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

Major breakthrough, but with a catch...or in my case, a TWITCH!

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by donavanf, Jun 11, 2016.

  1. donavanf

    donavanf Well known member

    I've had TMS for my whole life in the form of IBS and anxiety attacks and in the last few years, it has manifested as right shoulder pain, neck pain and upper back tension, between my shoulder blades. It's been an exciting, but VERY stressful last few months in terms of new responsibilities, financial burdens and "good stress". I leased a new car, began a new romantic relationship and started a new part time job (ironically, driving for Lyft, which breaks through a MAJOR trigger for me, DRIVING!) and I also dealt with some LONG suppressed family issues. All in the span of a month. The family issues have been a trigger for a long time and were the initial "straw that broke the camels back" in 2013, which had me "doctor shopping" and going from PT to Chiropractor to Neurologist and round and round until I found Sarno and saw Dr. David Schechter who confirmed TMS. My TMS has been at about a 5-7 out of ten, for years. I take low dose meds, for anxiety and depression and am in generally "good health", despite me thinking otherwise. Occasionally my TMS drops to a 3, and I barely have shoulder or neck pain. Here is the thing. This month? My upper back has gone to a 2. Hardly hurts at all. About one week ago, I had a new bed delivered and decided to just move my old bed myself, with a buddy, to save some money. Secretly, this enraged me. I've been working so hard and felt angry I couldn't hire movers. Well, I should have hired a mover. I'm 45, out of shape and I moved a California King. Down a flight of stairs. Needless to say, the next day, my LOWER back and LEFT arm started hurting pretty good. Or bad. Couple days later, I had a rather strenuous shoot (I'm a photographer) and I spent a few days resting after, because my lower back felt like it was going to "go out" and my arm was aching. After about 3-4 days, the lower back pain continued and I realized my neck wasn't bothering me at all. Aha! TMS! So, I told my lower back, "Hi. I know you. You are TMS. Yes, we moved a bed. And yes, we are sleeping in a new bed. But I have a strong back and I have rested it, and there is nothing wrong. I am under a lot of stress, and that's life. I am sorry if I overdid it a bit. Go away, and stop bothering me. I can plainly see you just moved from my neck to my lower back! The game is up!". Well, about a day or two later, the back pain damn near vanished, now it is a tiny little whisper. And my neck feels better than it has felt in years! BUT, and this is a big but...I have "Fasciculations" in my left arm. It is twitching like crazy. Pretty much all day. Like one of those twitches you get in your eye (I've had that happen many times during stressful periods, but having in my arm is scarier for some reason). And my arm aches like crazy, near the twitch. This "twitch" began within a day of having a major argument with my sister, a LOOOONG time trigger. We worked through some OLD issues and everything is actually better between us than it has been in years. In fact, my life has improved overall. I have a new car, a lovely new bed (a little firmer than I'm used to, but so far I'm sleeping sound), I have a new, flexible source of additional income to supplement my photography (driving Lyft) and my overall energy feels positive. But still, I'm convinced this arm twitching is MS, ALS, Parkinson's or some god awful malady. Part of my TMS is a raging case of OCD, and especially "scaring" myself and visiting "Dr. Google" all night till I am CONVINCED something is seriously wrong despite Schecter and even my own doctor telling me I'm ok. I also have some medical training (former acupuncturist), so I know just enough about what symptoms "might" be indicators of to scare the crap out of myself. I know one of Alan Gordon's recordings talks with a woman who "scares herself", and man, it hit home. My whole life, the slightest symptom has triggered me to worry that I am on death's door. I can turn a cold into Tuberulosis and an arm twitch into Parkinson's faster than you can say, "Symptom Substitution". In case it isn't apparent, I am quite creative and my imagination runs WILD. Any thoughts on twitching muscles, fasciculations, symptom substitution and/or self-soothing instead of self-scaring? Sorry for the loooooong post, but maybe it will resonate with someone. I'm worried sick that my arm twitching is the beginning of me being crippled. Yes, I KNOW that is silly, but the more I worry? You got it, the MORE my arm twitches. It's like my arm is saying, "You should be happy your back is feeling better, but you can't be. I won't let you. I'm going to distract you into worrying about something brand new, and just scary enough to keep your mind hyper focused on the worst." How can I BREAK this pattern? And I wouldn't mind this twitching going away. It's driving me NUTS. Also, I feel a MAJOR amount of RAGE coming to the surface and it's like I can't feel it or let it out. A lot is "coming up" since this twitch began. It's like the tip of an iceberg is showing through.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2016
    Huxley and eskimoeskimo like this.
  2. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    Twitching is one of the most common physical manifestations of stress and anxiety.

    There is actually a forum dedicated solely to 'Benign Fasciculation Syndrome' and it is basically full of anxiety riddled people all convinced they are suffering from a neuro nasty of some sort.

    I had the twitching something terrible during my health anxiety period and it would sometimes be quite widespread whilst others times it would be localised in what are known as hotspots. The twitches went on for well over a year and if I'm honest if I think to look at my calf muscle in the bath or whatever I do still see them but they no longer bother me as I know they are nothing serious.

    It is very very rare for the disease you fear to present as twitching...the defining presentation isn't aching, pain or twitching but rather objective and clinical weakness which is obviously very noticeable.

    One thing I can confirm is that like many anxiety/TMS physical presentations the more you worry about them and desire them to be gone you create the paradox of giving them the fuel they require to keep going.
    Huxley, eskimoeskimo, Ellen and 3 others like this.
  3. Yulia1975

    Yulia1975 Peer Supporter

    I twitch my right arm too, its kind of tension I start to feel in the shoulder area and all arm starts to twitch creating scary cracking noises inside ...
    I have done EEG, all good.
    My jaw clicks without any reason, it may suddenly start and stop.
    Neck/shoulder super tensed....
    I think its connected, tension related, TMS!
    donavanf and Bunneh like this.
  4. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I can guarantee you don't have any of the big gun neurological disorders. My partner has Parkinsons and twitching is not characteristic of either the prodrome or condition itself. It's easy to freak out over symptoms. It's typical of tms and its tricky nature. My best advice is watch some comedy and laugh this episode off.
    Huxley and donavanf like this.
  5. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Donavanf,

    Good to hear that you are experiencing progress and a lessening of pain symptoms. The twitching seems like a major improvement. It is a common TMS symptom and nothing to worry about. The only problem the twitching is leading to is in your thinking about it. The symptom itself is not problematic. The good news is that you can change your thinking. It's not easy but can be done. You're already demonstrating the first stage of change which is your awareness of your thinking and it's irrational nature.

    I find it useful to view this as a bad habit. This is how our (TMSers) brain responds to adversity of any kind. But your conscious, rational brain can override this with repetition. Just keep telling yourself that the twitching is benign and is nothing to worry about. Then try to focus on something else outside yourself. I find it useful when doing this to practice active mindfulness, where I become completely absorbed in an activity in the here and now for as long as I can maintain it. This can be something simple like taking a shower, doing the dishes, pulling weeds, etc. This simple practice changes everything because it stops the mental chatter.

    Wishing you the best....
    Huxley and donavanf like this.
  6. Bunneh

    Bunneh Peer Supporter

    I had ALS freakouts more than a year ago. If you can still use that twitching arm, I have good news: it's not ALS, because then the twitching would occur along with muscle wasting, and you would no longer be able to use the muscle.
    trust me, I'm an expert when it comes to all nasty neurological diseases...been there, done that.
    All the best!:)

Share This Page