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Looking for some encouragement due to recent persistent knee pain

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by tmrf, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. tmrf

    tmrf New Member

    I am struggling with knee pain in both knees. It has been off and on for about 8 weeks, but has been more persistent for the last week or so. One week ago I stressed them by over doing it on an elliptical machine. I know now I used bad form and distributed my weight into my knees instead of my thighs. I have had brief bouts of knee pain in years past. 2 times I went to the doctor with the last appointment occurring approximately 18 months ago. Both times he took images and said my cartilage looked healthy. I run regularly on a treadmill. I have no swelling. There is little or no pain when I am walking or active. It hurts when I sit and when I wake in the morning. The pain is along the side of my knees between my legs and some times behind the knee. At times they feel tight when bent. I also have pain in my calfs. I know my achilles are tight. I don't understand why both legs are hurting. Yesterday I did some work in the yard and walked around at the mall and felt great. I thought this episode was over and then I sat for an hour and everything was sore again. I am very active and get very depressed if I have to stop my activity. I read some posts from baseball65 and he seemed to get over debilitating knee pain because it was TMS. I am looking for some success stories to give me hope. I tend to spiral down quickly when faced with physical challenges. I tend to be a fearful person.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi tmrf - It sounds like you landed in the right place. Welcome to the TMS Wiki forum!

    We don't focus on symptoms here, because everyone's symptoms are just a little bit different - that's our tricky brains at work, managing to find symptoms that are NOT like someone else's symptom. So this will be the last time that you need to describe your symptoms in detail - you can just say "knee pain" from now on, and that's good enough.

    You don't say anything about what you know about TMS other than seeing some posts here, so if you haven't read any of Dr. John Sarno's books, that's the first thing you need to do. Or, rather, the second thing - you already did the first thing. which was to receive a clean bill of health from your doc (and that's news to celebrate, right?)

    Everyone has their own favorite - if you are analytical and would like some corroboration, I would recommend the first one I read, which is The Divided Mind. This is Dr. Sarno's fourth book, in which he provides a four-chapter overview of his theories, and lets five other MDs and a psychologist present their views on mind body syndromes (MBS), aka psycho-physiologic disorders (PPD) aka tension myositis syndrome (TMS). This book changed my life. The Mind-Body Prescription was his third book - it presents his own theories in more detail, and is his first book to list non-pain "TMS equivalents" as he calls them.

    If you suffer from anxiety (which Dr. Sarno and many other practitioners believe is a TMS equivalent) you are not alone. Most of us have anxiety. Anxiety is most likely my middle name. There are lots of resources to address your anxiety and start to calm your nerves - many are discussed on this forum.

    You can start working our Structured Educational Program (free, written and maintained by volunteers) at whatever pace appeals to you. You'll be introduced to videos, readings, success stories, and learn how to do writing exercises designed to uncover and face your fears and emotions.

    And for success stories, you won't want to miss the Thank You Dr. Sarno web site, which was started to honor Dr. Sarno upon his retirement a few years ago. It's absolutely inspiring.

    Good luck on your new journey, and please know that we are all in this together, and we're here to help each other.

    Grateful17 likes this.
  3. tmrf

    tmrf New Member

    Thank you so much for your suggestions and kind words Jan. It is nice to know there is an online community which understands. I am very familiar with Dr. Sarno's work. I own and have read Healing Back Pain (several times). I also own a DVD recording of Dr. Sarno lecturing about his theory. I even have Steve Ozanich's book, The Great Pain Deception. I can tell you my books are quite dogeared and marked up. They have been very comforting to me. This is not my first go round with my friend - TMS. We met maybe 6 years ago when I had a 2 year bout of neck and back pain. I suffered through the customary chiropractic, medical exams and imaging, steroid treatments and other drugs (including psychotropics), PT, exercise, etc. That is when, by the grace of God, I was introduced to Dr. Sarno's work. It saved me until I had another bout consisting of arm pain; oddly enough in both arms. First, I went to PT for treatment of that. It persisted until I told myself I was going to reject everything the physical therapist was telling me and get back to living. The pain went away. So, I have been down this road before. Funny though - each time I tell myself "this time is something different and something really is wrong with me." I could be a poster child for TMS. I have a tremendous amount of repressed emotion. I am type A and I have life stress factors that seem to have no resolution. Nobody would know from looking at me. I have spent a lifetime learning to keep it all locked away behind my professional facade. I know I am doing this to myself, yet there is a little voice in the back of my head that says differently. I think that is the fear talking.
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Darn, I had a feeling I should have asked first (darn again - I've used the dreaded "should") :p

