Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by eightball776, Oct 6, 2017.
Was your therapy with a TMS practitioner?
Nah, unfortunately that does not exist in the state I live in. I've looked into remote appointments with pros on either coast, and 'unaffordable' would be an understatement. I have worked with a psychologist that at least believed in the psychological causes of my pain, but I couldn't get him to focus on that track and it devolved into complaining about nonsense & just saying out loud what I already knew...never had any revelations nor did I discover anything I didn't already understand about myself. I really never got anything at all out of the process, and just concluded that therapy isn't for me. Well, at least paying someone else to provide it...I've had more success with self-directed programs, like when I needed to cure my anxiety disorder & the only way I found success was through educating myself. That's why I'm so irritated now, because I feel like there isn't anywhere else to go with these principles that once had such a profound effect.
Eightball I am suffering too for the last 3 years, but with TMS the surgery made it worse not better and there were 2 minimally invasive procedures. I recently spoke with a TMS doctor who said "no red flags for structural issues". Nobody is alike...I get that. I am having a new MRI too, but you have to believe or not believe the reports. Today I kept busy and yes had pain even with meds, but I ignored it and moved on. FEAR is a bitch. It was weird because for a few hours I didn't notice it. I gave myself the day off from journaling and self talk and maybe you should attempt that too because sometimes we try too hard. I believe in the long run you will come out on the other side of pain and we will be there to meet each other. Hang in there !!!
TMS therapists don't charge more then other therapists, they are naturally more expensive in areas where the cost of living is higher. I think the range is generally $150-$250 per session depending on regional differences and perhaps the seniority of the practitioner and their market demand. It's been found that phone and skype are as good as in person therapy. It doesn't take more then a few sessions for a TMS therapist to get the concept across. Don Dubin (deceased) told me he never had to give more then a dozen sessions. I have seen at this site, that there are TMS interns charging $65 per session if memory serves. I think it boils down to if you can afford or want to spend $1000-2000 to heal your TMS. If money is the object, I think many TMS practitioners would be willing to work on a sliding scale or defer payments, they understand by the time those in chronic pain stumble on TMS there savings may be depleted by all the other treatments, medical and voodoo out there. Maybe someone here can recommend a low-cost TMS therapist, or look into one of the interns who charge less.
Here's a recent thread about TMS therapists, there's mention of interns in it for $65 hr.
http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/is-the-practitioner-directory-updated-periodically.17001/ (Is the practitioner directory updated periodically?)
Let me clarify. While I can't pretend that the cost isn't a factor, if I thought a new round of psychotherapy had even a 5% chance of producing even a small amount of relief, I would find a way to pay for it. I completed Fred Amir's coaching program that I learned about on this site not too long ago, and that wasn't cheap. The thing is, I know that therapy is a complete waste of time for me. This isn't a position I've arrived at due to some kind of preconceived misconception or fear of any kind of old fashioned stigma. I've given it a solid try, many times. It's kind of like hypnotism. Some people just can't be hypnotized, and therapy just doesn't work for everyone. I believe it is a very important discipline & helps a lot of people; I'm just not one of them.
I agree with you. I bought some other's books and tried and no help. That's not saying somethings don't work for some people. There are plenty of people trying in some way, shape or form trying to sell something on this website. Dr. Sarno's book are a good place to start because he is the master of TMS. Spending hundreds of dollars with little results... & it's easy to say we must not be accepting 100 % of TMS. Just 100 % frustrated. This website is free, hopeful, supportive and helpful.
So I got the results back from my most recent MRI, and compared the report to studies I had in 2015, 2013, and 2010. The results are very consistent, albeit slightly 'worse' than the last one. According to each radiologist, everything is hunky-dory until you get to L4-L5 & L5-S1 (pretty much where everyone you meet seems to have disc troubles). The report is full of scary medical jargon that seems like it must sound worse than it is to justify the gigantic paychecks these radiologists receive for looking at pictures:
L4-l5: Disc desiccation and a broad-based disc bulge. Right foraminal posterior high-intensity zone, suggestive annular fissure. Mild facet arthrosis without facet marrow edema. Moderate bilateral neuroforaminal narrowing. Foraminal disc bulge abuts the bilateral exiting L4 nerve roots. Narrowing of the left neuroforamen is increased compared to 2013. No significant central canal stenosis.
From what I know about the diabolical 'strategy' behind TMS, I'm inclined to believe that my brain would opt to stir up trouble elsewhere in my body since I'd previously been successful at eliminating low back pain in the past with Sarno's methods. Back then the pain was focused in the center & would migrate back and forth; sometimes a little to the left, sometimes a little to the right. These days it stays in exactly the same spot on my left side, precisely where the doctors are seeing this 'disc protrusion' that is hitting the nerve roots.
I'm afraid that what I was most worried about when deciding to get this MRI has come to pass. On some level, I feel like this has to be what is causing this relentless pain. There are 2 different qualities of the pain that are very distinct. One seems to be all about compression, where sitting upright for more than 5 minutes is torture & it feels like a nerve is being squished if that's even possible. The other type of pain is strictly muscular and is a direct result of involuntarily tightening the muscles surrounding the area when I'm sleeping, relaxing, or just going about my day. It is much easier for me to label the latter as a symptom of TMS, but I feel like a confident surgeon wouldn't have much trouble convincing me that an operation can repair the former, as I'm at a point where I don't know how much worse it can get, and the only thing I know for sure is that the status quo is not an option.
