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IS TMS Hi-Jacking What it knows about me?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Miss Metta, Nov 10, 2016.

  1. Miss Metta

    Miss Metta Peer Supporter

    Hi all

    Recently I posted a question regarding TMS and weight-training, but I have doubts.
    Recently I managed to recover from TMS leg pain after 18 months, and so I (elatedly and jubilantly) returned to swimming. There were a number of methods I used, a number of issues resolved, but I don't know which or what finally allowed me to go back in the water and not feel pain. (My dishy doctor had something to do with it by telling me that how could I possibly hurt myself swimming when there was no cause for my leg pain?). It was 2 weeks after that conversation that I tried swimming and found I was mostly pain free. So he might have had something to do with it.

    So after 2 months of this, I decide to take up weight training again. I have not touched weights in 22 years (I am now 50). When I took up weights in my late 20's, I quickly developed all sorts of problems with creaky and unstable joints, lots of pain all over my body whenever I worked out. I saw many physical specialists who all said that I had hypermobility of the joints and that this was what caused these injuries/pain when lifting. Apparently hypermobility puts greater strain on tendons as there is nothing to 'hold' it all together and hence pain and greater risk of sprains strains and injuries in athletic pursuits. I tried many things but nothing worked and in the end, after 3 years, I despairingly gave up training.

    Now that I know about TMS, I can look back at that time of my life and see absolutely for sure a number of huge, huge stressors going on (a divorce, having to go back to live with my mother which is highly toxic to me and kills my spirit, returning to school after 10 years, and being in love with someone who wasn't in love with me....). Some physical therapists recommended I quit weights and just do pilates (which admittedly helped with the instability of joints). I did this.

    Armed with this knowledge, and new view of my past, and having overcome the pain for swimming, I decided to give weight training another go. However a month in, and I'm experiencing the same old problems that I did 22 years ago, and in the same locations. I keep telling myself that my motivations are different now, I'm taking care of myself now, not hating myself, and trying to change myself to fit into an ideal, and that this is TMS and its being tricky.

    However what makes me feel a bit doubtful is that whereas with the swimming, what helped convince me it was TMS was that prior to the onset of pain, I had had many extended periods of time where there was no pain. So it was easier to accept TMS diagnosis.
    But with weight training - and I have tried to revisit it several times in my life but always with the same old pain flaring up, -I cannot claim that I have had any period of time other than a few weeks without pain issues. The few weeks where I was relatively pain-free in the beginning were always just a build up of strain.

    I refuse to get 'checked out' because I know what the structural diagnosis will be because the sites of pain and the type of pain is exactly as it was in my 20's. They will again say I have hypermobility and not to lift weights. But I love weights which is why I keep trying! Plus when the swimming pain came up 18 months ago, I got MRI'd and examined again.

    So to the title of my post: is TMS hijacking my history? That is, because my subconscious knows that I have never been able to experience the pleasure of lifting weights for more than a short time before winding up in pain, is it tricking me into believing this is really a physical structural issue? I'm tending toward believing that since I've never experienced anything else, that I do have a structural problem that makes weight lifting painful for me.

    Interestingly today as well as the burning in my arm and shoulder and elbow that's come on there was also some pain my ankle region around where I used to get the pain associated with swimming. I told it it really was being very silly trying to pull that one, since there was no way my ankle had done anything to do with weight training. The ankle pain gave up and went away, but the arm and shoulder pain - which feels like strain, not normal muscle soreness- remains.

    How can I approach this ? So hard to tell do I really have an issue, am I overtraining, or is it TMS playing me?

    thanks all
    plum likes this.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Metta. I recommend that you read Steve Ozanich's book, The Great Pain Deception. He tells how he healed from multiple pains by discovering his repressed emotions and despite lots of pain, he kept playing golf. He finally healed. It's a great read for anyone doubting about exercise during the TMS healing process.
    plum and Miss Metta like this.
  3. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Walt gives good advice and while you're at it read Walt and Herbie's book "GOD DOES NOT WANT YOU TO BE IN PAIN" it's a GREAT TMS book, I have it front of me, I must confess I have't dug into it yet but I'm sure it's great because Walt and Eric (Herbie) are great TMS fighters. SteveO also did weight training, and if you look at his pics and videos he's got some pretty big biceps.

