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Intro/First Post, Chronic Pain/Inflammation for 15 years, In search of accurate diagnosis

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Pi Guy, Apr 8, 2015.

  1. Pi Guy

    Pi Guy New Member

    Hi All,
    I am 34 years old and have been dealing with persistent chronic pain of all sorts for about 15 years now. I used to be very active but for a long time now have felt like I have the body of someone twice my age. I just keep collecting pains and injuries that never really heal. It feels like my body is falling apart. I can get around fine and seem to do okay with walking, easy hikes, and very slow/short bike rides. Anything more than that though results in more pain and injuries.

    I just recently found out about Dr Sarno and TMS and have read both Healing Back Pain and The Mindbody Prescription and am most of the way through The Divided Mind. Just yesterday I started following the recovery program outlined in The Divided Mind. Unfortunately I have some doubts and I know that is the detrimental to full recovery from TMS.

    In reading Sarno’s books I do see myself in a lot of what he writes. In talking about TMS with my wife she is convinced that it is what is going on with me. PPD/TMS makes a lot of sense to me and I am absolutely confident that I have it and that it correctly explains many, but perhaps not all, of my symptoms. I have lots of aches and pains in joints and muscles but I also experience a lot of inflammation.

    My list of symptoms is very long. In short though, I have chronic pain and burning in my knees; chronic pain and swelling (?) in my shoulders; chronic pain, tingling and occasional burning in my hands, forearms and wrists. I also have very frequent (about 20x/day) muscle twitches in my legs, shoulders and arms. These muscles, especially my quads and hamstrings, will also get extremely sore and tight and will feel like they are strained for no apparent reason. Those are just the highlights. All of these symptoms increase with activity and oddly alcohol can bring on the burning in the knees. In classic TMS fashion many of my symptoms can be attributed to decade old injuries and some have seemingly come out of nowhere.

    I have seen all sorts of doctors, PTs, chiropractors, and alternative medical practitioners. I have stuck with their treatments for extended periods of time, all to no avail. All tests for degenerative diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, gout, etc) have come back negative. An MRI of my left knee (the worse one) showed a normal joint with evidence of ITband syndrome. While I do experience some ITband syndrome pain it is not at all the most significant pain I experience in my knees. An x-ray of my right shoulder has shown prominent calcifications over the humeral head that are indicative of calcific tendonitis and bursitis, but I am told that many people have this and are asymptomatic.

    At the beginning I was treated, unsuccessfully, for patella-femoral syndrome and carpal tunnel by doctors and PTs. One doctor told me that none of my symptoms were connected and that there wasn’t much I could do other than take as many NSAIDs as my stomach could handle and get back to exercising. Another told me that hypermobility was causing my pain and there wasn’t much I could do about it but be very careful about how I choose to be active. This made some sense to me but I still don’t fully buy it. My shoulders and knees are pretty flexible but I don’t score anything on the Beighton scale plus there are countless folks that are much more flexible than I am that are symptom free. A naturopath thought that I had heavy metal poisoning. Another thought I was deficient in vitamin C and magnesium. A chiropractor told me I was bordering on having scoliosis. Most recently I was exploring food allergies as a possibility. I essentially went Paleo for about a month and a half and felt a little bit better but not drastically so. The end of this Paleo stint was when I discovered Dr. Sarno and TMS/PPD.

    So, I think TMS/PPD could explain a lot of what I have going on and why my injuries “never seem to heal.” All my inflammation makes me wonder though. This all has been a long, depressing, and draining journey and I gave up on ever getting better for quite a while. Discovering TMS/PPD has given me some renewed hope. Really though I feel like I am desperately in need of some guidance and an accurate diagnosis. I would love to find a practitioner that is pretty well versed in my potential issues, especially TMS/PPD. Anyway, if you made it to the bottom of this thanks for taking the time to read it all! It was pretty exciting to find this community!

    Last edited: Apr 8, 2015
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Jason. I too am glad you have read Dr. Sarno's books and found this web site.
    I urge you to start the Structural Education Program, free in that subform.
    It offers daily activities to help learn more about TMS and how to heal from it.

    You have had sufficient medical checkups and nothing structurally wrong has been found.
    I agree with your wife that your pains are from TMS, repressed emotions and/or
    a perfectionist and goodist personality. I had severe back pain until I began journaling
    about my boyhood and realized I was repressing anger and feelings of insecurity
    after my parents divorced when I was seven. Often, our TMS pain stems from events
    before we are six or seven. Mine sure did. When I recognized my repressed emotions,
    I healed. But not until I believe they were 100 percent from TMS and not from aging,
    since I am 84.

    It would be great if you could talk to a doctor knowledgeable in TMS,
    but meanwhile, I again urge you to start the Structural Education Program.
  3. David88

    David88 Well known member

    Hi Jason,

    Check out the directory of TMS practitioners:


    I had a very good experience with Dr. Gwozdz in Somerset NJ.

    Don't get hung up on the idea of inflammation. That could well be TMS. Sarno has a lot to say about it in the books you have.

