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I think I might have TMS

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Lz123, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. Lz123

    Lz123 Peer Supporter

    Hi everyone,

    I've been suffering from chronic pain in both my forearms for about a year and a half now. The pain is similar to cubital tunnel syndrome, where the ulnar nerve is compressed in the elbow. During this time I've also gotten tennis elbow both arms and more recently wrist pain..again, in both arms.

    I've been to multiple doctors, I've done nerve conduction tests (2x), I've done several MRIs (neck, elbow), ultrasonography, PT, stretches, exercises, ice, heat, massage..you name it. A neurologist even asked me if I drink alcohol on the regular. All the tests are fine, except a bone marrow edema in my right elbow and a slight, almost unnoticeable thickening of something called plica in the same elbow. My right elbow pops a lot.

    Anyway, during this time I quit my job, went through 10 months of doing as little as I could with my hands (it's harder than you think) and nothing changed. I've been familiar with TMS for a while, almost as much as the pain lasts but I never gave it a real shot. Mostly I think my mistake was just not being patient enough (I expected miraculous results, like the people that read a book and get "cured") and never fully embracing the diagnosis. This is still the part i struggle with. When my pain is okay, tolerable, I have no problem thinking it's TMS, but when the pain flares up I just want a surgeon to pull out my nerve and be done with it.

    For now, I've decided to take it slow. I plan on doing a small amount of typing each day to hopefully recondition myself.

    One thing which kinda bugs me and I guess prevents me to fully accept the diagnosis is the fact that my pain is pretty much consistent. It doesn't hurt just when I type, it hurts whenever I overuse my arms. I work as a teller now, so there's not a lot of typing and a lot of downtime most days, but on the days where I have to use my arms a lot it still hurts. I guess I can kinda attribute this to the fact that I've become kinda obsessed with RSI during these past 18 months to the point where I can't imagine anyone doing anything repetitive without injuring themselves.

    And that's pretty much it. I'd like to hear what you think

  2. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    That definitely sounds like powerful emotions are a critical factor here. Fear, obsession, and impatience will prompt endless symptoms! What was going on in your life when the symptoms developed?

    People can engage in repetitive motions without developing injuries or strains all day long. In fact, this was the case for countless individuals just a few generations ago. RSI is nothing more than a fad. It is clear that you are highly focused on the body and its potential weaknesses - this type of thinking will also introduce more symptoms and more pain. It does nothing but open the door for more pain opportunities!

    The brain is neuroplastic and can change anytime. The good news is that we have more control than we often realize. Whether we're dealing with "structural" pain or emotionally-driven pain, we can indeed overcome it. As noted in the following article, this includes (but is not at all limited to) chronic low-back pain from nerve injury and inflammatory damage, diabetic neuropathy, some cancer pain, abdominal pain, neck degeneration pain, amputation, trauma to the brain and spinal cord, pelvic floor pain, inflammatory bowel, irritable bowel, bladder pain, arthritis, lupus, trigeminal neuralgia, multiple sclerosis pain, post-infectious pain, nerve injuries, neuropathic pain, some central pain, phantom limb pain, degenerative disc disease, pain from failed back surgery and pain from nerve root injury, etc.

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/training-the-brain-to-beat-pain/news-story/45ad7b7daaaf3c4bbbab6c76b0190ac7?nk=87368f53774b595cc4791013e74afb3f-1533600750 (Nocookies)

    You think your emotions are causing you physical pain? Good, they probably are. Now you can work on eliminating your fear and focusing on living life fully and happily. Do something that makes you brain release happy neurotransmitters. What do you love to do?
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2018
  3. Lz123

    Lz123 Peer Supporter

    Well, I've been thinking about it and I think it may have been caused by fear of upcoming career change. I was about to finish my programming portofolio and start sending it to firms in a different city. Getting that job would mean moving out to a different city, alone - something which I've never done.
    Other than that, nothing much. But, there's a paragraph in The Mindbody Prescription which I can relate to very much. General disatisfaction with my job(s), feelings of low self worth and not much of a love life.

    I actually have been! For the past two months (maybe even more) I've been playing video games despite the pain and it hasn't gotten worse. At first it did, but I kinda pushed through it. Now I have no fear or worry when playing video games. The pain is still there (and I suspect it will be as long as I don't do everything without fear) but it's just not that big of a deal. It really flares up when I type a lot which is my main concern right now.

