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Not sure if my pain fits the profile of TMS

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Kiwi Josh, Mar 18, 2022.

  1. Kiwi Josh

    Kiwi Josh Newcomer

    Hi there,

    I won't go in to my full history right now since I don't want to make anyone read a whole novel about me!

    I've read John Sarno's book "the Mindbody Prescription" and just listened to the "Tell me about your pain" podcast episode: "how can I tell if my brain is causing my pain?"

    I am convinced that TMS is real, that the success stories are true, and that the majority of chronic pain is caused by TMS. In fact I recently overcame RSI in both of my wrists practically overnight as soon as I experimented with idea the psychogenic cause.

    However, in listening to the podcast episode, I am not convinced that my seven years (and counting) of chronic low-back pain fit the profile of TMS.

    In contradiction to the indicators that the hosts listed, my back pain IS consistent, predictable, happens when I perform certain actions for certain durations, doesn't happen if I avoid those actions. (Unfortunately, avoiding those actions makes for a much lower quality of life.) I don't experience any real mystery in my symptoms. It seems consistent with structurally caused pain.
    The initial onset could easily be attributed to the intense manual labor I was inflicting upon my back for many years as it gradually got worse. This was also a very stressful time of my life, so I could also see the cause as psychogenic. Not sure which one (or both) are responsible.

    In the episode he said that some people have predictable, consistent pain like me, have MRI confirmation of structural anomalies like me, and yet are still sufferers of TMS rather than mechanically caused pain.

    How can I gather more evidence to help me determine whether I have TMS or not? Is there someone I can pay to assess me over zoom perhaps? I am in New Zealand.

    Many thanks,
  2. Camarogirl

    Camarogirl New Member

    Sounds like it’s conditioned response , your brain knows that when you do certain activities it brings pain . You have to keep sending yourself messages of safety and reassurance that you don’t have a structural issue and that you’re fine to do these activities. I have the same issues and I’m starting to be able to do the things that have caused me pain in my lower back for the past 3 years . I hope you can find a TMS therapist in your area as they can help you navigate these issues and perhaps give you some tools to work with . Have you read Alan Gordon’s book , the way out ? It has also helped me so much in my healing . Good luck
    Dorado and JanAtheCPA like this.
  3. Kiwi Josh

    Kiwi Josh Newcomer

    Thank you Camaro! It is really helpful to hear that other people might have had the same doubts and still experience success. One of the big traps of chronic pain is feeling alone, and feeling like the 'one exception' whose pain is defferent and therefore can't be cured like everyone else's.

    Since writing that post a couple weeks back I have indeed been reading Alan Gordon's book, and it is starting to give me hope for sure. Realising that I only need to do somatic tracking in small amounts when I have low amounts of pain makes it much less scary. Since I started toying with the idea of my back pain being psychogenic, a big block for me has been the fear of 'doing damage' I would get from trying to 'push through' my pain in order to transcend it. Now I realise I don't need to go that far in order to recondition my brain. I can stay in my comfort zone and make little gains without getting scared of making things worse.

    So, all sounds good in theory - let's see how it goes in pracitce :)

    Also, I have contacted Alan Gordon's Pain Psychology Centre to ask for an online consult with one of their therapists. Guidance will be great for my confidence.

    But thanks - you're officially the first person in the chronic pain community to acknowledge my symptoms and reassure me that I'm not alone. It makes a huge difference!
    Camarogirl likes this.
  4. Camarogirl

    Camarogirl New Member

    You’re very welcome! Don’t ever think you’re alone with this awful pain , I completely understand what it feels like mentally and physically and so do all the others in this group. It’s a prob the worst thing I have ever gone through mentally . There are a few other things you can do to immerse yourself in this thinking , listen to podcasts daily (this has really helped me) there are many out there . Search up Alan Gordon and you can listen to him talk about everything he discusses in his book . As well there is a great Facebook group called Pain free you by Dan Buglio , he is a chronic pain coach that suffered for 13 years with back pain . He offers so many free videos on his page as well as on you tube . I watch his daily video and he sends a positive message everyday with tips on how to handle different issues . This group is private so you can talk freely and it’s with others going through the same thing . Good luck and I’m glad you’re seeing a shift in your thinking . ☺️
  5. Kiwi Josh

    Kiwi Josh Newcomer

    Sounds great! Thanks again! <3 <3
  6. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is absolutely true. As @Camarogirl wisely pointed out, conditioned responses are absolutely part of the mind-body process. There was a point in time in which certain things - such as alcohol - consistently ignited nasty symptoms for me (e.g., nerve pain, distal sweating, rashes, etc.). We're talking multiple years. I'm unable to diagnose anybody with anything, but I wanted to share that experience.

    Are there other symptoms you're dealing with that you suspect are a result of the mind-body connection? These are personal question and you don't have to answer it for me: if the answer to the previous question is yes, is there anything going on in your life to create symptoms? How do you think your belief in TMS, but not believing that TMS is causing another symptom, influences your situation? What are some things that helped you with RSI that you can apply to other symptoms?

    Take care of yourself and that adorable cat in your icon! And congratulations on overcoming RSI. :)
  7. Kiwi Josh

    Kiwi Josh Newcomer

    Thanks so much! I really appreciate you taking the time. Those are some excellent questions I will explore. I am already starting to warm up to the idea that my back pain is psychogenic, and it's encouragement from real people like you that is making the difference. Much love :)

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