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New Here- TMS Questions and my story

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by ValVal, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. ValVal

    ValVal Peer Supporter

    I'm about 3/4 through Healing Back Pain, and am pretty positive I have TMS. Here's my story- I'll keep it as brief as I can. I'm 42 years old.

    Lower back pain started out of nowhere in October- 6 months ago. It's not excruciating but hurts when I bend forward or to one side, getting up after sitting, rarely when walking. I do exercise but wasn't at the time due to my preoccupation with a house/kitchen addition and renovation. I was super stressed during this time. We were living in the house during the 6 month reno without a kitchen, etc. and 2 children 4 and 6 years old. I was totally obsessed with every detail of the reno. I get that way about most things. A perfectionist, etc... Yes, most people would get stressed during a reno but I was over the edge about every choice I made.

    I have always internalized my feelings since I was a child, nervous stomach, mild IBS, a year long bout of general anxiety when I was 20. I thought I had stomach issues but tests always came back negative. SO, having TMS 20 years later seems to go with other issues I've had throughout my life. Others always think I'm laid back but inside I'm not.

    I've started seeing a chiropractor 7 weeks ago. 3 x a week. I am no better. She said my hip is out of alignment and each time I go back it is out again- sometimes more than others. After two weeks of seeing the chiro, She said to cut my work outs down to two times a week and to do certain stretches and get weekly massages. I've been wearing a support belt to help hold the adjustment. My pain is muscular and she says b/c my one hip rotates back the muscles on opposite side are pulling/stretching to keep me in balance. Also says weak Sacroiliac joint. Xrays showed very mild arthritis. MRI from 2 weeks ago showed mild disc protrusions in 3 areas and mild stenosis. She did assure me that many people have this.

    I find it hard to believe I would have back problems as I have never been an athlete (excessively pushing my body) nor been in any substantial car accidents, etc.

    SO, in reading the book I am curious about the fact that the chiropractor says I am not aligned every few days that I go??? Does that count as a real physical problem that would cause this pain? I can see that the discs are not necessarily causing the pain but what about this hip alignment or SI joint?
    Also, from what I've read so far in Dr. Sarno's book.... are ANY types of back (and other) pain actually not from TMS? It seems he points to TMS for so MANY types of problems and I'm wondering if there aren't some instances where people have real injuries due to a sporting injury, fall, or car accident? Wouldn't an overweight person or older people have real knee pain, for example, without having TMS?

    Also, being the reno is over and I am thrilled with how it turned out I'm wondering why I still have pain. Yes, I'm sure there are other things in my life I am anxious/angry over and I've been thinking about that this week since I started the book. However, I'm mostly content like most other people would be I think. Going back a couple of sentences about still having pain even though the stressful situation is over,..... is TMS something that starts and then snowballs- similar to how when I felt sick from anxiety and somewhat panicked to live my life seemed to spiral into months of "being nervous about feeling nervous"?

    Thanks so much- I know I need to really explore all of this. I think it will be hard to stop the chiropractor just because she is so nice and really is trying to help me, etc.... I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
  2. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    Nobody can really diagnose TMS except an MD, for obvious reasons they need to rule out serious disorders.

    One of the ways they zero in on a TMS diagnosis is by discovering what "other" symptoms you have. Based on your IBS (used to be called colitis), GAD, etc.. these are all indicators that contribute to the final diagnosis. It's learning your history. When I ask them for help they often say, "Steve I need more history." Then when you add your perfectionism and your age and your children's ages, etc. All roads point to home. But you still need to get tested.

    Your chiropractor is wrong, they all are---even the ones who claim to be mindbody-chiros. They claim to be mindbody practitioners and then they crack your back or have you doing therapy. TMS and chiro and healing are not congruent concepts.

    Your hip alignment is not "out," nor does it contribute to your pain. I've seen this hundreds of times and had the very same diagnosis myself. Your chiro-explanation of hip rotations and sacro joints is pure...let's say, to be nice, wrong. They are a large part of the pain epidemic. If you believe that stuff, like we all have at one time, you will stay in pain. When you realize that thinking structurally is "one" cause of your pain, then your pain will leave. It takes understanding, work and time to heal. But you have to get away from your chiropractor.

    I lost 2 friends who were chiropractors because I found TMS. But I healed. You need to decide, "do I want to stay in pain because my chiropractor is nice? Or heal?"

    This was the tell-all for me when you said..."Others always think I'm laid back but inside I'm not." ~~~> Bingo! TMS. The Divided Mind.

    If you want to be pain-free you will be. Healing is a personal choice. You did good by finding Dr. Sarno, I wish you the best.

