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Pelvic pain: is this TMS?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by MIsty152, Dec 23, 2019.

  1. MIsty152

    MIsty152 New Member

    Hello everyone,

    During this summer, my boyfriend and I went on a holidaytrip. After a couple of days I started noticing I had to go to the bathroom more and more. Ofcourse, we thought it was just an UTI. I got antibiotics, but they didn't help. The pain only increased and sitting in a car became a hell. Muscle spasms in my pelvic floor made me go to the bathroom every half an hour. Anyway, when I got home I visited the doctor who told me it could have a hypertonic pelvic floor which was causing the problems. My pelvic floor specialist confirmed that, so I started treatment.

    Despite treatment, I didn't really get any better. In rest, yes, i could release my pelvic floor muscles better. But everything I did, such as walking, driving, or whatever, made me go in spasm again. After my tenth appointment or so I visited an osteopath, who confirmed a lot of tension in my diafragma and in the fascia around my organs. After my second visit my pelvic floor muslces started to release more and more. They feel more relaxed now. But some kind annoying of pain remains, more worse/annoying,.... mainly in my urthera. A different kind of pain (doesn't feel like muscle pain). Sometimes it burns a bit. And I have to go to the bathroom all the time. Confused as I am now...

    It reminded me however of an incident 10 years ago or so. At that time I was having sort of the same problems with my bladder/urthera. No UTI. Maybe that was my pelvic floor as well? Nothing helped. But the pain/discomfort vanished after I visited an alternative therapist who said I had to change my diet. I was having a stressfull period at that time: studying in a different city.

    And now.... one of my good friends emigrated this summer to another country (other side of the world.. damn). Chances are big that she won't return. The same goes for my best friend, who also has plans to emigrate. I heard this a couple of months before I went on my holiday. This goes hand in hand with my fear of being alone and abandoned. But now I am also afraid of the symptoms themselves. Because the pelvic floor spasms hurted so much.

    Could this be TMS? It doesnt'feel like muscle pain, at least not in my pelvic floor muscles, they feel more relaxed, and that is what making me insecure about all this. The pain changed. My muscles themselves do not really hurt, or at least, I think.

    I am the perfect TMS candidate though, as I look at the personality description of it and the emotional problems I experienced in my youth. Also familiar with anxiety disorders, panic attacks, regular tension headaches..

    What do you guys think? Can I get rid of this? I need some support. No negative messages.
  2. tmstraveler

    tmstraveler Peer Supporter

    Hi, Misty. I’m dealing with a similar issue: pain in my pelvic region. I’ve been through the ringer on it including seeing a pelvic pt for many, many months. She relaxed the muscles, but the pain persists. I’ve experienced more relief with TMS work in the past month or so than in the ten months of pt I’ve experienced. To my pt’s credit, she put me on this path when it was clear the pain was coming from places other than tense muscles.

    I think trying to separate the physical and the mental (“is *this* TMS?”) is a bit of a trap. The biggest question you have to ask yourself is how focused are you on your pain? If it’s a lot, then chances are your focus, fear, and frustration are driving it. TMS can cause tense muscles. TMS can cause pretty much any sensation under the sun. Beyond that, I think it’s sort of chicken and the egg. TMS can cause your tension or pain, or emerge in a situation where you are already in tension and pain and keep it alive/make it worse.

    And if the label is getting in the way, just accept that the brain drives pain and your attitude and focus do as well. That’s a scientific fact.

    But if you want my opinion, these pelvic syndromes are absolutely a manifestation of TMS (or nervous system sensitization or learned pain or whatever you want to call it). I’d suggest educating yourself on the subject including checking out Alan Gordon’s pain program on this site. The way forward is two-fold: addressing your underlying tension and anxiety in your life since it sets you up for this type of pain AS WELL AS reframing your relationship to your symptoms so they can ultimately fade away. This is where Alan Gordon’s program is extremely valuable. It’s a slow process to go from fear to indifference, but with many patient steps, you can get there.