    I would take words like "hypermobility" out of your TMS vocabulary, I think it's BS. Dr. Sarno said "If it's too heavy to lift, you couldn't lift it." You have thingies called "propreoceptors" in your joints that act as relays to your brain telling you, "you can't do this." Real injuries are due to fracture, infection, or a real disease like cancer that needs to be looked at allopathically and treated in some fashion. If you've been cleared by your traditional medical doctors, then you are free to pursue the TMS path. Have you tried reducing the amount of weight and reps in the gym? There are many resistance exercises you can perform in the pool with water-gym weights.

    Also, SteveO does Skype sessions for $125 per hour, which is below what other therapists charge who may hook you in for life. SteveO has had great results with just two sessions. Here's a link to SteveO's web site:

    http://steveozanich.com/ (Home - Steve Ozanich)
    plum and Miss Metta like this.
  4. gitch

    gitch Peer Supporter

    I don't really have a lot to add, other than to say I am facing the exact same dilemma. Physical use of my back during the day seems to increase the likelihood of experiencing TMS symptoms in my back when I sleep. If I do no exercise, the pain doesn't exist. I've done a post about it recently.

    In your case, is there any 'silly' pain? (eg pain that can't really be at all attributed to weights, but you're feeling it anyway). You might be able to find some clues in there. Our subconscious does a great job of disguising itself as the culprit, but it's not perfect and leaves some pretty big holes in it's theory at times.

    In my case, my back pain (logical after using my back muscles) is also accompanied by pain in the ribs (illogical after using the back muscles). While there's a plausible relationship between more daytime movement and more night time pain, it's hard to explain how use of the back muscles could cause pain in the ribs. This is the element I'm going to be focusing on in my recovery.

    Does yours have a similar thing? There's an apparent relationship between weight training and pain, but are you getting pain in areas that simply aren't being worked when doing weights?
    plum and Miss Metta like this.
  5. Miss Metta

    Miss Metta Peer Supporter

    Hi Tom

    I am really open to this, in fact I want it to be TMS. What bothers me though is that hypermobility is a congenital disorder, ie, I was born with it. True, it's not rare, it's in about 13% of the population. However if you were in my body you would not be able to feel your tricep when you flex it at the elbow. This is annoying. It's like chewing gum is holding it together. It creaks and cracks in ways that are painful, and is very unstable. If I lift a heavy weight, my arm would start going everywhere whereas yours wouldn't. I simply cannot stabilize it. I can lift the weight, but not without it going off course or having to snap my arms into place and hyperextend, which hurts. It's like trying to lift up a flower head from a bent over stem. The stem can't hold it unless you grab it and flick it up and use gravity to get it back up again. That's what it's like to some extent. It even feels like that. Your elbow and shoulder joint are held together by the joint itself and the surrounding muscle tissue. My one area of body that feels normal is when I do bicep curls. This is a relatively simple joint movement and it can't go in side ways directions, and I can do these 'normally'. I know they are normal because of the way that I feel my muscles and the stability with which I can hold the weight, even a very heavy one. They feel strong, I can do them with ease, my arm is not wobbling or cracking and creaking and hurting. In addition to the joint instability, hypermobility syndrome also shows up with very loose skin and skin that scars easily. They also fatigue more easily than your average Joe, because any sporting activity requires greater recruitment of muscles because the damn tendons are doing the work that the muscles are supposed to be doing. Internal organs are also affected and so surgery issues can arise that do not occur in the normal population. It's a collagen issue.

    Now, on the plus side: my hypermobility is not as bad as many other people's. This is reason for hope and exertion.
    Plus number two: all the reading I've been doing lately says that people with hypermobility should do weight training, not avoid it, because weight training shortens the stretch reflex in time. This too is exciting for me, because in the past, years ago, many physiotherapists told me to not weight train. Now with the internet, I see that it weight training is actually recommended for it! This means that my subconscious can no longer use that as an excuse 'you were told not to do it".