    Other than that, I've been thinking of going to the gym again. I've gained weight since this all started and I'd like to lose some of it again.

    Thanks for replying
  4. Lz123

    Lz123 Peer Supporter

    Ok, at this point I'm fairly sure I have TMS. I've been anxious for the past two days (unrelated to my pain or typing) and the pain is barely noticeable. I'm sure when the anxiety subsides the pain will come back, but I'll try to use this period of painlessness to further condition myself.

    I'll keep this thread updated in case someone stumbles upon it and needs help.
    Dorado and Lizzy like this.
  5. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    Fantastic! Not that anxiety is fun, but you have your evidence of TMS being a rational explanation by the bouncing around of symptoms. The mind is a funny thing, it might try to convince you this didn't happen so I suggest you write this experience down to refer to later.

    Dorado likes this.
  6. Lz123

    Lz123 Peer Supporter

    Update: anxiety still going strong, but it's bearable. I've just typed for two hours (well, programmed) and the pain is negligible. One interesting thing today is I'm experiencing sharp pain in my hip flexor. I've torn a muscle there ~15 years ago and occasionally get pain there. Weird coincidence that it should hurt today, no?
  7. Lz123

    Lz123 Peer Supporter

    Update (I hope it's okay if i spam my thread lol):
    Today I am experiencing right shoulder pain along with the usual symptoms. It's interesting to note that he shoulder pain bugged me for 9 months or so and stopped a month or two before my forearm pain began.
    The shoulder started hurting after a breakup. I'd originally attributed the pain to overexerting myself at the gym, but looking back at possible psychological causes I remember I was very angry at my ex, but I kept everything inside for the sake of staying in good terms.
  8. Lz123

    Lz123 Peer Supporter

    My shoulder still hurts and I had pain in my forearms today, a very strong pain. For a moment i wanted to do a million tests again, but after a while I'm back on the TMS train. My shoulder also hurts a lot, despite me only doing some light exercise.

    On a lighter note, I bought myself a new mechanical keyboard, picking it up tomorrow. I didn't get it because of RSI, I got it because I wanted one for a while but never bought one because I assumed I wouldn't do much typing anyway because of my pain. I think this is in line with Sarno's philosophy.
    Lizzy likes this.
  9. Lz123

    Lz123 Peer Supporter

    My shoulder hurts a lot again. Do you guys think this is TMS shifting of symptoms? My original symptoms did not dissapear (except wrist pain), I gained a new one
  10. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    I think there is a good chance its TMS. Everyone is different. I have different symptoms that usually don't last long; sometimes minutes, hours, or days. Often they are specific to something going on. Excitement and anxiety about something can give me symptoms. My best friend of 40 years lives in another state. Every year we spend a week together. Both of us get symptoms the day we arrive and the day we part. Excitement and sadness. That said, I am almost always symptom free and rarely bothered by them.

    Caufield has a long list of symptoms in his story and he overcame them. Don't let it worry you.

    And good for you, getting the keyboard you have wanted!

  11. Lz123

    Lz123 Peer Supporter

    Yeah I kinda figure it's my mind playing tricks on me again. It seems likely, considering I'm more accepting of the TMS diagnosis then ever. I did only some light exercise which should not logically be enough to provoke such a strong reaction.

    Thanks for replying :)
    Lizzy likes this.
  12. Lz123

    Lz123 Peer Supporter

    Shoulder hurts like hell today. I had a very stressful day at work yesterday, lots of movement etc. Idk, I try my best to ignore the pain but the problem is that my right arm and fingers feel a bit off..like a nerve is impinged. Regardless, I'm trying my best to ignore it. The timing is too coincidental for it to be a physical issue

    Edit: my left shoulder also started to hurt, but less than my right. This is a common pattern in all my "injuries". One side starts to hurt, a few days later the other one does as well. I'm trying not to worry about it, but this is the worst TMS symptom so far so it's not easy.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  13. Lz123

    Lz123 Peer Supporter

    Update: I am in pain, still, but it's bad. My forearms are the same but my shoulders/upper arms, sometimes my chest feel like hell. It's hard doing my job, my arms feel unresponsive at times. I dont feel like doing anything, I just want to lie in bed and rest. I had trouble writing my name today. Suprisingly, typing feels better then doing anything else with my arms.

