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Inspired by Forest, but early days...

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by russd1818, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. russd1818

    russd1818 New Member

    Hi, I'm here because I saw Forest's video on YouTube. I was inspired to see how he overcame his pain using Dr Sarno's books, and could sympathise with the sense of frustration at trying so many things that didn't work! I'm only half way through The Mindbody Prescription at the moment, but I am open to the diagnosis of TMS, and I wondered if anyone here could let me know if they think I fit the TMS profile... I certainly have the personality traits, I'm definitely a "Goodist" and "Perfectionist" and hostility/agression, dependency all ring bells for me. Here's my story:

    Dental Childhood Trauma
    As a child aged 12-14 I had two sets of dental braces (I think this was my 'childhood trauma' moment even though it wasn't as horrific as many childhood trauma's of course!) and about three teeth removed so they could get my jaw to look normal.

    Teeth & TMJ Adult Problems
    I have always been a worrier and when I left education at the age of 21 after getting my degree I decided to become a full time solo wedding/pub musician playing sax and singing. Without being big headed I was pretty good at my job and was always fully booked. I was always worried about having problems with my teeth and in 2004 (around four years after I started performing full time) I had a slight tingling in a front tooth and went to my dentist who refilled both my front teeth. Ironically this caused a problem with my other front tooth. I could no longer play sax like I used to! I saw several dentists to get more opinions but they had no answers. I was really upset about this (rage/anger?). But I carried on gigging, playing less sax and singing more. One dentist I saw adjusted my bite, and this caused me to have some ongoing TMJ symptoms (tight jaw and throat area). I do have a strange crossbite from all the dental braces I had as a child.

    Voice Tension
    Around two years later in 2006, I got laryngitis after a cold. I sang with the laryngitis at two bookings in one day - and lost my voice almost completely for two weeks. My voice got better but I never felt confident again, and several months later I began to feel tightness in my throat half way through gigs. Eventually the tightness got worse, and I sang less. I saw throat doctors but they just said I had Functional Dystonia (muscle tension or MDT) and to do some stretches. I brought in a second singer to all my gigs. I now only do gigs as a duo because I am scared I won't get through bookings any more, and weddings can be quite stressful. I do find my voice tires easily now when I talk a lot, and I can't shout any more without it giving out. So maybe, now adapted from my teeth problem my brain moved the problem to my voice?

    Recent RSI Pain
    So I adapted AGAIN in 2007 and began working as a web designer, and doing some gigs. I spend long hours at the computer, but in March 2013 I've been having RSI problems in my shoulder and arm. It started when I "upgraded" my mouse to a model with a low dpi, so the pointer was slower. I had a really long week of working at my computer - probably doing around 12 hours straight for several days (not good even without TMS I would think!). The pain runs across my shoulder and down my arm. I saw a physio and she said my upper back had seized up and gave me some exercises, but these haven't worked. It feels like a tendon is inflamed in the shoulder/arm.

    A Question
    I have a question - Dr Sarno says that the problem can move like this as you adapt (in my case from teeth to TMJ to voice to RSI) but for me personally, I still have all four problems together (my teeth are still prone to pain, I have a tense jaw, my voice tires easily, and have bad RSI problems altogether.) Is that something found in TMS, can you have more than one problem sticking around?

    If I do have TMS, I do have a lot of internal stress, and repressed anger I'm sure. I had a happy childhood mainly, but I have written a list of things that may be causing unconscious 'rage' and its pretty long. One of the things is of course losing the ability to do the thing I was good at many years ago. I just need to find a way to convince my unconscious to stop being so destructive. I'm not particularly prone to hypnosis, so I do find it hard to communicate with my unconscious.

    However, the more I read of Dr Sarno, the more I feel like I'm on the right track - but if anything above seems wrong do tell me as I'm learning all the time.

    Thanks for reading if you got this far! This seems like a great community, thanks so much to Forest for sharing his story as it has really inspired me. :)
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014
  2. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Hi russd. Thanks for posting your story. Im a musician with RSI symptoms that are getting much better since accepting the TMS diagnosis. There are definitely some who have multiple symptoms together that are TMS. I started with a problem in my left hand, then it went to various problems in the left arm, then my right hand and arm, then after doing physical therapy, tingling in the hands and feet. All of those could happen at the same time for me.

    I'm no expert on this, but seeing your story it seems like your TMS acts up in areas that become important to you. First affecting you as a musician, now affecting your hands when you are doing web design. The way all these symptoms have multiplied and moved really don't seem to make sense as a physical problem, but do very much fit TMS symptoms.

    The moving symptoms, having more pain on my gig days, being almost pain free then having symptoms return, have all happened to me, and it can be frustrating to deal with.
    But I'm also seeing some good progress overall by following the recovery program outlined in The Divided Mind by Dr Sarno. It's the two steps forward one step back kind of progress, but it is working.

    It looks like you have had doctor visits which confirm that there is nothing wrong physically. That's an important first step.

    This is a great community with much wisdom. You're in the right place and I wish you progress and insights with your various symptoms. Please keep posting and sharing your story.

