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Ignoring the Doctor

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by eightball776, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. andy64tms

    andy64tms Well known member

    Hi Eightball,

    You said in a previous post:
    “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.”

    TMS does not have any principles or rules, it knows you better than yourself.

    Just for fun I once wrote a thread called “Now I’m being silly”. This is number 7.

    7. Tremendously Misunderstood Syndrome
    Do we really understand TMS pain? Be honest. If we start to get better, it will change the rules you thought you were abiding by.:(

    Full thread:

    TMS certainly isn’t easy is it?;)

    An old age adage says: “ If you do tomorrow what you did today , you will get tomorrow what you got today”.

    Regards Andy
  2. eightball776

    eightball776 Well known member

    Latest update - spoke to a spinal surgeon last night & have an appointment with another one in about 2 weeks. After reviewing my films, he recommended an L5/S1 fusion. He is out of state & took a look as a favor, so he's got no incentive to make that recommendation. The difference between my pain now & when I was able to eliminate it with Dr. Sarno's methods years ago is that back then it would migrate from left to right & back to the middle, and vary wildly in intensity. Now it is much more constant, severe, and localized in the exact spot where that disk is messed up. Now I'm really turned around because he told me the recovery was around 2 months and that I'd be able to take care of myself, but I'm reading patient experiences that are quite a bit different. I suppose it's possible that the disk could be causing 1/3 of my pain, another 1/3 from inflammation due to CD, and another 1/3 from muscle tension/TMS. I feel like going for the surgery because I've had zero progress from any other treatment. Somebody convince me there's hope of recovery without butchering my spine.
  3. Click#7

    Click#7 Well known member

    How long have you been in pain ?
  4. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm sorry you've been in pain! I know this has been a tough process. Recall a few key points of TMS: Sarno and others posit that herniated discs and other spinal abnormalities DO NOT cause chronic pain. Pressing on a nerve can result in specific, predictable patterns of weakness or loss of sensation in the legs but severe chronic pain in the same spot as a disc issue is still likely to be TMS. Consult with Dr. Hanscom if you want a TMS spinal surgeon's opinion. Also recall there is not great evidence to suggest that spinal fusions fix chronic back pain. So many of us have "messed up" discs in our backs and don't even know it. Your pain is unlikely to be from that. It doesn't sound like that doctor is trying to swindle you into surgery, he probably just really believes in his methods and has honest intentions. You have to decide what path you are going to take, but I definitely recommend speaking to a TMS surgeon if possible.
    andy64tms, Tennis Tom and Click#7 like this.
  5. stevow7

    stevow7 Well known member

    THIS IS MY EXPERIENCE. I do have what you guys call "herniated disc" (like steve o said "who doesn't") and i was miserable for 8 months with fear and constant pain until i read sarnos and steve book. now i run, lift, and im back to what i enjoy. I accepted tms 100% and ever since i have healed. pain comes sometimes, but i once i start thinking physcologically and not physically it shreads away.
    andy64tms, MindBodyPT and Click#7 like this.
  6. Click#7

    Click#7 Well known member

    Speaking from someone who had a fusion 9 months ago..I was recently told that unless you have bowel/bladder issues, severe weakness you should be careful about surgery. I have pain and deal with it everyday and I believe Because of my increasing belief in TMS I am very slowly getting better. A spinal surgeon told me he would have never operated on pain alone.
  7. andy64tms

    andy64tms Well known member

    Hi Eightball776,

    It’s very hard to give advice, but all I can say with certain empathy, that I know how you feel. In my past 69 years I have felt that deep despair and pain, as many others here have.

    As I have said before there is no such thing as a second opinion, most doctors all had similar training; they are bound to support each other. I have read all of your post to learn more about what could be going on, and there are many things I could discuss from my wife’s Crone’s disease to nicotine to addiction.

    But my son’s neck implants are more relevant to this thread. These two implants were in lieu of a fusion! He is your age; his surgeon-doctor said he was too young to have an irreversible neck fusion. I feel guilty I could not intervene, but at that time was completely involved and dedicated with my wife second knee replacement. He differs from you in that he was “one minded” and did not want to hear any other opinion that differed from his own.

    MindbodyPT and Click#7 have more experience closer to back surgery than I. Having heard about Dr. Hanscon in the past, I remember being impressed that a surgeon would be able to crossover to mind body theory. He’s the man to consult.

    Also from TMS Help, recent discussion between Fox and Andrew10-31 regarding spinal fusion.


