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Neck spasm; question regarding how pain "goes away":

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by avik, Mar 16, 2015.

  1. avik

    avik Well known member

    Thanks for reading; let me explain:

    For the first time in a while, I got a very bad neck spasm last week, that i woke up with. It includes pain on my spine and some numbness and tingling in my left arm, which scares me a bit as it came after I did a very heavy shoulder workout in the gym.
    I've had this type of spasm a myriad of times before over the past 15 years but I am once again doubting the TMS diagnosis (mainly due to the severity of this one).

    My question is: if it is TMS, wouldn't the pain just "go away" as quickly as it came? Why does it go away gradually, as if it was "healing"?

    This is what confuses me. Every time I have one of these spasms, I have to "wait" for it to "heal", which is usually 4-7 days. Am I just conditioned to think it needs time to heal? Its one of the only TMS equivalents that i experience (that I think) requires time to heal up and go away. This healing period that's required makes me think its an actual injury. Most others I can simply work though, psychologically. Once ive gotten a spasm, I have never been able to talk/think it away, like I can everything else.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2015
    Markus likes this.
  2. David88

    David88 Well known member

    I have often had back spasms from TMS. They go away faster when I recognize them as TMS, but it still takes some time, typically two to four days, sometimes longer if they're severe.

    As I understand it, TMS causes the spasm by inducing physical changes in the muscle. The spasms are in the muscle, not the head, and they do take time to clear, even when you know they're from TMS.

    And it's important to be kind and patient with yourself when TMS is acting up. If you demand that the spasms clear up -- NOW, ASAP, on the double -- then you are increasing your anxiety and slowing down recovery. Focus on recognizing the underlying emotional conflict, let yourself adjust over a few days to whatever you've learned about yourself, and the spasms will clear up fast enough.
    TG957 and Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) like this.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Avic. I like David's reply. I think your neck spasm came on from TMS and you need to discover the repressed emotion
    that caused it. You've had the spasms before, which seems to me that you accept that it is from TMS. You just need to
    do some thinking or journaling about the psychological cause. It's most likely from somewhere in your past.
    Something recent may have triggered the repressed emotions. Go back to their origin. Good luck and good healing.
  4. avik

    avik Well known member

    David-well said; thank you for your thoughts. Considering that the spasm itself IS real, do you massage/stretch it during that 2-4 day period or do you try to give it no attention? Do you continue with physical activity during this time and if not, wouldn't that be further conditioning. Its a bit of a paradox for me considering that the spasm is real but the cause is psychological...

    Regardless its comforting to hear someone else say they have experienced something similar. The theme with me is that I really am not calm, kind and patient with myself so your words really do hit home.
    Its just amazing how after so long, so much work and reading and undeniable evidence, that I can still occasionally question the TMS diagnosis.

    Walt-thank you for your reply.
    I simply get lazy when it comes to journalling. I really need be a bit more consistent as there are quite a few unresolved issues/anger from my past and they have undoubtedly have been brought up (albeit in my sub-conscious) over the past month or so.
  5. David88

    David88 Well known member

    I'm glad I was able to help a bit. I'm struggling with all of this myself, sometimes successfully, sometimes less so. But it helps a lot to read other peoples stories and share ideas.

    I think all of us TMSers are hard on ourselves. The conflict between our impossible self-expectations and our humanity is what leads to TMS. And then when we learn about TMS, we respond like the TMSers we are: we expect ourselves to overcome it with alacrity. "I read the book yesterday! Why am I still in pain today???"

    For me, overcoming TMS is taking more than just reading a few books. It's become a journey toward self-understanding and self-compassion. What impossible expectation do I have for myself? Who am I really trying to please? What would I be, if I weren't trying to live up to an unreachable standard? Can I accept and love myself for who I really am? Tough questions.

    There's nothing wrong with massage and stretching, if they make the spasm feel better. I take Motrin. Why suffer? There's no reason not to seek relief from the physical symptoms, while you're addressing the emotional issues through journaling or whatever works for you. Just keep in mind that the cause of the pain is psychological.

    When resuming physical activity, I usually do so gradually and gently. The idea is to challenge the pain enough to start moving through it, but not so much that you spike your anxiety. You want to build confidence, which takes time. Once in a while, when I'm really confident, I can bull my way through quickly. But that's not the norm.

    Ellen likes this.
  6. moonstone

    moonstone New Member

    I have just come in from horse riding and for no apparent reason, I have nasty spasms in my neck and shoulders causing my head to ache. As headaches are my primary TMS symptom and I am scared of them (trying not to be, but it's a long and scary road) this is causing me anxiety. I thought I would quickly trawl through the forum to find some comfort and came across your thread. I think you are all on the right track, the tension causes the spasm, the spasm causes fear and also a feeling of dropping backwards on the climb towards recovery. I am trying not to be upset or worried, trying to just accept that maybe I pushed a bit too fast today but, I am getting better and as such will recover faster this time. I am another step closer to wellness.
  7. Markus

    Markus Guest

    Avis, because you are aware that this issue is TMS, I see no reason why you couldn't get it massaged or stretched, maybe hot tub therapy. I would find a way to make you feel better, just because it's TMS, doesn't mean you should suffer. I have TMS and went through an extensive physical therapy program 2 years ago and my muscles became strong and a great deal of my pain dissipated! I had a massage therapist that told me to keep up what I was doing as my body was "totally transformed". (Therapists words) I need to get back on that excercise regimen!


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