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My Story

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by DanielTMSer, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. DanielTMSer

    DanielTMSer New Member

    First of all thanks for creating such a wonderful resource. As I read Dr. Sarno's books, being a computer geek, I found myself envisioning a resource exactly like this to help others.

    My Story so far:

    My story isn't too unique compared to many of the stories in Sarno's books. Over the last year I've seen 10 or more specialist all in their respective fields about my carpal tunnel-like (RSI) syndromes. I gave all of them a fair shot, but nothing seemed to work. Im typing this now with pain, but attempting to fight through it with the techniques listed on this resource. I am on Day 12 of the structured program and see myself in all of the stories. I'm a perfectionist and can't say "no" to people asking for my time and help, which I'm learning is a dangerous combo.

    A few things that I think make my story unique:

    1. I've been working at LEAST 8 hours a day since I was 12 on computers and NEVER had any issues with RSI or anything similar to it.

    2. I started to mentor my younger brother on computers and in return he started to train me in weight lifting. (he's a big strong guy)

    3. One day, about a month after both of our training (computer & weights), my brother came to me and asked if I ever had any arm pain from computer usage. (he described RSI to the T) I smiled and laughed because here was my big strong brother talking to me about arm pain from a silly computer mouse and I had been doing computer work my WHOLE life with no pain. I decided I'd humor him and examine my usage/posture and see if I had any tips for him.

    4. No more than a week later, I started getting the same EXACT symptoms. I couldn't believe it. (A year later we both still have the same symptoms)

    5. We both naturally tried to figure out what PHYSICAL thing could have caused the pain or something we both did in the last month. We narrowed it down to a combo of computer usage and weightlifting - basically OVERUSE. We both saw PTs, Chiropractors, did hellerwork, acupuncture, etc ect. (Most MDs made their diagnostics within 10 min of our visits and gave us no more than 20 minutes of their time. After an MRI, they did find I had some neck issues In c6 c7 and recommended a spinal injection. Scary huh?)

    6. We also have/had a more far fetched theory of the use of a metal desk as a computer table. After my brother was KOed from his arm pain, I took over his desk at our studio. It happened to be a metal desk. I've been reading "The body Electric" and how magnetism can affect the body. Could that have anything to do with our arm pain? http://www.emwatch.com/Computers.htm

    Now after reading Sarno's books and starting the structured Program here Im starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps TMS has been the cause all along. (although Im unsure how this related to my brother getting the symptoms at the exact time.)

    A few questions for the TMS veterans here:
    Could my brother's simple question to me (about his pain) bring about my symptoms? Perhaps I became hyper focused on my computer activity? Maybe it was a physical injury?

    I've gone through my computer logs to determine exactly what was going on in my life at the time. Needless to say there was a LOT going on but other than the usual stress, the most noteworthy was asking my current fiancé parents permission for marriage. This was extremely stressful and caused a lot of anxiety not just because I was nervous about what their reaction would be , but because of the weight of the question. I remember reading that TMS can be brought on by ANY life changing decisions. Positive OR negative.

    Anyhow, that's what I have so far. Id love for any help or suggestions.

    Thanks again!
  2. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Hi Daniel and welcome to the forum:

    You sound enthusiastic and hopeful. Two things I found were positive attributes when I started. Your participation here already feels great.

    It doesn't matter if we all have RSI symptoms, we're all unique. And Dr. Sarno's books are enlightening and after the long battle you've waged with the medical community, I hear hope in your voice. I've had back pain for over ten years and know that sometimes it makes me feel nuts. Nothing worked. So welcome to the healing part of your life.

    It's not really dangerous, it's more like finding out what your patterns are and how you aren't alone in having those patterns. That's how I felt. There are many of "us" out here doing the same things. Being nice and running ourselves ragged so others will love us.

    And along with your other well meaning tendencies, (can't say "no", and describe yourself as a "goodest") you probably "felt his pain". I think this may be more common than we know with TMS/PPD - but if that was to be written into Dr. Sarno's books, we'd all be getting all the odd symptoms. Remember, you probably had it before your symptoms showed up. This could have been the straw that broke the camel's back.

    I don't think it's unusual for siblings to have these symptoms show themselves at the same time for reasons stated above. Sounds like you're close to your brother, so it could have been "sympathetic pains" that you each of you developed.

