1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this link: http://go.tmswiki.org/newprogram
    Dismiss Notice

Lots of questions - please help me understand

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by FindingJoy, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. FindingJoy

    FindingJoy New Member

    I am very excited that I have found this forum! Here is my story. I had been having low back and hip pain on an off for about a year. The pain was on the right side of my body, in the SI joint area and deep in my left hip. Also during this period, starting about 8 months ago, my right forearm started burning, I assumed from the computer work I do for a living. This had flared up occasionally in years past, but always resolved quickly. I tried yoga seriously for a couple of months, and eventually both arms/wrists were burning and numb, I thought from all those poses putting pressure on my wrists. So I quite yoga.

    I finally saw a Dr, focusing on the back and hip problems first. My X-ray was normal, and was sent to PT. PT said that my joints were hypermobile and that my muscles were very tight in an effort to stabilize my low spine. I did have a history or being very "flexible", sitting/standing in contorted positions and just generally having terrible posture. Also true that I never got my core muscles in shape after having children. So, I faithfully did the exercises and within a couple of months I saw great improvement.

    The arm pain continued, although just in my right arm, generally as a burning or tingling sensation throughout the forearm. I went through a period of time where the pain was in my tendons, tennis elbow and golfers elbow. Then that subsided. Then I could identify the pain specifically as ulnar nerve pain, with numbness and pain down to the side of my hand and little finger. I decided to try acupuncture. Went for a few sessions, pain was better for a bit, then returned. Also, about a week after my first session, I developed itching on the mid to lower right side of my face. This then progressed to tingling, and then to intermittent feelings of pressure. Saw my PCP and he was not concerned. This has primarily resolved but I still have occasional tingling.

    Eventually went back to PT and did a month of sessions for my arm. Again, all my muscles were very tight. Throughout everything, I was trying every ergonomic fix I could find, day brace, night brace, new mouse, new keyboard, chair adjustments as well as heat, TENS machine, massage machine, deep tissue massage sessions, new pillows, etc. Nothing was helping. The arm pain went from mainly just during working hours to almost all the time.

    Next I tried a specialist. Had an EMG which showed a slight nerve impingement near the elbow. Decided to go for an MRI, which showed a herniated cervical disc. I stopped PT but was prescribed a bunch of new exercises focusing on neck mobilization. I was told that my neck was basically hinging in one spot due to my hypermobility in that area and the super tight muscles preventing movement in the other vertabra. I feel like my life is consumed with the exercises, the adjustments and modifications, the gear, and always thinking about my posture, alignment, ergonomics, etc.

    The last week or so, I've had a lot of tightness in my chest. This is also something I've had periodically but never stayed like this time. Somehow, in my reading I stumbled across TMS and this forum. I just read Healing Back Pain. I see myself so much in the description, in some of the personality traits (perfectionist, worrier, anxious) and the shifting symptoms. I am ready to go all in to learn about this and heal.

    However, I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around a couple of things.

    1. Will anyone weigh and and let me know if this indeed sounds like TMS?
    2. Do the exercises not matter at all? I know that you're not supposed to continue exercises to target specific areas, but I've been doing more exercising in general and it feels great. I think part of all this is stemming from the fact that I haven't really taken care of myself in years. As long as I'm not thinking of exercises as trying to correct a structural problem, is it reasonable to continue?
    3. Does my posture and ergonomics not matter at all? I'm having trouble accepting that my alignment, how I sit all day, how I perform extremely repetitive tasks, how strong my core is, has no affect on whether or not I'm experiencing pain.

    Thank you so much for reading if you've made it this far. Any insight is very appreciated!
     
  2. Orion2012

    Orion2012 Well known member

    1. Absolutely, in my opinion
    2. Exercise to feel good. Do whatever you enjoy. Run, swim, ride a bike. Generally, PT is not recommended because it reinforces structural thinking.
    3. Worrying about posture and ergonomics also reinforces structural thinking. This serves as a distraction, just like the pain. What is it distracting you from?
     
  3. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Finding Joy,

    Welcome to the forums! Your story sounds typical of many of us with different pain issues. Here's my take on your questions:

    1. Will anyone weigh and and let me know if this indeed sounds like TMS? Yes absolutely! It all sounds like TMS especially since you've been cleared medically from these issues to rule out anything serious :) Herniated discs are almost always an incidental finding and not the cause of chronic pain.

    2. Do the exercises not matter at all? I know that you're not supposed to continue exercises to target specific areas, but I've been doing more exercising in general and it feels great. I think part of all this is stemming from the fact that I haven't really taken care of myself in years. As long as I'm not thinking of exercises as trying to correct a structural problem, is it reasonable to continue?

    So here's my take as a PT who is a TMS enthusiast- general exercise is great! It is good for body and mind, this is for sure. I would focus on doing general exercises you enjoy and think of them as helping you get stronger and conditioned. Specific/corrective PT-type exercise will not work for pain relief when you unlearn the structural model as the cause of chronic pain.

    3. Does my posture and ergonomics not matter at all? I'm having trouble accepting that my alignment, how I sit all day, how I perform extremely repetitive tasks, how strong my core is, has no affect on whether or not I'm experiencing pain.

    Similar to the above answer- you have to reject all of these ideas to adopt TMS. Posture and ergonomics matter only to the extent you feel comfortable in general (no one would feel great slouched over for 8 hours a day!) but poor posture is not the cause of chronic pain. Everyone is "out of alignment" in various ways, this is just part of the "normal abnormalities" we all have. Bodies come in so many shapes and sizes and alignments, all are ok! Chronic pain is not caused from a little slouching, foot pronation, hyper or hypomobiltiy or other normal deviations from the "perfect" model of alignment. Also, core strength will not alleviate back pain! I have personal experience with this. Core strength WILL help you lift more efficiently and do things more easily but it won't get rid of pain. It might make you a little less prone to injury if you do heavy weight lifting but again, it won't cure TMS pain :)
     

Share This Page