    Okay then, welcome back! To your symptoms, that is - because I totally know what you are talking about. I've had one symptom which continues to follow me around, and right now I've got some new shoulder pain, which my sister has decided is "frozen shoulder". Because it's exactly like what she has, which a shoulder surgeon diagnosed for her. And guess what - in addition to the silly non-scientific name (a dead giveaway for "we don't really know what it is") THEY readily admit that they have no idea what it is, how it happens, why it mostly happens to women, and why it generally resolves itself in 6 months to a year. So at least she isn't pushing surgery on me.

    I go back and forth with this - some days I want to do the exercises on her doc's web site. Other days I tell myself that's stupid, it's obviously TMS. I have a standing training session at the gym on Tuesdays, and the shoulder always feels pretty good afterwards, although it often hurts when I'm doing certain things (it's my glutes and quads that are usually killing me the next day, LOL). My trainer isn't too concerned, which I appreciate - she's seen it before, and she's seen it resolve. I'm using common sense, and if something hurts "the wrong way" I back off, try a lighter weight or whatever, but I still do every exercise to some extent, and I make sure to do it the same on both sides if I can.

    And as I've admitted a few times recently, I am one of those people who think that I live and breathe TMS, so I "should" be able to get over this just by thinking about it a little harder. The truth is that there is only one way that actually works for me, and that's to sit down and write it out. I made a start the other night, and was rather appalled to realize how much negative self-talk has been spinning around in my head this summer.

    I'll never forget my best friend in college (the one with frequent suicidal thoughts but he outgrew those) telling me that I was his rock, because nothing ever bothered me. Seriously, dude? Hahahahahahahahaha..........aaaaaaak! How little he knew - I suffered from a massive amount of anxiety, all locked away behind my pragmatic facade! I think I was born anxious. My parents didn't really know how to deal with it, so I just covered it up, and learned to cope. It's not that hard to do if you're a perfectionist.

    Without knowing what those are, I have to ask whether there's any possibility that some of them could be resolved by changing your relationship to them, OR by changing your mind about them. We hear a lot about unresolved parental conflict, for example - people can't change their parents or what happened in the past, but they can change their perception in subtle ways that allow them to move on. Others are a lot harder, like dysfunctional relationships, problematic children, or dependent parents, situations you can't simply turn your back on. The only thing to do in some cases is to do the best you can to love yourself and give yourself credit for what you are doing. That's the antidote for negative self-talk.

    No, I could be a poster child for TMS. dancea

    But seriously... you might ask around (here) for advice on ways to turn off the negative dialogue in your brain. I was just looking at one today, which I found by first reading this blog by Dr. Hanscom (back surgeon, except when he's not and that's the cool thing about him) then perusing Stage 1 of his mind-body program where I found a reference to the 3-Column Technique of Dr. David Burns - but first I had to read a bit about Dr. Burns' book Feeling Good. Then I googled the 3-Column Technique and founds various references to it - enough to create my own spreadsheet which incorporates the concept. I've already started making entries, and it's an interesting exercise in recognizing how negative I am towards myself!

    It's amazing how much information there is, and how many resources there are - it's actually quite overwhelming, which is not good for us perfectionists, because we can end up frozen with indecision - what if I don't pick the "right" thing that is going to work for me? Once again - a little dose of self-love and changing our perception, can go a long way.

    I hope you stick around - think about doing the SEP, and keep us posted, okay?

  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, there's a lot written about TMS and a lot to read, but I take it a little at a time. An hour a day with a TMS book is enough for me. I then read for pleasure or do something I enjoy. It's good to find distractions to everyday worries or pain.

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