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Question Regarding Physical Symptoms

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Huckleberry, Sep 11, 2014.

  1. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    I frequently hear that many people have a breakthrough in their TMS acceptance once their symptom moves or shifts to a new area which of course then throws huge doubt on the structural explanation for their pain. I'm wondering if TMS also has a habit of throwing out new symptoms whilst the old one still remains.

    I've been dealing with a chronic low back and leg pain for about 4 years and whilst the intensity wax and wanes and flares it is pretty much with me all the while...I have noticed that the 'backburner' intensity and frequency has increased over the last 6 months or so. I am now also experiencing some more all over type muscle pain. For the last couple of months I have had an incredibly stiff and aching neck...I woke one morning with what appeared to be a typical crick feeling which did subside over a week or so but it has never totally left this is couple with aching across the shoulders into the sides of my neck and also a very tight feeling across the back of my head which seems to frequently cause me tension type headaches. I am also finding that weirdly my quad (front thigh) muscles seem to be aching and feeling incredibly stiff for no real reason. This feeling in my quads can strike one side or the other or both together and can come on after exercise or just seemingly randomly and out of the blue. The feeling is almost like your legs would feel like you have run a marathon and it just doesn't correlate to any activity (if any) that I may have done....its incredibly annoying.

    I have seen my GP who examined my neck etc and indicated no cause for concern but she is aware of my history with hypochondria and somatisation so I do always come away with the feeling I amy be being fobbed off...she did give me a prescription for anxiety meds but I'm loath to go down that route.

    I am well aware that I am pretty full on stressed in myself at the moment for a variety of reasons (my LBP being one) so in my mind I'm thinking that the neck, shoulder and head aching could well be a physical manifestation of this stress but I'm more confused by the quad tightness and aching...this first struck about 18 months ago but seems to be becoming more frequent without and rhyme or reason to it. Could this be a new symptom or am I making the mistake of looking at the symptoms on an individual basis rather than the overall picture.

    I appreciate people reading and any thoughts or opinions are gratefully received.

  2. Ryan

    Ryan Well known member

    I don't thinks it's uncommon to have new symptoms arise while the original one stayed. Mine started with neck pain and as time went by I started having panic attacks, lower back pain all at the same time.

    It will get better with time but if you keep preoccuping yourself with other symptoms and fearing them, they will persists. Try to focus on the emotional aspects and how you react to life. Be in the present moment and try to comfort yourself when other symptoms arise, to know that everything will be ok.

    I used to be like you and would fear every symptom that would come my way. My bodies normal reaction was to go in a fight or flight mode, which sounds like your reaction as well. I don't know what techniques you are using right now but for me meditations, living in the present moment, and reading "Hope and Help for your Nerves" may help you.

    You have to start retraining different neuro pathways in your brain to change your relationship with fear. To try and empower yourself over the fear and regain your confidence. You can overcome this with perseverance and faith. Its a lot easier said then done but keep at it, the change will not happen overnight so don't get discouraged. I still have some set backs myself but my progress keeps getting better and better. Wishing you the best of luck, leave you with one of my favorite quotes "we are what we believe."

  3. balto

    balto Beloved Grand Eagle

    Huck, if you can do what Ryan said above, you will get better. Something happened in your pass or happening right now that produce some negative emotion in your mind. That negative emotion trigger the flight or fight respond, and when you can get rid of those negative emotions, when you keep dwelling on those emotions, tms/anxiety symptoms will come to you.
    If you can get rid of those emotion, normally your symptoms will disappear soon after, but sometime, it doesn't go away and become chronic tms/anxiety symptoms. The ONLY reason it become chronic is because you fear your symptoms. your fear the pain, you fear that the symptoms is a sign of something worst will happen, fear, fear, and more fear.... and you got stuck in a fear loop.
    Fear -> fight or flight respond -> tms/anxiety -> fear...... looping and looping forever until you can get rid of your FEAR.

    "you are what you think all day long".

    Live your life as if you are well and healthy, accept what happen to you. Focus on the good in life, practice forgiveness.
    Keep saying to your symptoms: who care, I don't give a sh_t, whatever be will be....

    It's been 4 years you're been in pain, you're still alive aren't you? well, don't give it another minute, live fearless, live for others, live like it is your last day on earth, every day... tms/anxiety will die out.
    Ryan and angelic333 like this.
  4. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Huck.

