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In Desperate Need Of Help

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by ShaneM, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. ShaneM

    ShaneM Peer Supporter

    Hello to anyone who may be reading my story; for those of you who make it to the end and provide me with support and advice you have my greatest thanks. I have been living with consistent hand pain for three years now. The pain encompasses the entirety of both of my hands as well as a tiny bit of both my forearms. The pain is mild, consisting of a mild burning feeling as well as a high level of stiffness and a consistent ache. The pain never resides, it is always present during all points of my waking hours. The pain worsens if I use my hands for various tasks, such as typing, clicking, biking, etc. The use of computers is my hobby and passion therefore this disability limits me from engaging in what I love.

    The pain first started three years ago in my sophomore year of high school. It began as a dull pain in the upper right portion of my right hand. I did not think much of it and continued to use the computer. At this point in my life I was a very avid gamer, and was very dedicated to the game in which I played, therefore I did not even consider taking a break. The pain persisted into the next day and would get worse when I was doing writing for my school work. After arriving home the next day I decided to compensate and use my left hand to play my game. This went on for around four days; I would use my right hand at school and my left hand for gaming. By this point I was doing extensive research on repetitive strain injury and was beginning to worry more and more. The stories of people who would become permanently disabled from RSI stressed me out to no end because I did not want to live my life in pain. I was also speaking with my mother about the condition and she mentioned to me that RSI could potentially spread from the right hand to the left-hand. A day after this reveal I begin to experience a similar pain in my left hand after using it for gaming. At this point I was dumbfounded and did not know what to do. I did not want to stop gaming, nor could I stop using my right hand for school work. I had already missed too many days of school due to my consistent irritable bowel syndrome. I was not able to take days off or my mother would face legal trouble.

    I cannot specifically say whether this was a stressful time in my life or not. I had suffered from anxiety, and severe OCD for many years prior to this occurrence. With that, and the fact that I was enrolled in very tasking classes meant that I was always stressed and had been for years. The pain after this point continued to get worse. When it first showed up I could alleviate it by resting my hands. Eventually after using my hands for quite some time it had come to a point where the burning and throbbing pain did not subside regardless of whether I was resting or not. After around two months of continuing to use my hands with the condition I had come to a point where I could actually take a break. I took about a two week break and noticed little to no change in my condition. After this I continued using my hands for the next year, noticing that my condition was set at a certain point. The pain did not get worse, nor did it get better. I took another one month break after this year of use and still noticed little to no change. I then begin using my hands again and have use them for another year bringing me to this point.

    I first came across the subject of TMS early into my condition. From what I could tell, if I continued my activities without the fear of pain and without revolving my life around the pain that I could potentially cure my condition. This notion was the reason why I continued using my hands even though they were in pain; however even with this approach I noticed no change in my condition. I have read half of the mind-body prescription though I did not cover the treatment part. With this approach it seems my condition has gotten progressively worse which has worried me more as I may have furthered my RSI if that is what I have.

    Because the condition shows little signs of response to rest, and somehow managed to overtake my left hand within a week of originating I truly believe that it is TMS. Not only this, but I also suffer and have been suffering from anxiety, OCD, and irritable bowel syndrome for the better portion of my life; which seems to be consistent among TMS sufferers. I'm also very much a perfectionist and always have been. Even though I am completely convinced that my condition is likely TMS, the lack of results from the TMS approach and increasing pain in my hands and forearms has weakened my will. The approach I have applied is continuing the use of the affected part without the fear of pain and without revolving my life around the pain. I have also done mental conditioning as mentioned in the mind-body prescription. I feel as though I am missing a key component of the healing process for TMS. I'd like to reach out to everyone on this forum as I'm in desperate need of help regarding my situation. It has come to a point where I'm not sure whether I suffer from TMS or RSI; or what to even do at this point. If anyone can provide insight I would be greatly appreciative. If you need any more information let me know. Currently I'm treating the condition as repetitive strain injury after the TMS approach had no effect for a year, I'm writing this thread with voice software and avoid using my hands as much as possible. I'll be quite interested and happy to hear your replies, thank you so much in advance!
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
  2. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    Shane, I am hoping others more in the know about RSI will chime in here.

