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New here. The classic - neck pain, dizziness, tension

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by BarBender, May 25, 2018.

  1. BarBender

    BarBender Newcomer

    Hey everyone! I've been lurking for a long time. Like many of you, I've stumbled upon the TMS concept many times in my medical journey, disregarded it as a bunch of hooey, pursued other avenues and somehow I keep coming back. Call it destiny; call it a last chance blueprint. I will say this, after two obscure surgeries, countless doctors visits and lots of stress and worry, I think I'm here to stay. I'm not much of one for forums, but I feel that it's important that I air all of this out to an audience that will understand, embrace, and encourage (#teamoxfordcomma!).

    My story starts a few years back. I had started a new job, was working on my masters (in nuclear engineering) and training for what would be my last powerlifting meet before my health decline. It's an odd story, so hold on. One late night in a gym I wont name, in city that is irrelevant, I was squatting somewhere well over 500lbs. I had a pop and twinge in my neck that damn near took me to my knees. This same issue had bothered me earlier in my life but typically wandered off like ailments do in your twenties. Well, this time I was in my thirties so it decided to hang around. I had a few intermittent bouts of dizziness and fogginess, but nothing that really spooked me.

    Fast forward a few months I'm fast asleep in my bed and I am woken up by what feels like a stab to the chest. I wake up drenched in my own sweat, run to the kitchen and get some cold water, check my blood pressure, sit down and try and calm down. A few days pass and I continue to notice the chest pain more and more. I get a little concerned and wander off to the doc in a box. Diagnosis (1), severe acid reflux. The kind that like you swallowed a hot iron. Fast forward two years I'm headed upstate to meet with a doc to get the LINX reflux procedure. The little valve between my esophagus has failed and I'm getting something like 8x normal reflux. I'm developing potentially precancerous lesions (barrets esophagus), maxed out on reflux meds and NOT sleeping at all.

    All is well....until....

    Two months after the procedure were on vacation with some friends. I'm overindulging for the first time in years since I can eat and drink like a normal human being.

    I take a spill and whack my head in the grass. I'm not sure if I lost consciousness, but I'm sure I had a severe concussion and likely whiplash. Things are super weird for a while. Odd heartrate issues, dizziness, parastesia, confusion. All the stuff you would expect. As expected, several MRIs, XRays and CT later I'm cleared. Still dizzy, still foggy, but otherwise good to go.

    And then!

    About a year after I develop severe facial pain. This one almost pushed me over the edge. I bounce around for a few months without diagnosis. All sorts of meds, all sorts of doctors. As you can imagine, I'm losing my mind. I cant eat, I cant sleep. I've been here before, but this was a nightmare. I end up digging through my CTs myself and locate the point of pain. I find a few expert docs. End up flying out to CA to my left styloid removed. The dag on thing was actually trying to grow through the back of my throat causing all sorts of trouble. The diagnosis is Eagles Syndrome and/or glossopharyngeal neuralgia. You dont want it, you probably cant TMS your way out of that one.

    So here I am, several years downstream of some very complex medical issues. I've developed severe preoccupation with my left over neck pain, headaches, and dizziness, of course that's that's only according to my ice pack, inversion table, heating pad, tens unit, neck exercises, and foam roller. I analyze my posture constantly. I suspect I fall on the spectrum of medical PTSD. As an engineer, everything that Sarno says makes sense ESPECIALLY the part about scans having nothing to do with pain. I do have some instability and arthritis identified in my neck. I find it hard to believe that vertebre being a few "millimeters" off has anything to do with what I am going through.

    My pain has changed over the years. Sometimes quite varied in really short duration. Some days (rarely though) I'm really good, with only a minor nag to speak of. These days are usually when I'm really busy doing things I enjoy. Obviously, like most, my pain flares up when I'm stressed or at work doing stuff I really dont want to do. The presentation is almost uniquely one of many of the following;
    Sub occipital pain
    Neck pain and tightness
    Heavy head (especially when overwhelmed visually like in a mall or driving in bright light)
    Trap pain (worst part), probably described as trapezius myalgia
    Shoulder pain
    Headaches
    Jaw pain
    Occasional arm pain
    Obscured vision
    Dizziness
    Tinnitus
    This one is weird - I even have palatal myoclonus that has no identifiable neurological lesion. Google it.

    I suspect if I kept going to doctors I would be diagnosed ultimately with some obscurity such as fibromyalgia.

    The crazy part about this is that I've talked myself out of ALL of these symptoms before. The even crazier part is I convinced myself years ago that my neck was part of my problem, and then pain developed.

    I have read Sarno. Read it extensively. I buy into it. I accept it. But I cant dump this last 20%. My neuro even once said that my symptoms were due to tension; she admitted that she has the same problem.

