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

My chronic pain story.. will I ever be pain free?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by patrickj, Sep 11, 2022.


Do I have TMS

  1. Yes

  2. No

    0 vote(s)
  1. patrickj

    patrickj Well known member

    Hi everybody

    This is my first post on the TMS wiki…so I’m just going to tell my story and if somebody manages to read it and be kind enough to offer advice or support I would massively appreciate it.

    I’m 35 yo and my physical pain began when I was approx 20 years with a terrible case of shin splints. I used to play football (soccer) a couple of times a week but had to give up because of it. I even had surgery (fasciotomy myofascial release) on one of my legs - which didn’t stop the pain coming on whenever I ran or played sports. I still have extremely sore legs to touch now. I’ve actually managed a few games of football here and there but the shin splints have never gone away. Plus I have countless other injuries to deal with now to get in my way. Eventually the doctors gave up with my legs. The doctor actually said to me “have you thought about giving up?” - to which I asked him if he suggests the same thing to his cancer patients.

    Just on a side note, I always remember having “achy hips” as a kid - I’d regularly complain to my mum that my hips were aching…

    Anyway, the other pain I have is shoulder pain which causes weakness / numbness / cracking / clunking / pain etc. I’ve had this 4 years and it stopped me going to the gym and lifting weights. There’s half the strength in my left arm than my right because of this. I had an MRI 4 years ago which showed barely anything - a slight 6mm tendon tear. I went for an ultrasound guided injection and he refused to do it because he couldn’t see anything. I still have exactly the same pain now and am actually going through the NHS process again of orthopaedic surgeons and there’s an MRI in 8 weeks. I don’t expect anything but why not. Of course I was sent for physio and strengthening exercises which did nothing and I struggle to keep consistent with. So I tell myself it’s my fault for not being consistent. Also I’ve seen chiropractors, massage therapists etc, no relief except they temporarily feel good.

    I’ve had chronic back pain for 3+ years which got much worse approx 2 years ago. Currently I’m in a really bad spell, the pain gets worse and better in cycles etc. I recently went on a 5 flight holiday to Cape Verde and my pain quadrupled from the flight until now, still no better. I had a holiday in February too which was consumed by back pain. Very depressing and frustrating. I never used to get such bad back pain from flights and hotel beds. The back pain got worse after the birth of my daughter, I blamed it on being bent over all the time with bottles etc. Also I blame it on bad posture after reading Dr Stuart McGill’s Back Mechanic.

    I pulled my hamstring at a game of football 6 months ago. Except I did not “feel it pull” - I just woke up the next day and it was hurting and it’s still hurting now. Obviously that’s another 6 months out of football. All I’ve ever asked is to play 5-a-side once a week with my friends. I have 2 friends these days and my wife hates one of them.

    I also have had this weird glute/hip pain, cracking and tightness for about a year.

    I’m the most stressed I’ve ever been and have struggled with anxiety and depression since my thirties. Started off with bad anxiety after a panic attack and the chronic pain has led me to depression and as you all know, a massive burden of stress because everyday is consumed by pain. It’s hard enough going to work every day, being a husband, being a dad without chronic pain.

    I should mention I was sexually abused as a young boy, my parents divorced when I was 16/17 ish and my mum is an alcoholic / recovering alcoholic. I’m not fell out with my family but we’re not close. I’m not “friends” with my dad or brother - we don’t speak very often and can barely hold a conversation for longer than 2 mins, it’s very awkward seeing them. I’ve never been satisfied with my job and I am obsessed with building my own online businesses so I aren’t stuck in a job forever. My dad pushed me to work for his friends company when I was about 20 after I didn’t go to uni because I didn’t know what to do. So I ended up working in a job where I don’t belong and I feel like a failure because of it tbh. I also worked on a building site for a couple of years when my dad got me a job at his friends building company where I got bullied for 2 years, and I don’t use that term lightly. I was literally told “I’m not worth a wank” on my first day. Most people laugh at that story..

    I hope you all managed to get through that. I am currently reading John Sarno’s books and have subscribed to the Curable app. Has anyone had any success with Curable? I am obsessed with watching YouTube videos, reading articles etc etc

    Will my pain ever go away?

    Last edited: Sep 11, 2022
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi @patrickj and welcome.

    Naturally, we can't guarantee anything, especially as most of us are not medical or mental health professionals, but I tell you what - go to the Success Stories subforum, pick thread titles that you relate to, and start reading. You should find plenty of inspiration in many different amazing stories of recovery.

    I will say that it sure sounds to me like you're in the right place, because you've been to the so-called experts, and "they can't find anything wrong". This is actually the title of a book by David Clarke, MD, about the connection of emotional stress to chronic symptoms. Dr. Clarke is also one of the founders of the Psycho-Physiological Disorders Association, along with many other luminaries of the mindbody world, including Georgie Oldfield, a follower of Dr. Sarno and founder of the SIRPA recovery programme in the UK. The goal of the PPDA is to spread the word about PPD (aka MBS, aka TMS) within the medical and mental health communities.