    I really recommend you read “Healingfromchronicpain” story, she has dedicated her website for people like you. She has a fantastic story and you will find connection.


    On a grim note, the only two people I know personally that have had back fusions, both have had to have additional fusions to the adjacent joints. The doctors forgot to tell them this was a possibility; both are still in pain from this irreversible butchery. One of them multiple neck and lower back fusions. For me the whole surgery goes against the grain of a flexible joint, (I am very mechanical).

    You have had a tremendous success as a young man of 23 actually meeting with Dr. Sarno; I think you said three weeks back recovery after attending lectures. This must be some sort of a record and they could make a movie about it, or perhaps you were in the movie he made on VHS.:) This is where your attention should be Eightball, you should still rejoice in that recovery. When you actually recovered it was from Dr. Sarno’s suggestive theories. You were 23 years old; very receptive.

    The first thing I would do is to write about this, review it in depth. Resubmit all those questions and emotions that only you know about. Write about those feeling of success and relief that you had back then. It’s never too late to write a success story, if you write success story down, it becomes firstly tangible, then a possibility, then a reality for your present pain. I forgotten the number of times I have reviewed my success storey which seems more of a mystery every time I read it, as I always give thanks for that turning point recovery. Here ends the sermon! I wish you hope and healing.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
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  8. Click#7

    Click#7 Well known member

    In Dr. Sarno's 1st book "Mind Over Back Pain" page 106 he tells of a woman who underwent 3 back surgeries the last was a spinal fusion. Her age was 44 when he saw her. Pain persisted and CT scans were as normal after a back surgery could get and was told pain was due to scar tissue by surgeons. She continued to have lower back pain radiating into the left foot. Her ankle reflex was absent and the leg was weak. Had trouble sitting and standing. Her pain got worse as the day wore on. Dr. Sarno diagnosed her with TMS...she followed his advise and eventually became pain free. It appears she spent 10 weeks at the Institute of Rehab Medicine. She underwent psycho and physical therapy and was cured . I believe Dr. Sarno wouldn't have wrote this case study if it wasn't true. We don't have the option of being admitted for care, but we know the end result of this case. It's possible and gives us hope.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
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  9. eightball776

    eightball776 Well known member

    I knew that book (written by a spine surgeon, making the case against surgical intervention for chronic pain without a direct injury/trauma) rang a bell! After a quick look around my place, I found my unread copy of "Back in Control", originally purchased on November 6, 2013. After reviewing the 1st chapter, it is pretty clear that this is a book I need to read.

    Like Dr. Sarno, Dr. Hanscom strongly advocates for psychotherapy as one of several modalities crucial to recovery from MBS. However he also confirmed what I'd always suspected, that simply vocalizing your problems & sources of tension to another can actually wind up doing more harm than good...actually 'feeding the beast' instead of destroying it. Unfortunately psychologists that are experienced enough in this area to have an impact are just unaffordable.

    Admittedly it is not the only book related to this subject that's been collecting dust in a closet somewhere. In my defense I've found it very difficult to read these past few years. I used to read a new book every month until around 2011, when I began to develop a sort of adult onset ADD (yet another manifestation of TMS), along with a sudden and severe impairment to my vision. Eventually that led to dependence on yet another medication of the stimulant variety, which one could argue contributes to muscle tension, overactive central nervous system, and...drum roll...tight muscles & back pain. Yet I was finding it impossible to complete any tasks & was struggling quite a lot with work. This is significant because it also gave me an 'excuse' to half-ass some of the other recovery programs I've flirted with - the one described on this website for instance that's been on my 'to do list' for about a year. Then it gives me another reason to criticize myself for not doing EVERYTHING I can to facilitate my recovery. Why am I so detail-oriented & thorough in my work and other areas of my life, yet seemingly a lazy bum about the single most important priority I've ever had in my time on this planet?

    My consideration of the surgery in no way diminishes my belief that TMS is responsible for my back pain. I've just come to believe it is not the only cause.

    Back then, my pain would move around. Sometimes it would be concentrated on the lower left, then the middle, and sometimes the right. The severity would vary quite a bit, and for many other reasons it was easier to pinpoint as a purely psychological problem. Now, the pain is always in the exact same spot. It's relentless. It's also caused far greater disruption to my life & much more anger about what it's cost me. I've started viewing this as a true life or death issue, which makes surgery a legitimate 'Hail Mary' pass that makes sense just because I've tried everything else and acceptance of this lifestyle is just not an option.

