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Herniated Disc Journey

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Rsoup, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. Rsoup

    Rsoup New Member

    This forum is an amazing place and thank you to anyone who reads or replies to this. Here is my story, I will try to keep it as brief as possible, Although there is so much to say.

    About two months ago I woke up to a strange and new feeling in my right leg. It was barely noticeable but as the days went on I started to get pain shooting down my entire leg. Well I searched online and discovered sciatica and some common causes. I didn't really feel worried at this point but the pain got worse and within 2 weeks I couldn't walk 20 ft without sitting down. So I saw a PCP who ordered an MRI and sure enough badly herniated L5 S1. They recommended neurosurgeon(made appt. but it was a month away) and PT and put me on Prednisone. Basically since the middle of dec. I went to work(transit union carpenter) came home and laid on the couch and only got up to go the bathroom b/c I didn't want to face the pain. For the most part PT has made me feel worse but they recommended a second taper of prednisone, which I agreed to. Bad Idea! Its been almost non stop panic attacks. The pain is always there but can be anywhere from a 2-9 out of 10. Standing and walking are unbearable

    About a month ago my father handed me a book and said "keep an open mind, it helped me". It was MindBody Prescription. With no sleep, sick as dog from the steroids, enduring excruciating pain and filled with fear and anxiety, last week I started reading it. I started ignoring the pain and not buying into the injury.My pain has reduced about 10-15%, Im sleeping again, I walk upright but I still an very fearful and worried. I am scared to death of getting back surgery or epidurals and I cant stop myself from researching online about the injury. Ive only been at my job 9 months and have no sick leave and Im not covered by FMLA and it took my years of trying to get this job. I keep going back and forth like everyone else has at some point. I feel so alone, not knowing which way to turn. Also since my second course of steroids Ive had all sorts of other manifestations(hopefully) like burning feet, itchy skin, my left arm and leg feel like they are falling asleep but usually only when I think about it.

    I realized after reading the book how good of a TMS candidate I am. My childhood was filled with violence, fighting and physical and verbal abuse by my father. There was also a babysitter who abused me, although I'm not sure to what extent. I was 3 or 4 but remember being locked in a cold stairwell all day with not food or drink. I obsess over the smallest things, very angry all the time, hold in emotions but also lash out, the list goes on. I hate everything about my job and often feel like it was a big mistake. I have two small kids, my house needs this and that. My initial list of rage sources was two full pages. Ive since ordered almost every other book on TMS and starting the structured program today. Im seeing a TMS therapist next week the day before my dreaded Neurosurgeon consultation. I know people on here have been through much worse, but I wish there were no structural damage. If I really did need surgery, research says it needs to be done within 3-6 months for maximum success. I need to make a decision which path I will take, but how do you know its the right one, with an obvious injury on the MRI. Also doesn't help when last night the physical therapist basically told me I will need surgery and this is the worst case shes seen in a long time.

    I also realized that I may have had other TMS issues in the past. Before this I had a sore tongue for a month, before that lower pack pain, before that gas and lower gi issues, before that bursitis. Last year a month long dizzy spell. I have had heart palpitations for 15 years and can nearly bring them on on command. When I have to go into work at night for overtime, without fail I get an allergy attack and hour or so before I leave. Im no stranger to manifestations. Thanks for reading and sorry it was so long.

  2. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Ryan. I've read your post carefully and conclude you don't need surgery, that your various pains are from TMS,
    from repressed emotions and/or a perfectionist or "goodist" personality.

    You know you have repressed emotions since childhood, from your father and babysitter (he/she should have been locked up as you were).
    Dr. Sarno says that anger that is held in for years becomes rage, and that is when the subconscious kicks in, to give you pain so you will
    deal with your emotions. He also says herniated discs do not give pain, so you don't need medication or surgery for it.

