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My Story - Believe its TMS in my hands/arms

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Fal, Feb 7, 2022.

  1. Fal

    Fal Peer Supporter


    As part of my hopeful recovery i am posting my story so that i can refer to it if i ever need to and any advice you may share. I am currently on Day 11 of Alans TMS program and i am enjoying it so far. Here is my long story..

    Around the start of 2020 i noticed i was unable to do a proper thumbs up sign without some discomfort and pain followed by being unable to make a fist. Shortly thereafter i couldnt reach my hands straight above my head otherwise i would get pain in the arm pit area. Thus began my journey of googling what it could be....started with MS and arrived on many different reasons why this is happening and began to fall down that rabbit hole of health anxiety.

    As time went on i realised my hands were getting stiffer and stiffer and lost a lot of motion in them and my wrists, putting my hands down flat on surface and trying to straighten my arms caused immediate pain in my foreams. This lasted for several months, i lost weight (2 stone) and i was a skinny guy anyway so looked really ill and the anxiety and depression got worse and worse until i started to suffer panic attacks.

    I went to Drs and hospitals only to find midly low vitamin d and a raised inflammatory marker in my blood but neither were concerned and sent me on my way. With the pandemic ongoing this further added to my anxiety and my partner was also pregnant with her second child, plus we were in the middle of a house move so again none of these helped rest my mind.

    After having another panic attack and thankfully being placed on furlough leave i had a number of hospital tests due to my persistance, i had a endoscopy which only found a 2cm hiatus hernia and colonoscopy which found absolutely nothing. Blood test showed my inflammatory marker was a lot better so had no idea what was causing it to be raised. I also went to see a rheumatologist regarding RA as i thought i may have this despite it being muscular and not joint pain, and they assured me after xrays and blood tests that i didnt have this and referred me to a physio. Both a private physio i went to whilst waiting for the nhs physio and the nhs physio both agreed that i had no illness and was simply a muscular issue and began to give me stretches and exercises which were more painful. I also had vision issues and dizziness and a number of what i would call anxiety symptoms that woukd change all the time such as heart palpations, constant adrenaline rush like a fight or flight feeling all the time.

    A doctor put me on antidepressants and within 2 months my arms and hands seemed to release a bit and i was able to straighten them a lot better and my mood was amazing. Around this time i stopped taking them as i wanted to deal with it without relying on tablets. Within a month and a stool test to complete my gastro referral they said there was a problem with my stool which was abnormal, the dr called and diagnosed pancreatis much to my horror over the phone, i began to google about it and sank back down that rabbit hole. Then because i told him i had no abdominal pain, i dont drink or smoke he doubted his diagnosis and said that i had a pancreatic insuffiency instead which again i decided to google. He scheduled a follow up blood test to check for autoimmume disorders and this pancreatic insuffiency, all of which came back within normal range aside from midly low vitamin d again which he told me to take over the counter stuff.

    I was relieved but i noticed he was checking me for celiac so i tried the gluten free lifestyle and within a week my anxiety decreased, the dizziness went away and my vision got better. I thought finally i have found the problem and began to strictly eat gluten free for several months, i also went to a food intolerance place who said i was intolerant to a lot of things and called it leaky gut and advised of pre and probiotics for a period of time to allow my gut to heal.

    During this time i didnt get any further release in my hands or arms but i could use them without pain mostly, then around October all of sudden i started getting really bad wrist pain in both wrists and my index fingers specifically started to get painful. I noticed swelling beneath the finger and through online diagnosis i found trigger finger to match although the clicking was mild, i began to research how to get rid of it without cortisone shots or surgery and began a lot of different exercises and stretches. This started to cause pain in the other fingers again all muscular and not joints and again i was struggling to straighten my arm when palm down due to pain moreso in my wrist this time. Went to a Dr and Physio who both said nothing to be concerned about and its an "overuse" injury. My video gaming had drastically reduced to only evenings since i now have kids and im not always using a mouse at work so i thought this cant be right as i have used my hands more intense than i do now with no problems

    At this stage i checked gaming pages and google for RSI and came across a guy who mentioned TMS who recovered within a couple of weeks after following the program after having issues for nearly a year. I then found this forum and read all the success stories and began to see hope and immediately bought Dr Sarnos Mindbody presciption book and started Alans programme. Throughout all this i am of the believe that the constant anxiety i have been under has made my muscles tense up so bad all over in what i would call a manifestation of TMS, it does sometimes feel like my circulation is poor one minute and then great the next and the pain in my wrists or index fingers come and go. I believe the tightness in my forearms and the tightness in my hands is what caused the so called trigger finger and by releasing the tension i am hopeful that this will soon go away. Once i did find this site i did notice my hands were a lot less stiff in a morning and wouldnt stiffen up as much when in use so felt i was on track but sadly this seemed like a placebo affect and as of typing this i am back with the same problem.

