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Hi, looking for advice

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Dario3, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. Dario3

    Dario3 Newcomer

    Hey everyone,

    I am 22 years old and have been dealing with back pain for about a year and a half now. It started as lower back pain during a time of mild stress, but nothing crazy. Since then I have gone to a couple doctors who have all assured me that there is nothing structurally wrong. About six months after my pain (which was manageable but very uncomfortable unless I was lying down) began, I started to feel some relief in my lower back, but intense discomfort in my neck and shoulder area pretty much daily. This discomfort has made it really hard to enjoy anything when I’m not in bed, and I am constantly pressing against pressure points to alleviate it, but it is manageable. However, every once in a while I wake up with an intense pain and inability to move my neck in any direction for a couple days. I am about to start a new job after graduating and am worried that these episodes will force me to miss too many days of work, specially early on.

    After learning about TMS, I am quite confident that it is what has been plaguing me. I do have some doubts though because while I have always been an anxious person, and have always been very hard on myself for past mistakes / regrets, I have had a very lucky childhood and wouldn’t say my repressed emotions are based in anger, rather maybe regret and anxiety. Does this sound like TMS? I can think of things that stress me out but I feel as though I am a happy person in general - at least before the pains came.

    I had been better for about a month but for the last couple weeks I seem to be back where I started and even knowing I have TMS hasn’t really helped alleviate the pain and discomfort. I am not scared at all that the symptoms are a sign of serious danger, which is great, however I do have fear of the symptoms because of potentially having to lose my first job and I am worried this fear alone will prevent my TMS from fully subsiding. Additionally, I feel as though this is a reasonable fear which makes it even harder for me to stop thinking about it. Any advice? I guess I’m just looking for any reassurance that it is TMS or any advice for how to proceed. Is it bad to self massage to alleviate symptoms? Should I see a TMS doctor or therapist to confirm the diagnosis? Has anyone had positive experiences with the Curable app or journaling? If so, what exactly should I be journaling?

    I apologize for the long post. Any help or support would be really appreciated. Thanks so much in advance!
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    It's TMS.

    I had a perfectly normal, loving, supportive childhood without any trauma or abuse, other than the fact that I was the first of four children, my parents only wanted two, and I ended up being somewhat isolated and on my own because there were so many of us. Haha! And there it is. Also, as the first child, my mother subjected me to her anxiety. I realized at age 60 when I started doing this work that I'd had TMS symptoms off and on all my life, but they didn't come to a head until I had reached 60, with all of the fear and anxiety that brings on. My Profile goes into more detail.

    Do our Structured Educational Program, and do it with complete openness and honesty. You'll be amazed at the small, seemingly unimportant events and things that come up for you, but that your brain has repressed because they made you feel guilt or shame or rage. These are just the natural accumulation of our humanity.
     
    Dario3 likes this.
  3. Dario3

    Dario3 Newcomer

    Thanks for the response! Do you recommend the structured education program over Alan Parson’s recovery program? Also do you think it would be helpful to speak to a TMS expert for all the other questions I have? I am particularly worried about the fact that I am about to start work and can’t shake the fear that I’ll have to miss time early on due to TMS symptoms. I also feel as though if I don’t self massage my tight neck muscles when they become hard to ignore, it would lead to the far more debilitating spasms in my neck.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Haha, that would be @Alan Gordon LCSW I believe that Alan Parsons is someone completely different - and are you and I both of that generation? (I'm 68).

    Alan GORDON very generously donated his program to the forum several years after I'd done the work (the SEP) so I don't know very much about it. Some people start with the SEP and go on to do his program, which is less structured. Some have only done Alan's program, while some start with his because it's newer, but switch to the SEP because it's more structured. I do like the structure and short daily lessons of the SEP, which is especially helpful for beginners. You could start by looking at Day 1 of both, and maybe even continue doing both. The thing you need to understand - and this is hard for some people - is that there are no hard and fast rules, because doing this work is different for every single person. If there are any rules, it's to make a commitment to doing the work with complete self-honesty, and to not let your fearful brain take control. And to not expect your progress to be linear. And to have faith in the process.

