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Not sure about all of this...

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Archaea, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. Archaea

    Archaea New Member

    So, I am on day 4 of the SEP. I'm not sure yet how convinced I am about this. I know that the professionals on the forum can't diagnose or treat but I would like to find out if there are any others out there who have symptoms similar to mine and it turned out to be TMS. I can't find a doctor where I live who knows about this. And quite frankly I am ready to take a break from the doctor visits for awhile.

    My MRI shows a moderate sized herniation left side of L4/L5. My docs and therapist(s) are 100% CONVINCED that this is the cause of my symptoms.

    I have the usual sciatica, extreme tightness at the top of my left glute muscle. So tight in the morning that I can barely get my shoes on. It spasms at night. When I slump and try to straighten my legs it is impossible because the pain/tightness in my waist is so bad. I have tingling and pain all the way down to the toes. Its difficult to sleep, hard to find a position to get comfortable. Sitting in the morning is extremely painful but usually gets better as the day goes on.

    Docs think I should try steroid shots first. Has anyone else experienced this? Its not just pain, its stiffness and tingling that I worry may indicate something physical and not TMS.

    Thanks for your help!
  2. Josue

    Josue New Member

    Hi Archaea.

    Your symptoms of pain, tingling, stiffness etc. are not unique and are very typical of TMS sufferers. I would definitely recommend reading Healing Back Pain if you haven't already. You can get it on audio and it's only about 3 hours long. What your doctors and therapists are saying is basically what just about any medical professional would say, although people's minds are beginning to change. I know it is difficult, but I wouldn't put any stock in what they are telling you. That is how they have been trained. There is no way that any person, doctor, or anyone else can look at an MRI and tell you how much pain you are in. Many people have herniated discs and don't even know it, because they are absolutely pain free. Hopefully this information will make more sense as you learn more.

    As far as the epidurals, that is a controversial issue, but I would personally recommend one in the short term if your pain is excruciating. I've actually gotten 3 of them over the past year. They are certainly not a cure though, but in my opinion can provide some much needed relief while you figure out what is going on psychologically, not physically!

    Stick with it!
  3. charcol

    charcol Peer Supporter

    For what's it's worth, my first experience with TMS was a herniation of L5/S1. My brief story is told in the beginning of the post titled, "pain in neck/shoulder/arm". Also, Dr. Sarno wrote of a study done on people who didn't have any pain symptoms, but agreed to an MRI which revealed that about half of them had some sort of structural abnormality.

    Also, I had two injections, the last of which helped, but the pain came back.

    Keep up the good work!
  4. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    My MRI showed a herniation in my cervical vertebrae that the doc who ordered the test was more than happy to blame for the pain. The 4 injections he gave me on my initial visit with him did absolutely nothing but make a big dent in my bank account. My chiro viewed the same MRI results and told me there was absolutely nothing on that MRI that was "abnormal" for a person over the age of 30 or that would cause pain. She told me very confidently that if 100 pain-free people over the age of 30 underwent an MRI, at least 60 of them would show a bulge or herniation somewhere...it's gravity not injury. Of course the key words in that sentence were that the 100 people were pain free so the things revealed by the test were clearly not pain generating. Dr Sarno pointed to similar research in his books. I had tingling, aching, and sometimes burning into my fingers as some of my symptoms but the doctors all assured me there were no neurological issues - turns out it was TMS in my case.

    If you haven't been cleared of a neurological cause for your issue I would suggest you may want to look into it for your own peace of mind. Plus, it will work to strengthen you confidence in the TMS diagnosis if they rule that out as a cause for you.
  5. Archaea

    Archaea New Member

    Hi, Josue. Thank you for the reply. I have a question about your comment on the injection. If the premise is that the pain is from TMS and not structural (ie; that herniated discs do not cause the pain) then how would the epidural injection work? The intent is to inject the steroid into the epidural space where the disc is bulging in order to reduce the inflammation. The reduced inflammation leads to the reduction in pain.