  4. Pi Guy

    Pi Guy New Member

    Thanks much for the replies guys! I am in Oregon and have had a brief look at the directory of TMS practitioners. I have really been hoping to find an MD that could definitively say that my symptoms are TMS. I think having that come from a doctor would be very beneficial. Any recommendations for TMS doctors in the Oregon/Washington state area would be appreciated. It's always nice to hear that folks have had good experiences with a particular doctor before trying one out. Given my symptoms I think a TMS rheumatologist or orthopedist would be amazing, but I probably shouldn't focus on that too much.

    I do think that TMS is the most logical explanation for my symptoms. Admittedly though I wonder about the inflammation I get, especially in my knees, and the swelling feeling in my armpits. The info I've found so far on TMS, inflammation and swelling seems to be mixed. With that said though, if your mind can cause pain by decreasing blood flow to different parts of your body I see no reason why it couldn't increase blood flow, causing redness and burning, as well. Anyway, as you recommended David, I will try not to get too hung up on that.

    Walt, I have started to check out the Structured Education Program, thanks for the recommendation. I also started reading through Alan Gordon's TMS Recovery Program as well. The Breaking the Pain Cycle and Outcome Independence articles really struck a chord with me. I think working through these programs will be a better fit for me than Sarno's program in The Divided Mind. Thanks again!
  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    P:iGuy, thanks. Glad my posting helped. There are many techniques for healing TMS and
    reading posts and books about them will help you to find the best ones that work for you.

    I wrote a book recently with another TMSer, Eric Watson, which has quite a few goodd
    TMS healing techniques You might find the book helpful. We add the spiritual element
    but do not force that on anyone. The book is call God Does Not Want You to Be In Pain,
    available in paperback and Kindle edition from amazonSmile. They donate a small
    percentage of sales to the TMSWiki.
  6. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

    Did you have a blood test for inflammatory markers done? C-reactive protein is standard test I think.
    I thought my chronic pain was inflammation for years taking Ibuprofen and all manner of natural remedies to no avail.
  7. Pi Guy

    Pi Guy New Member

    I have had C-reactive protein tests done twice, the most recent test was about a year ago now. My first result was 1.6 mg/L and then about a year and a half later 0.8mg/L. According to my doctor less than or equal to 0.8 mg/L is considered normal. With that said though when assessing for inflammation C-reactive protein is typically within the 3-5 mg/L range and in patients with autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis it is commonly 10 mg/L or higher. So, in short, the doctors didn't think my levels were anything to worry about.

    A number of years ago I would just take a bunch of ibuprofen or Aleve and push on through. It seemed to help with the burning in my knees a bit but that was about it. It didn't really have much of an effect at all on the random joint and muscle aches and pains.
  8. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Pi Guy. It looks to me that your pain is not structural but from TMS repressed emotions.
    I think you've had enough doctor visits and tests that prove that.
    So be relieved it is not physical and concentrate on the emotional.

    It can take time and effort, but healing does come.
  9. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

    the tests dont lie!
    there are other tests for inflammation but Id be asssured with those results that no further testing is required. its really hard to believe that this much pain can result from the TMS process. working on that and committing to doing the work are key. I'm guilty of slipping on both counts at times
  10. Pi Guy

    Pi Guy New Member

    Hi guys,
    Thanks for the replies it's much appreciated. I think you are right. All indications are I don't have underlying inflammation but TMS. I have started to increase my activity level and that has been fun. I recently went on a pretty vigorous 10 mile hike and my knees felt pretty darn tired and a little stiff at the end but it didn't really induce a roaring fire in my knees like it would have in the past. I have also started riding my bike a bit more, some hour long rides here and there and that has been nice and my symptoms haven't flared up like they would in the past. In general I have have been having less burning in my knees, fewer muscle twitches, and a lot fewer random aches and pains, so I am pretty darn pleased so far.

    I certainly have doubts still though. My knees and shoulders pop quite a bit and alcohol still leads to some burning (though not as much). Sometimes I catch myself wondering and worrying about those things but I just need to keep reminding myself to let that train go through the station without getting on board. There is also this little voice in my head that likes to randomly call out "bullshit" whenever I am reading or learning about TMS; pretty annoying. Consciously I am pretty darned convinced I have TMS, it really makes the most sense. Unconsciously though I have work to do.

    I have been working through the Structured Educational Program slowly but surely, and I will keep it up. I have very large chunks of just about all of the TMS Personality Traits, so I know I have my work cut out for me. Additionally I am not the most expressive guy and pride myself on being even keeled, so I am positive that I have been repressing quite a bit both consciously and unconsciously. Thanks again for the feedback guys. I'll keep plugging away at the program.

  11. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

  12. Pi Guy

    Pi Guy New Member

    It's funny. TMS absolutely makes the most sense to me, but it's like my mind is messing with me. Even when I am feeling particularly confident and identifying with what I am reading about TMS a little voice will randomly call BS on it all. It sounds kind of crazy but I figure other folks here have probably had something similar happen to them. I guess it's just a sign that I haven't fully bought in yet...

    Thanks for the link to the popping article, that was cool!
  13. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

    Yip, hard to buy into but persevere!

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