1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Jesse668, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. Jesse668

    Jesse668 New Member

    Hi all, I am so happy to have found this group. This is my first post so I will start with a little background information. Basically, I'm looking for any support, ideas, and to learn about others experiences.
    I am 28 years old and live in Canada. I am a Chartered Accountant and basically fit the personality description of TMS perfectly. I have been a worrier since I was a child, grew up in a tense household, and have gone through various other anxiety problems throughout my life (insomnia, panic attacks, and even pain in the past that I attributed to being a side effect of coming off of Paxil).
    I started getting pain in my right trap muscle and right arm about 2 years ago. I was diagnosed with myofascia and told to see a physio. This helped temporarily, but this year the pain came back with a vengeance. I have pain through my whole back, right arm, and recently my right leg ( what I'm assuming is sciatic pain). I also get tension headaches and am prone to IBS symptoms.
    After going to physio, acupuncture, exercising, everything was making it worse. I was told it was due to my posture at work, so I went on short term leave and am currently on leave (it's been about a month). Since then I've seen a pain doc for trigger point injections and a chiro for adjustments, active release, and use of the graston technique. The thing is, nothing is helping. I have started to feel hopeless and depressed. I barely leave the house for fear of being in more pain. I cry a lot.
    About a week ago I came across the book online and read it cover to cover yesterday. It really spoke to me and I identified with every page! I then found this site and identified with so many posts as well.
    So I am trying this technique starting today. Did everyone actually stop physical treatments? This is the part I am most skeptical about as I know others who have got relief from these techniques and my pain doctor is a really nice man and is understanding and tries so hard to help.
    Is there anything in particular that helps anyone stop being so tense? Or any special words to tell your brain? What do you do when you feel the fear coming on?
    Also I can feel knots and Tight bands in my back. Do those ever go away from anyone's experience? I just keep getting more!

    Thanks for reading!

  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Jesse - and welcome! You should give yourself (and the Internet, LOL) a lot of credit for finding out about TMS while you're still so young! Many of us are twice your age and have been floundering around for decades. Without the Internet, I expect I would still be floundering, and going downhill fast, as you have just described happening to yourself.

    If you haven't yet read one of Dr. Sarno's books, that's the first thing to do. Mine was The Divided Mind, which I still think is a good start, although others prefer his more comprehensive The Mind Body Prescription. MBP is 100% Dr. Sarno, whereas TDM is just four chapters by him, and six by other medical professionals. But I feel like I "got" his basic theory pretty easily, and I really appreciated the perspectives of the other professionals during my introduction.

    Start working the free Structured Educational Program on our wiki. The SEP introduces you to valuable techniques, you will learn what works for you.

    For your anxiety, get Help & Hope For Your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes (written in 1969, used copies easily available on Amazon).

    As you work the SEP, you'll be encouraged to keep posting. By joining this community, you'll get tons of ideas and resources. Feel free to visit my profile page, which has all my favorite links at the bottom. I'm a CPA in the US, so who knows, maybe we'll have even more in common than the typical TMS personality :D

    All the best,

  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Jesse. Jan's advice is excellent. Maybe go to my profile and read my pain and healing story and other "success" stories on this site.
    One of the best and fastest ways to heal the Sarno way is to TOTALLY believe your pain is TMS-caused by repressed emotions. Stop thinking it is caused by something structural. Begin journaling, thinking about any anxieties, anger, guilt, etc. from your past. That can take a while but it will lead you to learning the main reasons your unconscious is giving you pain.

    I've found great relief in deep breathing and meditation. Just closing my eyes, listening to soothing music, thinking of myself on a sunny beach,
    not feeling the pain or just putting my mind on something else to ignore it.

    The TMSWiki.org/forum is a great place to get suggestions on healing from others who have healed.

    Post often. ask us questions. Share your journey with us. Good luck. You WILL heal.
  4. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Jesse,

    Sounds like getting off, Paxil (Paroxetine), with its many potential negative side-effects, was an awfully good idea:


    I certainly quit going to PT like it was a kind of religious observance 3x's per week. I think relying on any physical modalities does, as Dr Sarno insists, perpetuate TMS pain symptoms. But I have to admit I still go to my acupuncturist-Chinese medicine guy occasionally. But I do it to investigate areas of my unconscious mind that I can't usually access, not as a pain-reliever for back pain and sciatica. Yet I do seem to be getting better simply by lifting weights, bouldering in the climbing gym, and, most of all, riding my road bike. I think that's what Dr Sarno means by returning to a full level of physical activity. The TMS condition itself has to subside not as a result of any stretching, acupuncture, or exercise, but because of neuro-chemical changes in your gray matter (i.e. brain). However, you get that to occur is okay: Meditation, Journaling, or just having fun with a friendly group of people. TMS develops, I'm convinced, in a situation where you've become socially isolated for one reason or other following a long period of stress, either self-imposed or imposed on you by traumatic events like a divorce, a death in a family, loss of job, loss of income, all of which tend to destabilize our sense of self-esteem.

