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

Day 24 Let's talk Stomach Issues

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by jokeysmurf, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. jokeysmurf

    jokeysmurf Well known member

    The thing that took me down the rabbit hole of TMS or PPD was very shocking news. I felt a twinge in my left rib at the time i received the news. I started to feel light headed and nervous. Needless to say it sent my body into a fight/Flight and certainly a freeze state. i was stunned. From that day on i felt this twinge like someone inflating a baloon under my left rib. It would come and go.

    So I did what anyone else would or has done. Look for a medical cause. The more I went to the doctor the more i was determined to find out what it was. It wasn't pain (at that time) and my diagnosis changed from pancreatitis, to ulcer, to GERD to other things I can't remember. Each time I felt I was reliving some shocking news in smaller forms. The pain eventually expanded and I started to have it on both sides. Many ER visits revealed nothing. Meanwhile each E.R visit probably added more to the initial shock.

    I lost a lot of weight, everything hurt to eat. Even the thought of eating would cause pain and Nausea. However, this last statement was key. How could the thought or peparing for eating cause pain? If it was indeed medical and structural (which I believed it was at the time) how could imagining eating something produce the same exact pain? Hmm.

    This lead me down a path which took about a year to finally figure out it was all linked to my initial shocking news. I just never realized how our nervous systems are wired before. The final diagnosis was IBS or Spastic Colon. Which in my case was just a way of saying your intestines are squeezing at the wrong time with the wrong intensity.

    I am sure there a many many people on this site who have digestive issues to some degree. They go get check ups for H.Pylori, Ulcers, Endoscopy GERD etc etc. However how many of us ever stopped to link an emotional component? I don't mean that we were mad or sad I mean that we were in either a state of severe fight/flight or freeze. These stages can actually interrupt regular digestion. I too went down the path of seeking medical advice - which almost always said dont eat this but take this pill. To me that was all crap. How can tomato which is barely acidic compete with the acids in your stomach. It shouldn't make a difference, Yet we are convinced its our foods, not our nervous system and core issues.

    I had to relearn that food was safe. Which is not easy because every time I ate something I had pain. Everytime! Even prepping food was painful. It took about 4 months before the pain became inconsistent. Which is a good sign. Another 4 months before I could eat with 70% pain free. Then I went 4 straight months with no pain. How could all of this just start going away? If the doctors told me it was this or that how could it all start going away? Well for one I started doing Somatic Experiencing therapy around my initial shock. That helped a lot. But I had spent almost an entire year creating more fear and trauma around foods, believing the whole time that these foods might harm me. I had good intentions but your limbic system doesn't care about intentions. It only cares about 3 things fight/flight/freeze.

    I am telling this story, for one, I am having a flair up which is on and off for the last month and slowly reducing. Secondly if you already have been check out by a doc and they find nothing, maybe it's learned pain and maybe it's linked to an initial trauma or event. Third, don't create more fear around foods. The last thing we need is more fear. Four, test your self. What I mean is if it is indeed a food allergy or sensitivity or structural, just imagine yourself eating something which you believe will cause pain and see if you get pain. If you do then I would be suspicious about being truly allergic or sensitive or it being structural but rather that it's being generated by the brain. In my experience structural pain responds very well to meds and pain meds, brain generated pain has almost no response or very inconsistent. As far as brain generated pain, almost not pain killer can do much about that, the brain is a very powerful organ.

    Lastly just like me, learn to heal, be patient and don't add unnecessary fear when it's not needed. Im not a doc, so this isn't doctor advice it's mostly my own insight to pain.

    questions welcome. I had the weirdest kind of stomach pains btw. They all started to disappear without meds.
    TrustIt, westb and Lizzy like this.
  2. jokeysmurf

    jokeysmurf Well known member

    Look at the right side of the chart. See where "symptoms" increase or decrease including digestion. After I read this I really started to see the mind body emotion and trauma connection. Instead of the Newtonian idea of medicine where you look at the symptom and treat it as if we were more like a machine rather than a whole complex being.

    happy healing.
  3. Ivanka

    Ivanka Peer Supporter

    I can relate to that. I have almost stopped all pain meds, because 85% of the time they have no effect.

