
    bitch that I won't accept to even try to be the perfect teacher again because it involves too much pressure. I know I can heal but I need the time and space to do so
    and my actual work environment doesn't provide these 2 things. So.....after devoting 20-some years to the French education system, I believe I am entitled to
    take a break.
    Honestly, people who fight cancer are looked up, as a fibromyalgia sufferrer, I am looked down....there is something wrong out there, chronic pain is a condition and
    it needs to be addressed in its own manner but with the best chances of success around.
    Keep going too and keep posting! ;)
     
    trichick2 likes this.
  7. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, ladies. What a wonderful exchange of posts between you. You are kindred spirits with similar emotional stresses and pain symptoms.
    Your posts are welcome on this web site but you also may want to share thoughts or ask questions in the personal reply section of the
    TMSWiki. I'll see if I can explain how to do that. Maybe in the next reply.
     
  8. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Click on your name and scroll down to "conversations." I think that will allow you to post a personal conversation with each other.
    If not, I'll ask Forest, the TMSWiki host, how to do that. Meanwhile, just keep posting each other in the SEP subforum.
     
    mina and trichick2 like this.
  9. dancerwannabe

    dancerwannabe Newcomer

    Thanks, Walt!
     

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