    Emotionally speaking, this is probably related to relationship anxiety I am going through right now. I can't say I've been feeling well even before this new pain started and this isn't helping. I find it hard to stay optimistic, since the exact thing which I was dreading (working with too much pain) has happened. Idk i understand tms can shift places or migrate to another part of the body and I can certainly say this might be the case now, but Jesus Christ this is super painful, impossible to ignore and honestly scary. I' considering going to a doctor for a checkup but that might be the problem...Idk.

    Edit: thinking about it now, this might be anger towards my therapist. I've been going to psychotherapy for a few years now and I think this pain might be related to the fact that my therapist left for holiday for almost the entire month..essentially, leaving me to deal with my anxiety alone. It's funny, she often asks me if her not being available for a session angers me. I usually reply no, because it truly doesn't..This time, however..
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
  14. AlyssaCa

    AlyssaCa New Member

    Hey Lz123, I'm not an expert as I also just posted about if I have TMS today and have only been familiar with this concept maybe a couple of weeks at most, but I think you are focusing a lot on your physical symptoms.

    When you focus on your physical symptoms, you feed into TMS. Doctor Sarno said that the goal of TMS is have one so focused on the body, that the deeper things in the subconscious are blocked out. I also think that the symptoms can block out present things that are bothering you. He also said that TMS can make some pretty unbearable pain.

    Since I read about TMS, the nerve pain I felt has moved to my other leg and even my hands and arms! Where it goes seems to be a day by day basis. I noticed just today alone that if I ignore that pain (I had some bad pain in my right tendon that ignored), it went away!

    However, Sarno says you also have to stop fearing this or your symptoms will come back. You also have to talk to your subconscious mind and don't let it control you. Unless you had an injury very recently, I think this is TMS.
    Lz123 likes this.
  15. Lz123

    Lz123 Peer Supporter

    Yeah, I am focusing on my symptoms a bit too much but that's because my symptoms get very hard to ignore. It's very hard for me to laugh off my symptoms when I can't even move my arm without pain in my shoulder. I understand the pain is illogical, it's probably just TMS shifting symptoms but it's still hard for me to just laugh it off. Nevertheless, I was thinking of maybe still joining a gym, maybe fighting back the pain is what i need to do right now..

    I think the problem is, despite me returning to some activity (I type every day now for an hour or two with no increase in symptoms in my forearms) I am still scared to get a job which involves a lot of typing and of course, the whole shoulder pain fiasco. I am still focused on my pain. It's a very tricky loop to get out of, for me at least.
  16. Lz123

    Lz123 Peer Supporter

    My shoulder pain has dissipated, thankfully. It still kinda hurts, but the pain is mostly in my elbows now. It burns like hell. I've been reading Steve Ozanich's "The Great Pain Deception" and I've decided to fully embrace TMS and take the risk. I'm just tired of pain dictating my life and what I can or can't do. I'll keep updating this thread as the time goes by. Thanks to everyone that replied
  17. AlyssaCa

    AlyssaCa New Member

    LZ123, let me know about the book. Yes, you must accept it's TMS! If you don't accept it's TMS, you won't get past the pain.
  18. Lz123

    Lz123 Peer Supporter

    I've not ready it completely yet, but so far it's pretty good. The author really goes through great detail about TMS, it's causes and even his personal experience with chronic pain. I personally really needed the extra details which I've not found in Sarno's book. Idk, if I were you, I'd get it. It's not really expensive and it's an interesting read. Worst case scenario, you waste ~20ish dollars.
  19. Lz123

    Lz123 Peer Supporter

    Okay so, after reading some more Steven Ozanich I feel inspired to share something about my history with pain, even before the symptoms in my original post started. This might be a longer post so I'll just give you the tl;dr version at the start:

    I may have had TMS before and have inadvertently alleviated 90% of my pain and completely resolved a part of it.