    My book publisher boss came me enough stress and anxiety today to float a battleship.
    It got to me at first, then I remembered Claire Weekes' philosophy about anxiety...
    FLOAT THROUGH IT. Just let it roll off us like water off a duck's back.
    I told myself it's not that important or serious. He makes everything a disaster.
    I just told myself what he wants of me is a pile of DOO DOO and not to let it bother me.
    Then I began to LAUGH the stress away.

    I'm taking Balto's advice and not giving a sh-it.
    angelic333 likes this.
  5. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    Thanks very much for the replies guys.

    I agree Ryan as I am well aware that one of my main issues is the fear of the symptoms but I do find that symptom>fear>symptom loop incredibly difficult to break. Like I say I think I'm frustrated as this is not a new thing for me...I have been aware of the concept of TMS and somatisation for about 7 years and have had the back pain for about 4 years, the only thing in my favour so to speak is that if I'm truly honest with myself I would have to say that nothing has really changed in the way I live my life and process my feelings and symptoms so what right do I really have to feel better.

    The neck and shoulder aches I am getting at the moment are worrying as they are giving me brain fog and tension headaches literally every day and my hypochondria is going straight to brain tumours and the like. I'm sure this is daft as I can feel aching and tightness across my shoulders and going into my neck but as try as I might to think about it rationally the fear is till there. I'm sure I have some conditioning going on as well...its almost like I am expecting myself to wake up with brain fog and a headache and sure enough I do, on those occasions I don't I seem to be thinking that its inevitable that I'm going to get a headache later and sure enough I will.

    I'm sure my nervous system is pretty shot at the moment as my startle reflex is on a hairline and I sometimes get those little zappy jolt things happening which I'm sure I had when my anxiety was high a few years back. Of course, I have that age old paradox going on of wondering if the anxiety/TMS is causing the symptoms or if I'm anxious because of the symptoms.

    I think I really need to commit to some meditation and journaling and just get back into my fitness regime and start to eat better and get more sleep. I have been trying to loosen up my neck and shoulder muscles with magnesium baths etc etc and also relaxation etc but to no avail...I'm just waking up in the mornings feeling like I'm 90 years old. I'm currently unemployed but financially OK but I do have some concerns for my future and this is obviously playing on my mind...also whilst not working I do have a lot of time to just sit and ruminate which id not necessarily a good thing.

    Thanks again for the input.
    angelic333 likes this.
  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi. Huckleberry. Having a lot of free time gives you a lot of opportunity to think about your pain.
    It's good to do some journaling and meditation, but don't over-do thinking about the pain.
    I suggest you find ways to enjoy yourself and forget the pain.
    I find distractions are helpful in forgetting pain.
    One of my favorites is watching free Youtube videos. They have movies and tv shows,
    but also documentaries, nature and animal films, and lots of music, from popular songs to
    classical concerts. This can help take your mind off spending too much time on the pain.
  7. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    Thanks again Walt.

    I do find that distraction doesn't really work to well for if I'm honest. I try and immerse myself in other things but get dragged back into the fear cycle so damn quick. I think because I have hypochondria/health anxiety bad as well this really muddies the water in that the symptom ''fear' for me is particuarly intense as I immediatley worry about the worse possible scenario.

    Rather annoyingly whilst I have had the back pain for about 4 years it has never really brought back my health anxiety...the fear has been located in the worry as to how long the pain will go on for and if it is going to get worse and stop me doing things etc etc. It is only really over the last 2 months or so and with the ache happening in my shoulders and neck and giving me headaches that the health anxiety has reignited and I can see me going down the same route as to when things where really bad. I'm currently so fixated on my neck and shoulder and brain fog that I'm losing sight of whats what...rather embarrisingly I'm also concerned because my diet has been quite poor and I'm not putting on weight, if anything I'm losing it and this is worrying me, stupidly I'm literally going to the store and weighing myself daily and getting myself all hung up on the figures, I'm sure the people in the store must think I'm bonkers.

    I have said before on here that when I look at the overall picture I really am a poster child for TMS (doesn't everyone say this though) but this doesn't actually mean that a persons symptoms are caused by TMS. It is incredibly frustrating as those times my body feels ok I feel normal and pretty good but if I get a back pain flare or other symptoms I just seem to go back to the default fear position which leads me to forums, google and self doubt.