    All the best
  3. Birdie

    Birdie Peer Supporter

    Hi Russd, really sounds very TMS-like to me. The voice-story sounds very familiar to me. Had a bad cold when I was about 14 years old. I argued very loudly with my father and sang with a girlfriend and my voice disappeared. After 14 days: still no voice, so I went to see the otorhinolaryngologist who told me that I had YX (some horrible diagnoses....vocal cords disfunction, inflammation of the larynx) and probably would never be able to recover again (really bad nocebo!!!). He sent me to the speech therapist who told me that I had to choose a profession in which I didn't have to talk so much. So whenever I talked I got hoarse. The louder I had to talk the more tensed I was and the faster I lost my voice. This went on until.....last year (I am 35 now and I wasted too many years babying my vocal cords!)! Although this condition improved a little bit over the year I was always frightened to loose my voice again. Last year a theapist slightly "forced" me to cry and to sing as loud as possible. And: to my surprise it was no problem, even after nearly 2 decades of "preventing" my voice from damage! I still get hoarse when I am very tensed but I know for sure it's TMS.
    I also have "RSI" and lots of other issues along with insomnia, anxiety and so on. In the beginning my pain seldom moved around but in the meantime it moves around a lot even if I have some "preferred hotspots" which always seem to hurt.
  4. russd1818

    russd1818 New Member

    Thank you both so much for your replies. Yes, I do see a lot of similarities here personality wise with my case. Msunn, yes it does seem to affect areas that are important to me, which leads me to think it is more likely to be TMS, as doctors generally don't know what to do with me and look confused! Birdie, that's a really interesting story, especially about the crying. I have long thought my voice issues are due to me trying to protect my voice by using different muscles since my laryngitis, but I always have tension in my throat, I've almost got used to it as a normality now, but am talking to myself saying its not physical... I'm hoping it will work longer term!

    I also had my appendix out 18 months ago and now have a hernia from the operation and I feel pain when I lift things or do too much. Obviously the hernia is a physical thing they will fix, but the pain I get from it isn't normal for an umbilical hernia so I think my TMS is causing me stomach pain too. I'm hoping by following the program I can start to take back control.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014
  5. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Russd, not trying to introduce anything that would treat this as a physical ailment but have you heard of the Alexander Technique? It was developed by a singer who kept losing his voice and it works on relaxing the body and even talking to your throat and neck to help it relax. I'm not saying that in a way to steer you toward trying more physical treatments but if you read his story there is a big mind body connection, even though he doesn't say it directly.
  6. russd1818

    russd1818 New Member

    Hello Msunn, thanks - yes I have heard of it and went for a couple of sessions, but it was very gentle and I didn't feel much benefit (although to be fair two sessions is not really enough of course). It may be worth looking into though I agree.
  7. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    I had the same experience. I think I was too frantic when I went, for it to help!

    The best help I've gotten has been here. Hope you have the same experience.
    Forest likes this.
  8. russd1818

    russd1818 New Member

    Thanks Msunn, I definitely think about it. Its amazing when you start looking into TMS how many people have recovered, and also how many musicians are affected, its good to know I'm not alone!
  9. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Ruddd1818.
    I just read your posts and the replies and agree that your symptoms are TMS and started in your childhood with the oral problem.
    You probably do repress anger about having to change careers from singing to web designing.
    I just watched Dr. Sarno's video about his book The Mindbody Connection and you fit the bill for what he says is TMS.
    The video is on YouTube, two hours of lecture summarizing his book and TMS philosophy.

    The gist is, to believe 100 percent that your pain is TMS, caused by repressed emotions (you may not even know what they are
    because they're not in you conscious mind but are in your unconscious mind). Writing the list of worries is good but better than a
    list is journaling and thinking about them and your stresses going back to childhood. When you discover what emotions you are
    repressing, the unconscious stops the pain. It may not happen overnight because the unconscious is stubborn and tricky and may move
    the pain around your body. But belief and determination will heal you.

    Here is the url to the Sarno video:

    Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
    Msunn and Eric "Herbie" Watson like this.
  10. russd1818

    russd1818 New Member

    Hello Walt,

    I really appreciate your thoughts on my situation - and I am definitely going to start writing a journal. I think I have a lot of repressed things and perhaps my unconscious just has too many things to hide from my conscious mind. Thanks again :)
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  11. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Russd, I'm really glad to hear that you found my videos helpful. Reading other people's stories online was what helped me get my life back, so it means a lot to be able to do the same for someone else.

    I see an awful lot of echos between your story and mine. For both of us, the TMS attacked our livelihood by taking away the ability to communicate. It was an open secret in the RSI community in the late 90s that people would often start using dictation software so that they could still do their job and then would suddenly get throat problems so that they still couldn't do their job. In hindsight, it just looks like the symptom imperative, but everyone was thinking so physically that no one looked beyond the affected body parts to find the mind-body connection.

    I definitely think that one can definitely have many different TMS symptoms at the same time. I definitely did and see it all of the time. This may be because the old symptom has lost its ability to distract "enough," but is still kept around because it helps distract a little. However, I think that there is a limit on how much we can know about these things, so I think it's best to just go with our own experiences. On that score, yes, I definitely see people with multiple symptoms simultaneously.

    I'm also a huge worrier, so I can relate to that as well. I wonder if you are quite driven as well - another thing I can relate to. For me, learning about TMS was a period of great discovery. I learned to be more in touch with different emotions that I hadn't been aware of before and learned to pace myself more and slow down a bit to smell the roses.
    Msunn likes this.
  12. russd1818

    russd1818 New Member

    Thanks for your reply Forest. I'm glad you can see similarities, because I certainly could when I watched your video.

    The more I look into this the more it makes sense. When I first had my teeth problems I was reading about dental problems a lot, and I'm sure that that gave my unconscious the opportunity to strike at a weak spot to start off the process and distract me from something. I'm still trying to discover what it is trying to "protect" me from exactly, I have a few theories, lots of stresses in life, so it could be any of those. Journalling is my next step I think.

    Thanks for all the replies, its lovely to be able to speak to people in a similar situation, and to those who have overcome their pain to a lesser or greater extent. :)

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