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New to TMS, trying to work out if my RSI is TMS

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Hannibal41, Jun 21, 2022.

  1. Hannibal41

    Hannibal41 Newcomer

    Hello everyone,

    I have just signed up as I am now serious in considering TMS as a cause of my RSI. However as with many people, I’m in that stage just before starting where I’m finding it hard to believe, although I really really want to believe. I will write my story so far and how it relates to TMS as well as some initial questions.

    my story

    My pain started suddenly early March on a Wednesday. I was scrolling on the mouse wheel with my right hand when a pain suddenly flared in my right index finger (used to scroll). Over the course of the day this spread up the back of my hand and into my forearm. For the next two days I took work easy and swapped between my right and left hand. Luckily the following week and a half I was off on holiday, so I didn’t touch a pc and gave my hands rest. However during the holiday, I also started to feel pain on my left wrist and forearm (this pain was not as bad as my right side, but still definitely not right). The pain in both sides was just there and didn’t disappear, but got more painful when using it. When I returned to work, I almost immediately needed to take two weeks sick leave to try and rest more. This month of rest did not help.

    At this time I also started to see a physio who gave me massage and stretching to do 3x a day and applying biofreeze to painful area. This regime definitely provided temporary reduction (not complete removal) of pain. However in general over next few months, the pain symptoms did not decrease, however physio did say that that the tightness in right arm was less but he never saw tightness in left arm. He said that he couldn’t see anything that bad with me and my complaints of pain are probably due to not being used to musco skeletal injuries. I continue to do prescribed massage/stretching/biofreeze as that does help dampen pain slightly, but I am going to see another physio tomorrow to get a second opinion and ensure that nothing was missed. I have also had a series of acupuncture sessions provided by a friend as compensation for a favour. That did absolutely nothing for me.

    During this time, I have occasionally seen people mention Dr Sarno and have had brief looks at success stories etc. But haven’t read any books yet or done any proper work with it. I knew that I needed to do the else physical things first to rule out anything. I could have started after giving up on my first physio, but knew that I needed a second trained physio to view it before committing to TMS.

    I am currently trying to think of reasons why it might be TMS, but never have as clear cut reasons as many of the success stories. This has not been an in depth look but some reasons/counter reasons include

    • left wrist/arm started hurting a week later, despite not using it that much. However pain on left side has always been less than my right side.
    • Success stories often talk about pain migrating. My pain has not shifted, right arm has always hurt, however different parts of forearm seem to hurt more at different times, it is always there but hurts more with any activity using it. However, a few minor pains elsewhere ( woke with minor ankle splints in left ankle/shin during my sick leave, despite doing nothing extra. I was thinking about doing extra walking to keep active. The ankle splints were a nuisance but not painful. They come and go and Physio didn’t really see anything)( woke with stiff neck one morning that took a few days to clear, right side of neck was more painful).
    • I’ve always considered myself fairly laid back, I like to do well and please people, but don’t consider myself a perfectionist. I haven’t had a traumatic childhood, nor did I consider anything recently super stressful. The only things I can think of is 1: my director announcing her departure, which affects me a lot as I look after the directors diary, I don’t have strong feelings for the director, she was fine. 2: my mum going through cancer treatment again, she has had it every few years for past 15ish years, so it is essentially a run of the mill thing for me. I was fairly happy with life, the only things affecting me beyond what was stated was lacking success in the relationship department. I’m an introvert and struggle being confident enough. So sometimes I worry about never finding someone.I also worry about not getting promoted or finding a better job.

    That is essentially my story, may be a bit of a ramble. Once I have seen. The physio tomorrow and ruled anything out, that is when I can properly start working on curing TMS. I have a copy of the mindbody prescription and Alan Gordon’s The Way Out. I have already watched/read a couple of success stories, and trying to change my mindset to think that the pain is not due to an injury. How do you suggest I start my journey? Should I read the two mentioned books? Anything I should do alongside it?
    I know that I should resume normal activities but I already sort of continue to use my keyboard and vertical a mouse. I have packed away my games console due to moving room. So can’t resume video games. I’m also concerned that the pain will get worse and stress me out. The self massages/stretches and biofreeze help dampen the pain, I don’t believe it is fixing me, but it is helping me manage the pain.
  2. Guero Triste

    Guero Triste Peer Supporter

    Smells like TMS to me. The way it started and spread on the right side and then a week later on the left.