    Good luck to you on your healing path.

  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks for answering that question, Bruce - I had intended to.

    I immediately stopped going to the dizziness clinic, to the PT at my HMO who was working on my neck and shoulder pain (which was only getting worse, not better), and to a very expensive cranio-sacral MD who generally made me feel better for short period of time, but I didn't know why, because he did not share any concrete knowledge about the mind-body connection with me.

    At the same time that I stopped seeing all those folks, I started seeing a personal trainer for weight training and conditioning.

    That being said, I did treat a recent severe back spasm (like nothing I've experienced before - sudden and crippling - but only when I moved) specifically with recommended Cobra-pose exercises - and with two beliefs: 1) it happened because I was not being mindful (while vacuuming - thinking of stressful stuff instead of what I was doing and how I was doing it) and 2) whatever happened was curable, and it did not mean that I have a "bad" back. Even though I'm 62 years old.

    Five weeks after it happened, it felt as if it had never happened at all, and I'm again doing everything I did before, including full forward-fold (another yoga pose, the opposite of Cobra) and bending over to pick things off the floor. Mindfully. But I also decided to see a PT I know who practices a whole-body physical therapy called SOMA, because I was feeling stiff and out of balance. He loosened me up all over, but I was pretty thrilled when he said that I was in much better shape than when he'd last seen me more than two years ago, and he didn't feel that he needed to give me any specific exercises. And I attribute THAT to discovering TMS, because the last time he'd seen me, I was a mess, and bouncing around amongst many different practitioners, trying to find the cure. The cure, in my case, was reading The Divided Mind, starting the SEP, and joining this fantastic community.

    Keep us posted, Jesse

  6. Jesse668

    Jesse668 New Member

    Thanks for all your support and information. Jan, with your advice I've started the educational program and starting to journal is making me think about issues and feelings I usually try to avoid, so I take this as a good start. I know it is essential, but I am still having a time accepting that the pain is not at all physical. I can feel the trigger points and muscle bands all over my entire back. They hurt to touch and refer pain. When I feel pain, I can pinpoint the area and there is always a bad trp or band in that area. Is he saying these do not cause pain? Or am I confused?
    Also, when this first started, I tried to push through and kept going to the gym etc. and it made it way worse. Should we only resume activity when we start having less pain?
    Sorry, so many questions and doubts. I think I am scared to believe this. I am off work right now and if I return and it gets worse (and really was an RSi injury) then ill end up going off again. Do people suggest resuming work when they thought work caused the injury?
    I hope this post isn't too negative, just struggling with this today!

  7. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    Jesse, it's not that the pain is NOT AT ALL PHYSICAL. It is definitely physical, as you can see when you touch or move a tender spot. However, what you have to realize is that the pain is CAUSED by something psychological. This is why, if you went to see a trigger point therapist, you might feel temporary relief, but the pain would come right back if you haven't dealt with the underlying emotional issues.

    This is why some people are helped, temporarily, by physical modalities. The trouble comes when you think that that is all there is, that if you treat the physical you will be cured.

    You might want to read some of AngK's posts (she has posted about trigger points) and Back-2-It's success story in the Success Stories forum for more info about trigger points.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  8. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Jesse - you're definitely making a good start - congratulations! I have a few things for you regarding your question about the pain - which is the same question that everyone has when they start this journey:

    * What gail said (she knows what she's talking about ;))

    * Check out this post about trigger points

    * Understand and accept that your body is not your enemy. There is no enemy, because your body and your mind are parts of you, and you need to love all the parts of yourself - which means loving yourself.

