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New here and some questions and a very long story!

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Birdie, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. Birdie

    Birdie Peer Supporter

    Hello everybody,
    I'm new at this forum and want to introduce myself! First of all: I'm sorry for my very poor English, I hope you will understand me (I'm from Germany and TMS is unknown here).

    A few days ago I found some interesting text in the Internet from Dr. Sarno and by reading it I thought “oh my God, this could be me”! Of course there are many doubts whether it's really TMS, but it sounds logical to me!

    Since adolescence I'm afflicted with lots of symptoms, most of them being chronic.

    Recently I ordered Sarnos book “Healing back pain…” (of course in German, otherwise it would take me ages to read) and was a bit irritated about some things he wrote concerning the muscles being ONLY afflicted by TMS. He subscribed the back (lower back), the neck, the shoulders and the gluteal region to be afflicted by TMS because of having a higher percentage of “tonus fibres”.

    Therefore my question: could it also be TMS if there are mainly ore only other muscles afflicted such as arms, legs, hips? Ok, I have also aches in me left buttocks as described by Sarno, but no lower back pain or pain in other parts of the back.

    The other thing I’m doubtful about: Sarno writes about Trigger Points. And he also talks about trigger points concerning fibromyalgia. I often noticed a synonyme use from “trigger points” and “tender points” in the literature, but there are important differences. Trigger points are clearly palpable, there is a typical “referred” pain and a “jump sign” pushing then; they mostly get better or disappear (at least short-term) massaging them (they’ve been described mainly by Travell/Simons). Tender points are also very aching, but getting not better after treating them physically nor are they palpable…

    So I ask me if Sarno is talking about the trigger points as described by Travell/Simons or in fact tender points which are typically in fibromyalgia (but calling them trigger points). In the case of fibromyalgia there are often both conditions: tender points and co-existing trigger points (a very helpful article to differ tender from triggerpoints, unfortunately from a very physiological point of view: http://homepages.sover.net/~devstar/TrPs_and_TPs.pdf)

    And this leads me to a further question: are TMS and “myofascial pain syndrome” (defined as triggerpoints in several different parts of the body) the same phenomenon, only the reasons took as a basis were different? Travell/Simons proposed mainly physical reasons as “muscular imbalances” or injuries while Sarno proposes unconscious feelings and, as a reason, aches produced by “mild oxygen depreivation”? What do you think about this? I’d be very, very interested in your opinion (preconditioned somebody understood my funny English J ).

    Ok, now some short information about me: I’m a 34 years old female from Germany, diagnosed with “somatoform pain disorder” and “myofascial pain syndrome”, what a surprise :D .

    My “pain-career” started when I moved out home with 18 years. After a year I began suffering from terrible heel-pain, neither related to plantarfascitis or heelspur (I meanwhile know this sort of pain, it feels quite different) nor to m. Bechterew or other causes. It appears while standing or walking, getting better while lying down or sitting or reducing pressure by wearing cushioned insoles. I have Metatarsalgia too since childhood and sustained several fatigue-fractures (splayfeet + osteopenia due to defiency of Vit d3). Walking barfoot is causing hematoma along the hole sole of foot. My subcutaneous tissue feels too thin and too soft, feels like walking on my bones without any cushioning when I walk. A very, very painful condition! MRT showed mild inflammation, fibrosis and herniation of the subcutaneous soft tissue, but nobody had a good explanation therefore. I think my psyche activated some stress-induced processes which afflicted my soft tissue. I don’t think it’s a hazard that the foot-pain occurred when I moved from home. I relate my feet for “independence” and “self-dependence” and that’s exactly where my main-problem is!

    Do you consider this theory as possible? Or perhaps: what else could cause this "mysterious" condition in my feet?

    So for about 16 years I can’t stand longer than 10 minutes and can’t walk more than about 1/ 4. mile. My legmuscles are shortened and atrophied, I think my grandma is much more fitter than me...:confused:

    But then, with writing my doctor-thesis, everything got worse (I couldn't believe this was possible). Since that I wished I had “only” my footpain.

