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New and Torn between TMS and “Structural” – losing my mind?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by michaelpm, Aug 30, 2015.

  1. michaelpm

    michaelpm Newcomer

    Hi all, I am new and interested in reaching out to you folks. How is this for a TMS Resume? I am a guy in my 40s who just desperately wants to get back to being physically active and I’m currently burdened with so much pain it is driving me crazy, and I am having trouble fully accepting the TMS diagnosis. I am despondent and in despair at my situation and could use some (I suppose) encouragement.

    My history will sound familiar. Always had aches and pain even as a kid. I caught colds/flus a lot. Back in my late 20s I had what was considered at the time to be some kind of “chronic fatigue syndrome” thing, wherein I felt sick and fluish and exhausted for months and then years. Saw tons of doctors and the CFS diagnosis was the only thing anyone could come up with. No one has any answers for that diagnosis, either (or at least they didn’t back then). Those symptoms for the most part improved. After collarbone break and surgery about 10 years ago, I developed “tendonitis” in my shoulder that wasn’t improved by arthro debridement. That seems to have come and gone but stays mostly gone until I start lifting weights.

    My latest issues are with my hip and wrist and to a lesser degree my knee. I’ve been diagnosed with Greater Trochanter Pain Syndrome in my hip/thigh (also affets knee), as well as tight ITB Syndrome. I get massive pain in my outer thigh when I run and even when I walk long distances. Keep in mind, I don’t think my Xrays show anything, I think the Ortho just diagnosed this based on symptoms. I’m also being treated for a TFCC tear in my wrist, which, according to the MRI, isn’t even a tear. It’s just edema i.e. fluid buildup. My wrist hurts A LOT. It started earlier this year when I was doing weight lifting and some yoga. Was achey here and there and then one day in the gym something got tweaked and I have been out of the gym ever since. I am barely active lately, gaining weight, feeling miserable and awful. No surgery for hip or wrist, yet.

    I am in Physical Therapy for both hip and wrist and I can’t say they are doing much good. I get the sense that Physical Therapists often are winging it and guessing. I don’t mean to disrespect the profession but that’s just been my experience.

    I have read a couple of Dr. Sarnos books going back 10+ years. I think reading his book possibly helped me ease out of my intense CFS symptoms though I can't be sure. I am 50-75% convinced I am a classic TMS case. I am always stressed. I have a history of depression and anxiety. I work in a stressful field, I live in NYC which is basically Stress City. I really think all my “injuries” are actually manifestations of anxiety, sadness, anger, frustration, worry. I’d like a TMS therapist but here in NY they are all out-of-pocket and I can’t afford that. I am 25% still stuck on the structural. That fear and uncertainty that it really is physical injury and that only meds, ice, PT, and possibly surgery will help.

    I saw Dr. Ira Rashbaum at NYU a few weeks ago. He examined me and looked at my hip Xray and wrist MRI and concluded that, in his opinion, I am a TMS case. I suppose the tests can’t find anything physically wrong and the doctors are sending me to PT because they don’t have any other answers. Dr. Rashbaum said he could work with me, but he says I have to quit PT altogether. I feel like I’m not ready to do that. But at the same time, I’m not doing it 100% now that I’ve seen Rashbaum. I’m truly stuck between two worlds… TMS and Structural. Can anyone relate?

    How do I break out of this? I have FOUR PT appointments scheduled for this week coming up. Do I just break them? I’m scheduled out to the end of September until (I assume) my insurance runs out.

    I cannot afford Dr. Rashbaum’s $600 lectures but I don’t think that’s all he offers.

    I have the Divided Mind by my nightstand and I pick it up and read it. The next thing I know I’m off to PT. I think I’m going crazy and I don’t know what to do.

    Maybe I should start with a TMS Workbook of some kind? Journaling never really did anything for. I have issues with writing things down, always afraid someone will pick it up and read it (which is weird because I live alone) or get into my computer files and read that. That sounds paranoid schizo, I know, but I think it just stems from feeling like “journaling” is a byproduct of 1990s New Age stuff.

    Also, one thing that boggles my mind is this… If it is all TMS, how come it gets worse with increased activity? The structural makes sense in this case. My leg hurts more when I go running in Central Park because it’s an overuse bursitis type of injury. Use causes irritation. Same with wrist. But if it’s TMS, why does my brain make it WORSE with increased use?

