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I'm new. Here is my story.

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by c4brian, Oct 29, 2015.

  1. c4brian

    c4brian New Member

    You don't have to read the entire post; I know many of you are very busy.

    I just finished Dr. Sarno's most recent book. I believe I am a textbook case, but resolution of the problem still sounds a bit enigmatic, and any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    The Beginning:
    I hurt my back in my late teens. The way I hurt it has been a source of regret and pain. I had 2 partial laminectomies when I was 23. I recovered about a year later, and felt fine. Around the age of 28, several years into my marriage, I started having tingling in my legs. It began very slowly, and back pain began to accompany it. It has been chronic ever since; it definitely ebbs and flows, but never vanishes.

    Mind defeats the Body:
    About 3 years ago, I was finishing up my master's degree in Electrical Engineering (very stressful), and was having a major conflict with a coworker for months. I started having subtle breathing difficulty in the morning. Next came the IBS, and it culminated in a major panic attack (which started with heart arrhythmia). Oh, and I just remembered I'd had major neck pain for a couple months after taking a nap in a "funny" position. I went to hospital once, I was scared of dying in my sleep. Long story short, it took me probably a year and a half, a few trips to a therapist, and pleading from my wife that it was all tension, and mental. I was QUITE adamant it was physical... I had an endoscopy, esophageal monometry test (gag what an awful procedure). I blamed everything under the sun; gluten, dairy, etc. It cleared up eventually, but I still have the OCCASIONAL what feels like arrhythmia now and then. These are scary. I've learned to ignore them as best I can. They are harmless. As you can probably all guess, it was all stress related. It's almost like a joke looking back; all that really happened to me?

    I'm 33 now. Back pain and leg sensitivity are still in full swing. We recently had a baby, and boy my back and leg sensitivity went nuts at the hospital. While already a fully believer that the mental affects the physical (I know it's true, I've lived it), I never once considered that it could be causing back pain.

    MRI Results:
    Quick background on the back pain; MRI "doesnt look that bad" to three doctors (2 were neuro's).
    1. Couple bulging discs
    2. No direct nerve impingement.
    3. Nerve tests were fine.
    4. No multiple sclerosis.
    5. Blood work OK.
    6. No surgery recommended
    MRI report looks scary (like they always do), but my original surgeon said it sounds way worse than it is. One neurosurgeon told me to try Cross-fit (WHAT! I'm terrified of even jumping once!), because "doing nothing isn't working". He also thought I would get better (why?). Another one said my BI-LATERAL leg sensitivity didn't make much sense given the MRI results. Two of them prescribed Neurotin. I'm not big on pills, so I never took any of them, especially one's that affect nerve functionality.

    I have been living in fear of most physical movements. I'm constantly paranoid about my posture. The "solutions" are plentiful: traction, exercises, heat.. no.. cold, electric shock treatment, etc.

    Anyway, I've understand the basic tenants of the book. Stop avoiding physical activity, let go of the fear, flesh out repressed emotion. I'm surely I already know the answer, but does this sound like TMS?

    I am on the grind of being a dad and husband, working full time, etc. I believe the diagnosis, but does anyone who has been "healed" of back pain have any suggestions or good information?

    My dream would be to play soccer again (and with my kids when they are older), among other things. I want to be free from this prison.
  2. David88

    David88 Well known member

    Welcome to this forum, Brian.

    Just to reinforce what you already know -- yes, it sounds like textbook TMS. Your doctors are telling you as much, though they don't have the terminology. Your high level of anxiety about the symptoms, and your focus on them, is also TMS. The only thing more distracting than physical pain is anxiety about physical pain.

    One thing I've learned from this forum -- there are many paths to recovery. Different people find different things helpful. You may have to do some trial and error before you find your path. For some people knowledge about TMS is enough. Others need to go on a more emotional journey, or to make healthy changes in their life.

    Be patient with yourself while you are working on healing. You'll find lots of support and good advice here.

    IrishSceptic likes this.
  3. c4brian

    c4brian New Member


    Thank you for reading; it's my first post about this, and I was looking forward to a reply.

    I like what you said about different roads to healing. There are some things I will try.

