1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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Day 1 Ready to tackle TMS in a structured way.

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by I_will_row_again, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. I_will_row_again

    I_will_row_again Newcomer

    Hey all,

    This is my first post. I'm a 22 year-old male who has suffered from upper (thoracic) back pain for about three years. (As a side note, it would be GREAT to hear thoughts/advice from people who have also suffered from chronic UPPER back/spine pain, as I think that my hesitation that it's possible that my specific injury is a result of TMS is part of what's keeping me from accepting the diagnosis).

    (Like I am sure everyone else does) I have a very long and "complicated" history with pain, etc., but I'll try to give a brief account. During my freshman year of college (three years ago), I injured my back on a rowing machine. I had been a rower since middle school, and after a break of about 8 months where i thought I wanted to quit, I got back to the machines and really ramped it up over the winter of 2012-13 to a level of intensity that I used to perform at. Unfortunately, I think I did too much too fast. During one workout, I felt something in my upper spine, around T4/T4, "give out" and I was in pain. It wasn't TOO bad at the time, and I finished the workout.

    The next day, I was in unreal pain. I was on my back for about a week. After that and since then, I have seen just about every possible doctor and practitioner possible: 4 different ortho MD's (surgeons and non-surgical), 3 different PT's, acupuncture, herbalists, alternative medicine MD, pain clinic. I've had MRI's and x rays, and both have turned up ABSOLUTELY negative. Literally nothing to show besides tiny tiny variations from "normal" (whatever that means)-- no major abnormalities. It's been a nightmarish odyssey. THe pain dictates so much of what I do. And I'm restricted from doing so much of what I love. It's on my mind nearly 24/7... and has affected my personality and self perception. I'm sure you all know the feeling. The pain travels up my neck and has caused me to develop all these weird clicks in my spine and stuff (clicks of the tissue inside) and some "ticks" that I do that involve convulsions of my torso/neck/shoulder in a very compulsive fashion. Can anyone else relate to this? I'm sure these aren't good, but I just can't stop. It's like when you have a cut inside your mouth and you can't stop touching it with your tongue. I'm sure it makes everything tighten up, etc., but... ):

    Anyway, this past summer, during the absolute low of these past four years (a dismal August of the worst pain and debilitation I've ever had, where I was close to contemplating suicidce-- not quite, but close), I picked up "Healing Back Pain." After reading the first 100 pages or so over 3 days, I could not believe it. I felt great. I saw myself on every single page. I'm a first child, super hard working, extremely ambitious, hugely "successful" by societal terms... but I have so much that bothers me, enrages me, I feel negatively about, I regret... Anyway, I was swimming again every day for that week, lifting light weights, going on hikes... I couldn't help but feel incredulous. It was too good to be true!

    After about a week though, I was about to head back to college (and was super anxious about it), and the pain came back. SInce then, I've had a few periods of little/no pain, but they've been brief and very few and far between. Mostly, I've been struggling to keep the pain at bay.

    However, given how much better I was when I first learned about it (and was probably about as close to "acceptance" as I have been thus far), I think it is possible to attain that level of relief and really internalize the Sarno model once and for all. I am starting the program because that is what I want to do.

    ANyway.... not sure what else to say! I would SO love to hear from you all. Lord knows that success stories (which I've been reading a ton) and encouragement help so much.

    Peace and Love,
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, D. First I want to welcome you to this web site and the TMS community. You are young and believe me, you will heal and row again and be healthier and happier than you ever were. Your background and symptoms are definitely TMS, emotions causing your pain. The SEProgram will help you to discover the emotional causes. They may come from your childhood but for sure they come from your perfectionist and "goodist" personality. Those are very common causes of TMS. You will need to modify your personality traits. You don't have to make major changes.

    Your pain came back probably because you were anxious about returning to college. The SEProgram will help you to be stronger and more determined to go to college again. Be positive about that and visualize how much you are going to enjoy it.

    While you go through the SEP, try not to spend more than an hour a day on it, maybe even just half an hour. Spend more of your time relaxing and doing things you like. Be as active as you can.

    I am 85 and two years ago lifted a case of 36 cans of beer at the supermarket. I saw stars and thought my back and spine pain would kill me. I pondered whether to go to the hospital and die there or go home and die. I decided to go home and tough it out. After more than a week and the pains did not let up, I emailed a nurse friend in Hawaii what to do for back pain and she told me to read Dr. Sarno's Healing Back Pain. She said it healed a psychiatrist friend. I read it and, like you, saw myself on every page. I found this web site and did the SEP and healed. What helped me the most was journaling. I discovered I had been repressing years of anger from my childhood when my parents divorced when I was seven and it left me with feelings of insecurity. In journaling, I realized that my parents had their own TMS pains and was able to forgive them. Forgiving ended my pain.

    I am confident you will heal from the SEProgram, but you have to stop thinking your pain is structural. You need to believe 100 percent that it is from your emotions or personality. Here is a post by someone else who recently healed 95 percent after the SEP. He later posted that he was 1o0 percent pain free.

    Consider yourself lucky to have learned about TMS at your age. I wish I had known about it 80 years ago!

    Kevin healed 95 % from SEP

    Welcome to the SEP and to the path of recovery. I am on my final two days of the program and I can say with complete confidence that I am a changed man. I started after 6 months of nasty low-back/butt/leg pain, could hardly walk, stand, etc. was in physical therapy, chiropractor, acupuncture, pain medications, etc.. the usual. My MRI showed 3 disk bulges/herniations touching nerves, so that is what I believe it to be....that is until I read Dr. Sarno and found this site.