    Anyway, sorry I rambled. Does anyone have any suggestions for reading materials to get me moving more in the TMS direction? If I stay hovering in miserable 75/25 land for much long I’ll lose my mind. I don’t want to spin my wheels in BOTH directions (TMS and Structural) and get nowhere on either side.

    kevinmichael likes this.
  2. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Michael. I think many of us get caught between worlds in the beginning. I know when we are in intense pain, what we want most is pain relief. And yet the TMS recovery can be very frustrating for some because the more we focus on pain relief as a measurement of whether or not it truly is TMS or structural, the less likely the pain is to go away because we are focused on it so much(and therefore being successfully distracted by it). Its difficult to be caught between both worlds and perhaps you should continue the physical therapy for a time and keep reading and researching the TMS. I know for many years, physical therapy worked for me. And then when another pain condition surfaced I had no idea it was connected to the first. What finally brought me to exploring TMS in earnest was that the physical therapy was not working and in fact I started to feel much worse for a few days after going. And so when I had I a cervical MRI that revealed herniated discs I was caught between worlds. I did not want to have another surgery. I was afraid. I felt hopeless. So I asked my doctor if I could safely wait six months before having surgery and I told myself that I would try my very best to believe in the possibility of TMS and I began my journey. After a few months I was not pain free but I had noted enough inconsistencies in the structural diagnosis that I took surgery off the table. That was over three years ago. My only advice is that it truly is impossible to outthink your own brain. Believe me I have tried. It may just be speculation on how exactly the mind creates the physical pains and seeming injuries, but I know from first hand experience now that even the worst feeling injury can change in a moment when you have TMS. Or it can stay stuck in chronic pain for years. I think the rhyme and reason may just come down to how distracting it is. Sometimes its a new pain and sometimes its a chronic one that doesn't budge. Getting worse with increased activity reinforces your belief in the structural. We are not here to try and convert you into believing your pain is caused by TMS. If the physical therapy brings you any relief, than that is a good thing. And if you can't find anything structurally wrong and the PT ends up not helping, then I would strongly recommend making a commitment to exploring TMS.
    Markus, Cap'n Spanky and JanAtheCPA like this.
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Michael, and welcome to the forum - I sure hope you will stick around and explore, because there are a ton of different stories here, including people just like you who are stuck, people who have achieved inspiring levels of recovery, and of course people at all the stages in between. You might think about reading one story a day from the "Success Stories" Subforum.

    But first of all, it seems kind of obvious to me that your brain is doing a great job of keeping you stuck. The thing that just leaps right out at me is that your brain has convinced you that journaling is pointless. I'm here to tell you that journaling is incredibly powerful, and although many of us are not comfortable doing it (me included), it is one of the best tools there is to get at the repression of emotions that is causing your symptoms. IF you do it honestly. Which is a pretty big IF, since your unconscious repressive brain is really really good at keeping you from being honest, by creating fear and shame around what you might write down.

    Fear and shame, by the way, are emotional coverups - they are very shallow excuses for real emotions, and they are not what your brain is repressing.

    I highly recommend doing the Structured Educational Program which is on the wiki. It's free, created by a number of the founding members of the wiki and the forum, and it only asks you to do a few things each day, so you don't get burned out.
    And yes, it's going to ask you to journal armscrosseddenial My advice is to just do it :p

    Seriously, here is what I learned when I did the SEP. During some of the writing exercises I heard my brain saying "oh no, don't write THAT down, THAT'S not important!" I decided to force myself to write those things down. And later, when I wrote in more detail about the things on my list, I discovered that those "unimportant" things actually revealed really interesting things about childhood emotions that I'd kept repressed for a long time. They weren't particularly earth-shattering, but they were very revealing about who I am and how I got that way. Were some of the things that I wrote down potentially embarrassing? Of course they were - we're talking about childhood stuff, after all. I decided at some point to always journal using pen and paper - and I always throw away what I've written. Once you've written it down, you don't need to read it again. There is always new stuff to write about. I'm still picking up that pen every once in a while, four years later, for needed tune-ups.

    Next, I have an interesting story about quitting physical treatment - interesting, because it happened about 11 months before I read my first book by Dr. Sarno. My list of symptoms included chronic neck pain, supposedly due to an old whiplash that wasn't treated back in 1983. I had a chiropractor for over 15 years, but in the fall of 2010 I was also seeing a cranio-sacral MD, who was trying to teach me to communicate with my body, and he asked me to quit going to the chiro. As chiros go, mine was pretty good, she tried really hard to "fix" me, and the adjustments did bring me relief. But this MD told me that I could keep my "A-O" joint in place by myself, by talking to it. So I stopped seeing the chiro, and the next time my A-O slipped, which always gave me a big painful lump on one side of my neck, plus headaches, I did what he said. I lay in bed, and did a bit of calming breathing, and kind of pushed very gently on the lumpy area, and I visualized the joint going back and my neck being straight. And in the morning, it was! No headache, no more pain.