    I deal with similar issues and have for some years. Haven’t had much relief and have read most the books etc. I can tell you this - while I have not found relief from my pain in hands/arms/shoulders, every time I get some new issue I regard it as TMS and it goes away pretty quickly. I assume the pain feedback loop on my chronic arm pain is an entrenched situation and I’m not about to let something new get a foothold.

    Alan’s book is great and I highly recommend the back episodes of his podcast “Tell Me About Your Pain”. What a warm person he seems to be.
    Hannibal41 likes this.
  3. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    That's how it is with TMS... Because it is a REGIONAL process, it is hard to explain to others, doctors,etc. When I was stuck in the 'system' of chronic pain I used to hate those pictures they would have you fill in to describe it with numbers etc?? I eventually got so mad I just scrawled in Big capitals across the page "It F_ING HURTS!"

    All we have to communicate with it words and , in person, gestures. By reading your words I am certain this is TMS because I had this same exact problem, even with the jumping to the other side. It was a little more focused on where my Thumb meets the wrist, but it has to because I am a guitar player and for TMS to be effective it has to be able to DISTRACT You!

    Changing Mouses, wrists, etc is actually effectively doing what the pain wants you to , because the main purpose is that distraction... if I switched to driving with my left foot I wouyld be aware of it all the time...same thing for a cursor, playing guitar, favoring a foot when we run,etc.

    THE most important thing to look into is what was going on in your life, career, relationships, spiritual life,etc when the symptoms began. The answer to why I needed a symptom will always be found there.....and any time I have ever had a relapse THAT is frustrating becuase I am always "OK"....it's buried beneath the "OK"... In fact I am so good at being "OK" that I have had TMS try to invade me in a dozen different places over my virtually pain free life of the last 20+ years... each time something like this starts, I just go back and look into those topics I just listed, find out where I am NOT so "OK", usually have a big "AHa!" moment, and move on a little wiser. You can too.
    Hannibal41 likes this.
  4. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    You are describing almost the same scenario as I experienced. My "RSI" in my hands was TMS. If just reading Mindbody Prescription and Way Out does not work in a few weeks, you need to start looking into your psychological/emotional issues and follow Alan's guidance. It may take a while, but you can start believing very firmly that what you have is TMS.
    Hannibal41 likes this.
  5. Fal

    Fal New Member

    This resonates with me, basically describing the same problem. Tight arms, hand and finger pain and it started a few years ago. I had some relief from it when i started taking anti depressants which was first indicator of TMS so i decided to come off of them as i want to fix this without having any medication. Its a long hard road and there will be ups and downs but you'll get there in the end and so will i.
    Hannibal41 and TG957 like this.
  6. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    And I'd venture a guess that people without our personality types would get that first twinge in the right index finger when scrolling with the mouse and not give it a second thought. Of course a finger might twinge here or there during that scrolling. But we get that normal twinge and our unconscious goes, "oooh, here's something I can latch on to to distract him/her." -- and twirls its dastardly mustache....
    Hannibal41 and Baseball65 like this.
  7. Hannibal41

    Hannibal41 Newcomer

    Many thanks everyone for your responses. They are very helpful. A few follow up questions.

    1. With returning to normal activity, does it have to be the same exact activities done pre pain? Before the pain I had a ps5 that I would play on a few times a week. However due to injury I stopped playing and currently unable to return to it due to moving/not having access to it. Or can I just do activities that specifically use the arms/wrists/hands/fingers, even if they aren’t necessarily what I normally did pre pain? For instance push ups, lifting weights. How should I build up activity? Slowly or ramp up to a decent amount even if it hurts?
    2. I’ve heard that journaling is one of the best things to do, where best to learn how to effectively do it? Does it require eventually finding the exact stressful event/situation or is it a build up of all the stressful events/situations combined? Finally, once I am better, is journaling on a less regular basis (like once a week) a good way to ensure the ‘rage’ doesn’t build up again? Prevent flare ups in a few months/years.
  8. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    I don't know the answers to your questions so I'll leave that for someone else.....but I wonder if you've given a clue to your unconscious stressor when you said, " When I returned to work, I almost immediately needed to take two weeks sick leave to try and rest more."

    I wonder if the urge to take those 2 weeks off has a deeper root? The pain may have done its "job" in not wanting to be at work ---
    either because of some unconscious (or conscious) stressor at work --- or if you live with mom because of an unconscious need to be with her for a fear in losing her?
    I'm just making these two examples up to give you some ideas to explore.
    Perhaps in journaling you could ask yourself, "Why did I want to take those two weeks as soon as I got back? I know my hands hurt but was it something else?" And see if anything comes out.

    Disclosure. Not an expert so take anything I say with a grain of salt.

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