    I might have been more insightful than the average 23 year-old...but what I may not have been clear about in that post was about how my back pain almost immediately transformed into Panic Disorder, which took about 2 very difficult years to recover from. It wasn't until many years later that I connected the dots & realized that was the 'Symptom Imperative' at work.

    This is the scary stuff. The surgeon I consulted with mentioned a recovery period of about 2 months, in which I'd need to wear a brace, but would be completely capable of caring for myself. The more I read about it, the more trouble I have accepting that description of my likely period of recovery. However this particular doctor was talking about a 'minimally invasive lumbar fusion' that's done through a tube, so I have to make sure I'm comparing apples to apples when I read about other patients' stories about their recovery.

    I've been convinced that the disc issue the doctors are pointing out on my MRIs is actually one of the sources of my pain. When my left foot goes numb & I can clearly delineate between a neurological pain signal vs. a muscular pain signal vs. a skeletal pain signal - it starts to make sense what my old Chiropractor used to tell me about the multiple sources of pain and why I've been such a difficult case. Here's the rub - the inability to determine precisely what percentage each of these areas are responsible for the pain makes the decision to operate the much more precarious. This is where Dr. Hanscom's book really gets interesting...the stuff about 'muscle memory' applied to the nervous system & my perception of pain, which is obviously way out of whack at this point after years of steroids & pain killers.

    Anyway...I've decided to read this book cover to cover, and to keep my appointment with the surgeon in about 2 weeks, and see what he has to say.
  10. Click#7

    Click#7 Well known member

    I hear you and understand. I wish you luck. Seems Tiger Woods made it out of the woods for now, but who knows. Pain pills and steroids are a bandaid. I hope by reading that book your pain decides to move around to give you some hope. I have pain in the same spot too even after the fusion and it's nerve pain and horrible. You are to the point where I was....good luck my friend. Steve O would say for some reason we chose to suffer than heal ? It's so hard to figure this out. Somehow trying to "let go" is the mystery, BUT

    Dr. Claire Weekes quoted, " first understand that there is no such thing doing this to you. Your reactions, although they may be devastating, are superficial and are merely your body's reaction to the way you think. Change the way you think and your reactions will change. The healing power is within you just as strongly as within anyone else, however long you have suffered. Your body is not resentful because you have handled it wrongly all this months, years. It bears no grudge. It is ready to start the processes of recovery as soon as you step out of its way. I have had people come to me who have been ill for the greater part of their life, and yet they recovered when shown what to do. Long illness means only that the habit of being ill is firmly entrenched, memory discouraging, despair so readily at hand. All this can be changed by your attitude. " Get her book as she explains clearly how & was suggested I believe by PLUM....it's called Hope and Help for Your Nerves. I think Dr. Sarno took a play out of her playbook and took it to the next level. I hope the 2 (Sarno & Weekes) has tea in heaven. LOL.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
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  11. Kerrj74

    Kerrj74 Well known member

    Hi Eight ball. How are you doing? What’s the latest with your situation? I read your post and the conversations to follow and I feel like I could have written it! I am 44 and suffering for the past year with 24/7 low back pain and now a touch of slight left leg sciatica (never had that before. Usually just a constant nagging ache in both sides of my lower back and waist area). Kill me to sit and stand for any amount of time. Only relief is laying down. I also had the same problem 24 years ago and had spinal fusion and was great for the next 20 years. I believe the surgery was a placebo though because a few times over the years I have had the same pain in the same location and it went away when I applied TMS theory! I have tried EVERY device, medication, and procedure known to mankind. I have been to multiple doctors of every discipline including U Penn Medicine, multiple acupuncturists, multiple physical therapists, multiple chiropractors, etc. I have read EVERY book and audiobook on TMS, chronic pain, neuroplasticity 5 times each. I committed myself for 5 months to believing in the TMS/MBS diagnosis because I truly believed it made 100% sense. Especially since I have suffered from so many unexplained chronic pains that would disappear for another pain to take its place! I also have chronic severe anxiety and have the TMS personality traits (worrier, people pleaser, overachiever, perfectionist). I saw zero improvement when committed fully to the TMS diagnosis, and so I waiver back and forth now between physical and emotional as the cause. Every doctor has a different diagnosis. They all are 100% confident that their diagnosis is my problem from bulging discs, facet joint arthritis, soft tissue/muscle strain, pinched nerve, annular disc tear, weak and unbalanced muscle strength in core and hips, etc. It is amazing how every so called expert can be so different in their professional opinion, which is why I never have any confidence when they want me to get epidural injection, nerve ablation, more fusions! I have been to 3 pain/spine specialists who I have just wanted to give me nerve blocks and nerve ablations and epidural injections without barely even looking at my MRIs or examining me! Then a chiropractor said my discs are bulging and that is the cause- while 2 orthopedic surgeons and physiatrists said my discs are actually not that bad for 44. I feel like now the problem is just neurological in that my brain has strengthened pain pathways that keep telling me something is wrong when there is nothing physically hurt. I don’t know how to undo that. It is impossible to ignore or get past when you hurt as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. I have tried medication, yoga, hypnosis, and lots of counseling/therapy. NOTHING ever helps! I am really losing hope. If I could just see a slight improvement then I could build some momentum and may be reverse the pattern of pain. One thing to note that I can’t figure out is that in the spring I just sucked it up and spent a weekend doing yard work. I felt AMAZING for 5 days and had ZERO pain! I was convinced I was all better. Then it came back and hasn’t stopped. I have tried to recreate that by exercising and doing physical work and I go to the gym, but never to find that relief again. What does that mean? If something were physically wrong, how could I have felt 100% better for 5 days! But why can’t I get there again? Makes me think it must be psychological, but I can’t figure out how to undo it.

