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Please help me to get out of the structural pain world

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by ruma, Mar 14, 2020.

  1. ruma

    ruma Newcomer

    Hello there everyone,

    I have been reading a lot in this forum lately and first let me tell you that I really appreciate the supportive and warm atmosphere that you guys have created here - that really is an accomplishment.

    I am from Germany, 30 years old and I have back pain for 6 months now.

    It started after a session of squats. I felt great afterwards, but the next week I could not walk, my back would spasm again and again and I could feel a swollen area right on the spine.
    After a couple of weeks they ordered an MRI and it showed quite some degenerative changes L5 and L4 disc are bulding and pretty degenerated (black discs) and the facet joint are starting to show slight degenerative changes as well as the vertebraes. Doctor told me that he would rather expect to see this in a 50 year old.
    I remember how I felt after seeing those pictures. On my way to the doctor I was singing in my car and on the way back I was a complete mess thinking I was broken and that I am destined to live a life of pain because of the weightlifting I have been doing from a very young age.

    I then became an expert of the anatomy of the spine and tried all the different treatments of course. Everything that you well know and have probably tried yourself: chiropacter, ostepath, physical theraphy, triggerpoint massage, injection and even a one week stationary pain therapy where they gave me everything but morphine. Nothing helped and I was in pain 24/7.

    Two weeks ago I found Dr. Sarnos book. I read Healing Back Pain. I absolutely found myself in his description of personality type and circumstances. And gathered some evidence that my pain is TMS:
    2 years ago I moved and changed my job (got my absolute dream job). I have never had problems with my health, but since then I developed one symptom after another:
    - tooth pain (was cleared and nothing was found)
    - shoulder pain
    - severe fatigue
    - knee pain
    - severe insomnia
    - and now my back
    - the pain started a few days after a conversation with my mother in which she really hurt me.
    (When I was a kid my mother was cheating on my father and lied to us about it. He was very abusive and I would protect my mom from him. When the truth came out I was devastated.
    The conversation with my mom beamed me back right into that time)
    - when I am in pain I have to think of my father a lot. I took care of him before he died as he was constantly in the most horrible pain one can imagine

    As far as I understood it that should be quite a bit of evidence that the pain is TMS.
    So I felt relieved after reading the book and tried to live as if was convinced that I am physically okay.

    My pain got better and in the middle of last week it was almost gone. However, I started a new form of electro acupuncture treatment that helped a friend of mine a lot at the same time. So I thought it was a bit of both. Last wednesday the pain returned, after I cut my toenails in a very bend over position.

    I became really frustrated and again started to think of my MRI a LOT. I know that within TMS my flare up might be the result of conditioning, but after all I have read about the spine and back structure it is so easy to visualize what´s wrong with my back structurally. In addition I still think that I did physically hurt myself with the squats a couple of months ago and I have to think back to the different neuro surgeons who told me that degeneration is the source of my pain.

    How can I convince myself that I am physically fine? What can I do to gather evidence and to believe intellectually AND on an gut level?

    Thank you in advance for reading my post and for your answers.

    Last edited: Mar 14, 2020
  2. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ruma, welcome to the forum! You are in the right place!

    I don't have much time to answer your post in depth - have to go soon, but I just posted in another thread, answering a very similar question. This is the thread, check it out:
    https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/not-sure-how-to-proceed.22564/ (Not Sure How to Proceed)

    In general, my recommendation to every newcomer is the same: start reading posts in the Success Stories forum, as often as you can, as much as you can. Second, read, ask questions, absorb. The change of mindset does not happen easily. It takes time, patience, persistence - but it pays off!

    Best of luck to you!
    plum likes this.
  3. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    ANY belief that structural ANYTHING helps you is only going to be a placebo cure and preclude you from recovery..... Sarno himself got rid of his physical therapists for this reason.
    If you think acupuncture, chiro, electro-stim or any of that other crap works , they are all based on structural mythology and it means you have not believed TMS theory. How is poking a bunch of needles in you (nowhere near enough to touch nerves BTW) going to help with unconscious rage?

    ANYthing that keeps you focused on your body will make the symptoms and syndrome continue. Period.

    Re-read the literature. If you believe in acupuncture, great.... than what do you need tms for?

    there is no 'maybe' lane. The choice is yours
    plum likes this.
  4. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    and BTW My Girlfriend does that... still believes in all this hippy dippy bullshit cures...and she's still in pain. Often. I love her so I just nod and listen.... eventually maybe she'll see the futility of it. It means becoming a bit of a loner and having to think for yourself... most of the world rejected/rejects Sarno and co.

    But then most of the world said I'm a cripple....and I'm not.
    plum likes this.
  5. Bonnard

    Bonnard Peer Supporter

    This is really good for me to read...good reminder for me! Thanks.
  6. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    As a newcomer--at the very beginning of all of this--it's the reading and the connection to others who have had success and can talk clearly and positively about it all that has helped me. I really empathize with your searching for a way out of the "structural pain world." For me, some of the way out seems to come by piling up things that people say, trying things out that strike a chord of truth with you, and noticing small successes. I keep going through Alan Gordon's program (on this website) to act as an anecdote to my fears and doubts. It's helped.
    Baseball65 and plum like this.
  7. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    That, in a nutshell, is how I got to the point of 'power' I live at today. I can vividly remember the first few days after having read Sarno and intellectually jumping up and down "Hell Yeah!", but then going for my daily walk , feeling the sciatica burn and going "..But, what if..?"