    As for stomach issues. Mine started after my divorce. I have seen many doctors over the years, usually my diagnosis was chronic gastritis. They gave me pills and diets. None of that worked. After a while I figured out that my pain and other stomach symptoms vere stress related. When I was calm and relaxed, I could eat and drink whatever I wanted and felt fine.
    It lasted about and 10 years and got really scary in the end (I don't want to share all the disgusting details).
    Then it dissapeared literally overnight. I had another serious ilness, so there was no need for stomach pain anymore, I guess.

    That was 10 years ago. I still have problems occasionaly and can pretty much figure out the source of stress. It usually goes away pretty quickly.

    So... my brain can't scare me with stomach issues anymore and creates pain in other parts of my body and anxiety instead.

    Ok brain, I hear you, time to look inside, stop ignoring the issues that need to be addressed, try someting different...
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
    TrustIt and Lizzy like this.
  4. Seema

    Seema New Member

    Hello. My son is going through some major digestive issues for the past 3 years. Maybe he also has TMS. There is a lot of fear around food! How long did it take for you to start feeling well? And for how long did you have to suffer?
  5. Seema

    Seema New Member

    Hello. My son is going through some major digestive issues for the past 3 years. Maybe he also has TMS. There is a lot of fear around food! How long did it take for you to start feeling well? And for how long did you have to suffer?
  6. jokeysmurf

    jokeysmurf Well known member

    Has he been checked out by a doc? I was checked out by several docs for a year and diagnoses with IBS. IBS is TMS. I had fear around food for about a year.

    Well for me I stopped having pains consistently after about 6 months. I kept reacting with fear around food for a long time. This was before I knew about TMS. As Alan Gordon put it, you dont' argue with a person in pain. I was convinced it was a medical issue. No one ever found anything even at my worst. I had joined a FB gastritis forum, that didn't help it was just more hyperfocusing on Gaviscon or herbal remedies and not one single person ever talked about stress or fear or TMS. So i quit that and finally found this. I was up and down and had some stretches of relief until January. It got bad after a trip to Mexico and got sick. That just compounded the fear. After i was well a gain the pain returned. I started something new in January I stopped reacting with fear. By March I was way way better. I have flair ups - mostly fear flair ups and it causes pain. When I get a hold of the fear usually a few days or weeks the pain goes away. Sometimes it goes away immediately other times it goes up and down. Right now I have a flair but yesterday I had no pain at all. I catch my mind going back to old fears around food and fear thoughts about my pain.

    You dont have to suffer. I once heard pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. If your son can accept that its about fear then he can heal fast probably within months but it's not an easy journey if we are constantly second guessing or preoccupied with fear around food or anything else.

    I hope he gets well soon.
  7. westb

    westb Well known member

    Thanks for this @jokeysmurf. A really interesting post. What they call IBS is my primary symptom too and has been for the past several years and I've had the endoscopy and the H pylori tests etc etc. The IBS symptoms began in 2011 as I was coming out of a prolonged bout of back pain which was treated with prolotherapy injections. This triggered pain that was worse than the original condition and I was on opioids for two years. I am a typical Type TMS personality type,high achiever, fearful, a worrier, a perfectionist, so that in itself it a big clue. And I am convinced that it is not just about what I eat. I eat pretty healthily out of choice and - as I have a history of eating disorders - because I like the feeling of finally taking care of myself. I get IBS flares regardless.

    I had minor surgery on my foot in mid-June and unfortunately the wound became infected and I had to take a week's course of antibiotics (which I try to avoid if at all possible). Since then my gut has not been at all happy, indeed the worst it has been for a while - especially very painful abdominal and pelvic bloating, not helped by the fact that I am forbidden to take any weightbearing exercise while the foot heals. So my daily therapy of walking in nature is on hold for the next few weeks and I 'm aware of the effect this is having on my general emotional and mental state - I live alone and I'm more or less confined to home apart from taxis to see the GP to change the dressing. I'm drinking kefir (which I love) for the probiotics because I think whether one has digestive problems or not it's a good thing to do. Long term I'm convinced the emotional and mind/body route is the way out of this mess and I have no choice but to be patient (ugh!) and do the work.