    You've found the right place to heal,

    Enrique likes this.
  3. ValVal

    ValVal Peer Supporter

    Thank you, Steve. It may be on this site somewhere but how do I find a doctor in my area? I'm in NJ.
    Being I have had Xrays and an MRI already I'm assuming there wouldn't be another serious disorder to rule out? My anxiety and IBS symptoms have been around since a child but they come and go and except for the 6-12 months when I was 20 they have never kept me from doing anything or kept me from having a normal, happy life. Even my back pain hasn't kept me from things although the chiro did ask me to slow down on exercising (but it doesn't hurt when I'm exercising). My worst few days of pain was when I got the MRI results showing the disc protrusions.

    I get migraines monthly just for a day but I believe that is hormonal. My doctor says I my estrogen levels are high and recently gave me several blood tests which are mostly normal except for a few hormonal things.

    This may be too much info and I wasn't going to post it buy I've also had Vulvodynia (painful intercourse) for as long as I've been sexually active. I went to a specialist in Philadelphia who deals only with vulvar pain and he said there are various ways to treat but I am using a topical cream of amitriptiline/baclofen that does seem to help. Only now am I wondering if this pain disorder is tied in with my other symptoms of anxiety, IBS, and now back pain.

    I'd love to hear from others of you as well regarding my back/TMS and original post : )
  4. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    Hi Val times 2,

    The only way people can really be helped is if they do open up and talk a bit more personal about themselves. It's within the heart of the person that the physical problems begin, and in healing the heart the body follows.

    You're a fortunate lady to have found this site, and also that you live in NJ. One of the best TMS docs is in your state, Paul Gwozdz, MD, in Somerset. I highly recommend him. He was trained by Dr. Sarno and is highly respected by Dr. Sarno. Right now he's on vacation for 2 weeks but you may be able to make an appointment now for when he returns.

    As far as vulvodynia, it seems to be a TMS/emotional problem. Why would something that is supposed to be bring great pleasure become painful? There may be something underlying the symptom. Search for a woman named Abigail Steidley on here and on the internet. She defeated pelvic floor pain with TMS healing and began her own mindbody business to help others. Anamsong.com

    Migraines monthly are a conditioned response. Remember, as long as you believe deeply that there is a physical cause behind any of your symptoms, then you won't heal. When we believe something our mindbodies, as an organic entity, will adapt to match our belief. If you think there is something wrong with you, then there is.

    It's highly common that when people are shown their MRIs of structural changes that they get worse. That's the "matching what you think you have" that I just mentioned above. I always remember the kid that Dr. Sarno wrote about who hurt his back brushing his teeth. When he was told by his doctor that he had a "malalignment of the spine" the kid went into severe spasm. He was fine when Dr. Sarno told him he was ok. We are what we believe we are. Doctors are hurting us in so many ways by reinforcing our fears.

    There's plenty of help here and around the net on TMS. After your physical exam, the most important thing you need to do is accept the diagnosis. That means when he or she tells you that this or that is from an emotional process, and not a physical one, you have to believe it deeply. If you do, your healing has begun.

    Good luck

  5. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    Val, I had a similar thing happen with my chiropractor (also a very nice person, who was genuinely trying to help me). There was some part of my back that was "out" and every week I went and he put it "back." This was during the worst of my foot pain, in December. At the time I believed it was because I was walking in such a way (because of my foot pain) that it was hurting my hip and back.

    That may be true, but once I started reading Sarno again my hip and back pain went away. Finally, I went to see Dr. Rashbaum in NYC and he told me no matter how nice my chiro was, I couldn't be treated by both him and Dr. R. So I gave up my chiro visits and have not had any pain in my hip or back, though I do feel bad about not seeing my chiro anymore. Maybe I will write him a letter, explaining.

    Unlike some people, I don't believe chiropractors are just out to grab your money. I've seen many chiropractors over the years and they have been among the most compassionate health providers I've known. I think they genuinely believe in their modality and truly want to help people. Most of them just don't know about TMS and don't understand what the mind is capable of.
    It has been this way for me, though other people's experiences may differ. I believe my "trigger" event was the long illness and then death of my cat, back in June. Once the pain started, I worried and worried and it got worse and worse. Then conditioning started--certain activities seemed to be triggers, so I started to fear them, and then of COURSE I would get pain when I tried to do them.

    Claire Weekes's "Hope and Help for Your Nerves" has been invaluable to me in this regard. I sometimes joke that I am having a nervous breakdown in my foot. The fear of the pain has been worse than the pain itself, for me. So I am treating this both as TMS--by trying to live more fully with my emotions, journaling, etc.--and also as an anxiety disorder, by trying to let go of fear.

    I wish you much luck in your journey!
  6. ValVal

    ValVal Peer Supporter

    Steve, I had just written down Dr Gwodz's name/number before reading your post. I will call on Monday! Thank you so much!