    Did you have success treating TMS?
  4. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Welcome Brian,

    The quote above, suggests, as does your own reading of your history and David's response --that you have TMS. I have not suffered back pain, but could barely walk and was headed for nerve surgery. Eight physicians recommended surgery...now I climb mountains again.

    I hope you study Sarno, do the Structured Education Program at the Wiki if you're drawn to this, also do Alan Gordon's program. You're in the right place, and I wish you the best going forward. Each person finds their own way, their own specific pieces that fit and work for them. I hope you persist! Check in with the Forum and ask for feedback, help.

    Andy B.
  5. c4brian

    c4brian New Member

    That is very encouraging. I've never read anything to "clicked" so well as Dr. Sarno's book. I'll start SEP right away. Thanks for reading Andy.
  6. David88

    David88 Well known member

    Yes. I was bedridden with back pain for years. Now the pain is mostly gone and I'm having a life again. I'm not entirely over it yet, in that I still have pain at times and still have things I'm afraid to do. But the improvement is enormous, and I'm continuing to get better.
    IrishSceptic likes this.
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, c4Brian. It should be a relief to you to know that medical tests show nothing structurally wrong with you. Bulging discs are common and most often do not cause pain. I too suggest you start the Structured Educational Program. It helps us to learn the TMS. emotional reasons for our pains. It worked for me and has for many others.

    Try not to worry about your posture causing pain. Try exercising, even a little at a time at home. I like the easy exercises on Youtube for seniors.
    They're good for anyone of any age.

    One of our TMS community, Kevin, posted recently on how the SEP made him 95 percent pain-free, then posted again a few days later saying he was 100 percent cured.

    Kevin healed 95 % from SEP

    Welcome to the SEP and to the path of recovery. I am on my final two days of the program and I can say with complete confidence that I am a changed man. I started after 6 months of nasty low-back/butt/leg pain, could hardly walk, stand, etc. was in physical therapy, chiropractor, acupuncture, pain medications, etc.. the usual. My MRI showed 3 disk bulges/herniations touching nerves, so that is what I believe it to be....that is until I read Dr. Sarno and found this site.

    I encourage you to really get involved, follow the instructions, do the journaling, take time to read all the suggested readings, and watch the videos. I'd say I'm 95% cured. There is still some very light lingering "annoyance", but I still have some work to do. I've been walking miles with hardly any pain these last few weeks. But even more, if the pain comes on now, it just doesn't bother me like it used to, I sorta just see it, acknowledge it, and go about my business. It took working the program to get to that point, but 6 weeks compared to 6 months is nothing! I made more progress in the first week than I did from two months of PT!!! It's going to challenge you and your "beliefs" in medicine, but you have nothing to lose. We generally wind up here when all else fails.

    So give it a shot, especially before considering anything invasive like surgery. If you put the work in, you will get better. Have you read Dr. Sarno yet? I assume you have since you're here, but in case you haven't, definitely readHealing Back Pain. Again, it will challenge everything you've believed about your pain, and backs in general. You'll be encouraged to resume life as normal, i.e. stop ALL "therapies" (PT, chiro, etc.), stop taking medications, and most importantly, stop thinking STRUCTURAL problems are the cause of your pain and shift to psychological as the reason.....again, this can be difficult and takes some time to sink in, so be patient and kind to yourself.

    It was a process for me. A few of the bigger moves in my case were: I ripped up and threw out my MRI test results (I found myself obsessively reading over them and comparing them to other results I could find on the web and even here on the TMSwiki site...); I got back to the gym and stopped using a weight belt; and I even cancelled an appointment I had made with aTMS doctorbecause it was more than a month away and it was hindering my recovery (that is, my 100% belief in TMS was lagging because I had this pending appointment, but as soon as I cancelled it, my recovery sped up significantly). Everyone's journey is unique to their situation, but I've found that really committing to the program and brining what I learn from it into my daily life has had profound results. Also, sharing along the way here in these forums has been extremely helpful - there's something about knowing that you're not alone in your TMS recovery that really helps. I encourage you to look through my past posts for some insight into my experience with SEP. Like I said, I'm just now finishing, tomorrow is my final day, and I feel like a changed person. It's amazing. And I feel as though it is something that one carries on with, not just like a one time 6 week thing and that's that...it has helped me to get to know myself and taught me tools to "deal" with my emotions. Learning and accepting TMS is a life changer for sure.

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