    I had severe back pain but after reading Sarno's book Healing Back Pain, about 90 percent of the pain went away. I was still thinking
    about 10 percent structural damage to my back, so I had to believe 100 percent in TMS and then the pain went away.

    I didn't even realize how much anger I was holding inside me because of my boyhood. Feelings of abandonment and inferiority and
    ridicule that left me with low self-esteem. Through journaling about my youth I came to understand my parents and older brother better
    and that led to realizing they had their own TMS repressed emotions, so I was able to forgive them. Mentally, because by then they had died.

    Understanding and forgiving are two of the main things that we need in healing from TMS pain. You did yourself a real big favor by
    starting the Strutured Educational Program. It will take you through a daily series of techniques for getting what Dr. Sarno calls
    "TMS knowledge penicillin." It has worked for many thousands and will work for you.

    Some doctors want to rush us into surgery and scare us that it is needed right away. One cancer specialist wanted to cut my neck open
    because he was certain that a pimple on my neck was cancerous. My family doctor told me to insist on a culture being taken first,
    and I had to almost plead with the specialist to have a culture taken. He finally gave in and it turned out that it was just a tiny
    water pimple on my neck. It went away by itself in a few days. This made me very cautious of doctors ever since.

    Your pains move around because your subconscious wants to keep you working on your repressed anger. You may be free of pain in
    one part of your body, then feel pain in another. The subconscious will stop the pain when it gets the message that you believe
    100 percent in it being psychological and not structural and you make peace with the anger from your past. It isn't easy to forgive
    those who abused us whether mentally or physically, but through better understanding, we can forgive. Then we are free of pain
    and TMS work leads us to a much better understanding of ourselves. Your father must have come to realize he had repressed emotions
    and he took his anger and frustration out on you. Maybe the babysitter did, too. Your father gave you the book that has led you here,
    so he must have made peace with his own repressed emotions and wants you to start on a similar journey. He's on your side now.
    It would be great if you could hug each other.
    Ryan likes this.
  3. Rsoup

    Rsoup New Member

    Walt, Thank you so much for the kind words and thorough reply. I hope that you are right. I saw what Dr. Sarno said about the herniated disc's and he makes a wonderful point. I'm trying everything in my power to believe its true. My father was battling his own demons when he raised us, and even though we have a great relationship now, I still get upset when I think about my childhood, even though in my conscience mind Im over it. In fact when I read the last line of you response I started to cry. I don't think he ever hugged me when I was a child. He expressed no positive emotion toward me.
    I also have a deep distrust for doctors and western medicine. Its hard to believe they have your best interst in mind. I get anxiety just thinking about a doctor 's visit. Even if its routine. thanks again and so begins my battle.
  4. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Ryan,

    First, recognize that you are making a brave and rare decision to contemplate Dr. Sarno's work to cure your pain.

    Also, I hope you can see that you are under tremendous pressure to "not lose my job," get "cured quickly," not "make a mistake in my treatment," "not suffer permanent nerve damage." Others here have suffered, yes, but yours is not less. I hope you have compassion for your situation. And when you don't, when you feel the pressure, recognize that this is fuel for TMS symptoms. I know, because I felt desperate to get better, and that anxiety and pressure kept symptoms higher. Just recognizing this pressure and fear moment-to-moment is a good step, because if you see how your personality and life situation are pressurizing you, and connect this with your symptoms, as the cause, then you can improve your disengagement from the cycle of fear and pain.

    You have a huge evidence list of symptoms and life history of why this latest problem is TMS, not physical. That is huge. Build on that.

    Have you started this, here at the Wiki? You should.

    Lastly, I recommend a consult with a Dr. Sarno type trained physician, to eliminate all the doubts about the physical causes. Dr. Marc Sopher will do a long distance consult, or you can might find one to go to in person in your area. Dr. Sopher helped me tremendously, because I had tests which "revealed worsening nerve damage that needs surgery." This was not the case. I had at least 8 doctors ready to cut on me, to relieve my foot pain. Having a completely alternative diagnosis was what I needed to build confidence to pursue the Dr. Sarno's work.

