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
Dismiss Notice
Our TMS drop-in chat is tomorrow (Saturday) from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern (now on US Standard Time) . It's a great way to get quick and interactive peer support, with Enrique as your host. Look for the red Chat flag on top of the menu bar!

My story - asking for some help

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Kchaquico, Oct 3, 2022.


Have you had a more severe diagnosis/ MRI and recovered?

  1. Yes

    0 vote(s)
  2. No

    0 vote(s)
  1. Kchaquico

    Kchaquico Newcomer

    Hi everyone -

    First I just want to thank those who take a look at my post and hopefully offer some feedback from their own experience - I’m feeling very discouraged at the moment and having someone share a similar recovery story would truly help.

    Today I got my MRI results, which revealed:

    A large / severe disk bulge with disk extrusion impacting the left L5 and S1 nerve root.

    I’ll keep this short and can always go into more detail if needed.

    I was around 14 years old when I first experienced debilitating back pain in my lower back (which occurred after the benign action of kicking a soccer ball) and underwent the plethora of doctor visits, which ultimately had me in chiropractic and PT for over a year with no pain alleviating results and surgery being the future topic.

    At my wits end I was thankfully introduced to Healing Back Pain by a family member and after much resistance, read the book, which had profound results and alleviated my pain/symptoms quickly and astonishingly - and was essentially pain free ( after 5 grueling years) for 3 solid years before my first relapse.

    Fast forward to now, at 31 years old I’ve experienced probably around 10 significant episodes of back pain (throughout the last 15 years) which has debilitated me each time for about 2 weeks (missing work - in bed) with residual pain that stayed for a following couple weeks, but I always reread the books, watched the lectures or reread Amazon reviews and testimonials, which seemed to always take my back to about 80 - 90% and convince me (once again) that it was psychological and not physical.

    I’ve often wondered that only sustaining an 80-90% recovery rate and having yearly episodes was due to lingering doubt of the TMS diagnosis, perhaps on an internal level that I was not always aware of. but felt overall grateful to be without almost all pain, usually within weeks and would just find myself continuing with life and accepting the episodes as reminders to look inward (which we all know can be strikingly difficult in the midst of severe pain).

    I have actually often felt jealousy towards the friends that have recovered fully from my recommendation of the book without any residual or ongoing episodes of pain - which I think has slowly conditioned more fear that my back pain is physical/ structural.

    Every time I reread the book I am shockingly reminded how much I fit into the perfectionistic, impulsive, low self-esteem type and can genuinely state that I am constantly dealing with internal tension and anxiety. I also have a stressful job that is unpredictable and dangerous. So I can say that both objectively and subjectively I fit Sarno’s TMS candidate without really any doubt in my mind.

    Okay but here’s my overwhelming doubt at the moment:

    I hadn’t had an episode of back pain in almost 2 full years. During this time I’d been doing what I most enjoy without issues. Weightlifting (expect heavy squats and deadlift because I would get a twinge in my back) , jujitsu, boxing, Mt. Biking, running, hiking etc.

    In fact, I found myself having recommended the book on numerous occasions during this period and even shadowed a good buddies recovery who is now pain free from debilitating pain.

    Rewind 3 months ago and I start to feel mild, but notable dull aching within my lower back where it would be extra tight with little flexibility in the morning. I’d say I was a 3/10 pain level when I had been a 1/10. But assumed it would alleviate, remembering that I was feeling stressed.

    Something to note, is my wife was 8 month pregnant with our first child. And our mother in law was living with us for the following month bringing along her 2 dogs, one of which was a new puppy.

    Again trying to keep this detailed but short, I had a mental collapse one late night with truly overwhelming feelings of anxiety, panic and (being raw here) anger and resentment of realizing that I was about to become (forced to become in my eyes) a parent. I remember feeling deeply trapped and not comfortable in my own home. This all came all of sudden as I had not felt overwhelmed throughout the pregnancy (or at least consciously).

    Next morning in attempt to let off some tension I went and did jujitsu. I remember my back feeling achy and tight probably more like a 4/10.

    Well during sparing I turned one way when my partner turned the other and my back simultaneously erupted into an all too familiar deeply painful spasm, causing me to immediately leave, go home and become bedridden for the next 5 days. Pain was an 8 or 9/10.

    I couldn’t help but attribute the pain, because it felt like such a genuine injury, from not stretching or warming up before class as I normally do and thus resisted TMS recovery.

    The pain continued in my life relentlessly through child birth and weeks after and I was staying at a 6 or 7/10 now being like this for about 2 months.

    I stopped jujitsu during this time, however continued with weightlifting and bike riding with the pain staying the same and with me beginning to feel internally discouraged and spiral into depression. I was unable to comfortably sit down with my son on my lap and feed him due to the pain being what it was among many many other normal thing/routine things.

    The Bad:

    Last week, being now around a 5/10 I jumped into some water at about 40 feet. I’ve done this jump before and many friends did it with me (with no issue).

