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Post Surgery Merry-Go-Round

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by PeterO, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. PeterO

    PeterO Peer Supporter

    Hi Everyone.

    I am working for a while now on the TMS approach but continually
    get stuck in the same spot. I am committed to the work required for TMS,
    especially the emotional aspect. I almost welcome it. I think it has much
    to offer for all lives.

    I have had chronic lower back pain for 3o years. In 1993, I underwent an L5-S1 spinal
    fusion with a leading neurosurgeon. Not only were my pain symptoms not relieved
    but I have been left with relentless pain (& restriction) from the bone donor site
    on my left iliac crest. In short, I came out, and have remained since, with significant
    more pain. Almost now to the point of disability.

    More recently, I have been labelled as having 'failed back surgery syndrome' &
    even had recognition by the surgeon of his failure. No apology though! I am
    angry that he never fully informed me of the likelihood of additional pain
    issues relating to done site extraction. I feel that my surgery has made it almost
    impossible for me to be pain free. I feel I am in an endless cycle of defeat.

    In relation to TMS, I just cant seem to make any headway into releasing the
    bone site pain & restriction into the mind body template. The resultant pain
    is so constant, persistent & site specific that it is difficult to not contend to a
    structural physical deficit.

    If anyone has some thoughts, or experience, here please reply.

    With thanks.

  2. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Pete,

    I have no knowledge on this matter, so I cannot say whether it is structural or not. But what I can add is that I feel you may need to release your anger towards this surgeon. It may not relieve your pain, but this anger is probably not having a positive influence on things. Picture him and feel the anger, then use an affirmation "I forgive and let go". I hope this makes sense and works for you.

    good luck to you
  3. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Peter, It's certainly not unusual for TMS pain to relocate to another site following surgery at its original location (knee, lower back, shoulder etc. etc.). This is called "symptom substitution", and you can read about it in all of Dr Sarno's books as well as elsewhere. Of course, I'm not a MD, so cannot diagnose or treat, but I'd advise you to read about the phenomenon and how it works before you go assigning your symptoms a structural cause. "Symptoms substitution" is in fact one of the main reasons behind what you're calling "failed back surgery syndrome".

    You've come to the right place to find out about such phenomenon I can assure you!

    All the best

  4. PeterO

    PeterO Peer Supporter

    Great advice.

    Most definitely have some issues with my surgeon which
    I have been repressing for some 20 years. Did go to see him
    but hadn't found the TMS approach at that stage. Still played
    dutiful patient role. He is an intimidating personality. I think
    it would be a different meeting now. The whole surgery was
    a traumatic event & has had huge impact on all aspects of my
    well-being. It makes me feel vulnerable.

    As for 'symptom substitution' I am glad to be reminded of
    that here. I still separate my post-surgery complications from
    other initial lower back symptoms. It is a huge leap for me to
    think otherwise. The post-surgery pains are evidenced by
    direct physical contact, MRI imagery & persistent disability.
    I am still very much stuck in the medical (& personal) diagnosis
    of these symptoms. I wake with it every morning & go straight
    into a symptom lead day & behaviours.

    Feel good to get this discussion out into this forum.

    With thanks.

  5. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Well, the trauma of back surgery itself - apart from any complications - can serve to trigger a post-operative TMS pain response because that's at the nature of trauma (i.e. to replicate later on). Think of PTSD: you're near a IED and when it goes off, even if you're not physically injured by the blast, the explosion itself triggers the fight-flight-freeze response in your brain. Then, later on, you encounter a threatening or emotionally charged situation, and the old unresolved trauma causes you to act out as if you're in a dangerous situation and you go berserk. Like when a vet with PTSD is served a divorce degree by his wife and he hits her in the face and sets the family home on fire. The shock of the divorce degree sends him right back into the same survival mode that he experienced when the bomb went off years before. Invasive surgery by its very nature is apt to traumatize a patient so that when he's under stress later on, the pain will come back. It's embedded in his brain. That's why you want to be very, very certain that surgery is really necessary before you operate and place the patient not only in short-term risk of infection, but long-term risk of post-operative psychogenic pain difficulties. With the success rate for back surgery being uniformly dismal, many surgeons have given it up entirely unless there's something really life-threatening to justify it.
  6. PeterO

    PeterO Peer Supporter


    My realisation of post-traumatic responses to my back surgery have
    really been foregrounded over the last few weeks.

    The back surgery was so invasive, painful that I never recovered.
    It seems to be a constant to any physical & mental progession.
    I am completely overwhelmed by it. Everyday it puts me back
    into a place of hopelessness. Whether it be meditation, household
    chores, sitting to eat, driving a car, anything..there it is, accompanied
    by debilitating, and at times brutal, pain. There is nothing in which
    it doesn't impact.

    Thanks for your support here.

    Much needed.

  7. LauriK

    LauriK Peer Supporter

    Pete I'm sorry you're suffering so but I wanted to let you know how much your posting helped me. I think when medical personnel mention surgery we all get scared. But listening to cases like yours gives me strength to hear the word surgery and let it bounce off me, to let me see it all in a more realistic context. I hope the people here who know a lot about TMS will help you out of your pain.
  8. PeterO

    PeterO Peer Supporter


    A traumatic surgery experience just adds further
    complexion to TMS 'recovery' equation.

    Trauma + Trauma = More trauma.

    I am v.pleased that you have found this journey
    rather than overt medical intervention. I suspect
    a more immediate TMS response will be possible.
    Acceptance means not only accepting one's pain
    as psychosomatic, but also coming to terms with
    your genuine self. This is the unexpected gift of TMS.

    My love & thanks.

    LauriK likes this.

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