    There’s enough evidence on this site alone that such progress is achievable. You can do it. The sooner you can accept that the brain drives chronic pain and that you aren’t hurting yourself by exploring this path, the better. I basically stopped pt for the time being so I can fully do this work.
  3. MIsty152

    MIsty152 New Member

    Hey tmstraveler

    Thanks for your response. It is "good" to know I am not the only one. A pelvic specialist said my nerves might be irritated, as the feeling isn't the same as muscle pain. But my pain can vary from 8/10 to 1/10 in a matter of an hour. Just wow.

    And well, I Just experienced something weird. I was calling with a good friend about My emotions and the pain shifted from My urthera to My back and leg. The pain at My pelvis is like a 1/10 now. This has to be TMS. It's good to realise after Just a couple of months, so I can go get to work. I am proud of myself with the steps I have allready taken, such as ordering dr sarno's book and starting to accept and feel my emotions. I've also expressed some feelings towards a family member, which I normally never, and wow that feels like a great reliëf. Instant relief!

    How are you doing right now btw? :)
  4. tmstraveler

    tmstraveler Peer Supporter

    Misty, this 100% sounds like TMS and aligns so much with my own experience. I too was given the diagnosis of pudendal neuralgia, but TMS pain primarily manifests in the muscles and nerves so is it a surprise that there’s nerve pain as well? No, it isn’t!

    Also, if you had muscles compressing your nerves, the pain wouldn’t come and go like that. I’ve had so many different types of pain come on and disappear almost as I watched. It’s such a classic hallmark of TMS. As is the moving around. I’ve had it in my rectum, glutes, hips, legs, and lower back. I mean, there’s only one explanation for that (even if it’s taken my rigid brain a long time to accept, ya know?) I was so, so focused on the physical. And of course I would be. It’s what we’re taught! And the mind/body work sounded so scary and hard at first.

    I’m glad you’re working on feeling your emotions. There are many paths to that. Experiment. Find what works for you. Journaling? Meditating? I’ve been told feeling emotions is essential, but expressing them to others is optional. Be honest with yourself about how you feel. Your emotions want to be felt. That includes the anxiety you have over your symptoms as well as the anger, sadness, fear, etc. you experience in other aspects of your life. You might check out the Curable app which has some good stuff along these lines.

    How am I doing? Well, I consider myself in the middle of the process. I still focus on my symptoms way too much and for me that requires a daily practice of learning to do more and fixate less. I’ve had a ton more moments of being pain-free or pain-light the more I’ve learned to address fear of my symptoms. As I mentioned earlier, Alan Gordon’s pain program on this site has been terrific for that. Specifically the somatic tracking exercises. Beyond that I work with someone over Skype from the Pain Psychology Center and she’s helped me understand the practice, the goals, and provides me reassurance that people recover from this completely. We can do it.

    So you’re beginning your journey. It may be short. It may be long. We don’t measure our progress in time, since people are all different. But Misty, I feel you’re in the right place and that this work has the power to not only heal your physical pain but improve your life as well!
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
    nowa likes this.
  5. MIsty152

    MIsty152 New Member

    Beautiful said tmstraveler. Your words really encourage me. And good to hear you are feeling better and have pain free/light moments.

    Today I talked with a TMS therapist at the phone to see what she thinks about this situation. She said that I'm a typical case of TMS (personality, life events, type of pain..) and we really can do something about this. I have an appointment with her in a couple of weeks. And while waiting for that, I will take the first steps myself. We can do this indeed!! I feel already more relaxed now I know this. It's like everything falls together right now.
    tmstraveler likes this.
  6. sb_flyer

    sb_flyer New Member

    I'm convinced this is all TMS. I've posted on here before and have a looooong story about pudendal/pelvic pain (more nerve-like sensations and symptoms than anything). And, part of what I've experienced over the years is random urgency. I suffered daily with pudendal/pelvic pain for 10 or so years. Eventually, my symptoms began to lessen, eventually disappearing altogether around year 12, with slight relapses from time to time for a few days to a week these last few years. Phew...I thought I was finally 'cured'. But, the problem was that I had no knowledge of TMS and basically just believed that I had a damaged pudendal nerve that had eventually healed over time.