    I didn't see anything about how you heard about TMS, have you read Dr. Sarno? In his books The Mindbody Prescription and The Divided Mind he says RSI is TMS. Something he says that is really helpful to believe is that RSI is a computer age problem, why wasn't it a huge problem back when manual typewriters were the norm? You are probably to young to have tried one, but we had an old one when I was a kid and they should have put a lot of the typing pool out of work.

    Also, you don't mention journaling to help relieve the symptoms. Are you famimiar with the Sructured Educational Program here on the wiki? It is free to help with healing.

    I hope you are able to find the relif you need, you've come to the right place!
  3. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member

    Hey Shane,

    Let me tell you about my first success with TMS pain back in 2007. I was also an RSI sufferer, or so I thought. Ultimately, I realized that I had TMS not RSI. You should read my story in my user profile so you can get a sense of what state I was in and how I overcame the pain. I had a very quick recovery and I think I did because I had very profound "A-HA" moment while reading The Divided Mind. I came to the realization that I had been letting FEAR and DOUBT rule over me. I was afraid of so many things... my boss, losing my job/income, losing my self-esteem, losing my wife's respect, etc. And I realized that I had pain, not because of my typing which I did huge amounts of or my gaming (yes, I'm also a gamer) , but I had it because of the way I was dealing with or not dealing with (procrastinating) in my life. After reading TDM and seeing myself in the pages of other people's stories, I felt this profound sense of inner peace.... it was like an awakening. I "saw" myself clearly and the fear and doubt melted away and similarly, the pain melted away like how a snake sheds it's old skin. I came out of it just fine and ultimately reclaimed my life back.

    Right now you're in TMS limbo... you're stuck between belief and doubt and that's the place where the pain strategy has a hold of you. One thing I strongly suggest is to go see a doctor that knows TMS and treats patients from a TMS perspective. I flew 300 miles to go see one myself recently and I'd probably fly 5000 if I had to. Fortunately, I believe there are some who can help via Skype too so that's another option. However, face to face is the best option I think. Seeing a TMS Doc if it's possible for you will help get you off the fence about whether it's RSI or TMS. Do you mind if I ask where you are located? We have a list of doctors on the Wiki. Maybe there's one near you.
  4. ShaneM

    ShaneM Peer Supporter

    Thank you for the replies Lizzy and Enrique. I live in Texas, and I have begun to look into visiting a TMS doctor. Though; there was a period of time where I was not in TMS limbo, I was entirely sure that my condition was TMS and I lived my life following that belief for quite some time. My symptoms did not improve during this period of time which is why I have become doubtful once again. It is difficult to believe that I TMS now that I have personally witnessed the treatments for TMS having little to no effect; especially when I wholeheartedly believed TMS is what I had for quite a few months. What I may be seeking at this point in time is some form of solid evidence discerning whether my condition is truly RSI or TMS.

    Also Lizzy; I noted the idea that RSI is a New Age problem and discussed it with my mother. She also noted that computers are used for more frequently than they were quite some time ago. Even if people had use computers for their jobs, it was unlikely they aggressively clicked and use the keyboard as we do now for such long periods of time when we game or whatnot. Thanks again; and I hope to hear more from others and follow-ups from Lizzy Enrique.
  5. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Shane,
    Great replies so far, I believe.

    I think you might need more than just a bare knuckle attitude that "I believe this is TMS" to properly treat TMS. Your steadfastness and courage to pursue this approach and attitude for several months is commendable, but tackling TMS for most folks needs a broader approach. Your mind-body needs repetition of the TMS information, support from daily practices, etc. You say you only read half of one of Sarno's books, so that part seems only partly addressed, and you didn't mention journaling... I think that if you want to treat your pain as TMS, you must engage all the tools that Dr. Sarno recommends. They are all in the SEP.

    My thought is that you do need that Dr. confirmation as well, which was also part of Dr. Sarno's treatment. As Enrique says, you are right in the middle of doubt and fear, and therefore, if your condition is TMS, you need to take positive steps to place yourself in less doubt and fear, less confusion.

    I hope you get more clarity, and I am sorry for the frustration and pain.

    Andy B.
    Lizzy likes this.
  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Shane. You've gotten great advice from the others. I can only echo them and suggest that
    you need to know if you have any structural problem. It sounds to me like your pains are from TMS.
    You say you're a perfectionist, and that may be the root of it all.