    You mention proprioception. Apparently in hypermobility they are not firing properly. Here's from a journal:

    So, why do patients with BJHS present mainly with joint pain? It is thought that excessive joint laxity leads to wear and tear on joint surfaces and strains or fatigues the soft tissue surrounding these joints. Some studies also suggest that proprioception in the joints of patients with BJHS is impaired. This impairment can also lead to excessive joint trauma due to impaired sensory feedback from the joint affected.1–4

    Yes, Steve O does weights, one of the first things I noticed...isn't he beautiful? I want to do it, too. Good idea to speak to him, and his rates may be comparably cheap, but not when you whack on an additional 1/3rd to the cost because that's about how much it is to pay in the Australian dollar to the US dollar. Still, it's a thought. As for weights in water....thanks for the suggestion, but I like weights weights. I want to build muscle. I don't think you can do that in water. And for lighter weights, I'm about as light as I can go. And I'm still all over the place. Except for bicep curls. I don't have a big problem with them as much as other muscle groups.

    Having now been doing it for several weeks my shoulder is now playing up constantly with grinding and pain no matter what I do. This is the same scenario I had when I was in my late 20's. It stopped me training eventually because everything seemed to just get more and more creptius and more and more unstable, whereby lifting and moving ordinary things was becoming tricky.

    I'm at a cross-roads. Go down the PT path and re-learn technique? (Apparently my technique is off because of over-compensation, henc, apparently the injuries and pain). At least now I know for sure that weight training is something I actually should be doing, not avoiding, so TMS can go suck on that one for a while...

    I met a trainer who knows about MBS. I didn't mention it, she brought it up. She showed me where her (rather muscular) shoulder had 5 pins it from surgeries and said to me that it was stronger than the non-invaded shoulder! She also mentioned a scenario in her own case during a marathon where she experienced pain and discovered it was emotional. So she said to me after some discussion), "your DH wants you weaker than him" (true). Which is food for thought. I am thinking of training with her.

    Further to the psycho-social TMS metaphor perspective is the following which I am musing on and may need more journaling:

    1. relationship with my father, weight lifting has a special significance for me because my father loved to weight lift in the back yard and as a child I loved to join him in order to win his approval and spend time with him

    2. my mother calling my father a 'narcissist' because he sometimes liked to pose in the mirror (what bloke hasn't done that?!) . It was the only outward, direct criticism of him I ever heard (oh, she had many other criticisms. This was the only one I ever heard her say directly. All others she just expressed them to me or passive-aggressively).

    3. The very strong message I was given directly that I was a girl and girls were not to lift weights (something about doing damage and not being able to have kids?!) added to this my very Victorian grandmother who was positively horrified that a girl should do any physical activity at all, let alone actively join a gym. No, girls were to be weak, ultra-feminine, white-skinned, inferior, demure and to be looked after by men. This message was strongly given to me. I hated it and fought it, but eventually sunk in a helpless heap.

    4. The metaphor of instability. My entire life has been marred by a lot of instability. First at home as a child, then in relationships, lots of homes, kicked from pillar to post, lots and lots of jobs, lots of unemployment, homelessness, lots of poverty and illness. Things are much better now, but it's taken many, many years to get there and it could still be kicked out from under me quite easily. I cannot actually ever really relax and know that I am stable and safe. A belief that I cannot support myself. No wonder my knees feel unstable and like they can't support me in a squat!

    Despite my love of weight training, I turned out a weak, ultra-feminine intellectual with a very unstable life and a very thin body, kept that way by starving myself. I no longer starve, which is why I want to build muscle, because I no longer want to be weak but strong.

    yet this is stopping me!

    I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that TMS exists. I know equally that it applies to me; I've recently overcome it for one condition, and a few others. But these were later life conditions, they haven't been there since the beginning of conscious memory.

    I'm trying to either confirm that I need to go down the PT track with this trainer, for a little while anyway, or to avoid it. I'd rather avoid it. Doing rehab and strengthening connective tissue exercises is expensive, boring, and from what I have learned about TMS on these boards, often temporary and futile in the long run. I don't want to spend time and money on corrective PT if this really is TMS. Yet I can't convince myself that it is. I don't have the proof. I want to life weights, and to lift heavy (that in itself might be cause for exploration). I have read of people overcoming hypermobility, but they need to re-learn how to position themselves since everything is out of whack. I found one woman who had this issue, and she has a body I wouldn't mind having. I do have hope, if she can do it, so can I. I just don't want to go down the PT road if it's TMS, yet I cannot prove otherwise as it's been with me all my life and emerges when I do certain physical activities repeatedly over a few weeks.