    So, I kept reading the text of "Healing Back Pain"over and over. (what people say )... there was no internet groups then and the only other TMSer I knew was on location shooting a movie in another state. So the stories in the book, and Sarno himself became my recovery group.

    Anything in the book that was a slam dunk got immediately highlighted with Hi-liter pen and I scribbled notes to myself in the margins. Later, Running out of margin, I started a Notebook of all my personal experiences that validated and corroborated the TMS diagnosis. Too many to list here.

    ..and the small successes. I can share two really important ones.

    -while I was out for my daily 'walk' which I had started 18 months previous , I realized that Only old people and trophy wives walked around that park . In my youth I had RUN around the Park, and RODE my Bike around the Park, but never walked . The walking was directly a result of my pain. ... part of the 'recovery' recommended by the system.
    I had been warned that if I ever even jogged again I risked paralysis. Fuck it.
    I immediately broke into the hardest sprint I could muster up... not a very good one after 18 months of being a couch puppy. I stopped walking around the park but RAN through the fields and grass I had played baseball and football on in my childhood.

    I eventually collapsed in a pile on the grass laughing. I was exhausted, and the pain was still there BUT I wasn't paralyzed. THEIR (the system) information was wrong, and Sarno was right. Activity is harmless. Period. Even the most intense. I quit walking and went and got my Bike out of storage. I never walked the park again as it only was part of the conditioning that I was somehow 'hurt'. (trying things out/small success)

    and then the condiments. Like every Rat in a Skinner box, I said "What conditioning?" ... "What Skinner Box?"

    I have always had an allergy to anything with lots of acid.... Caesar salad, orange juice, Taco sauce..etc.

    I was at Costco waiting for somebody when I found myself staring at a large palate of condiments. After a few minutes I noticed I was sweating so bad my eyes were tearing up and I imagine I was red and flushed. It was cool and air conditioned in the store. The condiments were hermetically sealed. There was no way I was smelling them. Just the simple THOUGHT about acidic food can provoke a PHYSICAL reaction. I experimented and found I could make my eyes tear up almost anywhere by thinking about Vinegar, Tomato juice,etc. (I'm getting all warm even typing this)

    That made something from the text click. I then realized there are several things I am aware of that provoke a physical response that are all mental. .... well, if these conscious ones can do that, what can my unconscious do?

    so @Northwood, it was the piling up of anecdotes like that that eventually led to a better life than ever, in spite of nursing issues for several years before...

    Your short 'newcomer' paragraph is as profound as reams of veteran experience. I'd run with it if I were you (Pun intended)

    Neil and Northwood like this.
  8. ThanksToSarno

    ThanksToSarno Peer Supporter

    Welcome Ruma!

    I was in a similar situation as you- in pain, a daunting medical diagnosis and belief that I had done it to myself through improper lifting and my earlier athletic endevours. I was fourtanate to find Sarno and now i'm pain free and physically stronger than ever.

    No convincing should be nessecary. You may just need some more experience and time. Just trust that you are on the path to healing, and it will happen for you when the time is right. It doesnt happen over night , it's a process.

    When i read Sarno's book a lightbulb went off. I was at a point where i had been getting treatment from the medical field for years and things kept getting worse. I was in pain for around 8 years. On top of that, noone could give me an exact answer as to why i was in so much pain. Some doctors said it was because of my herniations, others said it was something else. It seemed like every single doctor i went to had a different answer for me. Intuitivley, this never made sense to me. I had received enough contradictory medical advice from the professionals at that point that when i read that book i realized right away that none of them had any idea how to treat my pain and what was the cause. At that point, I could come to no other logical conclusion than what I was reading must be true.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
  9. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    Hi, Ruma,

    I've been asking myself the same question over my first couple of months into this. A lot of reading has helped, building up a critical mass of information to push through doubt -- sort of like revving up a car to make a run through a snowbank and not get stuck. I try to keep all of this new information alive each day because it's fragile at this point and I have mountain ranges of old ways of thinking that can easily outlast what I'm just now learning. I just got The Great Pain Deception, so I'm reading that. I'm learning how to use this forum and just starting to meet people. (Never done this before; amazed that it actually works: there really are a bunch of soulful people behind all those little avatars.) Also, in this fragile time, I attend to the most small and subtle victories. For example, when I felt pain in my low back I took some advice to consider emotional sources of the pain, not structural ones -- and I noticed a subtle lightness enter that part of my body, a very small letting go that occur without working the flesh. Nothing grand, but interesting and encouraging. So I keep doing this, chalking up the smallest wins. Concerning structural solutions, I am doing my best to avoid my usual go-tos, a host of massage devices. When I'm tempted to use them, I now feel something like an alcoholic going for the hidden bottle -- except in my case it's not gin, but a Theracane stashed behind the washing machine. I still do light, gentle stretching, but not the rigorous, intense stuff. I'm letting myself feel more, letting really awful shameful stuff come up and watching it inflate before my presence so that I can simply observe the massive size of it just floating there. This is my evidence-gathering. Summarizing this to YOU is a bit of my evidence gathering. Thank you for your question. Keep going, gathering your evidence. The gut's the ticket, isn't it?
    Rainstorm B likes this.

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