    I never went back to the chiropractor and never again felt the need to, even in the following months during which my other TMS symptoms kept getting worse. The doc wasn't able to to help, because he wasn't teaching me what was really going on, and it was the anxiety which was really getting to me, along with incipient depression. It wasn't until I read The Divided Mind that I was able to turn my life around. That's when I quit going to about three different PTs, and the only medical professionals I've seen since then are the dentist and eye doc. I see a different PT these days - a personal trainer.

    Okay, that's a long post, and I hope you get through it all. Most of all, I hope you find a way to get past that 25% and find a way towards recovery.
    The great thing about this community is seeing all the different methods and resources that work for different people. Because one size does NOT fit all. So keep your mind open and start exploring :cool:

  4. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    This is the essence of TMS, and of Dr. Sarno's brilliant insight.

    Your brain wants you to think you have a structural problem. It wants you to doubt, to pause, and to worry. It's possible to doubt some at the conscious level and to heal some, but it's impossible at the unconscious level to doubt and to heal all the way.

    So it comes down to you. If you want to heal you have to cancel your PTs. But your brain still needs your symptoms, so it hesitates. This is what I mean when I tell people that they have to want to heal before they can heal. Every symptom you listed here is TMS. You have the history and many of the hallmarks. You actually sound like I did, and reminded me of myself of days gone by.

    It gets worse with increased activity for a couple reasons, none of which mean anything.

    I had 4 people email me this weekend that they healed. That's a new weekend record. But as more time goes on it's clear that almost everything is TMS, and that we are all the same. The same truths hold for everyone.

    You have to decide to treat your body or heal, much like the line in Raiders of the Lost Arc, "Choose wisely."

  5. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Call Dr. Rashbaum and tell him you can't afford to pay and see what they can work out for you, maybe a payment plan. Drs. are used to slow pays or not getting paid at all. I don't think a TMS doc will turn someone down if they don't have the money--or you could rob a bank or liquor store--or, panhandle on the corner, make a cardboard sign that says: "Need money for TMS treatment.", maybe Howard Stern will see you and kick-in.

    Last edited: Sep 1, 2015
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is what you believe.
    Thank you for this, Steve - I laughed, but it's so true.

    Dr. Sarno and others, including Steve O ( The Great Pain Deception) explain the mechanism behind your confusion, but it's just as valuable to remember one of the first things that Dr. Sarno says - which is that we are NOT that fragile! Our bodies were made to do amazing things, and most of us are in far better shape than our primitive ancestors, thanks to modern sanitation and nutrition, never mind that a lot more of us make it beyond childhood now.
  7. Richsimm22

    Richsimm22 Well known member

    Read more about how the mind affects the body from different sources. Not just TMS. This helped me as it feels your not getting a one way biased view.

    Also sometimes you just have to get the physical Therapy done and out the way to find out it doesn't work and won't leave you wondering whether it would have or not.
  8. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think, the danger of getting physical therapy, is that it can give mild relief at best, but it's still not identifying the source of the problem. The more alternatives you look the longer you stay in the pain cycle and enforce the fear of it being something greater than it is.
  9. Richsimm22

    Richsimm22 Well known member

    I think it depends on the person Mike. I recall Sarno stating some people just aren't ready for TMS until they have been through the mill of physical modalities. Some people just aren't ready for it. It's a barrier that needs to be overcome. Obviously we know physical therapy won't work but some just need confirmation to help go towards evidence that's it's not structural.
  10. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member

    Dont waste your money or time with tms Dr if u been cleared by your MD its tms period....you dont need to shell out big money to hear its TMS
  11. Markus

    Markus Guest

    Michael, you have already had an MRI, and it appears structural issues are ruled out. I wouldn't pay any TMS Dr.one more red cent! It sounds l
    Steve you should print out some of those emails you get.....show us for encouragement! I mean black out the names and whatever......but we hear that people heal but, where's the proof! On this forum, I see only a few people that say they have healed here.....yet in Sarno's books....hundreds or more.....maybe thousands have healed! Then I came to read the forum, only to hear someone tell someone reaching out for help to panhandle to obtain money for a TMS Dr.
    There are those here that work very hard on healing, and we don't need this kind of negativity! Some people have little regard for others,and that's sad! I don't post that much at all, but that does not mean I'm not busy getting well. There's no way I can possibly devote my time to what I call TMS work and post on the forum all the time I can answer people who seem desperate may be privately or on the forum either one. But the form can become so negative that I actually don't like to answer some people who really are asking for help on the form I will send them a private message. Forrest who runs this, and who started it, has completely healed and he doesn't put anybody down and treat everyone the same, maybe everybody should follow that example. Bottom line there's just too much negativity on the forums, and I'm not convinced people are is healed as they claim to be.
  12. Richsimm22

    Richsimm22 Well known member

    Some good points and questions in there
  13. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Some valid points made. I think seeing a TMS Dr is at the discretion of the individual. Some people just need that level of assurance from a professional. With regards to success stories, I do agree, there is a shortage and we could always have more.