    I also think you need to read all of Dr. Sarno's book, Healing Back Pain, and work on believing
    100 percent that you have TMS. The SEP program is great to help in this.

    Good luck and keep positive, Shane. Try to have more fun. It can take your mind off pain.
    Playing computer games are only one way of doing that. Think about what else you would enjoy doing.
  7. Grateful17

    Grateful17 Well known member

    I am in Texas too. I drove 4 hours to see a TMS doctor.
    Dr. Sklar.
    He confirmed what I already knew. I DO HAVE TMS. Besides my chronic pain & FIbro, I had/have 40 other TMS EQUIVALENTS. (many G.I. issues) It would benefit you to DIVE BACK IN, to really believing you DO have TMS and do some type of program, whether it is the SEP or Dr. Schubners 28 day UNLEARN YOUR PAIN.
    Your brain has learned these pain messages and you need to prune away those mal adapted neural networks in your brain to reverse the pain. Journaling, meditation, neuro-linguistic programing, positive affirmations, and PATIENCE will pay off for you. Some of us take much longer to recover than others. NO matter how long it takes you to recover, you will be way ahead of everyone who isn't trying.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2015
    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) and Lizzy like this.
  8. ShaneM

    ShaneM Peer Supporter

    I'm afraid I simply can't Grateful; as much as TMS is preached on these forms I've tried it and I almost ruined my hands doing so. I tried approaching TMS for 3 years – if it takes longer than that to heal I'd rather approach the problem another way. I still am trying to recover, physically, rather than mentally – which for me at least has shown much greater results. I'm going to do my FMT and continue with my physical therapy. If I hit a point where I no longer see results I will reapproach the TMS idea.
  9. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    ShaneM, can you please elaborate on how pursuing the TMS methodology "almost ruined" your hands. What happened to your hands? How are they now that you've stopped doing TMS?

    Thank you in advance,
  10. Grateful17

    Grateful17 Well known member

    I suppose you and I are on opposite spectrums. I have spent the last 7 years chasing physical symptoms via both conventional and holistic/alternative medicine approaches, which only MADE ME MUCH WORSE. Learning that my brain was the problem and getting to the ROOT CAUSE has been what is finally moving me forward. I have major G.I issues too and they are 100% TMS, so treating them from a physical versus psychological standpoint is not what I need to do.

    With persistence and patience, I am slowly pruning away the mal adapted neural pathways in my brain causing the physical issues.
  11. ShaneM

    ShaneM Peer Supporter

    The methodology behind TMS suggests that those who suffer from should use their bodies as if nothing were wrong – believing that because of the pain is more psychological without there being a present physiological issue. With this, I tried my best to focus on my psych rather than my body and use my hands as if nothing were wrong. I used my hands to operate the computer each day whilst reminding myself that pain was psychological in nature and not something to fear; yet no matter how I approach the problem psychologically my hands begin to hurt worse and worse. After 3 years of this my hands had become so unbelievably tight they were permanently curled up into a fist. I was in horrid pain and couldn't focus on anything. 3 months ago I stopped with the TMS approach and went to physical therapy where they explained to me I had multiple trigger points (or muscle knots) throughout my body which needed to be fixed. Since that point I have dedicated my time to resolving the trigger points and the muscle tension; I've seen fantastic results in comparison to the results I saw attempting a psychological fix. With TMS, even though I thoroughly fit the personality type for such, I saw a little to no improvement at all.
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  12. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Shane, I can only say that what works for you, go with it. You must really have some structural problem causing the pain in your hands.

    But I doubt that working on the computer keyboard has caused your pain. I'm 85 and have worked on computer keyboards for at least the last 35 years and have had no hand or wrist pain. Before that I wrote long days on an electric typewriter, and before that on a manual typewriter where touching each key was like smacking it with with a hammer.

    What gives me headaches and I want to scream is how the computer stresses me out about every day. It keeps crashing or losing things.
    A friend who is a computer trouble-shooter keeps my computer working at top form, but it still does weird things. I write books on the computer without having to retype 400 page manuscripts as I had to on a typewriter. So I am like what my brother said about our mother: "I love her, but I don't like her!"

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