    Good luck, and I hope, like Walt, others here will help you with good advice. Oh, Walt usually says breath and find ways to relax, or some such good advice, so I'll say: find ways to disengage into distraction: humor, movies, meditation, music, chanting, light movement that doesn't cause symptoms----anything fun that can soothe/distract you. You are in a pressure-cooker of your own mind, and you need basic relief from this as best you can.

    Ellen likes this.
  5. Ryan

    Ryan Well known member

    I have to help someone named ryan, if he can't do it no one can, ha. Hang in there buddy you have come to the right place. Walt has given you some great advice, he is a man a wisdom.

    I am no doctor and recommend you see a tms doctor if possible. By your story above I would say you have tms. That's the good news, but you can't have one foot in the diagnosis and one out. If I were you I would hold off that surgery. They do more harm than good these days, but that's your decision.

    I would keep reading those books and let the knowledge soak in. It may take time but you will heal, so don't get discouraged.

    You may be on to something with the emotions that came out with your dad. Stay open to them and let them flow. Everything will come to you in its own time.

    Wishing you the best of luck. I have faith in you, you will heal. Trust your instincts and once you know the truth it will set you free. Keep looking and doors will open. Be thankful you have come to the right place.

  6. ash86

    ash86 Peer Supporter

    Ryan, if you give yourself time you will learn to accept that the disc is not causing your pain. What really helped me was making an "evidence sheet" which turned into an evidence book. Here are some research facts that may help you.

    1. Boos completed a research study in 1995 analyzing 46 high risk ASYMPTOMATIC patients, 76% had at least 1 herniation.
    2. Korean Neurosurgery published a study of 102 ASYMPTOMATIC subjects, 81.4% had at least one herniation; 31% were more severe herniations.
    3. "There is strong evidence that x-ray and MRI findings have NO predictive value for future low back pain." (Waddell and Burton, 2001)
    4. Heavy weight lifter, Donnie Thompson, experienced an injury that herniated 3 discs. He rehabbed himself everyday and within 3 months he was back to setting personal records! He could lift 1265 lbs squat, 758 deadlift. (painscience.com)
    5. "The best predictor of persistent pain is not the severity of injury but rather factors such as cumulative traumatic events, high levels of depression, and even belief that pain might be permanent." (Young Casey, 2008)
    6. "Regional low back pain has little if anything to do with ruptured discs or any other form of spinal pathology." (Stabbed in the Back, Dr. Nortin Hadler Rheumatologist)
    7. "The more emotionally the brain reacts to the initial injury the more likely the pain will persist after the injury has healed." Northwestern University

    Hope this helps!!! :)
    IndiMarshall likes this.
  7. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Ryan,

    I had a L4L5 herniated disc 20 years ago with very intense sciatica. I then had a bad reaction to a 5 days Medorol Pack(Cortisone). The steroids gave me intense panic attacks and after a few days I could not continue taking it. But the pain and panic attacks continued. After a few months I had back surgery but it did not really help my sciatica and it only reduced my back pain by 40-50%. Now after all these years I realize it really was all TMS. Have you read "Back in Control" by Dr Hascom? I recommend it. I don't have time to write a long post but I did want to be reassuring that you will get through this.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
  8. Rsoup