    I am going to continue doing my thing in the hope that one day i can have relief from it, to assist with this my girlfriend is checking my internet history to make sure i am not "googling" symptoms again to feed my anxiety and i no longer use reddit to get peoples reassurance stories. I know its one step at a time but do you guys feel that the underlying cause is my anxiety and TMS.

    My reasons for believing so are...

    Being on antidepressants made my hands ease up initially but i dont want to have to rely on them...
    Symptoms have changed that much, hands feel better some days and worse the next.
    Always slightly stiff with a little bit of muscular pain in a morning which eases and goes away for most of the day until i game or use the computer too much.
    Different departments at the hospitals and GPs cant find any thing wrong
    When recieving massages he gets rid of some knots only for them to feel good for a bit but then go back to the way it was.
    Ive had neck pain which eased up, then shoulder pain which also eased up but its my arms, hands and fingers which have persisted.
  2. fridaynotes

    fridaynotes Well known member

    yes~ just about everything you mention points directly to TMS being the cause of your physical issues. all the stress you’ve been under, all the life changes, all the myriad stressors and stuff that makes a life~ it’s all the stuff that adds up and the nervous system just says NO.
    all that life stuff is enraging to the inner child. it’s enraging to your unconscious mind. you’re not even really aware of it!
    what you need to do now is the “inner work”
    of really examining your life, your triggers, your background, all and everything.
    welcome to the beginning of the rest of your new life! the examined life. which you will
    soon be able to live to the fullest!
    Mr Hip Guy likes this.
  3. hawaii_five0

    hawaii_five0 Well known member

    @Fal : You are absolutely in the right place. You are going through what I have been going through (although I have made some progress), albeit with a different part of your body: a perceived or maybe even real minor physical issue that morphed into an all-consuming health obsession, anxiety, depression, constant fight-or-flight, etc. Waking up in the morning and it's the first thing you think of till you go to bed at night and it's the last thing you think of. Anxiety, obsession, and TMS pain are all a bundle, at least that's how it is for me. There is a 100% chance that if you resolve your nervous system hypervigilance, the physical problem(s) will go away or at least ease tremendously, particulary since you have had so many tests come back clean. The anti-depressant experience is also very telling.

    So the way out is all the stuff that is given in the various programs and advice either somewhere in this forum or elsewhere (Sarno, Alan Gordon, Schubiner, etc). Losing the fear, and losing the focus. Breaking the cycle of feeding it with your attention. Lots and lots of great success stories of people who have done exactly that.

    Hope it helps! Since you had good success with them, what are your thoughts about going back on the anti-depressants in a low dose to get you back in a better place until you can resolve it? Then titrate off. I'm always curious about people's opinions on here about using medication.
    Mala likes this.
  4. Fal

    Fal Peer Supporter

    Thank you both for youre encouraging responses.

    I am nearly to the end of Sarnos book and a lot of it resonates with me, i have seen a tiny improvement in terms of flexibility and seem to be getting pain in different areas so i would like to think i am on the right track.

    I certainly wouldnt want to go back on anti depressants due to the other side effects they have and ultimately even if i came off of them i would still need to work on my anxiety anyhow so might aswell teach my brain and body how to cope without it.
    hawaii_five0 likes this.
  5. Fal

    Fal Peer Supporter


    Struggling a lot, haven’t been able to clench a fist much but there are days when I can clench it further than others, I can literally feel the oxygen deprivation in my fingers and sometimes going up my forearm.

    I can cope with that but it seems to be in both of my legs and feet, now I sit a lot due to my work which may have added to it but my hamstrings, quads and calves are super tight which is now affecting my feet which can be very painful. I’ve managed to stretch it out and walking to make it slightly better but starting to feel like a lost cause again.

    There’s no reason for any of this to happen, I wake up so stiff and just doing basic things is painful, I had a massage and he couldn’t believe how tight I was. I think it helped a bit but not a lot.

    I know in my mind it’s TMS but seem to getting worse rather than anything getting better.
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    @Fal, everything about this post indicates you are focused on the physical, and not thinking at all psychologically. You indicated you were reading one of Dr. Sarno's books, but I think I should let you know that a lot of what he wrote about in the early years is now considered out of date, especially the oxygen deprivation theory. It's not a bad theory for beginners to start out with, because we all need to learn to take deep, calming breaths. However, TMS work actually goes far beyond that, and it requires letting go of worrying about physical details, and instead going into the emotional basis for your symptoms.

    Please check out the Structured Educational Program (SEP) on the main wiki, and Alan Gordon's Pain Recovery Program here on the forum. I think I would recommend the SEP for you - some of the links are out of date or gone, but the daily structure makes it very easy to follow when you're just starting out.
  7. Fal

    Fal Peer Supporter

    Jan, you are right. All i am doing is focusing on the pain and the issues im having rather than focusing on why its happening, i have restarted to do the SEP and Alans side by side and will re-read Dr Sarnos book.

    Also going to increase my exercise, yoga and meditation daily to ensure i can get to the bottom of it all.

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