If I was told there was a 75% chance I could be pain-free if I underwent a procedure that had a 35% chance of killing me, I'd sign up today.
The muscle pain preceded this whole disc thing so is it possible that sitting at my computer for years with a tight lower back & no oxygen in my muscles eventually caused this disc protrusion? If it is the case that there really are 2 different sources of pain in the same area, one related to this pathology & the other strictly TMS, how on earth would I ever be able to eliminate the TMS with my brain polluted by this 'physical' diagnosis if it is indeed legitimate?
Ultimately you have to decide on whether you believe in TMS. Once you make up your mind to fully accept it your healing has begun. Right now you’re divided in your mind which means you don’t believe it yet. There will never be any scientific evidence that proves that you have it, and so it is an internal knowledge, or acceptance through a change in mindset (belief).
These biological changes you mention here do not cause pain. If you listen to any great yogi, or healer they will always say that those who can't make up their minds or if they challenge healing that they do not want to heal. Doubt is the wall between suffering and freedom. Ask yourself, "why am I resisting healing?" There lies your answer to the cause of your suffering. Good luck!
Of course I believe in TMS - but what I'm stuck at is why all of the techniques that led me to the life-changing experience 20 years ago are having exactly zero effect now. Let's recap with a few bullet points that highlight why my faith has wavered as of late:
Late '90s - suffered from terrible low back pain for about a year before finding Dr. Sarno & eliminating it 100% with my mind. Accepting the diagnosis & learning about the mind-body connection was all that was necessary to cure the problem. Of course it then turned into anxiety & it took a while to shut it down completely, but I did eventually succeed.
Doctors back then gave me a variety of diagnoses, including DDD, congenital spine defects that'd probably cause lifelong pain, etc., with most agreeing that the Crohn's Disease was somehow contributing to the problem. The reports from imaging studies undergone back then did not match what they're saying today.
For the last 8-9 years, I've suffered from a very similar type of pain, though there are 2 distinct qualities to it that have to represent some clues:
I often catch myself involuntarily tightening the muscles in my lower back. This is clearly the result of stress & tension, and I'm able to find some relief with E-Stim, massage, heat/ice, etc.
The other type of pain is related to compression - the pain that makes sitting upright for more than 5-10 minutes at a time unbearable. This is easy to blame on all of the years I've spent slumped over a keyboard, and nothing helps.
Prednisone/steroids used to provide substantial relief, but are now totally ineffective, leading me to believe that the pain caused by inflammation (TMS, Crohn's, muscle spasms, bad posture, etc.) is something entirely separate from this other type of pain, which seems to match up with what I've been reading about the whole protruding disc/nerve impingement/annular tear that's mentioned on each of my last 3 MRIs.
What I can't seem to discern with any certainty is how common it is for people to exhibit this sort of pathology without any chronic pain.
So what does one do in a situation where there is both TMS AND a physical condition that may be causing additional pain? I know Dr. Sarno said that all of these disc issues doctors point to as causes for back pain are all nonsense, but does that mean that procedures touted by groups like the Laser Spine Institute, who claim a 97% patient satisfaction rate, are just complete frauds? There is definitely something attractive about a minimally invasive procedure that has a very low risk of making things worse. I was reading about the ways they treat annular tears with laser surgery, but it's a moot point anyway since they don't take my insurance (the crappy HMO I was forced to accept after having to quit my fulltime job because of back pain) & it would cost tens of thousands of dollars I don't have.
What's my point? I don't know. I feel like nothing I try is getting me anywhere & as time goes on, I have less and less to lose because my quality of life is getting to the point where the prospect of failed back surgery isn't as frightening as it once was. Thanks for letting me rant.
I had a feeling this organization was a little off...after reading some of the horror stories. It takes a certain type of evil to take advantage of people in pain, but it's so common these days that it's kind of scary. Not as scary as what's happening to chronic pain patients that are being pushed towards suicide as a result of this misguided and half-assed attempt at battling the opioid epidemic though.
8Ball, I'm not going to write another longwinded reply, all I have to say is that ALL your questions about imaging, compression, sitting to long, posture, pathology, are answered in each and every one of Dr. Sarno's books. For whatever reason, your unconscious gremlin won't let you hear the answers to outweigh your doubts of where the pain originates from.
The answer to this is studies have shown that people with identical imaging don't have pain that TMS sufferers do.
You've said you've had lots of psychotherapy but that it doesn't work for you--did you have TMS specialized therapy?
Dr. Sarno said that surgery is our best placebo.