    Gail- Thanks so much for posting. It helps to read posts of people in similar situations. I do believe this chiropractor really wants to help me get better. She is very nurturing and passionate about what she does. I know I will get a call from her or the office next week. I missed Friday b/c my children are sick and never made my 3 appointments for this coming week.

    I am just finishing Healing Back Pain and am wondering what would be a good follow up on TMS- Sarno's next book or one by a different author- that would help to explain TMS further.
  7. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi ValVal,

    I agree with Steve that Vulvodynia is a TMS symptom. I would encourage you to check out Abigail Steidly's work as well. She actually posted her success story on the wiki a while back at http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/My_Success_Story,_by_Abigail_Steidley . It is not the longest one there is, but it may be helpful to you.

    If you need another book to read, you can go with either the Mindbody Prescription or Divided Mind. Both add to Healing Back Pain. Steve's book, The Great Pain Deception, is also terrific. Of course you can also just continue to reread Healing Back Pain. It may seem slightly odd, but when you read it over and over again you really gain more insights into TMS. Each time I read through it, I learn something new.

    I will also add that we TMSers have the need to do everything at 110%. A lot of people feel like they need to read every TMS book, but this is just their perfectionism coming out. Reading every single TMS book out there can easily become a distraction. If you want to read another TMS book, great, go for it. But don't feel like you have to read every book out there to get better. To get better you just need to put the information from the books to work.
    Karen likes this.
  8. ValVal

    ValVal Peer Supporter

    Wow Forest! Thank you for that release. My next step was going to be finding every TMS book and reading it.
    That's exactly how I handle everything In my life. Whether it's a kitchen renovation, new career, Disney trip, new exercise routine, diet, or even A new purchase, I research it ad nauseam. Always trying to become an expert or keep myself from making the "wrong" choice. It can be truly exhausting.

    Then I often resent my husband because he's watching TV relaxing and I always feel like I have things to do. Why would he do anything when I'm taking over all the work of research?!

    Anyway I will look at the link you provided and keep trying to remind myself That I don't need to obsess over TMS either.

    Thank you SO much! All of this information I'm finding out is very enlightening!
  9. ValVal

    ValVal Peer Supporter

    I am re-reading Healing Back Pain and getting more from it this time around. The first time I was reading through it so fast looking for answers. Also, I have an appt with Dr. Gwozdz in 2 weeks. I'm not sure what to do next. I guess I need to start journaling but it seems there could be so many directions to go in when writing and I'm not sure which areas might be most related to my pain? I don't know if it stems from childhood or if it's where I am at present in my life. Thanks for all of the help so far!
  10. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    Val, have you considered doing the Structured Education Program on this site? It will guide you through 37 days of journaling activity and reading.
  11. ValVal

    ValVal Peer Supporter

    gailnyc- Thanks ! I didn't realize it was there : ) I did Day 1. Thanks again!
  12. ValVal

    ValVal Peer Supporter

    I stopped the chiropractor about 10 days ago and did 3 spin classes. I felt great all last week. Pain was about a 2 and it had been a 5-7 for 5+ months. Then, this Monday and Tuesday it was worse again (a 6 maybe) so I felt a bit disappointed. I guess I was hoping that just reading the book would be "enough". lol I am a little stressed/anxious this week b/c both of my kids birthdays are this week and next and between 2 kids parties to plan and another big family party in a few weeks that can throw me for a loop. Just a busy week with school activities, etc. Kind of silly but I felt more anxious so perhaps the back pain. Also I got my period today and am wondering if and how that fits into TMS? I remember when I suffered from general anxiety in my 20s I seemed to be worse around my period.

    I am also frustrated (angry) b/c I've been planning on beginning to journal and I never seem to have much time to do it! I know- I'll have to make the time. The day goes so fast and then with the family to take care of by the time nighttime comes I'm tired and don't feel like delving into emotions.

    Well, I see Dr. Gwodz for the first time on Monday so I need to get a list of questions/concerns together for him. I'm wondering if the exams are physical or just "talking". Thanks!
  13. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    Please let us know how your visit with him goes. I'm curious to hear.
  14. ValVal

    ValVal Peer Supporter

    I went to Dr. Gwodz yesterday and he was great! He spoke to me for about 1 1/2 hours which surprised me. He took a lot of notes and asked a lot of questions! He was supposed to do a lecture last night (he does one a month) however I would have been the only patient there. Next month there will be others so in the reception area after the appointment I said I could do it next time. Then I was a bit angry at myself b/c I really wanted to hear it last night but I didn't want him to have to just do it for me so I said I could wait. I'm not in a lot of pain so it's really fine but he kept referring to strategies/mantras he would teach me "tonight" but then that never happened. SO, until next month can you give me some pointers on how to talk to myself and how to react when feeling pain? I'm kind of just ignoring it but it doesn't really help so I think I need to do something more "active" (mentally).