    I too struggle with the TMS diagnosis. Part of me thinks it makes a lot of sense, but then the analytical engineer in me overthinks things and applies logic and questions everything. I feel like I would probably have improved if I wasn’t so analytical. When I read your comments, it sounds just like the way I think!

    You can check out my detailed back pain story here (although it has a lot more that I could add to that since I wrote it 8 months ago): http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/25-years-chronic-pain-anxiety-fusion-tms-low-back-pain-again-after-20-years-pain-free.15862/ (***25 Years Chronic pain, anxiety, fusion, TMS. Low back pain again after 20 years pain-free!)

    I hope you get better. I wish I had the answer for you, but I can understand what you are going through.
  12. eightball776

    eightball776 Well known member

    I just randomly rediscovered this old thread, and realized how bizarre it is that I am so unsure of the answer to this question, especially now, when it's asked of me so often.

    Before a recent epidural, I told a nurse I'd been dealing with low back pain for about 8 years. I started digging into my calendar just now, and while it got more serious around 2009-ish when I started seeing a Pain Mgmt doc, I noticed chiropractic treatments with increasing frequency beginning as early as 2005. 13 years is very different than 8. Maybe it's some kind of defense mechanism protecting me from figuring out that 30% of my life has been consumed by this torture.
  13. Kerrj74

    Kerrj74 Well known member

    Did your epidural help? Did you ever get the fusion? Are you any better? Has the TMS approach helped? Just curious.
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  14. eightball776

    eightball776 Well known member

    Your situation does sound familiar. The 5 days of 100% relief is something I can't say I've experienced, but what's pushing me towards 'the physical' these days is that unlike my previous back pain saga that Dr. Sarno fixed, the professionals I see now all point to the same thing as the source & all say my symptoms are very much in line with what the radiologist reports on the latest MRI. I'd recently decided to see an old Physical Therapist, one who'd helped me in the past, to try and give it one final push to see if i could see some notable improvement with stretching & exercise, maybe I could avoid surgery. I feel a bit better when I loosen up & I'm doing my exercises, but once again I'm repeating the same pattern as with previous PT programs...I'm so crippled from my sessions this past week that I skipped my exercises today & yesterday. Impossible to make progress that way. The surgery is probably unnecessary for me too, but if it produces a placebo affect that provides even a fraction of the 20 years it lasted for you.
  15. eightball776

    eightball776 Well known member

    I did seem to get a bit of relief from the steroid injection, but it's impossible to know for sure the source of that brief respite since I'm trying so many different things. I always tighten back up again soon after. I've been trying these inflatable traction devices hoping to be able to sit for a few more minutes, but they don't seem to fit right or stay in place.
    Click#7 likes this.
  16. eightball776

    eightball776 Well known member

    Arg. There is so much conflicting information out there it is impossible to draw any kind of reliable conclusion. Some say the 'annular tear' is just like the bulging discs - everyone has 'em, and there's no evidence they cause pain, while others describe it as a condition that can only be resolved surgically. Some say stem cell treatments are incredibly promising for exactly this type of situation, others say they're useless. One thing that seems consistent is that I can't find anyone that came out of one of these surgeries with a truly positive result. Far too many have multiple surgeries or are happy they did it because even though the pain persists, they are convinced without the surgery they would be paralyzed or incontinent. I couldn't bear to read any more stories in these back pain forums because I want to shout at 95% of them who are being led down the wrong path. Why is it so easy for me to identify TMS in others yet still sit here considering surgery because the status quo is so unacceptable?
  17. Click#7