    It is funny how people can have such different and opposed thoughts and opinions on health. My wife is totally different to me and just doesn't have a concept as to how I can worry so much. I know its so illogical but that doesn't seem to be enough to stop. One thing is for sure is that I'm sure that logic and my smarts are not helping me out and other action is required.
  8. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Huckleberry! As a former "hypochondriac" and someone who has suffered through most everything, most recently in the past two years incredible neck/shoulder/head pain, I want to say "hang in there, be open to change, and you will get there." These days when I find myself spinning off and heading down my old ways of worry, anxiety, projecting worst case scenarios into the future, I stop and ask myself to feel, allow whatever is happening in the moment to be whatever it is, and let the rest go. It seems to be working because I never imagined that I could possibly be the sort of person that was capable of not being afraid. And yet hear I am, feeling relatively normal and not afraid most of the time. That doesn't mean I don't experience pain, just not as much and not as often. Today after going out shopping a right-sided headache suddenly appeared and my eye sight did not feel so clear. I would live with these kinds of headaches in the past for days on end, sometime longer, and the beginning of one would typically throw me into a big fear cycle, unable to focus on anything but speculating on the cause, wondering how long it would last and general state of worry. Instead I did my best to sense into it, think about how I might be feeling today about life in general(without a lot of intensity or pressure for a specific answer) and asked myself to accept that whatever was going on was okay. Now it is an hour later and my headache is about 30% of what it was and I feel relaxed and sleepy. Interesting, I picked up the book "The Sedona Method" and turned to a random page(I do this often for fun with all kinds of books). This is what I found:

    "It is not wise to ask "why?" Wanting to understand or figure out why, or from where, problems arise can also be a major obstacle to letting them go. Interestingly, if there is something that is important for you to understand, letting go of wanting to understand often brings the understanding that you have been seeking with a lot less effort."

    That made me laugh because this really sums up so much of my TMS healing journey. Fear and worry do not co-exist well with acceptance. The more I have learned to trust the possibility that I am basically okay and accept how I am feeling and whatever is going on, the less room there has been for fear, worry and anxiety. We don't get proof. Life is potentially full of bad things that can and do happen. Most of the time they don't though, so what do we choose to focus on? I lived through so many fearful things, the majority of which never happened. Which is worse, the fear of these things or actually experiencing them? I don't know because the truly bad things, the sudden death of my father, my own cancer... I was able to survive and eventually move on from. But the fear has lived with me always. There are endless things to fear. I am so grateful that healing from this terrible pain is somehow teaching me not to be afraid. If you had asked me before what one of my strongest core beliefs is, I would have said "life is scary." I am not exactly sure what I have replaced that with yet, but it isn't so scary anymore. Gosh, if you knew me, you would know without a doubt, if I can do this, so can you. And also, my shoulder/neck was in spasm and in constant pain for well over a year. It was unbelievable the amount of tension that no medication or massage or therapy could relax. But once I started getting a handle on the anxiety and fear, that is when things began to change. Now the tension in my shoulder/neck is gone!
  9. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    @Anne Walker, I just love reading your posts. So much wisdom and compassion! I am so happy for all the progress you have made and for your willingness to share what you've learned with all of us.
    Anne Walker likes this.
  10. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Handling anxiety and fear are two so very important elements in healing and being healthy and happy.
    I'm writing a long summary of Claire Weekes' book, Hope and Help for Your Nerves, and will be
    finished soon, then will post it. She has some great suggestions on overcoming both anxiety and fear.
  11. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    Thanks again

    I have had a pretty crappy couple of days with the symptoms and have tried to stay focused on the emotional/mental aspects rather than the physical but still find it very difficult to stifle or even rationalise the fear response....it almost feels like is automated now rather than a concious process.

    Walt, I picked up Hope and Help today and will read it now. I did previously read it a few years ago but form my recollection it didn't resonate so much for me as she mainly seemed to talk about panic attacks and the like rather than the specific symptoms I suffer from...I know its probably all interchangeable and relevant but i'm one of those people who constantly try and find people who have the exact same symptoms as me in the hope it will help me accept a non structural diagnosis.

    I had to return to the GP today on an unrelated matter with my little boy. I was so torn about mentioning my neck and shoulder pain again but rather stupidly I did, this was obviously just reassurance seeking and I was well aware she would just say the same thing back to me. I explained all my symptoms and that I was concerned about my weight etc but she just said it was classic anxiety...no examination or nothing. I felt totally daft and disappointed as I knew exactly what would happen but still couldn't resist asking her.