    Rsoup New Member

    Thanks for the continued replies and support. Whenever I feel anxiety or fear I come on the forum and instantly feel better. In fact I have improved over the last couple days. I went out for the first time in 2 months with some friends to dinner. By the end I was ready to run out of there from the pain but I felt good. I would say Im 20-30% better than I was this time last week. The SEP has been very helpful and Ive been starting to piece together some things that were happening at the onset of symptoms that I had overlooked. My wife and I were barely talking, I was at my lowest point yet since starting this job last april, just attended the memorial gala for my cousin who died of brain cancer 2 years prior, and all sorts of other things that were converging on me all at once. Also when thinking back on my childhood, I remembered about the panic attacks I suffered for years when I was between age 7 and 12 or so, the sharp pains I used to get in my side that no doctor could explain and all the other traumatic events that i had forgot about. I also canceled all my PT appointments. Although reluctant, Im still gonna go to the surgeon on thursday, just to rule out any thing major. Thanks again
  9. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Rsoup. It's good that you're getting a checkup by a surgeon, but even if he/she finds something structurally wrong with you,
    it may not be causing your pain. Dr. Sarno says most pain is psychological, from TMS repressed emotions... anger over traumas
    that may well go back to our youth. The SEP program will help you to discover those traumas and lead you to be pain-free.

    Marital problems can cause emotional pain. That has been known for many years. A new job can, too, and the memorial
    reminded you of you cousin's death from brain cancer. All that points to TMS, and journaling about your childhood can lead you to more
    reasons for your TMS. Besides working on that, be sure to take time off... don't even think about TMS causes for more than an hour a day,
    and not before bedtime. Find ways to do things to relax and be happy. If I'm "down" for any reason, I laugh. I laugh at life and at myself.
    In seconds, I forget what made me feel down.
  10. Dahlia

    Dahlia Well known member

    Hi Ryan:
    I agree that it is good to get the opinion of the surgeon. I would add that it is also good give yourself the highest authority to decide what is true for you in your situation. I say this as someone who had 4 back surgeries with increasing pain after each. They were truly trying to help me but I see now how there is no evidence that the pain is caused by the pinched nerve or the bulging or herniated disc. I see now that it was TMS all along.

    A few months ago I had another TMS sneak-attack. This time I was convinced that there was something structural wrong with my hip. As I went through the doctor's appointments and MRI and the diagnosis kept shifting I began to suspect TMS. (My primary care doc told me I had moderately advance arthritis and would need a hip replacement. Just a question of when.) (The radiologist's report of the MRI said moderate arthritis and 2 tears in the labrum.)

    At my last appointment with the surgeon, I asked him to compare and contrast the left and right hip as they appear to him on the MRI. (Only the left side hurts). With that question, he confessed that they both look the same and he told me both hips are perfectly healthy. (At previous visits he had told me something else entirely.) But when he said that and said that my pain was muscular, I realized this was my old friend TMS.

    It can be frustrating to figure out what to accept and what to ignore but as long as you trust yourself as you collect opinions and information along the way you WILL sort it out. Remind yourself that whatever you hear is just an opinion. And of course, you can keep getting more medical opinions as long as what you are hearing does not add up for you.

    Best of luck.
    mrsciatic and Ellen like this.
  11. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, you are building a strong case that you have TMS. All the evidence that you gather goes deeper and deeper, effecting the cure. Good luck.
  12. mrsciatic

    mrsciatic New Member

    I have been suffering from sciatic pain for 17+ years. I believed in Sarno's work but I was unable to get support long ago. Now there is a lot more support.

    Regarding surgery, please be careful and thoughtful. I did all the surgeries including fusion of the L5S1 coming in anteriorly. Sadly, the best thing I can say about all these surgeries is that they did not make my condition worse. So please take your time and consider your options.

    I am working thru Schubiners book presently.

