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Day 15 Question about relating symptoms to emotional issues

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by kukafei, Dec 13, 2015.

  1. kukafei

    kukafei Newcomer

    Today's question is about pain moving around, and yes, I had some back and neck pain (main issue is elbows) for a few days. Could have been from bad position while typing, since I worked at home for a few days, but also likely TMS, since it's now gone away.

    I've made a lot of progress in my journaling and identified some underlying issues: feeling unloved, feeling rejected/not accepted for who I am, fear of failure. I can see how these issues are directly tied to my recent symptoms, as well as various incidents in my past. However, I'm struggling to see how this fits together with my original development of elbow pain.

    At the time I first developed the problems, I was going through a stressful time. I applied to the organization I currently work with and pursued further training for it. This touched on the issue of not feeling accepted for who I am, as my parents were strongly against it, and I avoided talking about it with them. What I don't understand is how developing elbow pain would help me avoid these emotions. At the time, I thought the cause of the pain was from holding heavy books while reading. I eventually got a book holder so I didn't have to hold books anymore to read, but the pain continued and then led to the cycle of fear, avoiding activities, worsening pain, etc.

    Can anyone help me understand the link between this pain and the emotional issues? I think if I could make a stronger connection between them, it would help me be 100% committed to seeing it as TMS.
  2. Zoeinoz

    Zoeinoz New Member

    Have you read any of Dr Sarno's books? He explains this really well. This is my understanding. The pain is created by your subconscious to distract you and stop you from experiencing strong emotions. It's a fight or flight response basically, except it's your dangerous emotions that your mind sees as a threat. If you're focused on the pain you won't think about your emotional/psychological trauma. And, because the emotions are present in your subconscious they probably run deep and stem from issues in your past like you mentioned.
    If you're talking about the specific site of pain, I think it manifests somewhere that seems plausible at the time...like your elbow if you're lifting heavy books. My was in my upper back and neck because I had a previous injury there. I was convinced it was TMS because I had several hours pain free after reading "Heal Your Back" and relating to it and the pain started moving around and changing intensity. I think you need to commit to see the results but that's hard without some proof.
  3. Zumbafan

    Zumbafan Well known member

    I think the clue lies in "my parents were strongly against it and I avoided talking about it with them". Dr Sarno says " consciously we rationalise, unconsciously we are enraged". The pain syndrome, and in your case, elbow, diverts your attention away from the repressed undesirable emotions like anger. We have a sense of responsibility to our parents, and this can internalise anger. It is also hurtful to realise that someone doesn't care if your needs go unmet. So how do we cope? Pain. If you recognise the anger is there, and allow it, because that is your truth, that is showing compassion to yourself. You can choose to let it go. In time, you will become more confident in expressing yourself. If your parents react, it is not your problem, you only can speak what is in your mind.
    I hope that makes sense...you are blessed to have parents that take an interest in you too.
  4. kukafei

    kukafei Newcomer

    Thanks for the replies. I haven't read Sarno, but I read Schechter's book. Yes, I'm wondering about why the specific symptoms of elbow pain. The first bout of elbow problems started in 2003 and lasted on and off for 5 years until I had physical therapy and stopped doing certain activities. It was gone for 5 years, then returned 2 years ago. The second round I can see specific reasons for it being elbow pain - it started hurting when I was painting, which brought up issues of guilt and fear of failure. Thus, the pain seemed specifically targeted to the situation and definitely TMS.

    The question for me is whether the original incident in 2003 was purely physical and thus merely a convenient trigger for the later episode (since I was familiar with pain in my elbows), or whether it was TMS from the beginning. If the first event was physical, that means that I am physically susceptible to tennis elbow and need to be careful in certain activities, but if it was TMS, then my elbows are completely normal. I guess I wonder why TMS that time. I had a similar but worse situation with my parents several years before that and didn't have any physical symptoms that I can remember, so I'm not sure why I would only develop TMS the second time.
  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Kukafei. I doubt that your elbow pain is structural because it has lasted so long, and even more important, it was gone for 5 years. It seems to me that it is TMS, from emotions. You say it goes back to when you were painting and you felt guilty and feared failing. I'm a writer of books and I never worried that I would not become a great writer. I did my best, and have had a number of books published that readers tell me they enjoy or learn from. I never became rich or famous, but feel good that I spent my work life as a writer. It was the only gift God gave me and I am still using it as best I can, and I am 85. So enjoy your art and your life and the elbow pain will go away.

    I work for a book publisher who is a perfectionist. He just began having elbow pain and went to his doctor who diagnosed him having bursitis and gave him some medication. I believe he has TMS because he puts so much pressure on himself, taking on tasks writing books that a whole office full of writers couldn't do. I once tried to tell him about TMS but he is very stubborn and a control freak, he doesn't believe in TMS.

    Your elbows are completely normal. Keep telling yourself that, as a mantra: "My elbows are completely normal."

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