    There will always be people who join the forum who have doubts and are negative. The purpose of this forum and community is to create a safe non - judgemental place, where we can openly communicate and value each others opinions without being criticised or frowned upon. Some need the level of comfort and belonging to help them on their journey. But I do agree, one does ultimately need to look after themselves before they can play the role of a care giver.

    Finally, I've always struggled with some posts here when they say they are cured. Whilst the individual may have resolved the current ailment, the symptoms of TMS can actually be a lifetime battle of maladies, eg tense migraines. So, is anyone actually cured? I would say probably not, but being tooled with knowledge and the ability to switch on our self healing mechanism we can learn to combat ailments when they arise.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2015
  14. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Michaelpm, just wanted to chime in on the PT dilemma. I TOTALLY understand where you're coming from. My practical advice, based on been-there-done-that...CANCEL those appointments with haste. They're a waste of time, money and they do you no favors by supporting the pathology mindset.

    I was the queen of PT. Years and years. New therapists. Different approaches. All it did was perpetuate my issues.

    It took a long while to untangle my thinking but it is so worth the effort. Good luck to you!
  15. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is a really wonderful exchange of posts and TMS healing advice. I hope everyone reads it, from the beginning.

    Someone today asked me about TMS because they have spent years and tons of money seeing doctors, getting tests, and pain practitioners including chiropractors. Nothing has relieved the pain. He said he is "desperate," and asked my advice. I advised him to believe 100 percent that his back and other pain is from TMS, repressed emotions. He is having trouble believing that. Doctors and therapists have convinced him his pains are structural. I urged him to think TMS instead and to start the Structured Educational Program. I sure hope he does.

    Steve's advise is really good for that fellow. You want to heal before you can heal. And to do that, you can pass the pain off as being structural, especially since tests show nothing is wrong physically. You have to believe 100 percent in TMS.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  16. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member

    Great posts by all especially you Markus all valid and true points. We come here for support and guidance not all our ailments need to be confirmed my a tms Dr .

    Once you got medical clearance thats your past port to tms healing enough with running to more Dr.

    Yes some people my need this ( severe cases) but those of us that can get out of bed and put are pants there is no need.

    Of course i speak of my own doings
    JanAtheCPA and Markus like this.
  17. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I wish I could LIKE this more than once. These are two really really important points that Mike2014 has made here.

    I sometimes feel like I'm being too negative when I warn people that for most of us, TMS is a life-long struggle. I always want to find a more positive way of putting it (goodist!) But it IS a struggle, although it is one over which we can choose to KNOW that we have the power to win. And every battle won is a reason to feel good about ourselves!
    SunnyinFL, Markus and mike2014 like this.
  18. Markus

    Markus Guest

    I can agree with Mike on this! Interesting thought. I merely posted because I felt the negative comments were not warrented,and in fact were hurting this new person from feeling welcome. What path one ultimately follows is up to that person, but we owe it to the newbies and one another to be kind. I will not cover up a comment made out of well thought out arrogance! Also while we look up to Steveo,every time he mentions people healing and receiving emails to that effect,if truth be told,it would be great to have that shared with us....literally. I firmly believe less people are not healed when they declare they have healed.
    But the bottom line are that there isn't any room for insults and put downs,someone asked for help. And also if people become afraid of self disclosure it's hurts the entire group. God bless all the great input in this thread! But we could do without offhand or garish comments that are merely cheap insults at someone else's expense! We are all on a path,we all are at different places, we can make this more enjoyable!
  19. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Great conversation, everyone! And yeah...I wonder if TMS stuff will be on-going companion with me. I think I'm getting to the place of accepting that possibility - but not from a depressed/give-up perspective. It's been more empowering to me that I'm moving on, TMS or not. I hit the gym everyday and when needed, take some ibuprofen without guilt.
  20. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I could have written this! Except for the part about hitting the gym every day...dancea
    Markus, Boston Redsox and North Star like this.

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