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Introduction and help with the Pain Cycle

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by revwde, Jul 6, 2017.

  1. revwde

    revwde Newcomer

    Hi everyone - I've been lurking for a while and thought I'd jump in and introduce myself. I'm a 30/M and have been suffering from sciatica and some very light low back pain since about a year ago. My wife's aunt gave me a copy of The Divided Mind and encouraged me to watch the John Stossell interview which turned me on to TMS-related things. A little bit about my story:

    My wife and I are both ministers and have been working full-time in churches since 2014. We had our first child in 2015 and when he was about 9 months old (Mar-Apr '16), I began to have what I thought was hamstring pain from pushing his stroller on a run. I did the whole rest/ice/etc protocol to no effect. We moved to a new city that summer, bought a house, and began new appointments in large churches with a much higher workload and stress level than what we were used to. As we moved, my pain got worse - never debilitating, but would spasm like crazy specifically as I got out of the car from sitting. I finally saw a sports med DO who treated me for bursitis, tight hamstrings, and something else that I don't remember (to no effect, unsurprisingly). I did PT with three different therapists, saw two different chiropractors, and tried dry needling on my lumbar spine, piriformis, and hamstrings. Some helped very incrementally, but never to a point that was noticeable. I've had two MRIs: one of my pelvis, which showed nothing, and another of my lumbar spine, which revealed a slight protrusion at L5/S1. I had an epidural nerve block for the protrusion, but that didn't help at all.

    In full disclosure, I've always been skeptical of things like TMS. My mother sees a chiropractor that pushes a lot of really weird stuff and I've spent years gently ridiculing her and my aunt who swear by the stuff he does. (I don't bring that up to compare some of the outer reaches of chiropractic with TMS, but just as a way of highlighting some built-in skepticism). When my wife's aunt gave me Dr. Sarno's book and pointed out that my pain began when we were transitioning jobs and buying our first house, it made a lot of sense. Add in having a toddler that wasn't a great sleeper, having a people-pleasing peacemaker personality, and dealing with conflict at my previous job, I thought I'd at least give the program a try. I read The Divided Mind, picked up Healing Back Pain from the library and read it, and have really been focusing on the pain as a by-product of this stress. I feel like it's really helped, but the pain still persists.

    The "evidence list" that Dr. Sarno talks about has been most helpful, like noticing that my pain doesn't increase when I sit for a long time, that all the treatment I've done didn't really move the needle, that when I do a lot of work around the house on off-days my pain seems to dissipate. But the two times when the pain is most severe is right when I wake up and when I bend over to touch my toes. In reading all this information, I feel like it's become ingrained in my thinking ("You're awake now, so let's spend 10 minutes swinging your hip around to avoid the pain" or "Time to put on your shoes - here comes the pain"), but I'm not totally sure how to kick that. I've gotten back in the gym, on the treadmill, and in the pool and have not had an increase in pain (another piece of evidence), but would really just like to be able to bend over and touch my toes without my leg lighting up. I will talk to my brain, tell myself that the pain I feel is not structural, etc, and feel relief. Then, I'll get excited, try to test it out and bend over and boom - sciatic pain once again. It seems like this is the one thing that's keeping me from fully accepting the diagnosis.

    Having read many stories online about people's struggle with my exact diagnosis, I'm thankful that it's not severe - just an annoyance most of the day - but we just brought our second baby home so I would love some insight or best practices on what some of you did to break some of the more ingrained habits of noticing the pain. Thanks!
  2. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    "In full disclosure, I've always been skeptical of things like TMS"

    Me too. The first time I heard of it from my downstairs neighbor (who I liked) I wanted to kick him. "Are you kidding me?" Unlike some of the wacky hippy things out there TMS theory is based on observable evidence and a sound medical theory.... basically that the core of your brain where the autonomic nerves sit is creating a distraction by ischemia...a slightly lessened flow of blood to certain area's. Remember, in spite of all of the arrogance of the medical field, they really don't know much about the human brain. The FIGHT and FLIGHT sensor is sitting right there next to the autonomic in the R-core.

    Funny. I never had a single symptom when I was a full blown outlaw ages 13-22.. It was only after a powerful conversion experience circa age 23 when I became a "Good guy TM" that I began having any symptoms. By my late twenties they were growing (as was my good-dad,good guyTM ism). At 32 I actually went to the church in which I was baptised to have them 'lay hands' on me (which I also didn't believe in...even as an alleged christian)... I only believed in science!!!

    None the less, I read HBP and had a rapid recovery. The worst symptoms co-incided with the birth of my second child, and a promotion in my field.

    Funny. I always thought the healing miracles in the Bible were just metaphors. They were soooo uncomfortable to believe in as a fan of science, in spite of my experiences. I have a very different outlook on things as a healed TMSer.... Emmet Fox would nod his head.


    (edit) Oh yeah.... I found HBP by sarno about a week after they 'laid hands on me'... Coincidence? I've always thought that a 'coincidence' is an agnostics word for divine intervention. But then again I am wacky (LOL)
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
  3. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi revwde,

    Welcome to the forums! Glad you found us and Sarno. And congrats on the new baby! It sounds like you're very much on the right track to healing! I also had a moderate bout of back pain and sciatica last year, and was able to fully cure myself with TMS only. I'm a physical therapist and this required throwing out some of what I had learned in school (but honestly confirmed some things I had suspected for a long time due to certain PT treatments not making sense to me!)

    Regarding trying to "test" the movements- I definitely did some of this too. Outcome independence is key to success here (see Alan Gordon's recovery program for explanation)- essentially trying to not care whether you feel the sciatica, its ok either way. Its hard not to be so goal oriented here to get fully rid of the pain but trust me, the more you test it out and worry whether it is gone, the harder it will be to get rid of. You are feeling those sensations due to conditioning, your brain has associated certain movements like bending forward with the pain/sciatica. Care less about it and it will gradually fade as you get un-conditioned. It takes some time for this to happen.

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