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My experience with Dr. David Hanscom

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by mc1986, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. mc1986

    mc1986 Peer Supporter

    Hi all,
    I wanted to post about my experience with Dr. Hanscom (author of "Back in Control") for those who are interested or have considered visiting him.

    Dr. Hanscom is a practicing surgeon. I knew before seeing him that I was not a candidate for surgery and was primarily looking for confidence moving forward with my TMS diagnosis. Because I knew I wasn't going to have surgery I wasn't sure how the appointment would go and if he would spend very much time with me. I was pleasantly surprised with his level of care. We mostly talked about his DOCC program which is his version of a TMS recovery program.

    He explained to me that because of the stresses and competitiveness that are inherent in my line of work it is very likely that I possess the character traits of someone who ends up with chronic health pain and Tms. We talked a lot about chronich pain in general and the path that he took to heal from his chronic pain.

    I have my doubts about tms because of a few specific symptoms I have (nerves are inflamed and sensitive to touch). He gave me a great answer to my questions that gave me a lot of confidence moving forward. Basically, he said it doesn't matter what is going on in my body and all that matters is how my brain perceives the signals. He told me about some of his patients with bone spurs and other physical problems that have healed using his techniques. Bottom line is to trust the process.

    The difficult and somewhat confusing thing about our meeting his belief that patients should do physical therapy and tms treatments at the same time. He referred me to a rehabilitation doctor who wants to give me a series of injection to help "calm my nervous system". This is a bit of a red flag for me as I have been down this road before and it typically leads me to discouragement.

    So I find myself stuck in the same place I have been for a few months. Do I follow through with the doctors plan or do I take the tms tools that Dr Hanscom provides and get on with my life the best I can? For me, it seems doctors get me stuck in a cycle of hope and despair. One would think given the way I respond to medical treatment that it would be easy for me to walk away from but I am finding it very difficult to do.

    I was doing fairly well for a few weeks but the last few days I worried myself into a tailspin and gotten my nervous system all fired up again which obviously leads to more pain.

    Anyway that's where I am at now. I know I can't stay here and need to move in one direction as I go forward. Thanks for any feedback and I hope my experience with Dr. Hanscom helps someone here.
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  2. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member

    I would say get your nervous system turned down by what ever means ...I am in anxiety overload which caused me a trip to hospital with very high blood pressure ...Dr said I needed Zoloft and Ativan to calm me down and with that said I have been doing tms work for 4 months...
    I moved out of my home getting divorce and this put my pain and body into a tail spin. I say do what you feel comfortable with...I feel you can not start to heal until u are in a better place
    tgirl likes this.
  3. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    My vote is to follow through with Dr. Hanscom's plan.
  4. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    Thanks for posting. I'm not sure how much help I can be but I just want to say I can relate everything you wrote. I just came from a psychotherapist appointment where we discussed my over active nervous system. She doesn't address TMS but she does agree that there can be a huge mind body connection.

    I seem to be following your path in that I can be calm for awhile then get all stirred up and worried all over again. I can think positively and think, yes, this is psychological and then I'll have days when I think this has to be strictly physical and want to start the doctor route all over again. Exhausting and demoralizing.

    It sounds as though Dr. Hanscom has a direction for you to follow..

    Best of luck!
    Sienna and Tennis Tom like this.
  5. Marytabby

    Marytabby Peer Supporter

    Dr. Angelov in MA is a holistic family doctor and he admits he is not a 100% Sarno purist. What he said is "you have TMS BUT your mind is using the subtle knee cartliage wearing as an excuse or trigger. So he had no issue with suggestiong some heat and other small comfort things but he made it clear it is TMS. So like taking an Aleve to take the edge off, heat for the inflammation. NOT as a fix but to get some relief. He did not say go to PT or anything like that but he did indicate I need to be kind to myself, whereas some Sarno purists would say "bull through it" which I also do. Dr. Martinez is not a Sarno purist, either but he got me over the hump in 2005 with a TMS diagnosis of my back. The TMS diagnosis was all I needed to hear at the end of the day. It alleviated some real structural fears. And again, having him examine me in person was huge. He said "if your knee joints were messed up you would not have been able to resist me pushing all over the knee." This was helpful. No Skype or phone work did that for me as of yet. Oh and I believe the TMS work is your best route.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
    Sienna and Tennis Tom like this.
  6. mc1986

    mc1986 Peer Supporter

    Thanks for your responses and support. When my anxiety is under control I can do whatever I want without much consequence. The anxiety is much more debilitating than the pain.