    So, almighty internets, where do I go from here? What do I do? I'm in a bind. I feel like I have most of the puzzle, but I'm missing a line straight through the middle. I know someone has been here before. I see all of these encouraging posts of people who have come out the other side after dealing with years of incorrogible pain and neuro issues. For what it's worth, I'm working, back in the gym, remodeling my house but I want to be pain freeeee!

    Help is appreciated; advice is needed; criticism is welcomed :)

    Thanks for looking.
     
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi BarBender,

    Welcome to the Forum! Thanks for sharing your story. I think many of us can relate to it completely.

    You have the knowledge and the belief, so my recommendation is for you to focus on the practical application of TMS theory to your day to day life. I think the best way to do this is through undertaking one of the structured education programs available. This requires you to look at your TMS issues on a daily basis in different ways, and then to apply that insight. It involves undoing your old way of thinking and feeling, and substituting a new way. There is a free one on this site (SEP) or several good books (e.g. Unlearn Your Pain by Schubiner). All this takes time and practice for most of us to get to 100% recovery. But even then, most of us experience occasional relapse if we fall back into old patterns.

    Please take a look at my story on my profile page or the Success Stories sub-forum. Perhaps some of my suggestions will be useful. Read other Success Stories. There is much wisdom and useful information there.

    Be patient and persistent. The last 20% of pain can sometimes take awhile to get rid of--at least it did for me. Focus on how wonderful it is that you have gotten rid of the 80%, especially given your history.

    Keep us informed on how you are doing. Ask questions or for support anytime. That is why we are all here.

    Best wishes..........
     
  3. Marls

    Marls Well known member

    Hi BarBender I’m in a very similar place as you so I’m wondering how you are doing.
     
  4. Ebourque

    Ebourque Newcomer

    Welcome, I empathize with you 100%. 3 years of severe neck pain, dizziness, headaches, pressure, foggy thinking , fatigue. I saw every doctor imaginable and I am a nurse so thought I knew what was going on. I even went down the autoimmune route. As an athletic woman I was so despondent that my body was betraying me. I had neck surgery a little over a year ago and the day I had my follow up X-ray and all clear I had the worst pain in the entire 3 years. I knew then something else was going on. June 12th will be my “ anniversary”. I threw away every stitch of medication and vowed to not take a single thing for a year, even Motrin as I was no longer going to “ treat” my pain. I immediately read the book Back in Control by spine surgeon David Handscom, I immersed myself in the program/book Unlearn your Pain ,still listen to as many podcasts and you tube videos a weeks as I can (Nicole Sachs, Steve Ozanich , Dr Handscom, and Dr Schecter,etc). I use the Headspace app daily to calm my nervous system. But the number one thing I did was .....STOP. I stopped catastrphizing , I stopped worrying, I stopped trying to fix it, I stopped paying attention to it.Our rule at home was we were never going to talk about my pain again, ever, no matter how bad. No asking, no neck rubs, no discussion. I stopped all treatments. I pushed through the pain and rewired my pain pathways by soothing my nervous system.
    I am now 100% but it was a up and down for sure and some days felt terror that I was back at square one and I do get days where I have a flare up but I know it’s my body telling me something, I do the work and it might take a day or so but my nervous system calms down and I shut down the pain signals. I run, work out, downhill ski, swim, lift and golf,sleep with whatever pillow I want, I am energetic and feel like I have a new life. I decided to devote one full year to licking this and on June 12th I will celebrate...no meds for a year and no more chronic pain. Do I hurt sometimes...yes, but it no longer controls my life. Best of luck.... you can do this!
     
  5. BinLA

    BinLA Peer Supporter

    First off, what an incredible post... congrats to you and thanks for taking the time to come back and help those still working through the process. Such a great story.

    I've got a ton of questions but I'll try to pare them down to just a few quick ones...

    1. Some who recover say that talking through things when pain is high helps them, they consider it part of self-kindness. I get why you say you didn't though. Can you elaborate on that a bit?

    2. What role would you say anxiety played in all of this for you? (However you may want to define that)

    3. You say when it flares up, you "do the work"... what do you mean by that exactly, and how you you separate "do the work" from your prior statement that you stopped "trying to fix it?" (I think I know what you mean, but would love clarity.)

    Thanks again for the story, and in advance for any input on these questions!
     
  6. aluraacker345

    aluraacker345 Newcomer

    Really a best answer I found.
     
  7. Riffdex

    Riffdex Peer Supporter

    Hi Elbouque,
    I noticed it is almost your anniversary of deciding to conquer your pain... June 12. I’m not sure if you still come on here (if you’re lucky perhaps you are so healed now that you have moved on completely from the site), but I am in a very similar situation and I think your post may be very helpful for me to push forward and not give up. I have been experiencing symptoms for the last 8 months that is not limited to neck, trap, lower back, dizziness, headaches (migraine at times), heartburn, fatigue, hamstring soreness, and my neck is like entirely seized up a lot of the time. I know this is TMS because I recovered from a more mild TMS 2 years ago in my wrist, but healing from this case has proven much more difficult :(
     

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