    We discussed some family issues, etc... he seemed to think were relevant but I can't figure out if they really are. I never think of them as being "issues" but he said that that is the whole point! The fact that I don't think about them... that I repress them.

    He did say my Vulvodynia and other issues that I've had on and off for years (tinnitus/IBS/migraines/anxiety) were all from TMS. Something interesting is that my back hurt less yesterday and today but I noticed more symptoms that were gastrointestinal and tinnitus (humming in ears). hmmm. Thanks for listening!
  15. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    Wow, 1 1/2 hours, I'm really impressed.

    Maybe I will go see him during the summer. I'd really like to have a TMS doctor in the area. On the other hand, I know I should learn to trust myself.

    You said: "SO, until next month can you give me some pointers on how to talk to myself and how to react when feeling pain? I'm kind of just ignoring it but it doesn't really help so I think I need to do something more "active" (mentally)."

    Did he give you any pointers?
  16. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    Oh, one more question: was it hard to get an appointment with him?
  17. ValVal

    ValVal Peer Supporter

    Well he said to Talk to my brain etc. but kept saying "I'll teach you tonight" or "we will Go into it tonight" and then upon leaving we rescheduled the presentation for next month.

    I waited a couple of wks for the appt.
    gailnyc likes this.
  18. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Your subconscious is hard at work trying to sabotage your process Val! It does not like that you are on the right road and the effectiveness of its distraction techniques will be short-lived. You mentioned in an earlier post the difficulty you've had finding time to journal. Then with your description of your visit with the doctor you didn't want him to have to take the time to lecture to just you. Your people-pleaser is running in high gear Val! YOU ARE WORTHY OF THAT DOCTOR TAKING THE TIME TO LECTURE JUST YOU!!! Please believe that because it's true. YOU are just as important (if not more) than anyone else in your life.

    While you're waiting to hear the lecture, try lecturing yourself - tell yourself you are worthy, that anyone's time (including your own) spent on you is time well spent! Get started on the journaling. Make the steps you take to be well and pain-free the most important investments of your time, because they are. Everyone in your life will benefit from the time you spend learning about yourself. Maybe you might have to sacrifice 20-30 minutes of sleep and get up a bit earlier just to have the "me" time with the journal. It's worth doing, not to mention it's the ideal time of day to do it. I highly recommend journaling as early in the day as you can. It gives your mind plenty of time to process everything that came up in the journal, that way it doesn't end up disrupting your sleep.

    Remember, be very careful of the messages you are sending your subconscious. Every time you consciously or unconsciously tell yourself that you don't have time or you're not worth the time, your subconscious believes that 100%, it absorbs it as I'm unworthy, I'm unimportant - and that enrages that inner child because she most desperately wants to be MOST important.
  19. ValVal

    ValVal Peer Supporter

    So, I went to Dr. Gwodz's seminar a month ago. A lot of the info was info I had read already but a really useful thing was being able to ask questions throughout. He was really great! Also, the second part of the lecture that gave real strategies of talking to your brain. The first week, I spoke to my brain a lot (he recommended 5-6 times an hour). My back pain, anxiety, & even the Vulvodynia, all improved quite a bit. The last couple of weeks I haven't been speaking to my brain much- probably b/c I'm feeling pretty good.

    Now, starting yesterday I'm getting bad wrist pain. It's like burning and it bothers me when I type and do other things throughout the day. I had this a couple of years ago, particularly after having my daughter (7 years ago) and then a bit later it came back but I don't know when.

    I'm thinking it's TMS but it really hurts. lol Then again, so do all the other pains that come and go. SO, I'm adding this to the list of my TMS symptoms/equivalents... (back pain, anxiety, IBS, Vulvodynia, tinnitus, hay fever, wrist pain...)

    (***Is there a possibility there is really something physically wrong with my wrist??)
  20. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    Another damaged and broken soul here thanks to the wonders of osteopaths.

    The one I saw about 10 months ago told me that my hips and pelvis where twisted and tilted and that this was pulling my muscles and tendons out of alignment and that just for good measure my SI Joint was dysfunctional and these factors all caused my pain. When I asked her if this was serious she seemed to take great pleasure in informing me that she had seen people end up in wheelchairs in the future because of it.

    Even though I no longer visit the osteopath and even though a UK based TMS practioner has constantly tried to reassure me that my issue and pain are not structural the pain gets worse and I just can't get over the worry of the structural/physical and I'm convinced this is all because of what the osteopath told me and the seed of fear she planted that my mind has turned into an oak tree.

    I actually detest the woman.

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