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I just learned about TMS: my back pain and other issues...

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by byron_555, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. byron_555

    byron_555 New Member

    Hi everyone! I'm a 46 year old guy from Spain (sorry for the grammar mistakes). I've suffered from lower back problems over the last 20 years or so. Everything started when I was 24 with a bad movement at the gym (nothing really serious...) that hurt my back. But the back pain got worse and I spent several months with a lot of pain and I visited a couple of doctors, I had a CT and an MRI done (nothing showed up at that time) and even I wore a brace to be able to walk. I got over that episode when a doctor told me to try to go back to normal life since they didn't find anything wrong in my spine. Of course nobody talked about mindbody connecction, but that worked for me - I changed my attitude about pain (I thougt it was something physical but not serious).
    Since then I have had some flare ups once or twice every year. Sometimes it was when I lifted something heavy, but sometimes when I was just putting my trousers on or just taking a shower... Those flare-ups would usually last a couple of weeks and I would go back to normal life after spending a month or two with a lot fear and awareness of my back.
    Then, 6 years ago, I had a longer flare-up with some pain in my leg. So I decided to go back to the doctor and he ordered my second MRI, although he didn't find any alarming symptoms in the examination. Actually one week after visiting the doctor I was feeling much better and when I went back to the doctor to see the MRI results I had no pain at all. But... the MRI showed some degenerative discs, a bulging disc, a herniated disc, a slight retrolisthesis... although I had no pain at that moment! So that changed again the way I was looking at my back problems. I thought , ok no more running, no more lifting heavy things...
    Since then I have had same flare-ups as before, like once or twice every year and I would get over in few weeks. Although I thought those back pain episodes were due to my structural problem.

    The big change and a new hope.
    Now I have been with back pain since a couple of months and it is somehow different from past times. It started with a terrible spasm in may back just when I get out of the shower. That terrible pain lasted a few days and when I tried to go back to normal life I had another terrible spasm... I've had like 6 or 7 of those spasms so I still can't do a normal life and I got a lot of fear of standing in the same place, walking or bending...
    But 10 days ago my sister told me about Sarno's book and although I was absolutely skeptical I started to read it. And suddenly everything made sense! My personality: perfecionist, worrier... Also the beginning of the pain: I've been playing tennis with no pain at all and then other day with an innocent movement I get a terrible spasm... And I made a connection with other health issues that I thought had no relation: allergies that came and go, I had hives for almost two years with no possible explanation by the doctor, some anxiety episodes, shoulder tendonitis, and I have knee pain for two years.
    So I read the book and I started doing the treatment, thinking psychologically, accepting that it is not a physical problem and overall thinking about the possible repressed emotions: I know I have a lot of rage and pressure in my life. When I just started thinking like that I suddenly got much better and even I feel less pain in my knee... (amazing!). I know I am not over it yet. I still have some fear to make some movements, especially bending or standing too long in the same place, or walking too much....

    I am excited about having found this community where I can share my experience and learn from other's experiences while I keep working on getting over TMS.
  2. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    It is so encouraging to read your post, the hopefullness you're feeling after hopelessness and helplessness came across very clearly! You will be able to learn so many things about yourself and how to handle life. It is an ongoing journey. Have you been exploring the wiki? There are wonderful people here and two educational programs, success stories etc. Welcome!
    plum likes this.
  3. byron_555

    byron_555 New Member

    Thank you so much for your words.
    When I first read Sarnos' book "Healing back pain" two main thoughts/feelings came to mind:
    First of all I felt overwhelmed and excited about having found a completely new and different way of understanding my back pain. A way that ranges not only the back pain but also those other issues that I have underwent and opens a gate to this journey to learn many things about myself as you mentioned. So, yes!, I am feeling a lot of hope.
    And second I couldn't avoid thinking how it is possible that this mindbody connection is not better known worldwide and so little research has been done by the mainstream science. (Probably in the US, TMS is better known that here in Europe). So I felt so grateful to John Sarno and thought about him as a hero and a man ahead of his time.
    Now I am re-reading his book and I have been doing a lot of research on the internet. So I just found the wiki a couple of days ago and I am looking forward to following those educational programs and getting to know other people with their own stories.
    plum and Lizzy like this.
  4. Jnew24

    Jnew24 New Member


    You can do it. The key is to go all in 100% believing that your issues are from TMS (from reading your story I have no doubt they are..). I was fortunate enough to see Dr Sarno back in the 90's. When I told him of the dire diagnosis I had received about my lower back from other doctors/chiropractors, etc. he said "That's nonsense - Your perfectly healthy." That was the beginning of unwinding the TMS web. For me, having TMS has been like being an alcoholic- I have to be on constant guard. I've experienced symptoms in my upper and lower back, shoulder, knees and feet, one usually leaving and another taking it's place. I have seen all diminish by re-focusing on the fact that these are just manifestations of TMS. Read the success stories on this site, google the "Thank you Dr Sarno" letters, watch the "Wall of victory" videos that Steve Ozanich has posted on youtube. All of these things will reinforce your believe. Stay the course, it's worth the effort. You can get better.
    plum likes this.
  5. byron_555

    byron_555 New Member


    Thank you very much for your advice and support.
    It is great you saw Dr Sarno, I have watched some videos of him and they are very reassuring to me.
    I agree that believing is the key and sometimes it is not very easy as we all know that most of the doctors will not accept this theory. But when I just read Sarno's explanations everything made sense to me and what is most important I felt better immediately. That was about 10 days ago, and I felt very excited and hopeful.
    During these days I have been learning to think psychologically, recalling experiences from my childhood that made me angry or scared and thinking of my personality and the things that I am worried about and make me angry at present time.
    The most difficult part for me is to overcome the fear of pain-suffering a new spasm (especially if I bend, but also if a stand up in the same place or walk or sit on a "bad chair" for too long). And since I read the book I have felt a twinge a couple of times when I dared to bend. But now I kind of control the pain by thinking that I know what my raged, scared unconscious is doing...
    Now I know it is going to be a journey, a journey with myself and into myself. But being here and reading other's stories make me feel I am not alone on this journey.
    Thanks again.
    plum likes this.
  6. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    "most of the doctors will not accept this theory"

