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My TMS Success Story (crippling foot pain - plantar fasciitis, wrist pain, eye pain)

Discussion in 'Success Stories Subforum' started by AnitaV, Jul 19, 2014.

  1. Katherine

    Katherine Newcomer

    Hi Anita and other people who have foot pain!

    I have read Divided Mind and I have read your story. I am very inspired by your story.

    Foot problems. And how I managed them.

    My foot arches collapsed a little and cause "plantar fascitiis." I wore foot orthotics. It gave pain relief but the plantar fascitiis would come back every few months or so.
    And with that problem, other problems started to appear. Knee pain, hip pain, and shin splints, and stiff calves. No matter how I foam rolled, or rolled with a lacrosse ball and stretched it with a monster band, the muscles remained stiff as ever. After a two years of going on like this, I came across the Divided Mind just a few days ago. Other pains in my body relaxed (shoulder pain) immediately after reading the book. Maybe because of my meditation training and yoga experience that made me receptive to the ideas of the book or the less severity of my structural problems of my body. Regardless, it just happened.

    Then I had an Aha moment when I was driving my car. I remember when I was a little girl. I have a small transgression where I was afraid that my parent would scold me. That parent was at work so I had an afternoon of worrying. That worrying caused my legs and my body to become stiff as I could not walk and bend my knees. My nanny comforted me as I cried I cannot move. And then slowly, the numbness and stiffness subsided and then I was able to move after she consoled me and massaged me.

    Then I thought to myself that maybe, it was my fear of pain due to a previous episode of pain that was causing the 'plantar fascitiis' and a host of other leg pains that cause the muscles to stiffen up. I thought that maybe, if I let go of the fear (and thus stiffness) and just walk without foot orthotics, it would be okay. And walk for 3 kilometres I did. Simple.

    I have many fears that the feet and legs was difficult to get well because it is unable to rest as it was always standing or walking. Unlike the shoulders, where it is not so much load bearing like the legs. It was a wrong notion or conditioning. It was the stiffness of the muscles that was make them weak and thus unable to walk.

    So when I feel muscle stiffness in the legs, or a little bit of knee pain. I would write an entry in my journal what can be bothering me and my muscles would feel relaxed. Much like what my nanny did to comfort me when I was a little girl.

    I also found I was tensing up and not breathing properly (chest breathing not belly breathing) so the cells are not properly oxygenated.

    But of course, like a sportsman or olympian, as much as I am able to do these things, I also relapse and may not pay attention from time to time and fail to do them. I just take that to experience and just try again.

    Anyway, the point of this post is that the stiffness of the muscles can cause them to become weak, can cause it to become imbalance with other muscles so it is hard to stand and walk. The nerves can cause it to relax and contract. The nerves can cause it to constantly become contracted and become weak. So maybe consciously relaxing and contracting your foot and leg muscles might relieve the stiffness and foot difficulties in addition to addressing the disturbing thoughts and feelings which is also a big contributor or muscle pain.

    Please ask me to clarify if you cannot understand parts of this post.

    I am a Katy Bowman fan so Biomechanics is part of the explanation.
    Muscles that are forever contracted become weak as waste materials from the cells cannot go away from the area and can cause muscle pain.
    Muscle movement is the only way to move waste products away (lymph node circulation) aside from blood circulation which also need movement.
    Muscle need to contract and relax to be strong and to facilitate waste product removal.
    Emotions can cause muscles to become constantly contracted.

    The stiffness of the muscles can be relaxed by contracting and relaxing them actively. Massage is contracting and relaxing them passively. If you have a full range of motion, move the joint around until there is circulation, then you can put your weight on it (foot or leg).

    Here, I am guessing that the swelling are the lymph node fluids unable to away from the aching part because it cannot circulate back up. Maybe an MD can explain further if my guess is correct or not.

    As for inflammation, I have fibromyalgia. Everything was normal but my blood showed inflammation to be positive. It was a sign that made my rheumatologist gave me a fibromylagia diagnosis in addition to 14 tender points.

    Again, just remembering my 'aha' moment made those tender points disappear. I guess from my subjective point of view, it is again related to muscle stiffness and again nerve activating the muscle causing it to become constantly stiff. That is how I figure it out and it works for me whether the theory is correct or not i don't know.

    But I would also be interested to know how emotions and stress can cause inflammation in the body and can cause muscle pain and other IBS and other syndrome.