    This time when I hit the water I felt my back cringe and essentially started feeling the oncomings of the most severe, visceral, crippling pain I had ever felt in my life thus far. I was an 11/10 about 2 hours after the jump.

    I went into the ER thinking maybe I broke something and required a wheelchair to move around . x rays came back negative and I was given steroids.

    The terrifying thing which was new to me, was that my left leg and calf had gone numb and I lost physical strength in moving my foot normally. my back pain has always encompassed sciatica, but this was significantly different and very scary.

    It’s been a week since this incident. My back pain is about a 6-7/10. I can’t sit very long, stand, or do much anything. There has been a constant numbness in my left foot and calf where most sensation is gone along with about 50% strength. In fact I walk strange because my foot doesn’t articulate normally right now.

    The pain feels deep, with pressure aching tension and visceral electric zaps if I sit or move wrong, which shoots down my left leg. The back pain is extremely familiar but the numbness and loss of strength in my calf and foot is new to me.

    I’ve been listening to Sarno’s audio books multiple hours each day and even watch parts of his DVD lecture each morning.

    Something worth mentioning - when I first watched the DVD lecture (first time in almost 10 years) and was able to empathize with the audience and their pain being so similar to mine… my pain within about 30 minutes went from a 7-8 to about a 3. I was able to touch my toes, even though my foot was still numb and go to the gym with almost no pain. It felt like a miracle and I once again believed. However the next morning I woke up again in agonizing pain feeling once again discouraged, confused and lost.

    Today I got my MRI results and visually looked at the photos as the doctor analyzed the indications with unambiguous concern. Statements like “can’t squat heavy or deadlift anymore” and need back brace and should consult a surgeon for operation since you’ve lost strength in your feet and tow which implicate nerve damage - which he clarified multiple times was extremely concerning.

    My reason for getting the MRI is I wanted to vindicate TMS and confirm that there was no cancer or tumors. But I did not expect the Image and diagnosis to be so severe, revealing and unfortunately convincing. You can see the protrusion pressing against the nerve - it just looks so bad.

    A couple things really causing me to resist / have doubt with TMS recovery is that Dr. Sarno on multiple occasions would state that it is his experience that disk abnormalities / bulging disks rarely cause back pain ——- that has left doubt in my mind that maybe my pain is the “rarely” exception.

    Can anyone expand on this or has had similar thoughts or concerns?

    Secondly - with the photo attached has anyone had similar MRIs or more sever ones with legitimate recovery?

    I so appreciate any help or honest feedback … I’ve lost a lot of momentum today.



    Attached Files:

  2. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    They're basically spasms, that only go away when you are kind to yourself and don't give up on yourself. It flares up when you are feeling upset or being too hard on yourself.
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Well, Kyle (@Kchaquico) - that is quite a story - and it's one with so many successes! You (and apparently your friends!) are a testimonial to the power of Dr. Sarno's ideas.

    The bad news is that most of us don't just recover once and call it good. The TMS mechanism is built into our brains, and those of us who suffer from lifelong anxiety need to learn to manage both the anxiety and our TMS brains for life. The good news is that doing so can become almost automatic, and setbacks can take less time to recover from.

    In more good news, there are tons of people who have recovered from symptoms as bad or worse than yours. From what I remember of his story, Steve Ozanich ("The Great Pain Deception" and author of many helpful older posts on this forum) is one of them (he had many symptoms, but crippling back pain was the big one). You can go directly to our Success Stories subforum and type in your keywords to find relevant stories. You already know what Dr. Sarno says about MRI results, so I am not going to lecture you about that, especially as this is not my area of personal symptom experience.

    (also, people often post their MRIs and X-rays, but no one here should be looking at those, because, per the disclaimer on our pages, we are NOT health professionals here!

    More good news! Your brain is already primed to understand and believe in the TMS mechanism. The thing is, you've never done the work. And I will preface what I'm about to say with the fact that I am just a retired tax accountant, but in my observations from eleven years of participating in this forum, and as you certainly also understand, it's really not normal for a 14-year-old to end up with the chronic pain that you described unless there is some serious emotional distress and repression going on. You can't blame this on adult stressors - it can only come from a few sources at that age, and they are all bad if not outright traumatic.

    You're going to have to do the emotional work, that's all there is to it. Someone reminded me just the other day about the ACEs test: Adverse Childhood Experiences. This is a great place to start for anyone with childhood adversity or trauma! It's available all over the place online, and easily self-administered. (I saw it on a Harvard.edu site, and even npr.org). That's my starting recommendation. The thing is that you MUST do the test with complete self-honesty - do NOT let your brain fool you into thinking you can skip anything or not tell the absolute truth - anything less is a waste of time. Then pick a program to work - either the SEP on our main wiki, or Alan Gordon's program here on the forum. If you've never had therapy, that may be called for, as Dr. Sarno himself said.

    Good luck,

  4. Kchaquico

    Kchaquico Newcomer

    Thank you for the support and help you guys.

    much appreciated.
  5. Hannah7

    Hannah7 New Member

    Did this get better?

Share This Page