    I'm going to stick with my original hypothesis, and say since you're close to your brother, had similar life experiences, and he came to you with his pain issues originally - that you may have developed then. But ti doesn't mean that your TMS was "lying in wait". Is your brother doing the program too? Is he seeing the same great results you are?

    I am on a TMS high myself. I've finished the program here on the wiki and have gone on to another since I still had pain. I've learned so much about myself. Also it feels right and the work is really positive. But I think after considering your question - when your brother came to you for advice - you tried with all the goodness in your TMS/PPD heart - to help him and in turn - your TMS /PPD syptoms showed up.

    Hope your brother is trying the program too. You both seemed to get symptoms at the same time, perhaps you can rid yourselves of it together too. Would be nice to discuss some of your findings together. Continue to post and let us know how you're doing!

  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Daniel:

    You might be interested in this article by Dr. Howard Shubiner, MD, which is on the wiki.
  4. DanielTMSer

    DanielTMSer New Member

    Thank you both! Very interesting insights Beach-Girl and a great article. I forwarded it on to my brother.
  5. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member

    Oh yes. I'm certain that could be a trigger. It starts the ball rolling... one thought leads to the next and next you know, you're in pain. Our unconscious mind is very powerful and can grab onto a thought like that and use it to create a believable symptom. Some people bend over to pick something up and suddenly get a pain. Others might run a little harder than usual and all of a sudden wake up the next morning with plantar fasciitis pain. They could hear about a schoolmate who developed tics and all of a sudden they develop one also. There's definitely a contagious aspect to TMS symptoms.
    Why exactly it happened when your brother mentioned it is hard to totally understand. Beach Girl's theory is one possibility.

    You ask if it was a real physical injury. Maybe, but given what you've written, it probably isn't likely. Keep digging into the TMS work and I think you'll discover that TMS makes more sense, not a physical injury.

    Incidentally, if I remember correctly, our RSI success stories on the wiki has many more entries than any other kind of symptom except perhaps back pain. That says a lot about the idea that RSI really is a manifestation of TMS/PPD. And I speak from experience. I am 100% cured from a very bad case of RSI which I suffered with for a little over 2 years. My own story is in the information tab of my profile page if you care to read it.

    Stay optimistic, keep reading and exploring and please post back with your progress or any further questions.

  6. Rinkey

    Rinkey Peer Supporter

    A few questions for the TMS veterans here:
    Could my brother's simple question to me (about his pain) bring about my symptoms? Perhaps I became hyper focused on my computer activity? Maybe it was a physical injury?

    Absolutely! I have a friend who never had restless leg syndrome until he kept seeing ads about the drugs for it.
    Here's a link to an article that came to mind when I read your question.

  7. DanielTMSer

    DanielTMSer New Member

    I also just found this

  8. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Right on Daniel!

    You're starting to connect the dots. And the cool thing about the wiki is: there are a lot of helpful dots!

  9. brianleejackson

    brianleejackson Peer Supporter

    Welcome Daniel! Your story sounds very similar to mine. You can read my story here: http://brianleejackson.com/recovery-from-rsi-after-10-months-of-chronic-pain. I too have worked on computers pretty much non-stop since I was a kid. After a rough and bumpy road I am back working again on computers, 10-12 hours a day. And while I still have relapses once in a while, I don't have pain like I used to. The important thing is to realize what is causing your pain... its emotional pain. If you are religious, I also highly recommend reading "Pain Free for Life" by Scott Brady.

    It sounds like you are on the right track.
  10. DanielTMSer

    DanielTMSer New Member

    Thanks Brian,

    I had actually read your story when I first found this site. It was very helpful. I am religious and got that book. I am finishing up "The Divided Mind" and plan on moving to that after.

    Has anyone found that the first few weeks of the program are difficult to remain pain free? Almost more so? I find that some of the treatment is a double edged sword in the sense that yes it teaches you to focus on the mental side rather than the physical, but at the same time it still forces you to think about the problem you have. The times that I seem to be pain free is when I'm not thinking about anything at all and just flat out "having a good time" As i read the stories of other people's pain, I almost start to sympathize in a way that inflames my own symptoms, especially the beginning "hard times" of the stories. I find myself following the writer's path of pain. The beginning of the story about the pain - I feel the pain. The frustration of the pain - I feel the frustration and almost want to tear up out of my own frustration. The success of TMS treatment part of user stories is a mixed bag - sometimes I feel better and other times I get in a mental fight with my brain about the validity of the treatment.

