1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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Let's begin

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Tom, Jul 15, 2012.

  1. Tom

    Tom New Member

    First post. In thinking about the pain I have experienced for the last 17 years it is like it has become a companion and I am afraid to say goodbye to it.

    I have been aware of TMS and Dr Sarno's processes for about a year. It was a great boon to find the wiki and this programme.

    My pain areas are left foot, neck and shoulders. Occasionally lower back and right knee also.

    I am active. Like to walk the dogs, play hockey, run a little and lift some weights in my garage. I use a hand mower to do the lawns, like to garden. I am 49, male.

    Let's begin.
    JanAtheCPA and Livvygurl like this.
  2. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Welcome, Tom! There's a lot of great stuff on the wiki including the Structured Program. I've found this forum to be a great support in my recovery from TMS.
    Beach-Girl likes this.
  3. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Welcome Tom:

    The first step is arriving and "beginning" - all at the same time. You'll find a lot of support and help here on the forum.

    Good luck on your journey

  4. Tom

    Tom New Member

    Have just read the Andrew Ruby piece.
    I will have to print it, re read and highlight. It has several gems which spoke to me directly. Very well written.

    Thanks for the welcome Veronica and Beach-Girl.
  5. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I've always really liked that article as well. It really is one of the best overviews of TMS. You can heal yourself by reading articles like this and absorbing TMS knowledge. There are a variety of articles out there, so I recommend finding the ones that speak to you and read and re-read them.

    You have been in pain for about as long as I was when I first started out. I had chronic pain for about 18 years, and like you, I knew about Dr. Sarno long before I actually gave it serious thought. This of course was just due to my unconscious resistence to the approach.

    As you mentioned, chronic pain can become such a huge part of our lives. Even though it is a negative part of our lives, becoming 100% pain free will change our lives, and this change, just like any, may make us apprehensive. Having fear about becoming pain free is understandable, however you can only fully recover from TMS if you accept the diagnosis completely and fully desire to be pain free. Recovering from TMS starts and ends with you, so if you are hesistant or resistant to recovering your progress is going to stall. Try writing a list of how being pain free will change your life. I think you will find, as did I, that it is a change for the better.

    Also, check out How do I overcome unconscious resistance to the work?
  6. Tom

    Tom New Member

    I was at a chiropractor today. He has been helping with some pain in one of my toes. I asked him about the possibility that my pain was 'in my mind' although I acknowledged that the pain was real. It was a good conversation and he was very sincere and knowledgeable. In short his stance was that the pain was caused by something in the body not the mind.

    I am scheduled for a discussion with his partner next week re possible acupuncture.

    I am not sure what to do. A foot x-ray revealed no problems - just the normal looking foot of a 49 year old.
    I am on day three of the structured programme. I am thinking of canceling the appointment. Any thoughts?

    Line (my paraphrase) from the Tony Schwartz reading - Pain is caused by tension.
  7. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Then you most likely have TMS. Of course the chiropractor said that the pain was caused by something in the body. They are so limited by their own view point that they can't see the truth staring them right in the face. This is of course is pretty common with the medical community and is why so many TMS doctors write about the "Medicine's Blind Spot." Chiropractors in general only focus on the body, which is why Sarno suggests that people stop going to them. They will keep you thinking that there is something wrong with you or that you can't do certain things. To recover, you need to fully believe that there is not a physical problem and that you are not weak.

    If your chiropractor or PT only sees you symptoms as being caused by the body and is unwilling to look at any the emotional side of things, then I would suggest that you stop seeing them. They are only going to keep you thinking about the physical causes of your symptoms and any benefit they give you will just be a placebo anyways.
  8. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Tom, I agree with Forest. As long as you've been seen by a doctor who has not found anything seriously wrong (like a broken bone or infection) you can probably assume you have TMS. I'm not a fan of chiropractic in general--you have to keep going back and it is constantly reinforcing that something is structurally wrong with you.

