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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I healed

Discussion in 'Success Stories Subforum' started by clairem, Mar 7, 2019.

  1. clairem

    clairem Peer Supporter

    Hi all, not been on here in yrs I don't think. I just wanted to say I healed from fibromyalgia /tms using sarno method and modern pain theory from the likes of lorimer moseley. Just wanted to say it is absolutely possible to recover from fibro. Over 3 yrs now for me. Patience and persistence.
  2. Marls

    Marls Well known member

    Good job!!!!! So so happy for you. A quick post like that gives everybody a lift.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi clairem,

    Congratulations on your success with fibromyalgia!!

    I wonder if you'd be willing to post on the success stories section, and if you could give more details. I looked back to see your last post here was 2015 and you were still in some fear about success, I believe.

    Folks would benefit from more: what worked, how did you get through obstacles, how long did it take you, what did your TMS therapist do that helped?

    In any case, I'm very happy for you.

    Andy B
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Congratulations! Thanks for coming back to the Forum to let people know about your recovery.
  5. stayfit65

    stayfit65 Peer Supporter

    I’d sure love to read your success story. What you felt helped you most. If you get time could you pls post it? :)
  6. Gusto

    Gusto Peer Supporter

    Thanks Clairem for the mention of Lorimer Moseley, I've been reading the Explain Pain book and it makes so much sense. For me at least as a man of science it resonates a lot more than the repressed rage rave.. although that may play a more prominent role for some. I spiralled in to extreme peripheral neuropathic pain after a bout of high stress and then health anxiety. It makes sense that I overloaded my brain with danger signals (DIMS) which changed the physiology and sensitization of my neurones, my extreme focus amplified the signals and created an negative feedback loop. It seems the resolution is very inline with Sarno, Alan Gordon etc. The corner stone being education .. once you BELIEVE you know what's going on with your body (whether thats sensitization, repressed emotions or pain pathways) you remove the threat thus helping to break the cycle. Once you are convinced there is nothing permanently damaged, resume physical activity etc you are conveying to your brain (or your subconscious if you will) that you are healthy then your physiology gradually retrains and creates a virtuous cycle.

    That's my take anyway.

    How exactly did you put these principles in to practice to enact your recovery?

    Many thanks
    tgirl and jimmylaw9 like this.
  7. Drew

    Drew Peer Supporter

    Love this explanation buddy.
    You literally have some of the best explanations and take aways always. Cheers
  8. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

  9. Duggit

    Duggit Well known member

    I am glad to see the above comments on Moseley and Butler's Explain Pain approach. They prompt me to say the following about their approach and Sarno's approach.

    Sarno’s approach, which is based on Freudian structural theory (id, ego, superego), worked very well for me for many years. I started with it in 1991 when Sarno published Healing Back Pain. Within six weeks I was able, mainly by becoming attuned to when I was angry at my wife but did not realize it, to rid myself of over two decades of low back pain completely and permanently. I later dealt with what Sarno called the symptom imperative, also usually successfully. The exception being that I had three right knee surgeries and two left foot surgeries for chronic pain. I had the surgeries because of imaging studies that showed structural “abnormalities.” Unfortunately, the surgeries did little to stop the pain.

    Years later I discovered Moseley & Butler’s Explain Pain approach. Their biopsychosocial pain model and neuroscience explanation of pain enabled me to overcome the knee and foot pain (and other pain I won’t go into now). This had nothing to do with uncovering repressed anger. Instead it had to do with learning contemporary pain science. It was a real revelation for me to learn that the peripheral nervous system can send only three kinds of information to the brain regarding actual or potential tissue damage, namely, thermal, chemical, and mechanical data. Then it is up to the brain to assess this incoming data in light of everything else it knows, including things the person thinks and believes, and then decide whether to create pain to protect the person.

    This forum states at the top of the page that it is “in honor of Dr. John Sarno,” so I will comment on a link I see between Sarno and Moseley & Butler.