    I can't say that I can generally link the flares to any particular emotional upset in the here and now (though the foot surgery and the current aftermath may be the exception). They can happen at times when otherwise life is fairly calm. For me the link is to long-repressed rage and fear, starting in childhood in an often unhappy and frightening family, that have been suppressed over the decades. I'm seeing a therapist to work on all this stuff.

    There are times when I despair and wonder if the rest of my life is going to be limited in this way (I'm 69) but deep down there is a light and I keep pressing on in faith.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
    TrustIt likes this.
  8. Seema

    Seema New Member

    Thank you for responding! Makes a lot of sense.
    Yes, he has seen several gastros, had all conventional tests, and of course gone down the path of naturopaths and tried many, many diets but nothing seems to help the gas and bloating that he gets daily in the evening.
    He believes the problem may lie in his microbiome, so he's taking probiotics, enzymes, avoiding many foods, etc.

    Wondering how to help him.

    TrustIt likes this.
  9. jokeysmurf

    jokeysmurf Well known member

    well the microbiome and enzymes and probiotics didn't help me one bit and I stuck with it for a year. Why didn't it help? Because spasms are caused by a fight or flight response not by disbiosis. People who dont have IBS are always trying to cure something that has more to do with fear or trauma than a specific region affected.

    Let me explain. Newtonian ideas of Medicine are what set the ball rolling for our modern way of thinking that goes something like this. I have a pain in my leg or throat or stomach the source of the pain must be present in that area. OK, that's logical but it doesnt account for pain that present in those areas when no on can find anything. Let me guess every person he went to found nothing? This is the time to really start addressing trauma or fear responses. Look back into his life or he can, and ask what was happening that may have been very stressful or traumatic during or before that occurence.

    It seems really weird to have this happen when he's not had a history since youth. I went down the same path or enzymes, naturopaths and probiotics - i know. It's like wanting it desperately to go away - which makes the pain more persistent.

    What I did is accept that the pain, bloating etc is there. Work on not having fear responses toward food. Work on not having fear toward other things incuding the pain. Eventually, the pain will subside or go away.

    I was having a flair this month - I realized I was having a fear response to many things revolving around moving to another state. Not overtly but unconciously. It has taken me about two weeks. No more pain. Im sure it will surface again and subside and surface and subside in time to come.

    Lastly maybe see a pain therapist or EMDR therapist to address core fears that he may not be aware he has. All this is really about things that occur beyond our awareness.

    I hope this helps. Things wont get better until acceptance happens and a change to fear takes place in my opinion. At least that was my case. It's not an easy thing to get over so it takes time and that can be discouraging. lots of ups and downs. We are basically changing how we respond to pain and fear which the brain interprets as the same thing.
    TrustIt likes this.
  10. jokeysmurf

    jokeysmurf Well known member

    @ Westb, well honestly the verdict is still out on probiotics. I think it can't hurt but its not the miracle cure people with IBS thought it would be. Often times probiotics can cause even more bloating and gas. It did to me, so I don't do the probiotics. I occasionally drink kombucha but mostly for taste. In my experience anything that is tied to an idea of "this is good for me because it will help with my pain or discomfort" in some ways can be an act of fear. This will keep the cycle going of pain. It's really a matter of fear. We all have fear, that how we are wired. We are wired to be afraid, its our evolution. The neocortex part of the brain is so new that in fact it interferes with many of our mammalian processes of healing. Which means we think think think things to death. We fear symptoms, anxiety, shaking, dizziness etc. Instead of saying, hmm, thats interesting or that must be some bound energy and allowing it to come to the surface, we squash it and it manifests into many symptoms.

    The main thing with symptoms that leads people astray is that they focus on the region that it is happening. What I do is realize that it doesnt matter one bit if it is in your leg, back, head, beck or stomach. It's all TMS. If we keep chasing the ever changing positions of pain then we remain focused on the pain and the fear around it. That keeps us locked in. I used to eat certain food out of fear. Once I overcame my fear I started eating whatever I wanted. The hardest one to get over was anything greasy or beer. I always had pain. One day even before I ate a slice of pizza or opened a bear I just thought about it and the same pain was manifested. This really told me that it was all related to fear. So i said screw it Im going to eat it. I was in pain. I did it over and over and over, in the span of weeks and i told myself pain or not I was going to be OK. One day i didnt even notice that I had no pain. When I took notice, the pain came on, but it was a fantastic moment where I had broken the cycle even if for a moment. It really really is about changing how we respond to pain, either with fear or acceptance and try to go on with your day. Eventually your brain gets the message and stops sending danger signals which = pain.