    thanks again for your thoughts
    Balsa11 and plum like this.
  6. Miss Metta

    Miss Metta Peer Supporter

    Hi Mike, thanks for weighing in (pun intended!)
    I'll have a read of your story shortly...in the meantime, good question. Yes, I have had one small pain that I got during weight training. It was a pain around my ankle area, a burning sensation, that I used to get when I swam. This was my swimmer's TMS. It poked its head up recently during a leg work out with weights. I told it was ridiculous and scoffed at it. Yes, I could understand knee pain with what I was doing, but this ankle burning was too much like what I was getting with swimming (not any more). That was the only one. Every other pain is consistent with the body part I've been training. And I can get it during the work out, particularly my knees, they will start hurting within 3 moves of a squat or lunge set. TMS almost always comes on just after the exercise. This is a bit different.

    I agree, the subconscious does a great job and I have had proof of that in my own life already. What I am afraid of is going down the road of dislocation or further injury because my joints dont' hang together too well. I have no doubt that in his time Sarno would have met hypermobile clients. I just wish I knew something about them or he said said something about them. I'm just not entirely convinced yet that hypermobility needs to be attacked at the physical level with tendon strengthening PT. Me, I just want to lift weights, not fluff around with band work or foam rollers or very light tendon strengthening! Other people don't have to do it..the blokes just get in there and throw those weights around in god knows how bad a form sometimes, and they get away with it. They even build some muscle from using terrible form!

    thank you for sharing,
  7. Miss Metta

    Miss Metta Peer Supporter

    I have read Steve Os book and one of Sarnos but going through Steve's book again at the suggestion here. I downloaded a kindle sample of the one you suggest above. I read TMS books here and there, not religiously. Same with these boards. I am aware that this too can become a form of TMS.
  8. Miss Metta

    Miss Metta Peer Supporter

    Thanks, Walt. I do have the book and am starting to re-read it. See also my response to Tom.
    thank you for helping
  9. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle


    I adore your spirit and humour. Thanks for creating such a thought-provoking thread and for being so honest in your reflections. I've found it very helpful. I'm going swimming this afternoon as it goes, and I love how the water is giving me my life back. Speaking of dishy men, I was chatted up in the pool by a former pro-boxer last week. He is outrageously good-looking and my pain-battered ego lapped it up. Flirting helps healing :joyful:.
    Balsa11, Miss Metta and Tennis Tom like this.
  10. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think if you are still chronically suffering and voicing desperation over symptoms caused by TMS, then reading the TMS books and studying other TMS AV tools, until you can quote them by rote, IS necessary and require for Dr. Sarno's theory to sink into your sub-c.

    The gremlin--thinking it's helping to PROTECT us--plays tricks with our reading comprehension, making us often miss Dr. Sarno's message. You need to KNOW the TMS fundamentals. TMS pain can be THE distractor preventing absorption of the accurate TMS KNOWLEDGE PENICILLIN to do it's work, to make TMS symptoms fade and not have new symptoms occur as substitutions. TMS is not religion, it is about acquiring new, scientifically proven knowledge, to overcome the NOCEBO effects of the collective meme.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2016
  11. Miss Metta

    Miss Metta Peer Supporter

    Hahaha, yes, it's funny that, isn't it? How a good looking man whom you have a good rapport and a small flirt can change things!
    I'm glad my post was of help to you.
    It was you and Tom in an earlier post who were the help for me overcoming the swimming pain and getting back in the pool. Yes, I argue with Tom, but I also take him seriously and I think it's this , and your opposite, soothing approach that gets me over the line somehow. The dynamic duo!

    I have just decided that all cute men should out themselves as part of therapy...I just want to admire you...., it's good for my health...:D

    hope your swim went well...
    plum and Tennis Tom like this.
  12. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    TMS just got sexy :)
    My swim was gorgeous and was kick-started by mutual admiration with the dishy man for half an hour in the jacuzzi, all in the spirit of healing. Hey @Tennis Tom, how do you fancy being the yang to my yin? We could truly rock the good cop, bad cop routine. Sending you a crazy kinda love for the many years you have been selflessly and shamelessly seeding Sarno into the good people here.

    Seriously though, the sexual, and in particular sacred sexuality, is a portal to surrender. Here is a clip of Peter Levine discussing Spirituality and Trauma. Of the four portals, who else fancies kicking trauma into touch and signing up for sex? Form an orderly queue...

    Last edited: Nov 18, 2016

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