    I encourage you to really get involved, follow the instructions, do the journaling, take time to read all the suggested readings, and watch the videos. I'd say I'm 95% cured. There is still some very light lingering "annoyance", but I still have some work to do. I've been walking miles with hardly any pain these last few weeks. But even more, if the pain comes on now, it just doesn't bother me like it used to, I sorta just see it, acknowledge it, and go about my business. It took working the program to get to that point, but 6 weeks compared to 6 months is nothing! I made more progress in the first week than I did from two months of PT!!! It's going to challenge you and your "beliefs" in medicine, but you have nothing to lose. We generally wind up here when all else fails.

    So give it a shot, especially before considering anything invasive like surgery. If you put the work in, you will get better. Have you read Dr. Sarno yet? I assume you have since you're here, but in case you haven't, definitely readHealing Back Pain. Again, it will challenge everything you've believed about your pain, and backs in general. You'll be encouraged to resume life as normal, i.e. stop ALL "therapies" (PT, chiro, etc.), stop taking medications, and most importantly, stop thinking STRUCTURAL problems are the cause of your pain and shift to psychological as the reason.....again, this can be difficult and takes some time to sink in, so be patient and kind to yourself.

    It was a process for me. A few of the bigger moves in my case were: I ripped up and threw out my MRI test results (I found myself obsessively reading over them and comparing them to other results I could find on the web and even here on the TMSwiki site...); I got back to the gym and stopped using a weight belt; and I even cancelled an appointment I had made with aTMS doctorbecause it was more than a month away and it was hindering my recovery (that is, my 100% belief in TMS was lagging because I had this pending appointment, but as soon as I cancelled it, my recovery sped up significantly). Everyone's journey is unique to their situation, but I've found that really committing to the program and brining what I learn from it into my daily life has had profound results. Also, sharing along the way here in these forums has been extremely helpful - there's something about knowing that you're not alone in your TMS recovery that really helps. I encourage you to look through my past posts for some insight into my experience with SEP. Like I said, I'm just now finishing, tomorrow is my final day, and I feel like a changed person. It's amazing. And I feel as though it is something that one carries on with, not just like a one time 6 week thing and that's that...it has helped me to get to know myself and taught me tools to "deal" with my emotions. Learning and accepting TMS is a life changer for sure.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi D,

    I am glad to read Walt's welcome here, and your story.

    I want to re-assure you that upper back pain is a common TMS symptom. When we contemplate that we have TMS, we want to find the exact symptomology that supports us to accept this diagnosis. Pain is pain. Just remember that as you engage the SEP, and explore your life.

    Your own experience of a week or so of relief is better than any other stories that you can read, in my opinion.

    You can read my success story if you like, although the pain was in a different place.

    Good luck in your TMS work. Be consistent, but patient. If you see yourself pushing yourself, you can use this as more material for inquiry into the source of your pain.

    Andy B.
  4. I_will_row_again

    I_will_row_again Newcomer

    Hey Andy and Walt,

    Thank you guys both for your responses. I really appreciate the encouragement.

    So I'm on day 4 of the SEP and have had ups and downs.. sometimes I do the stuff and it makes me feel physically better just by doing it and sometimes not.

    I'm feeling really hesitant about pushing myself to engage with physical activities that I'm scared to do, or don't do anymore because of my pain. I went swimming two days ago, and although I felt really good after I swam I felt bad yesterday. But I wonder how much of that is because I was expecting to feel bad, or because I was really stressed out about classes (not sure why I still feel bad today, then, because the majority of my classes/stressful academic stuff is over with for the week).

    I'm going to write about what the SEP prompts for day 4:

    I have had four orthopedists essentially be stumped by my pain... three of which have just given up and essentially said there's nothing they really know that can help (aside from palliative pain care like painkillers, etc.). It's interesting, though, because all of the MRI's etc that I've had have come back negative... all evidence points to the fact that nothing is "wrong."
  5. I_will_row_again

    I_will_row_again Newcomer

    Okay, i'm on day 7 and I have a "day off," but I figured i'd post here.

    I'm having a really bad day. I went swimming yesterday because I just couldn't bear not doing any physical activity... was feeling crazy. Although I felt a little better/"alright" afterwards, I have been feeling horribly today and have sort of just been spiraling into that bad place of having an incredibly hard time staying positive despite my best efforts.

    I'm just still having SUCH a hard time believing that my symptoms are truly TMS. It seems like there are a million and one reasons why mine are exceptional and, as a result, can't truly be TMS. This is, of course, in contrast to the relief I felt for that week during the summer when I first learned about TMS. That's just really my only direct evidence it might be TMS... but then why did I relapse so hard and so quickly and for so long now even though I learned about it?

    Anyway, trying to stay positive.
  6. KevinB

    KevinB Well known member

    One day at a time my man, there are ups and downs. Have you been following the journal instructions? That is what has helped me to real tap into what's going on underneath everything, in the unconscious. I had a very bad day Friday, and I broke down, cried heavily off and on all day, stayed in my apt, and really just let it out. And it passed. And now a few days later I feel much better. I'm not saying that's what you need to do, we all have different levels of repressed emotions, mine just happened to be gnarly and needed to come out dramatically. I'm still not pain free, so that just means there's more work to do. So just keep at it. Take a nice hot bath if you can, cry if you need to, and then just get some rest/sleep- everything passes.

    Blessings. Kev

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