Yep, all that stuff is rattling around in my head as well, but how does the TMS know to put the pain in this exact spot where this problem exists before my conscious mind was even aware of it? It's the chicken before the egg. Or is the TMS actually responsible for the screwy area there which is now all jacked up from years of muscle tension? It's one thing if someone complains of back pain and it moves around but the spot where the doctor stuck that needle in to blast me full of steroids - the time I didn't have sedation - it most definitely produced a sensation that would no way be duplicated anywhere else, & the doctor finds this area under fluoroscopy - it's not me pointing to it. There's just such a distinct difference between the knotted up muscles & this feeling like my spine is crumbling under its own weight. Both can be brutally excruciating, but I'm just starting to feel like one is caused by my brain, but not the other...but I can't seem to improve either one with what I've been doing, so I gotta try something else.
The Dr. Sarno answer is that it doesn't matter--we may never understand the complex workings of the mind--the mechanisms don't matter.
I seldom try to dissuade anyone from going through with a "little" surgery if they are set on it--I don't mind a little root-canal once in a while.
It's not that your conscious mind was aware of it, but your unconscious mind was. Big difference.
Where can I get some of these new plastic nerves? My original equipment ones are getting frayed from years of tension running through them and all that yoga stretching--maybe I need to do some headstands to let them unwind.
You seem to be at the end of choices. You could say: “f…it” and go for a jog. Here’s my success story from the year 2000:
Logically, running with a bad back like I did in 2000 doesn’t make sense, it goes against the grain of Dr. Sarno’s theories, but it worked for me and brings me back when doubt sets in. I wouldn’t recommend it to others though.
A few weeks ago I had a fall and cracked my Sacrum, I had to go and see a surgeon. Of course I mentioned my other issues to him. I had neck MRIs etc and went through exactly what you are going through right now. I was “feeding my own doubt”. A vicious circle of doubt begets the need for more information, and more information begets doubt. My MRIs didn’t match the ones from 1998 and I ended up translating each Latin word, bull shit!!
TMS has no logic, because I got better giving up coffee in the evening, this out of the blue this decision helped me get more sleep, my head cleared and I became aware of what I was doing; “focusing on pain and seeking physical answers”. Deep down I knew coffee kept me awake, but I was in the grip of a habit, no less a habit that’s lasted 30 years. It’s funny that a clear head and a little piece of happiness turned things around so much. I have slept well every night since.
As a seasoned TMSer I know that what I do physically and mentally during the day accumulates to stimulate my thought process for better or worse, I can easily turn off my brain chatter with exercise or a hobby activity. TMS has no logic because the opposite also appears to be true. When I did “absolutely nothing” I was the happiest and pain free I have ever been. In today’s world not a very practical solution, but a nice respite.
But doesn't Dr. Sarno advise resuming physical activity? I've read a few interpretations of this, but like any other medical problem/treatment, what works for some can be harmful to others. I have to believe that a whole lot of this stuff is subjective, especially when dealing with the psychological component. There's never going to be a one-size-fits-all approach. I tried the 'f**k it' approach and just tried to go play racquetball, ride my dirtbike, or engage in one of the other activities on the long list of favorite pastimes I've eliminated from my life because of back pain. In several cases, I managed to participate in the said activity, albeit in a half-assed sort of way. The result was pretty consistent in that the level of suffering I had to endure in the days following the activity (or during) just wasn't worth it.
Meanwhile, one other note about those Laser Spine Specialists...what a foul organization that must be. I got a creepy feeling only a minute into the call while the rep seemed to be way too interested in my exact contact information...I am super paranoid about companies sharing my private info, and sure enough, I've been getting tons of telemarketing calls since that one call to request their brochure.
Dr. Sarno says: “resume normal activity”. You would not normally run in pain which is what I did. You would not normally run combatively against your pain which I also did. It’s a subtle explanation, and as you say very subjective.
Running as I did was the switch from believing I had a serious issue to one that there was nothing wrong with me physically. I instantly stopped believing the nerve was being crushed, the MRI images of L5, L6 etc. didn’t mean anything. The very next day my back spasms stopped, that was 17 years ago! I was empowered by getting across this huge hurdle, I understood from then onward my pain was emotional, indeed at that time I was an unhappy sack of shit, depressed, on “anti-mind” tablets, almost suicidal.
Dr. Sarno’s theories guided me and I recovered. Little did I know at the time I had much more work to do. From 2000 to 2011 I was too busy to bother with TMS; I took up windsurfing and enjoyed life.
Gradually over the eleven years my neck got gradually worse and worse and basically my tension had moved to a new home. For me the discovery of the TMS web site was a mixed blessing, I found it hard to write about emotional stuff, and it wasn’t manly, it took hours of writing and journaling. I have many postings over there and review them often.
In 2011 I was angry that I had lost control and was in pain again. After all I had cured myself and then considered myself an expert. Very arrogant don’t you think? I observe that you have also had a previous success, but have you done the real psychological work addressing emotional and psychological issues? My recovery from back pain didn’t constitute a recovery from TMS and perhaps never will. In a way my current neck pain has become an alarm bell that keeps my psychological issues in check with lifestyle choices.
TMS has become an interest and fun hobby to me now as I realize that everything we do and think as humans has psychology tied to it.
By the way; I have found getting “checked out physically” is pretty difficult since you need a trusted source for information. I view the medical profession as a 50/50 crap shoot, since I have had both help and hindrance. Reference your telemarketing calls…
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