    I hope the foot suggestion helps.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2014
  2. Katherine

    Katherine Newcomer

    Mindfulness and meditation was also part of my lifestyle before I read the book. So that helped me a lot in accepting my condition and easily receptive to the theories and examples written in the book. Not that I advocate these practices as what you are doing is already awareness exercise themselves and with the help of psychologist which is an excellent way to handle emotional factors in TMS.

    Loving yourself including the bad parts is the best part I have read in this thread.

    Thank you Anita.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2014
  3. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member

    I have accepted that they are a relief so I can move on with my journey of tms I consider it taking care of myself as if it was a message or a ice cream cone lol
  4. hoolie

    hoolie Peer Supporter

    I just need to say THANK YOU for this post. I have read and re-read it so many times. This is my favorite:

    "And at that point, once I was ready to let go of the fear, it was all downhill from there. I started steadily increasing my activity level, and my life started coming back to me. Even though I had tremendous ups and downs in the level of my pain, much more than I had expected, I was mentally prepared for them.",

    (sorry, dont' know how to do the fancy cut and paste thing yet! I added the italics, because I love that phrase)

    Thank you thank you thank you. And, tips on how you mentally prepared for ups and downs would be helpful!

    Best to you!
  5. AnitaV

    AnitaV Well known member

    Hi hoolie,

    I'm so sorry I didn't get back to you earlier, to your message or this thread. I've been laid up for a while with a nasty case of bronchitis, which I'm convinced was brought about by the stress of moving across the country a few months ago. I finally let myself have a good cry about the stress of it all this past weekend, and lo and behold, I started getting better.

    I'm so happy to hear that my story has helped you! Of course I'm happy to answer any questions and help you in any way I can.

    For me, dealing with the big ups and downs of my recovery boiled down to this: I wasn't bothered by the ups and downs because I understood what caused them.

    Even though I was physically quite bothered by the ups and downs, I was not afraid of them, because I understood what was causing them. You can take a look at my reply to Cheryl earlier in this thread for much more detail about this. Basically, I had studied Dr. Sarno's work and the experiences of other people who overcame TMS so thoroughly, I understood Dr. Sarno's explanation so thoroughly, and I believed in it so completely, that I expected ups and downs, and was not afraid of them.

    Also, I was never afraid of doing too much or of "overdoing it", because Dr. Sarno explained so well how that simply isn't possible. Our body is incredibly resilient, and we do not hurt it by doing everyday things. And, very importantly, when we do hurt our body, it recovers quite fast.

    This was really important for me to remember when I started exercising, about four months into my recovery. I started with yoga, and then started ballet as well. I was out of shape, atrophied, and very stiff when I started, so it would certainly have been easy to hurt myself. But it didn't matter, because I knew that if I did, I would get better. I had nothing to fear. I remember once I landed a jump badly in ballet, and my knee started to hurt a lot. I kept thinking, is this TMS, or did I really hurt my knee? Then I realized, it doesn't matter. I should just think about what is bothering me, as I always do. If it's TMS, it will go away. And if I actually hurt my knee, then guess what? It will go away too! Either way, there is nothing to fear! Sure enough, my knee stopped hurting the next day.

    I hope this is helpful! Let me know if I can help you with any other questions!
    Ellen likes this.
  6. AnitaV

    AnitaV Well known member

    And remember, just keep going! The beginning of the recovery can be physically very rough, with major ups and downs, and with the symptom imperative creating crazy pains all over your body. This can go on for a while, as it did for me. Keep reading, keep going, and know that one day soon you will be pain-free! Once you stop being afraid, then the pain will bother you so much less, and you will be calm in the knowledge that your body is amazing, and that eventually you will be pain-free. Our minds are wired in such strange ways, and it can take a long time to rewire them, but if you persevere, you will get there.
  7. AnitaV

    AnitaV Well known member

    I often think of this quote that Dr. Sarno includes in The Divided Mind:

    “Pity me that the heart is slow to learn
    What the swift mind beholds at every turn.”
    - Edna St. Vincent Millay

    Give your heart time!
  8. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member


    Did you speak with a tms therapist and if you did, did it help?
  9. hoolie

    hoolie Peer Supporter

    Thank you thank you thank you for your response. It saved me from the post I was going to write on the Support Subform, which would have been titled "The Symptom Imperative is INSANE! HELP!" But your post came at a divinely inspired time....could NOT have been better.
    I have been dealing with some ugly symptom imperatives myself..one of which being out of the blue wrist pain, which I probably got from reading your success story :) Because they are not disappearing quickly, it's hard to accept them as such sometimes....and because they are appearing ON TOP OF, not INSTEAD OF my original issue, it is also distressing. But your posts assure me that this is a temporary state, and to keep on going. That was the message I needed to hear this morning when I was thinking, "oh my everything hurts, maybe I shouldn't try running again..."
    So I did run. To heck with it.