    Its a tough battle, but I appreciate the forum to express my frustrations/victories.
  11. brianleejackson

    brianleejackson Peer Supporter

    Glad you found my story and it was helpful, believe me, I have been there. On the old forum I was very active throughout my daily struggles. I also don't know what I would have done without finding the TMS forum. I was at the end of my rope, really thought my life was over. But here I am, I have been back at work now for almost 2 years. For me, a majority of the pain lessened after about a month of learning about TMS. The two biggest things that helped me was re-reading some of the books each night before I went to bed, and also journaling. The last 15-20% of the pain actually took a while to get rid of. Like 6 months +. The key is getting rid of that fear. Like you said, the times you are pain free are the times when you are just flat out "having a good time." Try not to focus on the pain. I know it is hard. Over time, you'll probably find yourself focusing more on the task at hand and less on the pain, and then it will start to go away.

    Also I encourage you to challenge yourself. Do something over the next 2 days that maybe you have stopped because of the pain. I know you mentioned lifting weights. I actually started lifting weights throughout my struggle with TMS and whenever I finished a workout, my hands always felt brand new! The reason, the blood was flowing to my hands. The challenge is to convince your mind again to keep blood flowing to your hands at all times; sitting at the keyboard; sitting in the movie theatre... It can be done though!

    Glad you found the forum :) Hopefully it will help you, like it did me. It really is a great community of people.
  12. DanielTMSer

    DanielTMSer New Member

    I've been reading about Triggers lately and they all seemed to be resolved around stress in the books, but it seems that my main trigger is simply sitting down and using my computer. It's the strangest thing. I sit down, use my mouse/keyboard and 2 min later I get the pain.

    Any tips?
  13. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Are you working? Or just messing around online? Is your job stressful? I'm going to take a wild guess that you are nervous or there is a disconnect between the "hanging out you" and the "sitting at the computer" you. See if you can work through writing in a journal about what it feels like when you sit down at your computer.

    Maybe find a site (like ours) where you can come and type on your computer. Did you feel pain when you made the posts here? Was there slightly less pain? I would imagine there is some underlying stress with your pain issues. Try going online and just playing around - a game or something. A place where you can not be stressed, but you're using your computer.

  14. DanielTMSer

    DanielTMSer New Member

    Hey Guys,

    I just wanted to provide an update.

    I've been getting MUCH better. I was on day 18 of the program and got to a point where i was 90% better!!! :) But I may have gotten a little cocky. I started working out a lot again. Im doing p90x which does a lot of exercises involving the wrist and I started getting pain again. Is this TMS? Or do I actually have something wrong with my wrists? Im suspusious that this may be a clever way of my subconcious associating pain in a new way. Thoughts?

    Thanks again for all the help
    brianleejackson likes this.
  15. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member


    That's awesome that you're getting that much better! 90% is a pretty incredible place to get to. Congratulations on that!

    As for your recent increased pain with increasing activity... was there a certain amount of exercise that you did which resulted in no pain? Was pain experienced after increasing to a certain weight, reps, or total time spent exercising? Maybe you increased the exercise level too quickly for your body to adapt to it. Maybe you could scale back the exercise to the point before you experienced pain and go back to that level after you take a day or two to let the pain subside. This is generally the approach that I take when I experience some pain during exercise. Usually, I am able to return to the level of exercise before I felt any pain and then through a reasonable plan (progressive overload), I get stronger and stronger and can do more and more.

  16. brianleejackson

    brianleejackson Peer Supporter

    Great to hear Daniel! I've done P90x too :) It's a crazy workout. Still doing AbRipperX 2 days a week as part of my workout. I'm more lifting right now. I think Enrique might be right, maybe you tried to quickly? I know once I saw that light at the end of the tunnel I pushed my workouts three times as hard, knowing that there was nothing wrong with my body. Just make sure you take our rest days. I workout right now 5 days a week, rotating sets/muscles every day and then resting on the weekends. Seems to work pretty good. On the weekends I like to go biking, so I still get some exercise, and let my upper body rest. Keep going Daniel! :) Sounds like you found the right path. My pain jumped around a ton when I was going through the first month or two.
  17. DanielTMSer

    DanielTMSer New Member

    Thanks guys! They are pretty crazy workouts, but I dont think I pushed it *THAT* hard. I've been experiencing similar pain since Thursday. What should I do? I guess what Im asking is, how do I know if the pain is from the exercises involving the wrists or just TMS pain? I havnt done anything since Thursday and the pain seems to be about the same.
  18. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member


    The way I look at things like this is that the more that time passes and the pain does not abate, the more I start believing it is TMS. It's been since Thursday.... that's a BIG sign. I recommend to stop any physical treatments, stop doing anything that creates doubt that it's related to TMS. Assume its just pain that is signaling to you that there is still some TMS work for you to do.