    Keep at it and work on your fear response to pain and food and you will be free of it.
    Happy healing
    TrustIt likes this.
  11. westb

    westb Well known member

    Thanks for the detailed reply @jokeysmurf. Much to ponder here.
  12. Seema

    Seema New Member

    Thanks for your comments, jokeysmurf! Yes, definitely a lot of fear to overcome!

    One difficult thing is constantly reading online ibs forums and hearing of people's stories, where they only got better after several years of low fodmap foods, or avoiding this or that food, and then eventually they found the correct combination of probiotics and foods that work with them. A long, grueling process, especially if at the end you've gone 2 long years, limiting your joy and the limiting the nutrients from foods that actually are very good for you, and you still haven't gotten better. That's the stage we're at now.
    Any similar issues with you?
    TrustIt likes this.
  13. jokeysmurf

    jokeysmurf Well known member

    @Seema, the term constantly reading, to me indicates a lack of acceptance still and pressure on oneself to “figure” it out. Pressure can lead to criticism which can activate the brains danger and fear signals which can lead to more IBS pain.

    It is very possible that these people got better because of time and overcoming of fear and not food. Food seems incidental. I did a lowdodmap for a year I didn’t notice a difference if I ate healthy or cake. Pain was pain.

    The only time I felt pain free was when I had spent time addressing my core issues of fears and eventually not reacting with fear. Remember it doesn’t matter where the pain is, the brain is generating fear because it thinks one is in danger. Anxiety and IBS go hand in hand. However online forums will say that IBS causes anxiety, that seems weird to say that the IBS causes, it can perpetuate it but most certainly something in life causes the anxiety first.

    I stopped all the fodmap and online stuff. It was hard. I lost about 25 lbs, I was really thin and fragile. I couldn’t exercise. I can now. I still have peeps of pain here and there and that because I spent soo much time researching and feeding my brain fear thought and obsessing every time I had pain. All life would stop and I would focus on the pain and what it meant. So I’m about 6-8 months into the TMS thing and I’m havinf success with IBS and anxiety but it’s sporadic, slow and I have to be patient.

    It’s harder to convince ourselves that threats don’t exist because we are wired to be anxious. That’s our caveman nervous system at work thinking that being afraid will keep us alive.

    Here is a story that might give you hope. I know woman who has had IBS since she was 13. She lived in a very dysfunctional home. She went to all the docs, all the same tests and diets. Lost lots of weight and had self esteem issues etc. she meets a man, falls in love starts to feel self worth and after they marry her IBS goes away completely for years. It came back only after the stress of motherhood lead her to want to resume her career which she felt nervous about. When it came back it would also go away when she was at home feeling comfort and love. So how can a low fodmap diet account for that?

    My IBS is similar. It’s all part of a stress response. If you read Dr. Claire Weekes or the Linden Method story every one has digestive issues. That’s because when you’re in a state of fight or flight one of the first things that gets compromised is digestion. I’d do more research on this than diets in my opinion.
    TrustIt likes this.
  14. TrustIt

    TrustIt Well known member

    This is the main thing I react to when I go into "analyzing" what the symptom may be. I have discontinued looking at all the webinars and forums on how people healed with this diet/that diet/this thing/that thing/ and just thinking about the figuring it out part is enough to throw me into a full-fledged anxiety attack. I DON'T WANT TO have to attend to my body with all that focus and minutia and deprivation. I DON'T WANT to have to go through some grueling detox protocol. I want this to be TMS because it is something I can do myself and not need a food guru or a doctor to put me on some complicated journey. I have health anxiety....upset stomach anxiety symptom...and do know that I have deeply ingrained stress, I just can't seem to let it go. I need patience. And reinforcement that it can be done. Thank you to the folks on this forum who keep it simple...it's TMS!

Share This Page