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Leg Pain! Hoping for Help.

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Todd 64, Mar 2, 2020.

  1. Todd 64

    Todd 64 Newcomer

    Hello all,

    (I'm trying to keep it light here. That said, there are several moments and days of excruciating, crippling pain in my last year's history when, if I had a gun, I would have used it. I made the mistake of uttering that once in the ER, which only complicated things. Ugh.)

    I have spent a couple of weeks lurking on here, and I have been so impressed with the community. Such great support for one another. So, I decided to finally jump in.

    Up until almost a year ago I was in great shape, strong, active, gym 6 days a week, etc. etc... Then, without incident, I suddenly developed leg pain. In the span of a couple of months it went from annoying, to concerning, to frightening, and finally to debilitating.

    Long story short... After literally a dozen MRI's (in 6 months!), CT scans, xrays, blood tests, two EMG and NCS's, two epidurals, massive amounts of steroids, Gabapentin, Oxycontin (which I became dependent on) five ER visits (because I was unable to walk), three days in the hospital for tests, and, finally, a lumbar decompression surgery, here I am... still in pain.

    The surgeon now (why now?) "believes" (his word) that the issue is foraminal stenosis, and suggests the most terrifying, seven hour surgery I can imagine. Three incisions, two from the back and one huge one from the front. On the eve of the scheduled date, I cancelled. It just didn't feel right for some reason.

    However, this is obviously being diagnosed as structural.

    So now I am trying physical therapy. Why this was never suggested earlier astounds me, but it is what it is.

    I've been doing PT for about a month, and at the start of it I met with a friend who attributes the solution to his back pain to the Sarno book. He is convinced that is my issue. So I read the book, and it makes complete sense to me.

    A couple of facts came to mind as I read the book: The impingement, according to the doctors, is on my left side. However, the pain is by far mostly on the right. The pain seems to move around in my legs and butt.

    So, I am almost ready (wanting!) to believe this is TMS, but there is an element here that does point to something structural (I think). It's simple:

    When I cough, or otherwise strain (as in using the bathroom), the pain is triggered in my legs, just for a moment. That sounds like a manifestation of a structural issue to me.

    I HAVE been feeling a little better since starting PT. Placebo? I just don't know what to believe.

    So that's my story in a nutshell. Lame, huh? If anyone has any feedback for me I will send you one million dollars. Two if you're cute.

    Thanks folks :)


    PS Kidding on the $
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
  2. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Welcome to the forum, Todd! Judging by how your pain started, you are a good candidate for TMS. I recommend every newcomer to start by reading Success Stories subforum. It is a good confidence builder and also good for clearing the fog of confusion and doubts. Moving around pain is a strong indication of TMS.
    One piece of advice, worth a million dollars: do not do that surgery unless you exhaust your options here or at least a year goes by without improvement.
    Read, listen to the conversations on this forum, absorb, ask questions. Good luck!
  3. Todd 64

    Todd 64 Newcomer

    Thank you so much!
  4. Duggit

    Duggit Well known member

    Todd, Dr. David Hanscom was an orthopedic spine surgeon at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle for several decades. If I recall correctly, a significant part of his practice involved fixing unsuccessful spine surgeries by other doctors. He no longer does back surgery; his current interest is nonsurgical treatment of back pain. His most recent book is titled Do You Really Need Spine Surgery? The subtitle is Take Control With a Surgeon's Advice. Available on Amazon for about $12. Might be worth a look.
  5. Todd 64

    Todd 64 Newcomer

    Thanks, Duggit! I just ordered the book!

    You all rock :)

    PS Incidentally, my profile pic is from as I was entering the hospital for the first surgery, July '19. I thought it apropos here ;-)
  6. Ren

    Ren New Member

    Hi Todd! Welcome.

    I've got two pieces of advice for you:

    1) Even if there happens to be a structural component to your pain, the techniques, practices and methods you'll find here can (and likely will) help. One fact is important to remember - regardless of whether the pain is 'physical' (such as a broken leg), or 'psychological,' all pain, no matter the origin, is created in the brain. So by reassuring your brain that it is safe (the central principle of any TMS work that you do), it is less likely to send out signals to communicate to you that you are in danger.

    This is not to say I think your pain is structural - I don't. Sounds like classic TMS to me. But use the above to reassure you that any work you do here is not wasted, even if you are not fully able to jump into the TMS boat yet.

    2) Considering what you said here: 'When I cough, or otherwise strain (as in using the bathroom), the pain is triggered in my legs, just for a moment. That sounds like a manifestation of a structural issue to me.'

    Everything points towards this being a conditioned response. Pretty much all of us who deal with TMS have these. One of my most frustrating was that, whenever I went running (the thing I love most in life), my headache, a couple hours afterwards, would soar in intensity. For ages, I was convinced that, even though I believed and accepted I had TMS, there was something about running that inflamed my shoulder and neck (poor posture? poor form?), that would in turn exacerbate the TMS pain. In the end, it turns out that it was simply a conditioned response - I associated running with increased pain, and therefore I had increased pain. But there was nothing about the running in and of itself that caused an increase in pain.

    For an excellent explanation of conditioned responses, have a look at this by Alan Gordon. In fact, when you have the time, I strongly advise you to read over the entire program. It'll likely answer any outstanding questions you have and dispel quite a few of your doubts:

    https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/day-18-conditioned-responses.16609/ (New Program - Day 18: Conditioned Responses)

    Best of luck! Here's hoping you see some improvement soon.

    PS - do I qualify for the one million, or the two million?
  7. Guero Triste

    Guero Triste Peer Supporter

    I have weird ass moving around leg pain. I reckon it to be TMS. EMG and NCV show clean.

    The last couple weeks I also have a pretty cool knot in my left foot, with the best part being that the pain feels very much like when I broke my right foot years ago. Same pain but on the opposite side...the left foot has never been injured.
  8. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Guero Triste, I sense some humor in how you describe your pain - bravo! It tells me that you are no longer scared of your pain, or maybe less scared :=). I believe that being able to not take our pains too seriously and being able to even laugh at ourselves is a very powerful healing tool.
  9. Todd 64

    Todd 64 Newcomer

    Thanks, Ren!

    This is great advice. I was actually doing better the last couple of days, but today had a setback. I'm NOT letting it get the best of me, but it just sucks.

    I've started working with a therapist I found on here. I hope it helps as well.

    Thanks again!


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