    Moseley has long focused on the role that the peripheral and central nervous systems play in creating pain, especially chronic pain. More recently, Moseley has gotten into how the immune system modulates the nervous system in ways in ways that ramp up the transmission of thermal, chemical, or mechanical danger data to the brain. Moseley details this in his latest book with Butler, Explain Pain Supercharged, which is aimed at healthcare providers (of which I am not one). Chapter 3, which contains most of the new neuroimmunology, is daunting to say the least. Moseley introduces it as follows: “This chapter contains some pretty hardcore biology and some brand new ways of making sense of it. . . . We know that this chapter is tough going and hard reading for everyone. Dave [Butler, his coauthor] has read it five times and almost gets it!)."

    One topic Moseley discusses in chapter 3 is sensors in the central nervous system called toll-like-receptors (TLRs). Some TLRs detect, remember, and respond to dangerous molecular patterns in the bloodstream. Importantly, these TLRs detect, remember, and respond not only to molecular patterns associated with present or potential trauma to body tissue but also to molecular patterns associated with present or potential psychological/emotional trauma. These TLRs respond to dangerous molecular patterns by producing proteins called proinflammatory cytokines that ramp up synaptic transmission of the danger data to the brain and transmission within brain circuits. When the brain receives the input, it processes the incoming data in light of all the information it already holds in storage, including what the person thinks and believes about pain. This generally happens outside of conscious awareness. If the brain concludes the person is in danger, it will create pain; otherwise it will not. This TLR activity is one reason why the brain can create pain even though there is no danger at all of tissue damage.

    What does this have to do with Sarno? Sarno regarded repressed anger as the main cause of TMS. In Healing Back Pain, he explained why some of us habitually repress anger as follows:

    I remember a mother telling me proudly how she had stopped the temper tantrums of her little fifteen month old. The “wise” family doctor suggested that she splash ice water in the child’s face when he started to have a tantrum. It worked beautifully—he never had another tantrum. At the ripe age of fifteen months, he had learned the technique of repression. He had been programmed to repress anger because it produced very unpleasant consequences, and he would carry that dubious talent with him throughout his life. (Emphasis added.)​

    An obvious “very unpleasant consequence” for the fifteen month old was the ice cold water on his skin. A perhaps less obvious but highly important "very unpleasant consequence—as psychiatrist John Bowlby of attachment theory fame taught us—was the psychological/emotional trauma of disruption of his relationship with his (otherwise) loving mother. In short, anger at his mother was dangerous to his attachment relationship with her.

    The emotion of anger consists biologically of an aggressive behavioral impulse (in essence, to fight or flee) plus accompanying physiological changes that support aggressive action. In the paradigm of contemporary pain science, the fifteen month old’s TLRs detected the molecular pattern of his anger at his mother in his bloodstream and also learned from her response that anger at her was dangerous to his psychological/emotional wellbeing. Later in life, when those TLRs detect much the the same molecular pattern, e.g., anger at a spouse, they will release proinflammatory cytokines that ramp up the transmission of danger data to his brain and can induce his brain to create pain in his body even though there is no danger at all of damage to his body tissue.

    Sarno’s cure for TMS pain from repressed anger, as he once put it succinctly in an interview, was: “Know about the anger, and know why it’s there. And if you do those two things, your pain will go away.” Under the contemporary pain science paradigm, the reason this works is that if you can identify the stimulus for your anger, your brain can then process what is happening, i.e., it can determine whether the anger puts you in any actual physical or psychological/emotional danger. If not, your brain will turn off the pain.