    Click#7 Well known member

    There are so many people that have healed that have had fusions/ or surgery. Look hard enough and you'll find them. In Dr. Sarno's book...MOBP on page 106-107. Some 44 year old woman had 3 surgeries that included a spinal lumbar fusion. She suffered for 8+ years before she saw him. She was addicted to narcs and was told it was scar tissue causing the pain. After she totally accepted and believed it was TMS she healed in about 2 months and went off her meds. Elaine Jeffy on SteveO's Wall of Victory had back surgery and healed, about a dozen people on amazon that gave reviews on HBP have healed that had surgery including fusions. There are at least 2 I saw on the "Thank You Dr. Sarno" page one woman who had 2 surgeries that included a fusion and another guy named "Kelvin" that sounds just like you....had a fusion and he started to hurt years later and read HBP and healed. Read SteveO's book or HBP over and over again and memorize his 12 reminders. Listen to him on youtube every night he even has a 6 minute meditation that is so soothing. I believe the pain causes us to focus on the physical depending on the intensity of it. Don't feel bad if you need to take an occasional pain med. I find it hard to believe people on this forum haven't. Don't be a martyr, let go and love yourself and life.
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
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  18. eightball776

    eightball776 Well known member

    It's quite the opposite - I no longer have any tolerance for pain at all, and hyper analgesia is now very likely been added to the list of things causing more pain. It's all a catch 22. Sure, my mental & physical health would be vastly improved by participating in all of the activities I love...all of the same things the back pain prevents me from doing. I used to be able to just go ahead and participate in some physical activity, even though I would pay dearly for it the next day. I tried - I mean really tried to follow that primary Sarno principle of returning to physical activity. I did so even fairly recently when my old softball team got back together & asked me if I wanted to join up. What a dumb idea that was. When it was all said and done, the experience just made me feel worse. The realization that slow-pitch softball was far too rigorous an activity for me to handle was tough to swallow, but even worse was the discovery that any skill I once had was completely gone. It was like any athleticism I once had had vanished, like forgetting how to ride a bike. It was tough going for a while after that to keep from sinking into depression.
  19. joshcm

    joshcm Peer Supporter

    Hey eightball,

    I feel your pain mate.

    Obviously, everyone's situation is unique. My left leg was paralyzed three months ago - I couldn't walk properly or put any weight on my leg. I didn't actually seek any medical help because ( bizarrely ) the same thing happened six months before but to my right leg. I had two bulging discs, nerve compression diagnosis when I had an MRI for the original injury ( mental ). I had forgotten most of what I had learned through TMS and was stuck in fear. Thought it must be the disc pressing on the nerve causing weakness, have to have surgery to avoid permanent nerve damage etc. The pain was severe.

    Now if anyone of medical competency can rationally explain the following then I will forget about TMS and believe the doctors - but I suspect they cant.

    At my worst, I just decided to attack it and suffer the consequences. I ran and played football, all the while explaining to everyone that I was limping because of a calf strain. I then started squatting, snatching, pressing and doing HIT CrossFit training - all with a partially functioning leg! Nothing light about the weights I was/am lifting.

    Medical science should have resulted in putting me in a wheelchair - except I healed within eight weeks. Every day the pain got less, and my leg got stronger with intense exercise.

    I wouldn't have believed it if it hadn't happened to me.

    Stay strong pal.

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  20. eightball776

    eightball776 Well known member

    That's an amazing story, and not the first I've heard. So here's the latest. I'd recommitted myself to healthy habits & TMS-focused treatment. Because my health problems are very complex and all interconnected, there's just no halfway. I decided not to have surgery. Then I got the call. I'd send my MRI discs to a friend of a friend who's a neurosurgeon, and he told me exactly what I didn't want to hear. He recommended surgery & was very sure that the neurological symptoms I'd been experiencing were not going to get better any other way. After all of these years dealing with terrible back pain, this L5 nerve thing that's shooting down the side of my leg & into the inside of my left foot has changed things dramatically. My leg will 'shut off' if I walk too much, and I'm definitely worried about losing any of my motor function. I've been turning my brain upside down trying to link my TMS to this area of my back. I know I have TMS-related back pain. But I can't just resume physical activity - tried that route with very very bad results. This particular doctor has no stake in whether or not I have an operation, but is someone that knows what he's doing. Arg.

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