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Increase in Pain-TMS or Actual Injury?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Cirrus_14, Feb 4, 2016.

  1. Cirrus_14

    Cirrus_14 Newcomer

    So I just found out about TMS and Dr. Sarno about two weeks ago while reading through spontaneous healing by Andrew Weil. I have suffered from low back pain since I was 15 after I hurt myself in a cross-country race. I went to countless doctor’s, had an MRI, physical therapy, the works, but they never found anything so I gave up sports and that was that until recently.

    Fast forward 10 years later to Summer ’14 and I decided to start working out again and muscle through the pain. This is a very stressful time in my life (I had just graduated college and was anxious about getting a job and paying off my student loans, which is one reason that I made myself work out.) One day, while doing a deadlift, I felt my back go out, so I gave up lifting and going to the gym. I went to an ortho doctor and he prescribed muscle relaxants and physical therapy. I also started working as a nurse at this time, which definitely made my back worse. I also started developing knee and shoulder pain, which I thought was kind of weird, but just ignored it initially since my back was the bigger problem.

    Fast forward to Fall of ’15, every part of my body that aches is now getting worse and worse. My shoulder pain is now also neck pain and I am seeing a pain specialist for my back and a sports and physical therapy doctor for my shoulder. Another MRI of my lumbar spine is ordered and they find a herniated disc in the L5-S1 space. The MRI for my neck and shoulder comes back clean. My pain is getting worse and worse now. I have constant tingling down both of my legs and into my feet.

    Then one day, I help a patient out of bed and they basically collapse under me and my knees start to KILL ME and I have abdominal pain now as well and my back feels like it’s on fire. I see a workmens comp doctor about my worsened knee and abdominal pain, and they say my knees are strained and my abdomen is strained. My sports and physical medicine doctor ends up taking me out of work. I’m only 26 years old mind you and now I’m terrified that I’m going to be an invalid.

    Due to my immense generalized pain, I agree to get an epidural steroid shot for my disc, hoping that it will knock out my back pain. My pain doc also said that I was guarding cuz of my back and that that was causing the pain everywhere. Over the month I’m out of work I take muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories everyday but really didn’t see any improvement, nor do I really see improvement from my injection. On top of all this, I start developing ankle and toe pain out of nowhere? I spent all my time off so anxious I would never be able to work in my very physical job again and that I was basically screwed. I just happened to chance upon Dr. John Sarno and I was desperate for anything, so I read healing back pain in two days and decided to go with it since I had nothing to lose. I stopped all my meds and really tried to commit and I honestly did see an improvement, even thought the pain wasn’t totally gone, I felt like I had a new lease on life since the pain really subsided more than it ever had from drugs and I thought that this could really be a cure for me.

    I even went to the gym on the 1st and 2nd of February since my pain finally subsided enough (something I haven’t done since 2014.) I went on the elliptical machine (something I haven’t done in forever.) I wasn’t totally pain free, but I didn’t feel it made is any worse per se, which made me really confident that this must be TMS. My back hurt a little worse on the 1st and then my knees hurt quite a but on the 2nd after I was done working out, but I figured it was just because exercise was a trigger for me and my back hurt worse after my first workout but then got better.

    I also went back to work today for the first time in a month. I’m just helping out, not doing any heavy lifting or taking care of patients, but I really noticed pain in my knees today and a little bit in my back. I noticed that the pain in my back subsided after I left the floor where I initially really hurt myself, but I really seemed to focus on my knees all day. I was obsessing that maybe they are really hurt (they’re the only part of my body that never had an MRI done) and the workman’s comp doc did day I had patellofemoral syndrome. However, I never went to the ordered PT because initially I was in too much pain, and then I was really trying to commit to TMS so I stopped all treatments for everything. Now I’m second-guessing myself. Could this increase in pain be due to the fact that I went back to work (which really stresses me out and I view as a place that I could hurt myself?) or should I try and see if this isn’t actually an injury and treat it like one? Any advice would be much appreciated!

    P.S. I did also have bloodwork done and I don’t have rheumatoid arthritis or anything like that, that could be causing all this joint pain.
  2. David88

    David88 Well known member

    Welcome, Cirrus.

    You're going though what many of us have experienced at the beginning -- partial progress, setbacks, and doubts. It takes time, and different people find different paths to recovery.

    You have been wise to check these symptoms out with doctors. They've ruled out any serious physical issues, which is strong evidence for TMS. So is the fact that physical treatments haven't helped.

    Go easy on yourself. You have a healing process ahead of you. Keep at it, and don't expect instant results.

    Try to turn your attention away from the symptoms, and start to think psychologically. Think of the symptoms as a message that something in your life is out of balance and needs your attention. Many people find the SEP on this site helpful for this.

    You can also consult the practitioner list on this site for doctors and therapists with special training in diagnosing and treating TMS. I personally found that I was not able to make real progress without some expert support.

    Let us know how things go.

  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Cirrus. David has given you excellent advice. The pain you felt when returning to work is to be expected. Just don't start thinking it is going to contunue or get worse when you work. Try not to think or worry about your pains and that they will stay with you or get worse. The more positive you are abou healing and the stronger you believe in TMS emotions causing your pain, the faster you will heal. Try to stay both physically active and mentally active. Do things and think about things that make you happy.
  4. Cirrus_14

    Cirrus_14 Newcomer

    Thanks for the advice. I'm supposed to start caring for patients again fairly soon and I do keep worrying about whether or not I'll hurt myself again and get back to where I started (not positive, I know.) My knees are still hurting me, even though I keep saying to myself it's TMS. I get occasional aches and pains in the aforementioned places, but they seem to go away as soon as I remind myself it's just the TMS that's acting up. I feel less certain about my knees, so maybe that's why they seem to be bothering me more and not really going away. Thanks again for the advice!
  5. Cirrus_14

    Cirrus_14 Newcomer

    Thanks for the reply. I think that I may end up going to see a doctor that specializes in TMS, especially since I have such a physical job and it's hard to tell real injuries from TMS. I'm on day 6 of the SEP and things seem to be getting better, just very nervous about going back to work. Thanks for the advice!
    David88 likes this.

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