    Sarno was a keen observer of what worked and did not work to treat TMS. He naturally sought an explanation for why his treatment approach worked. Since his work long predated contemporary pain science, he had nothing to rely on except Freudian theory. A key Freudian tenet is that people, without realizing it, use defense mechanisms to repress frightening emotions. Upon the suggestion of Freudian analyst Stanley Coen, Sarno concluded that TMS pain is one such defense mechanism. My take away from this is that Sarno was a truly brilliant clinician. Starting without any theory to guide him, he figured out what worked for so many of his TMS patients. To me, this is clinical genius. The fact that nowadays some people (including me) find contemporary pain science more compelling than Freudian theory to explain TMS takes nothing away from Sarno’s pioneering genius. I would add that when Moseley & Butler state that DIMs can hide in hard to find places, they might have made it clearer than they do that repressed anger is one such hidden (typically deeply hidden) DIM.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2020
    Lizzy, Shine4me, Forest and 2 others like this.
  10. Marls

    Marls Well known member

    Hi Duggit, the way my foggy brain is working lately, there is no way I could attempt to read his latest book, so in a nutshell is it still about DIMs and SIMs and having a higher soothing ratio? Sounds simple put that way!
    (I’m analytical so the Moseley/Butler book was an eye opener for me and a great explainer. Pity it’s a bit expensive.). Thanks marls
    plum likes this.
  11. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ditto! Sarno was a genius because he was at least 30 years ahead of the science. His theory of oxygen deprivation may sound naive - unless you realize that neuroscience practically did not exist back in his days, so he came up with some reasonable explanation. It takes an enormous courage to go against every professional in his field. He was considered a charlatan among his colleagues. In the decades that he practiced at NYU clinic he recieved 0 (zero!) referrals from his colleagues at the clinic. His patients came to him through the word of mouth.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2020
    plum likes this.
  12. Duggit

    Duggit Well known member

    Yes, it is still all about DIMs and SIMs. Yes, it does sound simple when put that way. But simple does not necessarily mean easy. As Moseley & Butler say at the outset of their Explain Pain book: “[E]ven if no problems whatsoever exist in your body tissues, nerves or immune system, it will still hurt if your brain thinks you are in danger. It is simple and as difficult as that.” As I suggested in my previous post, one possible source of difficulty in identifying DIMs can be habitual repression of anger if one has learned to associate anger with danger to one’s well-being.

    There is another, quite different, but important possible source of difficulty in identifying DIMs that is illustrated by one of my favorite Lorimer Moseley stories. It concerns a former patient of his who had worked in a bakery. One day the guy got a hand caught in an industrial dough kneading machine. His hand was so badly mangled that it had to be amputated. After the guy’s hand was amputated, he sometimes had phantom limb pain. His brain created the sensation of pain in a hand that in fact no longer existed at the end of his forearm stump.

    With only one hand, the guy could no longer work as a baker and got a job with Scotland Yard. (Mosely says all his pain stories are true, but he acknowledges that the degree to which they stick to the facts is somewhat variable. I suspect the Scotland Yard employment might have been an instance of enriching the facts, but in the spirit of the story let’s assume the guy became a trained detective.) After some attentive detective work, the guy figured out what was going on. His hand that was not there would hurt whenever the smell of freshly baked bread was in the air. The Explain Pain Supercharged explanation would be that TLRs in his brain had associated the molecular pattern of the smell of freshly baked bread with grave danger to his hand because that smell was in the air when his hand was mangled by the dough kneading machine. This is not freaky. It is a standard case of associative learning--in this case about danger--by classical, or Pavlovian, conditioning. Pavlov rang a bell when he fed his dogs. His dogs’ brains learned to associate the ringing of a bell with being fed, so their brains automatically turned on the digestive system’s salivation mechanism when he rang a bell even if no food was presented to them. Similarly, the ex-baker’s classically conditioned TLRs automatically turned on the release of proinflammatory cytokines in the presence of the molecular pattern of the smell of freshly baked bread, leading to central sensitization that resulted in pain in the hand that no longer existed. The smell of freshly baked bread probably is not a DIM to anyone else in the world, but it was a gigantic DIM to the ex-baker because of his particular experience.

    The moral of the story: Due to associative learning about danger to one’s well-being by classical conditioning, DIMs can hide in hard to find places that require attentive detective work to discover.
    Boston Redsox likes this.
  13. Miriam G. Bongiovanni

    Miriam G. Bongiovanni Peer Supporter

    Amazing, more proof that fibro can really be cured, unlike the predominant view out there!

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