    It started with a “normal” tendovaginitis in both hands. I had not written for a long time and then suddenly wrote about 40 pages a day. But, even after a few weeks of pausing, the pain didn’t disappear. Both forearms and upsides of my hands felt burning and tensed. The physio told me to stretch my arms, but stretching worsened the pain. In order to continue with my doctor thesis I bought “dragon-speech”; but it doesn’t really work for that, too many foreign words. So I started to dictate the text to my husband; poor husband!
    One year later, I spent 8 hours on an ale-bench and next day 8 hours on a very uncomfortable chair in the auditorium. I noticed strong pain in my right buttocks down to my leg. After several month of severe pain in both arms (couldn’t write) and in my buttocks (couldn’t sit for an hour) I decided to give up my try for the doctor-thesis. But the pain remained!
    I admit to the fact that dealing with this thesis stressed myself out nearly to the maxiumum (I'm an anxious and very perfectionistic, pessimistic person, perfect condition to TMS, isn't it :confused:?)

    The doctor found lots of trigger points, most of them in the piriformis and the gluteus-muscels. Self-massage worsened the triggerpoints, but dry-needling helped a lot to ease-up the situation, meanwhile I’m able to site for some hours painfree (but for a person being not able to spend much time on my feet thats really worst case). But: sitting for a longer time is still impossible and I still suffer from pain in both arms. In the meantime I also suffer from a chronic epicondylitis, a “runners-knee”, a “jumpers-knee”, "plantar-fasciitis (over and above the mysterous heel-pain), shin-splints and so on. Unfortunately there’s not “only” pain, my elbow is swollen and the ultrasound showed joint bruise. Ignoring the pain wasn’t successful as the swelling got worse (rheumatismm was excluded).

    So I’m sitting here, unable to work or to live a normal live. Nearly every spare time activity is causing pain and, that’s disturbing me very much, swelling and inflammation. If it was “only” pain I’d perhaps be able to do some normal activity; but every try resulted in the increasing of inflammation. So what should I do?

    Some more information: I do psychoanalysis for 8 years now, without any improvement concerning the muscle and tendon-pain! I guess my sticking point has something to do with not being self-dependend. Problems flare-up in situations relating to "stand on ones own feet" :confused:
    As long as I can remeber I suffer from feelings of abandonment (my mother died a few weeks after my birh and after 1 year I lost my fostermother, inbetween there were two long stays in the clinic). And thats only the tip of the iceberg.

    The only thing that helps for a short time is massage and muscle relaxans, but it doesn’t last. One trigger disappeared, the next goes up! One to nothing for the trigger-points, I throw in the towel.

    Ok, this was a very long self-introduction, thanks for reading and sorry for the mistakes, I didn’t reread…

    Best wishes,


  2. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Welcome, Birdie!

    Another book by Dr. Sarno, "The Mindbody Prescription" talks about other conditions that are TMS or TMS-equivalents besides back pain. That might be good to read next since he describes a lot of other conditions besides back pain.

    I'm not sure of the distinction on trigger points. I remember when I went to see my TMS doctor he did push on a bunch of points on my back, shoulders, etc. I think those might be the same as the points for testing for fibromyalgia but I'm not sure.

    I think Sarno writes about this in The Mindbody Prescription...many people have been in therapy before but didn't recover from pain. The missing piece of the puzzle is the understanding that the mind is creating the pain to distract you from repressed feelings. That's what you're learning about with TMS.

    Your English is great!

    Hope you are feeling better soon and hope to see you around.

    :) Veronica
    Livvygurl likes this.
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Birdie and Welcome to the Wiki,

    As Veronica mentioned, the key is learning about TMS and going from thinking physically about your symptoms to thinking psychologically. If you combine TMS knowledge with psychoanalysis you will see results.

    After hearing your story it does sound like you have TMS. First, abandoment is one of the major factors behind TMS symptoms. Almost all of us have experienced some form of abandonment at one time or another.

    Another major sign of TMS is if your symptoms move around a lot. This sounds like something that is happening to you. Multiple chronic symptoms, none of which have a clear structural cause, is a clear sign that you have TMS.

    It sounds like one of your main issues is understanding what is TMS. Essentially, TMS can be a wide variety of issues. It goes beyond back pain or muscle issues. TMS can manifest itself in pain all over the body (arms, legs, feet, shoulders, etc) or in a number of other GI issues. In my own case I had chronic pain in my hands and arms, which was diagnosed as Fibromyalgia (which is just TMS), along with shoulder pain, and knee pain. I had trouble typing more than a couple sentences on a keyboard and, like you, also started using Voice-Recognition software. This actually led me to have voice problems! In the end, it was all TMS.

    All of these diagnoses, Fibromyalgia, Myofasical Pain Syndrome, Plantar Fascities, are TMS. Once you understand that these conditions are caused by repressed emotions, and not a structural problem, they will begin to fade away.