    * Understand that your brain is in charge of every physiological process in your body. If you don't know what I'm talking about, think about blushing for a second.
    Q: is blushing a real physical reaction?
    A: You bet it is!
    Q: What causes blushing?
    A: An emotion! 100%!
    Q: What's the point?
    A: To distract you from the emotion, by giving you a physical symptom instead
    Q: Seriously - what's the point?????
    A: That's the million-dollar question - it may have something to do with the fact that our primitive brains are still set up to constantly scan for danger. If you are distracted by shame or embarrassment, you might miss the saber-tooth tiger waiting to eat you - so the brain distracts you away from the distracting emotion, and puts your focus back into your physical body where you will hopefully stay on the alert. This is one of many things that the neuroscientists are still trying to figure out, but they do know that our wiring is still quite primitive.

    Accepting TMS theory requires that you understand and fully accept that your brain can produce any physiological symptom that it wants to. The whole mechanism of pain has to be processed by and delivered from the brain. The purpose of pain is to alert you to danger - to the danger of moving a broken leg, for example - but it's not the leg itself that produces the pain - the neuroscientists know this - the nerves have to send a message to the brain, and the brain has to send pain back to the damaged area.

    So the brain, in it's weird attempt to keep us safe from distracting emotions, uses pain - or a number of other physical and mental manifestations, and the emotions get stuffed down into the deep dark unconscious. Back in the primitive days when we didn't live very long, the brain didn't need to give us pain to keep those emotions repressed - we had plenty of other distractions every day, just trying to survive. As our lives became safer and more comfortable, pain and other syndromes started to emerge.

    I highly recommend that you learn about visualization techniques. Visualization is a powerful tool to combine with meditative practices. In your case, I think you might benefit from learning how to talk to your body. Talking to it, soothing it, and visualizing healing and letting go, are practices that really work, especially combined with the emotional work that you do when you journal. Even the neuroscientists are beginning to recognize this. My current favorite resource for learning about how our brains are wired and how we can re-wire them, combined in a course that guides you to find a meditation technique that works for you, is Meditations to Change Your Brain - a three-hour course by a neuroscientists and a psychologist. It's also available on Amazon and B&N and probably other places as well, but I purchased and downloaded the audio from Sounds True, a site that has a lot of free content and tons of resources on healing and therapy.

    Whew - long post, eh? I just get so excited about sharing the fascinating things I've learned in the last two years - there are so many resources out there - the good news is that they are shared on this forum, so keep reading, keep posting, and keep us posted.

    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  9. Jesse668

    Jesse668 New Member

    Hi there, thanks for the message. I really appreciate you taking the time to write me. I was having a hard time accepting the diagnosis, but I am finally there. I am still worried about 90 percent of my day in spite of the fact that I know Tms is 'benign'. I just really hate the pain, so it's hard not to fear it, especially when it's there constantly. But I will keep asking questions and working away. Thanks again!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  10. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    The hardest part is accepting the diagnosis when your symptoms are flared up. We have all been there. It can be close to impossible to focus on anything else then your symptoms when they are severe. This is where having a plan in place beforehand is very helpful. An idea I took from Alan Gordon's TMS Recovery program was to use an Evidence Sheet. Essentially, this is a list of all the reasons you have TMS. When you notice you are focusing on your symptoms you can take this out and review why you TMS. It is really helpful at stopping the fear cycle and getting you to return your attention to the psychological. If you haven't yet, check it out and let us know how it goes.
  11. Jesse668

    Jesse668 New Member

    Thanks. Yes that is the hardest part. Today was my first day back after taking one month off work and I have pain in my arm, wrist, back, everywhere. Its hard not to think its from the computer. But an evidence sheet is a good idea because on days like this I go right back to believing it is physical. I think partly because my doctors say it is physical - caused by poor posture, so I've never been diagnosed by a TMS doc. Well I appreciate the advice and will get started.
  12. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    But each and every time I begin to experience TMS pain symptoms there's a voice inside my head that starts to suggest that there's a physical or structural explanation behind them. Just like an imp of the perverse that tries to reassert a physical diagnosis, especially if I start to obsess about my symptoms, which, of course, occurs more often when I'm socially isolated. Something awfully mechanical and flip-flop about it, like that door is always open whenever the symptoms start to reassert themselves. Guess it goes with the territory?
  13. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    BruceMC, "imp of the perverse" is an apt name for the voice in my head that likes to say "this particular symptom is really, truly physical". But I find this imp to be a creature of habit, and the more I replace him with the more reasoned voice of "what feeling am I repressing that is creating this symptom?", the less insistent the imp becomes.

    I have found the evidence sheet to be very helpful, too.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.

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