    I'll share this with you..... I'm in the same boat with some achilles pain. Now that it's been 4 weeks since I first felt it, I'm over thinking that it's physical. I'm assuming 100% that it is TMS. I'm thinking psychological and thinking clean. On Sunday I stopped doing R.I.C.E, stopped stretching, stopped eccentric exercises and went for a run. Tonight I'm going for a bike ride. In a way, I'm mad at my mind for giving me this pain, but I'm trying not to let that anger take over and rather use the emotion to give me energy to be alert of my daily thoughts. I'm very very vigilant as to what I'm thinking... am I anxious or worried. Am I avoiding/repressing feelings?

    I encourage you to follow along the same lines.

  19. DanielTMSer

    DanielTMSer New Member

    Hey Guys,

    Sorry its been so long since I've revisited this thread to provide an update. I have a lot to report back on. I return a married man and had a wonderful honeymoon. For much of the honeymoon I remained pain free. I did feel the pain every now and again, but for the most part I was pain-free. (perhaps it is worth mentioning i did not to any computer work :) )

    Unfortunately on my return, I learned that my father has leukemia and that there was a lot of really bad family drama that happened at my wedding. When I found out the news I thought "oh no, my pain is going to come back" almost instantly. Sure enough it did. For about the last two and a half months Ive had consistent pain and no relief. I have also had to return to computer work. I picked back up the TMS program therapy, but for some reason I dont have nearly as much faith in my TMS diagnosis as before. Im on day 33 on the structured program and starting to wonder what to do after the program is complete.

    I started seeing someone who does acupuncture and they suggested that it could have to do with how I sleep. I sleep on my side with my arm under my head. I often times wake up with a numb hand/arm. Anyone know anything about this? Could my pain be from this?

    From my therapy I also remembered something that may add to the complexity of my case. I used to be on a SSRI for my anxiety/stress (paxil) and I stopped taking it about 8 months before my pain. Could there be a connection?

    I mainly just need advice/a plan for where to go from here. At what point do I explore other options? I keep reading that I should go to a doctor to make sure nothing else is seriously wrong. Perhaps I should go to an MD? I have an MRI and X-ray of my neck I could have them look at. A previous doctor suggested I get a cortisone shot in my neck to see if that gives me relief. (they said that i could have c6 c7 pushing on a nerve) I also thought about rolfing massage. I know the books say "stop all treatment that suggests it is something structural" but Im starting to feel like it may be, and I've never had anyone rule it out. Is there something you guys recommend I do?

    One of the really frustrating things I've noticed with this chronic pain is that every professional I go to see is eager to diagnosis me with something "they" can help me with. It seems like they are all out to get my money and schedule "12 appointments"off the bat. Is there anyone out there who you have found to be objective who I could call/meet with who will not just be out to take my money?

    Thanks a bunch guys,

  20. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Hi Daniel,

    Sorry to hear about the pain relapse. The ideal would be to see a TMS doctor, but if there isn't one near you, you could just see your primary care doctor to rule out anything more serious like broken bones, an infection, etc. (though it sounds like you've already done this). I think RSI is one of those things that is always TMS.

    This doesn't sound like something an acupuncturist could diagnose; also I was told to sleep in that exact position you are mentioning to help with my headaches/neckpain/TMJ. I dont' think sleep position actually matters at all.

    There's definitely a connection with pain and anxiety. I sometimes cycle between the two of them.

    It sounds like initially you did believe in the diagnosis and were feeling better and then after finding out about your father's illness and the drama after the wedding you started to have a relapse. This is pretty common with TMS--most people don't completely recover in a month or two. In addition to believing in TMS, you have to change the mental habits of repressing emotions, worrying about pain, beating up on yourself, etc. Most of us have been thinking this way for years, so it's probably not going to change overnight. I feel much better than I did in January, but I'm not 100% healthy, and that's ok. It's a process.

    Hang in there. Doubting TMS seems to be part of TMS--we've all been there.

    ~ Veronica
    Forest and JanAtheCPA like this.

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