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Introduction and Questions

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by phillytms, May 19, 2022.

  1. phillytms

    phillytms Newcomer

    Sorry for the long post. I figure I would include as many details as possible in hopes of finding others like me.

    Hello, I first heard about TMS 3 years ago via the Curable App. I never looked passed the first video because I was already scheduled to start CBT and thought TMS would come up. It never did, but I did get some relief from CBT. This week, I was looking into a program designed by a Physical Therapist that incorporated both physical movement and what sounded like TMS relief techniques. This made me go back and read more about it. I got Dr. Sarno's book and have been watching some videos on the topic etc.

    So here is the thing: I am open to the reality of TMS, and I am pretty sure I have it. I have many of the predicates and symptoms. IBS is mainly triggered by fear and emotions (I had a close call years ago, and now every time I travel, I am fearful of having another episode that brings on the episodes :)). TMJ, tinnitus, reflux, facial tension, etc. I have checked these issues, and the tests are always clear. I also had emotional trauma like verbal abuse and bullying, learning disability, and many of the personality traits common with TMS

    But I also have a real history of back pain. I had scoliosis, which was corrected with a sizeable spinal fusion when I was a kid. So I am was used to back pain here and there. Cold weather made me stiff which produced back pain; if I overdid it with yard work or worked out too hard would also bring episodes of back pain that would last a few days to 3 weeks tops. Nothing major. Maybe a day or two of severe pain followed by a few weeks of soreness.

    But about seven years ago, I had started to get a weird pain behind the knee. I was cycling a few times per week, so I thought it was related to that activity. The funny thing was that cycling never made it worse, but it got to the point I was walking with a limp. I scheduled an appointment with a back doctor after a 5-hour drive added back pain to the mix. The appointment was six weeks out, so I paid a visit to my family doctor, who gave me a round of steroids which cleared the pain. Eventually made it to the back doctor's appointment, who told me I had disc degeneration which was expected given my age and prior surgery. He told me to stay active, and that will help.

    Three years later, the pain came back, but meds did not help this time. MRI shows disc herniation at one level and a bulge at another. The herniation seems to be compressing the nerve. A few months later, as I recovered, my upper back started hurting even worse. Then the other side etc. It has been three years of this. I do find periods of relief, but the pain eventually comes back. Sometimes just a bit and at others pretty severe. I always blame it on not doing enough to take care of myself, but the reality is that it also seems to come out of nowhere.

    I know that stress, family, and work issues influence my pain. I have also noticed diet influences it. If I have a heavy carb day, I can feel the pain intensify. I thought this was due to inflammation, but now I also believe it could be gut health-related which we know influences emotions.

    So here is my question. Could my back pain be structural (after all, I have tons of metal and limited mobility) but made chronic by TMS? I am 99% sure TMS is at play, especially with the other non-back-related issues but not sure I am free of thinking my past spine fusion and herniation are not at play here.

    My current theory is TMS is at play in many of my health issues, including my back, but there is also structural things that I at least need to be aware of. If true, I am not sure if I can pursue TMS relief activities since it seems this is an all-or-nothing approach. Am I wrong? I am sure inflammation is at play because NSAIDs and Steroids provide some relief.

  2. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Well known member

    Have you finished reading Sarno, and did anything he described about typical TMS persons resonate with you?
    It is not uncommon for people to have TMS or a lot of mental stress and have “real” physical issues or diseases. If you are anxious and have fear about your condition, have trouble feeling emotions, live with a very busy mind etc, this approach can really help. It won’t solve physical issues but it can help you soften the emotional toll they take.
    You’ll find two free programs here on the wiki, the Structured Educational Program which helps you delve into your mind and see patterns of stress, and the pain recovery program that tends to focus more on fear reduction. Either are a great place to start. Links to both can be found on the first page of this website.
    Ps Dr. Hanscom has been delving into the science behind inflammation. He believes it is a stress response.
  3. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I just finished a re-read of "Mindbody Prescription"
    Tms goes after stuff you'll believe. That's why their is a bit of statistical 'drift' with herniated discs and pain...however in 100 people or so with NO back pain, slightly over 60 per cent of them (check me on these..i just read it) had herniated discs.

    Science has gotten SLOPPY. The old scientific methodology was "if you have an exception to your rule, you better look for a new rule"...but nowadays it's 'when you run into something you don't understand, make a complicated, codicil riddled new diagnosis'

    When it's TMS.. It's TMS. There may have been a gossamer of a symptom, but it grabs it and turns it into a monster to occupy your attention fully. I have found it never to be structural even when there was a 'real' something there initially. It took a gumball rolling down hill and turned it into a beach ball. The gumball being made of sugar would have disintegrated in days..maybe even hours...By the time the TMS is over, the gumball is long gone.....

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