    ...and most of their patients never get well! Or, as you experienced, they have 'revolving' symptoms. Welcome. You are definitely one of us. Your symptoms will go away
    plum likes this.
  7. NYCfamilyguy

    NYCfamilyguy New Member

    Hello all,
    This is my first post to this site. I have very similar issues to you byron_555. I'm 42 yrs old and have been experiencing my "back going out" since my 20's. I never thought about a disc problem, but once i read about disc symptoms a couple of months ago, do you know i experienced slight tingling in my foot for the first time along with back pain (i hate my mind). I have never been to a Dr because 1) i don't trust them 2) nobody i know with back pain has ever gotten success from an MD, etc. 3) the pain usually subsides after a while. I find Dr Sarno's success very intriguing, and would like to join in with the support being shown here.
    I do have a question though. I keep hearing "go to a Dr. to rule out structural abnormalities," but there are experiences of people with every structural abnormality i have heard of that get better using a TMS approach. So why go to a DR and risk him "convincing" you about a "real" issue? Just to rule out cancer (which i don't think i've had intermittently for 20 years)? Any input would be appreciated. Thank you.
  8. byron_555

    byron_555 New Member

    Hi NYCfamilyguy,

    Yes, we have similar issues and you have pointed out some interesting things. So I am going to give my opinion.
    You said you have never been to a Dr because you don't trust them... (I guess you are talking about you back issues). I would say that is the best choice in maybe 80 to 90% of the cases and I am not talking only about back problems. In my case I wouldn't have worn an unnecessary back brace for several months (in my mid twenties) and I wouldn't have 2 MRI's done: first one with no issues- yeah I was 25, and second one with normal abnormalities (herniated disc, DDD....) info that I don't need to know and my "little egoist child" (read unconscious) has taking advantage of for some years.
    And that is because, in my opinion, "medicine" knows too little about the human being (and my father is a doctor- pediatrician, now retired). Modern medicine is great treating some infections (antibiotics have saved a lot of lives...), with others have no idea what to do, and it's great dealing with a lot of physical injuries, traumas (it's incredible what surgery can do in some cases). But with other diseases and disorders, mainstream medicine has no idea: All the psychosomatic disorders come to mind, but also mental disorders, or even cancer... and so on. But then the "business" face of medicine comes to scene and I find a lot of similarities with Pharmaceutical and Food companies... but that's another issue!
    So, going back to your question. Why and in what cases I would go to a doctor about back pain, now? If I had an important accident with immediate pain (to rule out a fracture, because it's probably the only case when rest is necessary), if I had cauda equina symptoms (incontinence and numbness in both legs... to rule out a severe compressed nerve) and if I had constant pain that is getting worse and never stops with a bad general state of health (to rule out a tumor ).
    I don't think that's your case. So for the rest of the cases (as I said probably 80-90%) I would't go to a mainstream doctor, especially I would not go to rule out structural abnormalities that are so common and normal.
    What I would do is start talking to my mind, the little egoist child inside. By the way I don't think it is a good idea to hate your mind - yes, ok I also swear when I have a lot of pain (and say: stop it f.. bastard!); but I'd rather talk to my brain like a child that I have to teach what to do or not to do... like sending a lot of blood to may back muscles and knee. In the end that little child is also you.

  9. NYCfamilyguy

    NYCfamilyguy New Member

    Byron_555- thank you for the reply. I too have suffered from tendonitis (elbow) since my 20's, hay fever, anxiety, OCDish tendencies, knee pain, mysterious moving tooth pain (for which i had a lot of unnecessary work). It all fits. The interesting thing that i find when i read peoples stories (when it became more of an issue) is many were in their late 30's or 40's. Possibly young kids, aging parents, mortgage, crappy job, etc. and hold it all together (goodist) -talk about pressures that your mind wants to distract you from.
  10. byron_555

    byron_555 New Member

    It is amazing how similar people's stories are: in my case hay fever, anxiety, knee pain, hives, back pain. I am also pretty obsessive (and perfectionist, worrier, responsible...). And a couple of weeks ago I thought there was no connection between those things!
    Now I am 100% sure those are psychosomatic disorders. And I feel like I have learned "the secret" to deal with my back pain.
    I am not completely sure why my mind is inducing the physical pain in my back. It might be repressed emotions in the unconscious (like Dr Sarno explains), or stress and pressures of my current life or who knows... Actually we know very little about how our minds work. In my case there is also a lot of conditioning and fear (I was terrified to bend and expecting a painful spasm in case I dared to try...). What is working for me is a lot of Talking to my brain (since I know I have a normal strong spine and the problem is in my mind) and little by little trying to relax my posture (I was so stiff- scared) and overcome the fear.

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