    I have managed my own care for over a year now. I really have a hard time trusting anyone to help come up with a plan. I suppose I need to trust that Dr. Hanscom is the expert here and has my best interest at heart. Letting go can be so difficult...
    Sienna likes this.
  7. Marytabby

    Marytabby Peer Supporter

    Yes, I agree. Trust is hard when the pain or symptoms feel so "structural" or when in my case. 10 months of doubting has caused me lost time and pain. I am ready to trust. I am sticking to that.
    Sienna likes this.
  8. mc1986

    mc1986 Peer Supporter

    Lost time is the hardest part for me. Sometimes I feel like most of my emotional issues have to do with the sadness that comes with this situation and the grief I feel over lost time. I am happy for you that you are moving forward in your tms treatment. This forum is very encouraging
  9. Duggit

    Duggit Well known member


    Since you saw Dr. Hanscom, I wonder if you live in the Seattle area. If you do, one possibility for you might be to see Dr. Mark Strom if you want a second opinion or want exposure to the genuine Sarno approach. Dr. Strom is one of the very few doctors in the United States who actually trained with Sarno. He is listed on the TMS Wiki website under the heading "Find a TMS Doctor or Therapist," although the contact information for him there is out of date because he is no longer in Seattle. He had moved to Bellevue when I saw him for TMS a couple years ago. I don't know for sure that he is still in Bellevue, though, because if I recall correctly he was thinking (I don't know how seriously) about maybe moving to the east coast for family reasons.
  10. mc1986

    mc1986 Peer Supporter

    Hi Duggit,
    Yes I am the Seattle area. I actually saw Dr Strom last year but I wasn't ready to hear what he had to say. Perhaps I will look him up again. Thanks
  11. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    I vote you put yourself into the hands of an expert, which you luckily have access to, and stick it out for 6 months, and assess the results. It seems your anxiety (which I had plenty of after years in pain) is driving you a little, in the trust department. I hope you can settle in and let someone support your process. I think you are fortunate to have access to two good doctors.
  12. mc1986

    mc1986 Peer Supporter

    Thanks Andy. You're right about the anxiety driven indecision. My problem with the Doctor that Hanscom referred me to is he is trying to put limitations on my activity. Part of me thinks "ok, this is who Hanscom said to see so just go with it" and part of me wants to turn and run. I suppose I can just let it play out for a while longer and go from there. I just need to distract myself and stop thinking about it. Thanks for the feedback everyone.
  13. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

    Dr Hanscom seems like one of the best, wish I had the chance to get evaluated by him. I always refer people to his book given his status as a surgeon espousing TMS ideas
  14. mc1986

    mc1986 Peer Supporter

    Yes it was a great opportunity. He doesn't come out and say "you have tms" or "you have a physical problem" he seems to believe that all possible components must be treated simultaneously for the best result. I think my all or nothing mentality in this is causing me a lot of anxiety about how to move forward. I think I will just follow through with the plan he has laid out as he has helped a lot of people regain their quality of life.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
  15. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Lots of people don't want to push through painful symptoms with more activity and are very successful with TMS. I don't think that is a reason to balk. Dr. Sarno said, "increase activity as the pain subsides." That sounds reasonable to me.
  16. lexylucy

    lexylucy Well known member

    I would say do whatever feels right. It sounds like you had a wonderful meeting with the doctor. He was caring with you and took his time. And it sounds like he has an interesting program - promising. But if it doesn't feel right to do PT or injections in addition - I would say don't do it. I have an intuitive feeling and sometimes I second guess it. And I
    m always sorry when I do. I remember when I was a Yoga teacher- I would say to my students - if it doesn't feel right don't do it. Or as they say in Alcoholics Anonymous - take what you like and leave the rest.

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