    In the same way, if you see acupuncture as something that will treat pain or "fix" you, it will be going against your TMS work. If you go for general relaxation/overall wellness it's good, but I think most people with TMS are seeking out acupuncture to get rid of pain, in which case it's not much different than chiro or meds.
    Forest likes this.
  9. Tom

    Tom New Member

    And the challenge - what do I believe?
    I think one reason I have sought assistance to my pain over the years is that somebody will be nice to me, listen etc. They might even rescue me or fix me. (and touch me) - I feel a bit odd thinking this -

    "And the pain is still there and won't somebody care and fix it?" Thought comes back again and again. "How could you possibly not go back to the osteopath or chiropractor or podiatrist?" - all whom I've seen this year. (I've also tried doctors - at least three, massage, self healing techniques, YouTube etc etc. Now that I think about it - lots of tries.

    Oh oh - starting to get a bit deep -

    Just got back from walking the dogs tonight - cool outside but a still calm evening.

    Thanks for the comments Veronica and Forest. I agree. There is no physical problem in my left ankle - but that it hurts at times.
  10. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    I don't think it sounds odd at all, maybe because I've had similar experiences. I tend to be someone who takes care of others but doesn't always ask for/accept help for myself--maybe you are like this too--and I found that people like my massage therapist, PT, neurologist, etc. were very kind and compassionate. Though I have always found Dr. Sarno's theory of pain as a distraction from repressed feelings to be much more compelling than the secondary gain theory, I do think I benefitted at times from being in pain. Being in pain was sometimes the only time I would get help from others or allow myself to really be taken care of. The good news is I rarely have pain now and it has become easier for me to ask for and receive emotional support. I now feel more comfortable opening up to people and attracting new, supportive people into my life. And I started therapy which has also been extremely helpful.

    I think touch is really important for everyone, not just people in pain. I still go for massage sometimes, not to fix any structural issues but just to relax and feel good.
  11. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Tom, one reason I kept going back to the chiro, PTs, acu, etc. is that even though I was in pain, I felt that someone was at least keeping an eye on me and I could be reassured each time that there wasn't anything seriously wrong with me that couldn't be "put right" with a bit of physical manipulation.

    For my experience in successfully stopping my chiro visits cold-turkey, before I even knew about TMS, read what I posted here on the "Clicking" thread: http://tmswiki.org/forum/threads/clicking.423/#post-3202

    And I would cancel the appointments. The only health professional I've seen since I discovered Dr. Sarno last fall is my dentist. I'm seeing a personal trainer once a week instead, so I can't say I'm saving money!

  12. Tom

    Tom New Member

    Thank you Veronica and Jan.
    I believe my foot and ankle pain is not structural.
    I believe that the pain is indeed TMS.
    I intend to continue with the structured programme.
    I intend to cancel the chiropractor's appointment.
    veronica73 and Forest like this.
  13. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Tom - It is great to see your confidence in the approach at such an early stage. This is a good thing and will pay dividends later on.

    One thing that I think everyone needs to do is to understand what their reasons, conscious or unconscious, for staying in pain are. This is something that is brought up in the book Freedom From Fibromyalgia. As you touched upon, we get used to being in pain and this has led to people being accommodating or listening to us. Others even receive disability or insurance money. It is perfectly understandable to be nervous about what will happen when you do become pain free and you loose out on some money or what will happen to some of your relationships. This may be part of the reason why so many people reject Sarno's ideas to begin with. The good part is all you really need to do is recognize that these feelings of apprehension are there. Simply understanding this will allow you to move past them and will limit there effect on your recovery.

    However, in the end it is about you and your health. As someone who lived with chronic pain and is now pain free, I can tell you it is worth it. There were not any major changes to my relationships, and having the ability to do whatever I want pain free is well worth missing out on a little financial assistance.

    It is great to see that you are going to cancel the chiro appointment and commit to the TMS approach. I can assure you that doing so will help you get out of pain. It helped me, so I know it can help you
  14. Tom

    Tom New Member

    Structured Programme Day 5 - "I have TMS".