    Anyway thanks for all the replies and advice. I'm actually having a massage tomorrow which may give some short term relief but I'm well aware that if my muscles are acting this way due to an unconscious process then this won't solve the problem. I think I'm getting in a tizz as the stiffness and brain fog just seem to be getting worse but then again I am obviously so fixated on them. It is that classic vicous circle.
  12. Queenie

    Queenie New Member

    Hi Huckleberry,

    Your symptoms and mine should get together. They're a perfect match. My official "diagnosis" is chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia, which Steve Ozanich describes as "TMS on steroids." My nervous system is hyped up and on red alert at all times. I can't sleep, so I'm exhausted, anxious, depressed, and prone to mood swings which are savage and scary. (Plus the pain can be really intense.) I've been doing TMS stuff for about a year, during which time my symptoms have actually got worse. I'm pretty sure that the key to healing for me is relaxation and self-love (I'm really crap at both) and calming my poor nervous system down. Being on flight-or-fight makes the brain see everything as a potential threat (for survival purposes) so thinking is likely to be skewed towards the negative and fearful. That's a big part of the problem for me. It sounds as if we both need a lot of patience with our overwhelming symptoms and over-reactivity to stress. I'm sure we can both get better in time. It might be worth improving your diet a bit just to see if it makes any difference, without going overboard and ending up even more stressed!
  13. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    Thanks for the reply Queenie. Yep, I know what you mean about your nervous system feeling hyped and always alert, this feels much the same for me as well...I'm much the same with those mood swings as well.

    As I mentioned in the OP I'm currently struggling with a stiff neck which also seems to effecting my shoulder...whats dealing worrying for me at the moment though is that I currently seem to have a headache or brain fog symptoms, I'm trying to reassure my self that these headaches are a result of the shoulder and neck tightness but of course being a typical health anxiety sufferer I feel that they are the symptoms of far worse. I'm currently just trying to just self reassure, be mindful and just chill the hell out. Oh the joy.
  14. Queenie

    Queenie New Member

    Hi Huckleberry, I think the sheer amount of stress and anxiety you're under is enough to produce those headaches even without the neck and shoulder tightness, which are probably a big factor too. I get the sort of headaches where I half expect blood to start spurting out of my ears to relieve the pressure. (It hasn't happened yet!) They're a daily event, and the triggers are pretty much anything, so I'm putting them down to TMS/stress. I also seem to react to everything I eat or drink at the moment, probably because my stomach, like the rest of me, is tied up in a tight knot all the time. TMS is powerful stuff. Keep reassuring yourself that you're okay, as that endless worry-doubt "What's really wrong? Why aren't I getting better?" loop sucks all the joy and hope out of life and makes it hard to stay positive.

    My symptoms really snowballed when I had a big chunk of external stress a few years ago, and the way new pains just appeared from nowhere gives me faith in the TMS approach of a single diagnosis. It makes more sense to me than all the separate body parts (as if they could ever be separate!) falling apart coincidentally at the same time, which is what the doctors would probably say. My biggest stress now is simply dealing with the symptoms themselves as they are so full-on without a break, and distraction often doesn't work. I do find EFT and EMDR helpful. (Brad Yates has a lot of easy tap-along EFT videos on Youtube.) They allow one to focus on the symptoms in a healing rather than a fearful way, which is especially helpful when one's in that "What do you mean try to relax?!! I have to fix this now!!!!" mode.

    I'm trying to be Zen-like and think of the symptoms as clouds just passing through. (Okay, very big black solid clouds with teeth...) The circulation in my hands and feet is abysmal, but when I meditate they warm up again, so I know how much tension can affect blood flow. And changes in blood flow can cause all sorts of pain... If you can take the "Worst case scenarios" off the mental menu, you'll probably feel a lot better.
    Ellen likes this.
  15. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    Although many of the posts here I am able to identify with, this one in particular really stood out. I've had more than one symptom simultaneously which really created a great deal of anxiety, to the point of panic, fear of movement.. Blah, blah, blah.. the whole nine yards, very disheartening and frustrating when all I or anyone else on here wants to do is BE their former selves, active, happy, pain free and mostly Unafraid!! :(

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