    Kind of squishy rules, in other words ;) Which, again, is very hard for some extremely rigid/perfectionist types to handle (read: extremely fearful). Learning to relax and become squishier is, IMHO, an important part of healing from our symptoms.

    In order to understand the importance of the emotional aspect of this work, I have two other resources which you can access while you're doing one (or both) of the programs, because they will enhance and solidify your understanding:

    - The Cure For Chronic Pain website, to discover the multiple resources (book, program, videos, and podcast) of @Nicole J. Sachs LCSW

    - The Mind & Fitness Podcast, by Eddy Lindenstein, aka @LindenSwole
     
    Dario3 likes this.
  5. Dario3

    Dario3 Newcomer

    Thank you! No idea where I got Alan Parsons from haha, but I’ll definitely check out the programs. Do you know how I would go about speaking to a TMS expert in order to answer some of my questions? Or finding a TMS doctor / therapist near where I live that I could visit? It seems as if expert activity on these forums hasn’t been very active.
     
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I suspect that the therapists are extremely busy in their own practices, thanks to an explosion of mindbody disorders, and to the recent proliferation of news about treating them as such. Which is good news, of course.

    But I'm not particularly sorry to see the many many "Ask A TMS Therapist" questions go unanswered. As an admin, I see every one, and they are invariably the same questions, over and over and over again, and the truth is that they can be adequately answered by anyone who has achieved any level of success doing this work. And they have been answered many times, right here on the forum.

    I don't want to single you out, Dario! You have plenty of company, believe me. The following advice is for everyone with this question, which is many of you:

    If you can't accept the diagnosis of two medical doctors who have assured you there is nothing wrong, and if you can't connect that diagnosis with what Dr Sarno tells us, there is a page on the main wiki with therapist resources and it's easy to find.

    I do want to let you all know, however, that many of us took that same information, diagnosed ourselves with TMS, with 100% belief, and just started doing the necessary work. The end result is the same. Well, it's the same IF seeing a TMS professional actually creates the necessary belief. Some people are never able to take control over their primitive fearful brains, and they continue to suffer from doubt. And from symptoms, of course.

    There are many posts in the Success Stories subforum which illustrate the truth of what I just said. Reading Success Stories is a great way to get many questions answered!
     
  7. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    The Alan Parsons Project, ca. 1975?
     
  8. Dario3

    Dario3 Newcomer

    I actually do believe 100% that I have TMS and am excited to start the programs on the site. I just thought it might be helpful because there are 2 questions on my mind that I’m not totally sure how to feel about. Specifically, will the anxiousness and fear of my symptoms - strictly due to the fact that I can’t miss many days of work (not at all out of fear that they are serious medical issues) - affect my recovery? And is self massaging of my neck when I feel it getting tight in order to prevent a much more painful spasm counterproductive? I know I shouldn’t treat the pain as physical, but also don’t want to spasm if the muscles get too tight. I’m sorry for all the follow-ups, I really really appreciate you helping me out! If you could help with either of these 2 questions, that’d be great.

    And yes I think I thought of Alan Parsons because he produced The Dark Side of the Moon haha.
     
  9. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    That's totally up to you and whether you are willing to take back control from your fearful brain. The best resource for anxiety (my #2 lifesaving book) is "Hope and Help for Your Nerves" by Claire Weekes. It's a small book, easy to read, very compassionate, and it's been saving thousands of people from the disabling effects of anxiety since 1969.

    Yes it is. But there are options. Before I discovered Dr Sarno, I was seeing a cranio-sacral doc who advised me to gently stroke my atlas-occipital joint (at the base of my head, right?) whenever it went "out" (causing neck spasms and bad headaches) towards my cervical spine, while visualizing it calming down and going back into place. It totally worked and I stopped seeing my long-suffering chiro, cold turkey. This guy later told me that he knew all about Sarno and that his work was all about teaching me to talk to my brain and self-soothe, which totally made sense, but once I had read Dr Sarno and discovered this forum, I quit seeing him cold turkey as well :D

    I hope this helps!
     
  10. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yeah, baby. And still relevant to your generation! Awesome.
     
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