    best of success in conquering this.
    Dahlia likes this.
  13. Rsoup

    Rsoup New Member

    Well its been several months since I last posted. I could not bring myself to return to this forum once I started feeling better, the thought of it gave me anxiety. I suppose a reminder of dark times. By the time I made it to my appt. with the neurosurgeon I was 50% better, thanks to the people on here, SteveO's incredible book, Dr. shubiners book and treatment program and daily journaling. He basically told me I was fine. So I asked him if I woke up one morning with slight sciatica and it steadily progressed when did the herniation happen? He said most likely while I was asleep that night prior???? I don't think these doctors have a clue, never did. So within weeks later I was 95% better. So the past few months Ive been mostly pain free. never above a 2/10. I started DDP yoga(highly recommend) and changed my outlook on life. things were looking up, and I was almost a success story. 2 weeks ago I started having pain in my upper lumbar region and some very minor shooting nerve pains in both legs. The pain mostly occurs while bending. Sometimes if I bend over I have trouble getting back up. So while the pain wasnt nearly as bad as the sciatica(had no low back pain with the sciatica) its very frustrating and I find myself returning to that dark place. Im starting to fight the tms diagnosis and thinking I herniated the l4. Being in construction the past 15 years and lifting extremely heavy things and doing all sorts of things that were terrible for the back, I feel fortunate to only have herniated the l5s1.
    Its funny until I started this new job a year and a half ago, I rarely had ANY pain. Now with this unfulfilling job that I hate, My health mental and physical health has suffered greatly.
    IndiMarshall likes this.
  14. Orion2012

    Orion2012 Well known member

    Even if you did herniate another disc, your body will heal. If the pain lingers, it's TMS.

    You already know TMS healing works for you. Stay strong; I'm sure you will get some good tips from the veterans of the board.
  15. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    You have great support here. I just wanted to tell you about my husband.

    More than 30 yrs ago he was in an head on collision. At the ER they got some glass out of his face and sent him on his way. Ever after he had a sore back. About 10 years later he had x-rays showing his back had been broken, it is assumed in the accident, and he had herniated discs. You'll need surgury. Well, he is also in construction and has no time to coddle his back with surgury, gotta make hay while the sun shines! Anyway, a few years ago he was given Healing Backpain, he didn't believe it and continued with back pain. Then knees, your gonna need surgury they said.....then ankles..... And on....

    A year ago I bought Dr. Sarno's books for my foot pain, this time he believed it.....he is 57 and the guys at work, in their 20's and 30's say he is hard to keep up with. His back is strong and painfree. I hope this helps your belief, 100% Good luck!!
  16. IndiMarshall

    IndiMarshall Well known member

    What an incredible story. How many sessions did you have with TMS therapists and
    how much time on avg a day have you spent on journalling ??

    Can I assume that your journey took 6 months to be pain free ??
  17. Rsoup

    Rsoup New Member

    Lizzy that little story is very helpful to me as I worry constantly that my time of doing extreme physical labor ruined my body and I will spend the rest of my life with pain and arthritis. Im now a union carpenter and rarely work like I used to. But before this new job I never worried about my body at all and rarely had pain. I loved pushing my body and feeling worn out and the end of the day.

    Its been about 11 months since my onset of pain. I've been mostly pain free for about 6 months or so. As of right now I am free from Sciatic pain but am battling anxiety and some other manifestations. It never seems to end.
  18. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member


    I have anxiety sometimes and for me it usually is because I'm not being mindful of daily stuff, the emotions are being ignored and I rush to stay ahead, then it catches up and I have anxiety. So, ask yourself, what might be going on right now? What self care works for you? Good luck!!
  19. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

    could u provide links to these studies please?
    Lizzy likes this.
  20. Laughalot

    Laughalot Peer Supporter

    I suffer from anxiety as well. My TMS is mostly gone at this point, but it does flare up and along with anxiety, prevents me from sleeping at times. For example, just a couple of weeks ago I couldn't go to sleep for nights on end. I told myself it was because I hadn't found full time work, but I still don't have a full time job and sleep much easier these days. So what was going on??

    I think that TMS symptoms, anxiety, and depression all have a link to the story of the two wolves. How are we appreciating our circumstances? Am I accepting myself with love? Am I laughing at this crazy big world we happen to be on, that's rocketing through space at a thousand miles a second? I started looking at photos from the International Space Station, that's helped. Also happen to be lucky enough to live near nature! A walk on the beach always helps :D

    What can you do to witness the joy of creation?

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