    At this point, you've got nothing to lose, and everything to gain, and you can do this work for far less cost (Curable, for example) than ongoing physio, alternative treatments, and individual psychotherapy. I got in on the ground floor of the Curable app and managed to get a lifetime membership for a screamin' good deal, but I really only did so in order to support the app, because I had already done our SEP (Structured Educational Program) here on the main wiki, a number of years prior. I do like their podcasts and interviews. The basic idea of Curable is similar to the SEP in terms of gradually introducing the user to the concepts in short easy-to-digest lessons and providing exercises and readings as you progress. One difference for sure between Curable and the SEP is that Curable is professionally organized and regularly updated with new information and recent podcasts. They also have offshoots like their Groups and other add-ons, about which I don't really know anything.

    Since you've already got Curable lined up, jump on in and give this work your best effort! Again - what have you got to lose at this point?

    I feel I have to let you know that psychotherapeutic intervention might still be in your future, because, as Dr. Sarno himself said, and as I've observed here in my completely non-professional capacity, people who experienced trauma, neglect, or abuse as children are far more likely to develop serious and resistant TMS symptoms early in life, along with the TMS equivalents of anxiety, OCD, and depression. This is because when you were a child, your brain had to shut down the absolutely unacceptable trauma of not being protected by the people who should have cherished and protected you and provided unconditional love.

    If your subconscious protective brain senses that you are going to take a look at that shit, it will do its best to keep it repressed - and it will do so with increased symptoms, new symptoms, and even worse anxiety and depression. The worse the stuff being repressed is, the more resistant the brain is to TMS techniques, and one-on-one intervention might be needed.

    Why does your brain betray you like this? It's because our protective fear mechanism developed many millenia ago with the evolution of homo sapiens, and it hasn't really evolved since then. The TMS mechanism is a way for our brains to repress emotions in order to keep us worried and alert for danger, and thus keep us safe and alive. Our brains don't realize we now live in what is (for most of us) a physically safe, but very complex world full of intangible stresses instead of sabre-tooth tigers, and it doesn't realize that we live far longer than the few decades that primitive humans lived. Our poor primitive brains aren't prepared to handle today's stresses. And our bodies were never designed to handle decades of chronic stress.

    This is probably more information than you were looking for. I sincerely wish that I had an easy "Yes!" answer for you. The answer absolutely CAN be Yes! Just be aware that it's not a linear process, and that there is no "one way" that works for everyone. Reading our Success Stories should illustrate that, if nothing else!

    Good luck,

  3. patrickj

    patrickj Well known member

    Thanks for your response, I will continue to try and recover but I’m still not convinced I have TMS
  4. Philippa W

    Philippa W New Member

    Hallo Patrick,
    I am so sorry to hear of your pain, both mental and emotional. It's incredibly depressing to think one might have to suffer for the rest of one's life. For years now, I have had on and off hip and leg pain and difficulty walking. It's cleared up and I get symptom free and then it comes back again. This come and go nature of the pain makes me think this does not have an ongoing structural cause. As well, I've had various ailments that got 'cured' naturally, such as acid reflux, skin outbreaks, all minor but with complete success, without meds or interventions, and no causes found. So that is what gives me hope that I can overcome this latest round of pain, at age 71. An osteopath told me recently that there is no correlation between pain and arthritis, i.e. wear and tear of the joints. Then I read Dr Sarno and he said exactly the same thing many years ago. So I'd rather listen to the science. I do recommend journalling. When the pain is bad, I ask myself, what am I feeling now? I cast my mind around for people in my life and invariably someone emerges who has caused me emotional pain in my past or present. Then I journal those feelings out, and it somehow alleviates the pain, at least it distracts from it for momentary relief. That itself points to the mindbody connection. Yes, you probably need intensive psychotherapy to deal with your terrible childhood experiences. A friend of mine was raped as a teenager, continued on with her life as if nothing happened and years later suffered a stroke. I am convinced there is a connection between these types of events. Good luck, Philippa
    patrickj and JanAtheCPA like this.
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    From one 71-yr-old to another, welcome @Philippa W! Sounds like we've had similar lifelong experiences of TMS, and that Dr Sarno provided the Aha! that we needed. I discovered Dr Sarno at age 60, eleven years ago, and have been hanging out here since then, because I so appreciate this community and I love talking about the mindbody connection in all of its aspects.

    Now at 71 I feel like it's a little harder to identify TMS vs age-related issues (like less strength and getting tired a little sooner) but compared to 2011, when I was clearly on the way to becoming housebound "before Sarno", there's no doubt in my mind that I would be disabled right now without this work - and I have never again come even close to that since the fall of 2011.

    I loved your advice to @patrickj - please keep posting!

    patrickj likes this.
  6. Philippa W

    Philippa W New Member

    Greetings @JanAtheCPA ! Whilst it's fairly well accepted that skin disorders and acid reflux are caused at least in part by stress, what caught me off guard was the ageing factor. The doctor said straight away, you're not there yet but at your age, you have arthritis (the dreaded word), expect a hip replacement, and this was without seeing an xray! So you think, okay, I'm getting older, I have to expect deterioration, and it got to a point my hip was so painful, and my right leg weak and achy, where I gave up hope. But finding out about Dr Sarno has given me a new lease on life. I do constant journalling, watch the videos, read the books. And now I do walk, and feel better and optimistic. I must admit getting a peddle exerciser bike does help. You can pedal sitting down on your couch. I read a study that says keeping the hips moving is key. EVOLAND Pedal Exerciser Bike, Portable Home Fitness Mini Exercise Bike, Arm Leg Folding Exerciser Fitness Cycling with LCD Monitor and Adjustable Resistance : Amazon.co.uk: Sports & Outdoors

Share This Page