    In terms of the swelling, there is a Q&A article about this issue by Dr. Howard Schubiner. The article is Can TMS cause swelling? Dr. Schubiner explains, that while in most cases TMS doesn't cause a change like swelling or inflammation, it doesn't mean it won't occur. There are some TMS cases where swelling and inflammation do take place, of course it is the role of a good physician to rule out any serious medical condition.
  4. Birdie

    Birdie Peer Supporter

    Hi everybody!

    Thanks a lot for your very interesting answers! That's good to be understood and supported!
    Well, I really believe that I am a case of TMS, most things seem typically! And, Forest, I also know the thing with my voice using a speech-regognition-programme :D. It nearly seemed impossibly to function in a normal way...

    Just in the moment I am very confused. My orthopaedic-specialist send me to the MRT in order to find out the reason for my strong ellbow-pain. The radiologist told me, a few hours ago, there's a ruptured tendon in my ellbow. Unfortunately that was exactly my feeling when it began to hurt. I told my husband:" shit, fells like something ruptured." But, and that's a big but: I can't remember any injury! The pain started after telephoning for hours. The only thing I noticed for weeks: my arm muscles are enormly tensioned and stiff. But not only my arms, even my buttocks, my legs and so on. For any reason I have a very bad, "brittle" connective/soft-tissue, docs always ask me if I did some long-term-cortison-therapy. My tissue isn't resilient (me isn't too :D) and normal activities often suffice to cause injury (I do not mean a "felt" injury, but injury seen on x-ray, mrt and so on). Me and my psychologist suppose that early traumata and therefore my psyche influenced my connective tissue in a bad way (cortisol?) so that it isn't as "mechanically resistant" as it should. It is known for early traumata that they can (via unconscious) strongly influence the body! For example when I sit on a hard chair for a few hours I geht swelling and hematoma on my buttocks, really strange. Therefore I think that my tensioned arm-muscles in combination with a unusual vulnerabel tissue is a condition that is able to cause injury, just like my ruptured tendon. Sounds that logical to anybody? It's a desperate try to find some explanation for this situation.

    Well, although I consider my condition as TMS-caused I am a bit afraid of the physical "partnership" (psoriasis and asthma and other TMS-subsitutes have a strong physical component, too. Maybe thats a good comparison???). That doens't ease the situation to me, because it seems to be important not to focus on structurell changes! And "ignoring the pain" doesn't work in this case :mad:. Always when I have extremly tensioned and tight muscels and want to move I have thoughts like "oh my god, I hope I won't injure again". Bad condition to recover, I know...

    Any ideas how to deal with this tricky situation?

    I'm looking forward to further answers!

    Wishes from Germany to all!:)

    Tomoka likes this.
  5. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sounds like you need to begin your TMS "cure" at the ground floor without all the competing diagnoses that you've been receiving from various specialists. As Forest mentions, the fact that your pain moves around and manifests with different sets of symptoms seems to suggest that what you have is a classic case of TMS. And intellectually understanding how repressed emotions are causing your symptoms is also an important first step in eliminating them. It sure sounds as though you've been examined by enough physicians to determine that there isn't any underlying conventional medical condition behind your symptomology. With that out of the way, I'd begin by going through the Structured Program available on the Wiki in a systematic way. When I began with that, the first thing I noticed was that my quality of consciousness was actually changing with each exercise. That gave me an insight into how stress actually changes the biochemistry of the brain and leads to the production of TMS symptoms. That first insight gave me a small measure of proof that allowed me to continue working through the program. It helped me start to "get it". But the changes may come slowly for you. For example, I forced myself last year to climb up 13,054 ft Mt Dana, but when I got back my sciatic nerve hurt so much that I couldn't sit down on a chair for dinner. However, this year, after climbing up 2000 ft of scree slope on another mountain when I got back to the car I didn't have any TMS symptoms and I could easily sit on a bench and eat dinner that night. You don't notice such Big Changes unless you look at the Big Picture however. Glad you found this site and best of luck!
  6. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    Birdie--Guten Tag. Ok there is my very limited German. Your English is outstanding so please don't apologize.

    Your symptoms do sound like TMS. I believe many many symptoms are due to our emotions.

    Your childhood issues--I would be journaling about that. How did you FEEL at those times--viewed as a child--not the rational adult.

    We have a whole section with daily work that is very helpful, and our profiles contain our stories of healing as well. Dr. Sarno's books are wonderful.

    Best wishes for healing!

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