    A short simple statement but so important. 'I have TMS' frees me from thinking I have structural issues and confirms that the cause of the pain is within my mind.
    Chiropractor appointment cancelled.

    Today I had less pain. This has been my experience this week. Less pain. It is still there at times. When I felt it today I said "I have TMS. There is nothing wrong with my foot."

    Just a question though. I was scrambling around today hanging up a display ( I am a teacher) and as I climbed up and down from the table I was standing on I felt the odd twinge and stab. Not really pain but feeling nevertheless. As I experience less pain should I expect all of these tweaks to disappear?
    Forest likes this.
  15. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Great news, Tom! Glad you are already feeling less pain.

    Well, I think it's normal to have some physical sensations/pain from time to time--like if you felt sore for a day or two after lifting weights. These kind of sensations usually go away quickly if you don't worry about them. In terms of random twinges of pain, yes, I get much less of that now and when I do I remember it's most likely TMS and it just passes through.
    Forest likes this.
  16. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Tom: My answer to this question is essentially the same as Veronica's: yes and no, and it's undoubtedly different for everyone. TMS is a lifelong journey for many of us . I used to call it a struggle, but I try not to do that anymore;)

    Even after months on my particular journey - with about 80% improvement most of the time, and almost 100% some of the time - I still get odd pains, twinges, tingling, twitching, you name it - but I ignore them and they go away. I used to have frequent nighttime bouts with digestive issues. Whenever I feel the threat of that coming on, I check in with whatever it is I'm worrying about, and tell myself that it's okay to worry but not okay to let my stomach get upset as well, and it goes away. I completely stopped worrying about what I eat and added back everything I had been eliminating from my diet over the last several years.

    When I backslide now the symptoms I usually experience are anxiety and dizziness, maybe with some neck pain or a minor headache. Or I might get a new one for a while, like some forearm pain I'm having right now. Sometimes I give in and put some ice on it, but even as I do that, I am aware that the only thing I'm really doing is giving myself a different distraction, because I know that it's just TMS.

    Depending upon your personal level of anxiety and/or deeper issues, you may need to maintain a fairly constant level of vigilance. But after a while it kind of becomes second nature! Whenever someone tells me about their health problems now, I have a really hard time NOT thinking "TMS"!

  17. Tom

    Tom New Member

    This is great news Veronica and Jan. Thank you for taking the time to post and support.

    I have been playing hockey this year - not ice hockey for you North Americans - but field hockey, and have been strapping my ankle every game in an effort to support my ankle and foot.

    Since I am trusting my TMS diagnosis I decided to avoid strapping this week. The results were good. I played with freedom and movement. Felt my ankle tweak at times during the game. Then today it twinged several times. Even sore at times.

    Each time I have said to myself, "It is TMS. Breathe." It has been a good mantra and settles the pain and it moves off.

    I am continuing with the structured programme - working on day 6.
    JanAtheCPA, Livvygurl and veronica73 like this.
  18. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Hi Tom:

    Just reading your thread here, sounds like you're making great progress. I agree with Jan that TMS can be a life long journey and *I* for one, celebrate the things I've conquered. Sounds like you are too. How cool you were able to play without the support to your ankle. That's really giving it the "You're outa here" message!

    As a statement to my belief in TMS - I cancelled all "alternative therapies" on my insurance this year. I know what's up with my back and it's nothing a chiro can fix. Congratulations for cancelling that appointment!

  19. Tom

    Tom New Member

    Still on the mend and experiencing gains. Without doubt there is less pain. Especially in the morning upon rising - I almost can not believe it. But I do and I welcome it and I am grateful.:)

    I have enjoyed day 7 of the structured programme as it is a day of rest and reflection.

    I have not yet managed to journal to any great extent. I have tried journalling off and on over the years and never had any success at sustaining it.
    Susan and veronica73 like this.
  20. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    That's great, Tom. Journaling seems to work more for some than others. It was very helpful to me at first but in the last few months I've felt less of a need for it as I've been spending more time talking about things with my therapist and people here.

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