    A few months ago, my symptoms came roaring back. Prickling, tingling, itching, burning, warm/cold, some pulsing pain, some urgency, all in my pelvic/genital area. This is when I discovered TMS and this forum. The relapse was due to the anxiety I had about a new job. I was stressing heavily about my ability to live up to the expectations of the job and had doom and gloom thoughts about the prospect of failing in this new role. The issue began a few days before the job started and went into overdrive on about day 2 or 3. So, I jumped into learning about TMS, and as I think many of us do, I was hoping for a cure simply by reading Sarno and convincing myself my pain was being caused by my brain, not a structural issue. For the last 8-9 weeks my symptoms weren't improving, but I began reading success stories here, meditating, and speaking to a TMS psychotherapist (over Skype). The tell-tale sign for me that this was/is TMS is that I was symptom-free for so long (the last few years) and then my issue came back without any physical activity or injury to bring it back. I didn't fall. I didn't over-exercise. Nothing. I was just incredibly anxious and stressed about the job.

    The thing I also began to notice during this relapse was that my symptoms would shift around a little bit. Not a lot, but the sensations would change, the intensity would change, and other problems I've had (hip and low back pain) would also come and go. This all seemed too inconsistent - but too convenient - and put me into a huge cycle of fear. I believe that fear sent me spiraling each day as I was looking for my symptoms the second I woke up every day. Sure enough, they'd start to show up and kick up in intensity as the day went on. I'd then obsess about the symptoms, the doom and gloom of this never going away or sticking around for the next 10 years, and the prospects of how this would negatively impact the rest of my life.

    One of my breakthroughs was that I noticed after 2 straight Skype sessions that my symptoms actually quieted down just a little bit. Usually, the issue would get worse during the day, but these sessions were in the afternoon and to get some relief during the afternoon seemed to be a positive sign. Because of the conversations I had with my therapist during these sessions, I started noticing things I hadn't noticed before. I clench my teeth pretty regularly. I also clench my ass cheeks and pelvic area throughout the day. I started paying attention to what I was feeling when I'd clench up. I began realizing that I often have stressful or anxious thoughts passing through my head, often about very ridiculous or minor things that I can't control. Those feelings of stress and anxiety grab a hold of me more than I realized and cause me to tighten up. Even as I type right now, just the idea of stressful thoughts is causing me to clench up in both areas.

    Identifying these reactions and then paying attention to the stressors has been a huge revelation for me and is one of the reasons why I think my symptoms are improving. In fact, I'd say I'm about 80% improved at this point. Breaking the fear cycle has been hard and I don't know if I'm out of the woods yet, but the important thing has been my ability to be mindful of my thought patterns in relation to my symptoms and my other physical reactions to stress (i.e. clenching). For me, I know this will be an ongoing process, but I am confident that I'm on the path to total relief. I feel like I have the tools now to understand and challenge this.

    Interestingly, my hip pain has been pretty intense lately. Just as interestingly, it has also been inconsistent. I had surgery on it 3 years ago to repair a labral tear and to reshape the ball/socket (basic arthroscopy). I now have a repaired labrum and a perfectly shaped right hip, but my pain is no better than before surgery. But, like I said, it is super inconsistent. So, I'm now chalking this up to TMS and have some more work to do. What I've realized is that I've dealt with TMS for a long time and just didn't know it. I know it now and believe we can all reduce our pain/symptoms. I do believe it's a different journey for everyone and for me talking about this out loud with someone helped me to better understand what was going on with me. Sometimes, just talking about your problem - and also your feelings - out loud can make a difference - IMO.
  7. MIsty152

    MIsty152 New Member

    Good to hear your story too sb_flyer. And I am glad for you that you're making progress. Its what tmstraveler says, you have to find what works for you and convince yourself it's all psychological. But that's easier said than done.

    I am practising the tms method for the last couple of days. Staying calm and listening to my feelings. And my brain is acting reeeeally weird. Sensations in my leg, hand, left side of my belly, headache, ears. Comes and goes. And my pelvic pain decreased substantially today. This is so weird. I am not gonna fall for this trick :).
    JanAtheCPA likes this.

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