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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New TMS patient, foot and ankle pain

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by em1981, Jul 29, 2018.

  1. em1981

    em1981 New Member

    Hi Everyone,

    Just wanted to introduce myself. About eighteen months ago, I got what I thought was a standard case of plantar fasciitis. I went through months of physical therapy, seemed to get better, and then as soon as I tried to return to more normal athletic activity, the pain immediately jumped from my heels up into my ankles. It's gone back and forth between the two since.

    Had I known about TMS at the time, that probably would have been a big warning sign, but at that point I had no idea. I was diagnosed with a bad case of tendonitis, eventually put in a walking cast, given pills, an MRI, x-rays, injections, etc. All the imaging was clear, but nothing made it better. Three podiatrists, a chiropractor, a massage therapist, an acupuncturist, an orthopedic surgeon, and a neurologist later, I was effectively bedridden. A year-and-a-half before, I'd been able to easily run 7 miles and then walk another 10, but now I was in pain pretty much 24 hours a day. In early July, things got so bad that I had to stop all normal activity: I couldn't sleep, could barely eat, rarely left my house, and was pretty much wasting away.

    Then, less than a week ago, when I was becoming increasingly desperate, I somehow stumbled across The Great Pain Deception and Dr. Sarno's work, and I realized that I fit the TMS profile exactly. In retrospect, I've had years of revolving symptoms -- this was simply the most extreme and debilitating set. I was lucky enough to be able to get a quick appointment with one of the TMS physicians who worked with Dr. Sarno, and he confirmed the diagnosis, but I'm still struggling to process everything.

    I know that this is the only possible explanation for how I could be in so much pain when nothing is actually physically wrong, but a tiny piece of me still questions how I can actually think my way out of this (which is ironic, since I don't seem to have the slightest problem intellectualizing anything else). I know the diagnosis has to be right because of the way the pain moves around and because I'm already doing much better -- less intense pain, leaving the house and resuming some normal activity, getting exercise -- but I'm still frightened of the pain and of my body. I was a longtime runner before this happened, and even though I've read Steve Ozanich's story of how he just threw on a pair of running shoes and went for a jog despite his pain, part of me is incredulous that I'll ever be able to do that again without ending up debilitated again for months. I know this is all part of TMS, but still... it's hard.

    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi EM, and welcome to the forum!

    You're right - making this psychological change IS hard. It requires a completely different way of thinking. Our catchphrase here (thanks to Monte Heuftle) is: "Think Psychologically Instead of Physically". Monte is a runner, and his web site is called runningpain.com

    Anyway, the main reason making this change is so hard is because your primitive fearful brain does not WANT you to make this change. It firmly believes that you must remain fearful at all times in order to survive. As I often say, this might have worked fine way back in the dangerous primitive world when we only needed to survive long enough to breed and raise the next generation, but it sucks as a survival technique in today's modern world, and for many of us, the mechanism has gone totally haywire. And you end up in your situation, which seems like a ridiculous way to survive - but hey, you're still breathing, right? So your primitive brain must be doing something "right". Heh. And, nope.

    We have a couple of free programs here - the easiest one to start with is probably the Structured Educational Program, which gives you a few readings and/or exercises in each daily module. The other one is Alan Gordon's Pain Recovery Program (generously donated to us by Alan).

    I suggest that you also go to the Success Stories forum, do a keyword search on "foot pain" and read the stories of members who successfully recovered from dire foot conditions.

    You've come to the right place, and we are here to help each other - good luck!

    Ellen likes this.
  3. LisaMartin

    LisaMartin New Member

    There is such a term phantom pain, it has a place to be, even if you subconsciously let go of the pain
    harrisonedward likes this.
  4. birder

    birder Well known member

    EM, you've come to the right place. Your story parallels mine in so many ways. TMS strikes the places that are tied deeply to our self-identity: you're a runner, so: feet and ankles. Devastating. Been there.
    Even though Steve's story is a fantastic read, I agree, that epic jog is a good idea. Baby steps are the way to calm your fears, soothe your anxiety, and prove to yourself that you're not broken. And you're not. You're just really, really scared. But you're going to be okay.
    Once you accept that your symptoms are TMS on a GUT level as well as an intellectual one, your fear will start to drop. TMS causes no tissue damage and is completely harmless. You will run again.
  5. cookieheals

    cookieheals Well known member

    I feel you on the fear of pain and jogging. I had really bad knee pain, and plantar fascitis pain (still struggling with it) and a legit seismod injury that 7 doctors said I'd never heal from and would need surgery. Seismod bones are the bones through which 70-80% of our weight go through' so I was in constant pain. The seismods healed- though not in a straightforward way. I got a hold of healing through the power of God and that healed me. But the knee pain and fascitis pain persisted and sometimes i would get really bad toe spasms. When I prayed to God about it, I heard one word, "TMS"

    His logic was that, since the toe had healed, immediately, after praying for it, it must be TMS because I had prayed for everything at the same time. Makes sense. (I know this might seem loony but more people have healed from crazier things than that: stories here https://www.awmi.net/video/series/healing-journeys/ (Healing Journeys - Andrew Wommack Ministries) I should add that I started the structured education program and was doing this at the same time.

    Anyway, when it came back to jogging; I was TER.RI.F.I.ED. The last time i had tried jogging i would get a shooting pain up the inside of my knee that was so bad I quit jogging. Being an actor and also wanting very physically active roles, I was getting limited. Then, the foot pain was just the worst.

    It was approximately three months after the TMS diagnosis that I got the courage to start being active again, after praying to God and Him recommending it. I started with something not too intense. After every time I was like "hold on! I am not better, but I'm also not worse!"

    That "I'm not better but I'm not worse" kept me going. So I kept going. I did that for about four months. Then one day, in complete and total despair about my life, I don't know why but I just told myself to go jogging.

    I did- still doing it. I can now go 20 minutes straight. And what keeps me going is that "I'm not better, but I'm not worse!" Not being worse has been a huge help for me.

    It's scary to get back into activity, so don't freak your brain out. Small steps- literally. Literally small steps. It's possible to freak your brain out and you'll need firm belief to chill yourself out when like Steve O, you are writhing on the ground in pain. I had one day like that- my knee hurt so bad I thought i was going to need to go to the hospital. I wasn't active or anything but had had an extremely stressful conversation and struggled to sleep that night. I cried all day. It was scary. But I kept telling myself that it was TMS and I would be okay. Strategies learned in TMS healing helped. The next day I was back down to my 'usual pain'.

    So I'd say focus on where I was at the beginning of this journey when i had 80% more pain than now. Start the structured education forum, do it with the pain recovery program, and then keep reading literature about TMS to build confidence. The success stories are also really great.

    I'm in the same boat- literally, but I promise you we'll get to the other side.

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