    Sorry, I'm new to all of this so I'm just trying to figure out if I should get an injection. If I get an injection and it works to reduce my pain doesn't this rule out TMS? If I get an injection and it does not work then I would think that means I do have TMS.
  6. Moskito

    Moskito New Member

    "If I get an injection and it works to reduce my pain doesn't this rule out TMS? If I get an injection and it does not work then I would think that means I do have TMS. "

    Hi, I think it is not that easy. I have read some of the books on TMS and I see myself on at least every 2nd page. Nevertheless my MRIs show what normally is called structural abnormalty and I had epidurals twice. It always worked for some time (the first time better than the second) but that was only for weeks. Normal injections did not work at all. So I think at least there is always the palcebo effect involved which might cause this effect.

    In any case if at all I would only try it in case it does not mean a financial burden to you. I personally cannot recommend it. How about oral medication? Have you tried that and how do you react?

    I believe in (my) TMS, but I am also of the opinion that if one suffers a lot from the pain you sometimes need a break and I sometimes get it by oral medication.

    Hope that helps a bit.

    all the best,

  7. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    The placebo effect can be incredibly strong. If you believe the injection will give you relief than it's just as likely that the doctor can inject you with sugar water and you will likely receive some relief for some period of time. I suspect the results of the injections for you will depend at least partly on how the doctor presents them also. The doctor told me flat out that he generally gives 1-2 and they work for about 50% of the patients. He said that 1-2 would pretty much be a waste of time for me and wanted to do the 4 right then. I was desperate to reduce the pain so I agreed. My health insurance is a high deductible plan so the injections were out of pocket and were about $200/piece. Personally I did not receive any benefit from the injections, just additional stress (emotional & physical from both the failure to benefit and the financial implications).

    I highly recommend you take a look at www.tmswiki.org/.../harvard-researcher-studying-placebos.1440/
    and/or listen to Dr. Zafrides' podcast at the below website. These really helped me to understand how a "physical" treatment could provide at least temporary relief from a "psychological" generated issue.

    I hope either, or both of these are helpful to give you some insight. Ultimately the choice is yours to make. Just because it didn't work for me doesn't mean it won't work for you, but if you pain is truly TMS, any benefit you may realize from the injections will likely be temporary.
  8. Josue

    Josue New Member

    Sorry I didn't realized you had replied here!

    I totally understand what you are saying here, and I have asked myself the same question many times. I do not have a direct answer. When I get the shots, the steroid goes immediately to the areas of pain, and at that point, the pain is worse than ever in those areas. Some people get immediate relief from the shot, but for me the pain worsens, and sometimes for up to a week or more. Then it starts to feel good. Sarno admits that epidurals can give relief, and he as a medical doctor, has no explanation for it either.

    I really urge you to read Healing Back Pain as it goes into great detail about all this, sciatica, herniated discs etc. Sarno for one does not agree that there is any inflammation at all. Everyone will tell you that the "area is inflamed" but I'm not sure I believe that either. Anti-inflammatories have never done anything for my pain
  9. Josue

    Josue New Member

    You can try prednisone (oral steroid) first before the epidural yes...
  10. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    Yes. I had large herniations L5 and S1, degenerative disc disease, the tingling, pain, very odd numbness, etc. Yes, I was told to take some pack of steroid pills where you take 6, then 5, then 4--can't remember the exact # there were but I was desperate. Did not help a bit (although I didn't really believe it would). As far as p/t, I could not understand why leg stretches were prescribed for my back pain. I did however like the electric thingie he would put on my right butt cheek as it did relieve the pain while it was there, but not afterward. I stopped going to p/t. Chiro thought he could help but after 2 times there the pain was back in 20 minutes. The only thing left to try was surgery. I didn't want that option.

    Thanking God every day that people mentioned Dr. Sarno to me and I finally listened. My pain is gone. It did take effort. All the stuff allegedly wrong with my back was not to blame for the pain. For all I know it's all still there. However, the pain is not.

    There are many people who had the same symptoms you list and we are better using this method--not a physical one.

    Best wishes for healing!!

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