    Thanks again,
  10. AnitaV

    AnitaV Well known member

    Yes, I did psychotherapy for months. It changed my life by helping me understand when and why I was repressing emotions.
  11. AnitaV

    AnitaV Well known member

    Hi Julie,

    I had symptoms that went on for a long time, so don't worry if it doesn't go away quickly. The longest symptom lasted two or three months. I was mostly pain free, and had been walking barefoot at home for a month or so, when I started getting pain in the ball of my left foot over the summer. It felt like there was a stone in the ball of my foot. It was very painful, and made walking barefoot very difficult. I knew it was TMS, but it didn't go away quickly, like my other new symptoms did, even though I was thinking about my emotions a lot. Finally I got fed up with it and started walking around the house in flip flops, which didn't hurt. But, anytime I tried walking barefoot, the pain would start again in my left foot, and it would really bother me. Sometimes it would start right away, and sometimes it would start after 10 minutes, but it would always start.

    I realized that the pain would never go away if I kept avoiding it. I knew without a doubt that it was TMS, but it had been going on for so long, and was so painful, that I didn't want to push through it. But finally I did, and I told myself that I was not allowed to wear shoes at home. I forced myself to walk barefoot through the pain, and a week or two later, the pain went away.

    So, don't worry if your symptoms don't go away quickly! Don't fear them, keep reading, keep thinking about your emotions, and eventually they will go away!

  12. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member

    Anita, Thanks for sharing your story. It's a very powerful recovery story. Coincidentally, I also found some of my first TMS knowledge on that Harvard website. Although, originally, it was just a success story that was posted by Rachel Podolsky.
    AnitaV likes this.
  13. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Anita,

    Thanks for the post, are you completely pain free now?


  14. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is a great exchange of posts on relaxing leg muscles. Relaxing and contracting them,
    and also remembering the repressed emotion causing the pain. It all works together.

    I'm 84 and put off grocery shopping last week but this morning I told myself to go for it.
    Partly because I was running out of dog food for Annie. I drove to two malls for what I needed
    and felt no leg pain, which I worried I would.
    AnitaV likes this.
  15. AnitaV

    AnitaV Well known member

    Yes, I am! I am going skiing next weekend, for the first time in 12 years!
  16. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Excellent Anita, I'm very happy for you - it just shows how will power can help you conquer anything. 12 years of hard work has certainly paid off.

    I hope you have an excellent time skiing, you really deserve it,

    God bless you Anita and may you continue to live in great health.

  17. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

    Two days ago I began having crippling foot pain in ball of my right foot. It has even swollen up.
    This is one symptom that I've had since Sept 2013 that happened right after I completed a short run. I attributed the pain to wearing bad shoes and got an X-ray that showed nothing. From time to time it gets worse but never fully goes away. Interestingly I had been inactive and recovering from flu recently so there is no way it was caused by physical injury.
    Convinced this is another manifestation but when that type of pain hits u it really makes you doubt this whole concept.
  18. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Irish, I have had swelling of the foot too and it has gone, like yourself I had my doubts it was TMS and it lingered on for ages - I guess its because there is a huge divide on whether swelling is TMS and it only enhances your doubt, I know Steve O mentions it in his book and I have come across others who have used the mindbody approach and healed.
    IrishSceptic likes this.
  19. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member


    I also suffer foot issues for years until I came across TMS, and I understand your doubt when the pain is bad….but I continue on exercising and going about my day….I find meditating and finding stillness in my mind along with responding correctly to my repressed emotions helps beyond all other approaches, remember forgive and let it go. These things have brought me better days during the week.
    mike2014 likes this.
  20. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Anita,
    Thank you for your post. About feet, I was also in a great search for foot success stories and they were much harder to find. And I also recall, regarding taking a little while, that Dr. Sarno says somewhere that "foot pain, for some unknown reason, takes longer to cure." So that was interesting.

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