    Okay, so my problems with chronic pain start all the way in october of 2012. Back then I had gotten a new, for me stressful job. I'd probably not feel stressed doing it now, but i was young then. I was anxious for a full month. Every day, I'd wake up and I'd have anxiety until I went to bed. I think I slept okay, but I'm not sure at this point. I was incredibly afraid of making a mistake and I generally did not feel good about my performance despite not reciveing any criticism. To combat the anxiety I had joined a gym and it worked after a week or two of lifting. I was actually happy and felt good. I loved going to the gym and lifting weights, but after a while I guess I had overdone it because after a particularly heavy squatting session I had constant, dull pain in my back which did not go away ever. In the following months I had been to therapy (made things worse, I'd gotten sciatica after therapy). The pain got unbearable despite me taking a break from lifting weights. I remember 2013. as probably one of the worst years of my life. It was the first time I felt I had made an irreversible mistake, since the pain just didn't go away no matter what I tried. This made me feel depressed and suicidal. I remember waking up thinking: "Why do I even bother getting out of bed?" Everything hurt. Standing. Sitting. Everything. The pain was always there and I had learned then that people not in chronic pain have very little empathy/understanding for people in pain. Mostly I felt bad because I couldn't lift weights and I never really had much of a social/love life. I guess I always filled the void with video games or other random crap. This depressive episode went on for a couple of months and somewhere in august 2013. I had decided I had enough. I went back to the gym again, felt great again for being able to do what I love and then again I had gotten a bit too brave with the weights and bam. Pain flared up again. I took time off again (looking back, I probably just should have continued lifting, just avoided certain movements. I'll explain later why this is the case) but I guess in a way I had just had enough and kinda accepted the pain. The next few months I remember smoking a lot of weed to help alleviate the pain, playing CS:GO and working part time with college (my college obligations were minimal).

    In March 2014. my forearms, chest, shoulders, wrists and fingers began hurting after what I had thought back then way a particularly intense CS:GO session (lol). At first I took on the careful approach, but after a month or two I had seen a traumatologist who I remember was a bit of a dick but he pretty much told me to stop being in front of the pc all day and go lift weights again. So I did and again it felt good. Until again, I had lifted a bit too much (not even squats this time, overhead press) and my back flared up again. To clarify: my back always hurt, but when it flared up it hurt like hell. So, my focus was now shifted from my arms back to my lower back. And somehow, the gym, the focus shift, the back pain made the pain in my arms just dissapear. I remember playing a video game a couple of months after, the pain in my arms resurfaced and I just told myself: "It'll go away." And it did. I have no idea how I managed to not care so much about pain. I really don't. I guess I was just fed up with it.

    So in September 2014, 2 years after my back "injury" I had gotten a job as a waiter/bus boy in a hotel. I remember being worried about my back but I just told myself: "If it gets bad, I'll quit or just drink painkillers every day". (side note: pain killers have never, ever worked for me. Not a single injury I am writing about here was in any way ever alleviated, not even slightly by painkillers) I remember the bus ride home after my first shift in the hotel. My back and legs hurt like hell. Honestly I don't think they ever hurt so much. It felt like someone pounded me with a mallet and yet, I did not care. I figure I was too high from the adrenaline (it was a very busy hotel lol) to care about the pain. The more I worked, the more I did not care about the pain. I was either too busy or to tired to think about my back. Honestly, getting that job was the best thing I did that year because it changed my perception of pain. The job included a lot of lifting, a lot of movement, a lot of stuff that a person with herniated discs should not be doing and yet it showed me just how much strength I had even with a "bad back". And wouldn't you know it, the pain had dissipated to the level it is at right now. So, the past few years, when my back flares up I'd just shoo the pain away knowing the pain will be back to a manageable level in a day or two. I never really cured my pain, mostly because I still think it's a structural thing, but my back just doesn't bug me anymore. On most days I don't even feel it. I feel it now because I'm writing about it, but I'll forget about it tomorrow.

    I'll stop this now even though there's more stuff I'd like to share which might be relevant. I just wanted to get this off my chest since i've never told anyone the full story about my pain(s).
    readytoheal, Lizzy and westb like this.
  20. Lz123

    Lz123 Peer Supporter

    Went to the gym today for the first time in 3ish years, I think. Surprisingly, my body did not disintegrate lol. I do expect the pain to come when the body cools off, but I guess this might just be a conditioned or expected response. Either way, I'll continue exercising and we'll see where I end up. Hopefully not in the ER lol

    As a side note, since my last update I haven't really been thinking about my pain. I just accept it's there. I guess that's good.
    fluffymugnaini, Lizzy and westb like this.

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