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Recieved dreaded mixed TMS/Structural Diagnosis yesterday...

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Orion2012, May 21, 2015.

  1. Orion2012

    Orion2012 Well known member

    So, I went to see a top TMS doctor yesterday in hopes that this would help me commit to and embrace a purely TMS approach. Now I am more confused.

    Visit highlights:
    -He confirmed that I very likely do have TMS (type T personality, TMS tender points, etc.)
    -Unfortunately, he did not think my MRI was 'clean' enough to rule out a structural component of my pain
    [6mm disc protrusion at L5/S1 with contact to the S1 nerve root (not compression or impingement) on the same side as my sciatica]
    -found weak ankle reflex on my sciatic side
    -did say full resolution with TMS methods is very possible
    -but actually recommended considering an epidural for pain relief.

    Probably suggested this because I currently have some major life stressors that will make psychological progress very challenging: I am getting ready to relocate to another state and will be moving out of both my home and office over the next two weeks. Fortunately, working in higher education, I will have a few months before the new job begins. I guess the idea is that I need to to get out of pain in order to be able to do the self-work that will bring me real resolution?

    So far, I have rejected epidurals and managed with muscle relaxers, NSIADs, and assorted PT/yoga/pool/massage. I find these less and less effective since discovering TMS a month ago, and I know they should be phased out. Three days ago, my pain management doctor also recommended epidural, since he sees me getting worse, even though he is very conservative oriented. But he was very understanding when I told him I don't think I need it because my flare-ups are stress-related. He even shared that in his 20's he suffered from PPD for months and months, spent thousands on diagnostics which found nothing, then found relief when an internal conflict was resolved.

    TMS makes total sense to me since reading Healing Back Pain last month, but my sciatica keeps getting worse. The book seemed to help for a few days, but then the pain returned. I am journaling and working through the SEP, but it isn't helping much yet.

    I am desperate for some relief and do not know how to proceed.

    Do I do the epidural to survive the move? Or tough it out? I know that 100% belief in TMS is recommended by Dr. Sarno and so many of the gurus here.

    I know that mixed diagnosis is controversial. I don't blame the doctor for being honest, but I can help but feel more lost.
    I know that I must choose my own path, but would love to hear some opinions or encouragement either way.

    [If you want more background, my first thread is here: http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/my-sep-journal.8187/]
    Lizzy likes this.
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Orion,

    I understand that you are under a lot of stress, including this decision.

    You have this, which is very positive. I think you can hold this as the truth, especially since you are getting this from a Dr. who is impeccably honest, expressing a "dual diagnosis." Remember too that he doesn't know, absolutely the truth about this. No one does. Dr. Sarno's work seems to penetrate into the worst cases, providing relief.
    Then you have the epidural: Remember that Dr Sarno prescribed pain meds to get people through acute phases. You may be taking a perfectionist, purist stance in this when this is completely not needed. You take the medical procedure, appreciate the relief, and stay on the Sarno train. Everything can co-exist.

    This doesn't seem like a terrible dilemma from where I stand observing this. I think with all the stress and anxiety around pain there is a real hypervigilence that we may be taking the wrong steps. Here you could take the epi, or not. And life will unfold.

    Andy B.
    Barb M. and Lizzy like this.
  3. Orion2012

    Orion2012 Well known member

    Thank you, Andy. Your post helped me feel much less anxious about deciding which way to go.
  4. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    Years ago I had ptsd and major depression. I went on meds to help me get off the couch and into counselling. I have not needed them for 15 years. If the epidural can help you throught the next couple months, so you can "get off the couch" and do the tms work, that might be just what you need. Maybe you have am unclean mri and/
    or tms. I think Tennis Tom has improved his pain by working on emotions and reducing fear of his structural hip pain. Please notice, I think that is the case. By improving when you read the book it sounds like you do have some control, maybe even enough to cure yourself!

  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Orion. It looks to me that your current stresses from moving, etc., are causing your pain.
    If you can, and have not yet done it, take the Structured Educational Program, free at the subforum
    on this web site. It will help you to discover the emotional reasons for your pain.
    The SEP has healed thousands, including me. I found journaling to be a big help.
  6. lexylucy

    lexylucy Well known member

    Hi there. All it means is that it's up to you to do the techniques and immerse yourself in knowledge and see if you notice a difference.

    But for some people reading books is not enough. I did not start to heal until I went to see a psychotherapist - mine is an internal family systems therapist. There are also plenty of TMS therapists or coaches you can find on the forum. When I had some support in that way then I was actually able to uncover and listen to a voice inside that was causing physical harm. There is actually a part of me that prefers physical pain to the idea of being emotionally present.
    David88 likes this.
  7. Orion2012

    Orion2012 Well known member

    Thank you, everyone. Your replies helped me get some perspective. I decided against the epidural. Although this procedure seems to be relatively safe and effective, it seems contrary to 'thinking psychological'.

    I seem to be surviving the moving process so far. I am 100% out of the office and the house is 80% packed with still two days left before the movers arrive. Pain has been all over the map: sometimes I can only sit or stand stand for a few minutes at a time On the other hand, I have also experienced some nice breaks where the pain reduces substantially (from level 7/8 to 2/3) for up to an hour or two. This seemed to occur after meditation, relaxation, or reflection that brings insight. Sometimes after simply enjoying a moment with my 2-year old son. These breaks in the pain give me hope that my pain is indeed mostly, or perhaps completely, non-structural in nature.

    Walt, I have started the SEP, but am kind of moving slow with the process. Lexylucy, I am open to therapy and think it may be useful if pain persists. But therapy takes time, so I will have to wait before exploring that possibility. I am going to try to sort it out on my own, in the meantime. By on my own, I mean following the SEP, or Dr. Schecter's Mindbody Workbook, or Dr. Schubiner's Unlearn Your Pain (both of which I recently ordered). That is my next big decision...
    lexylucy likes this.
  8. lexylucy

    lexylucy Well known member

    Sorry to hear you are on and off feeling some pain. Brings me back to how I would need to lie down WHEREVER I was in the early days. It sucks feeling so out of control sometimes. But if this is TMS things may move very quickly. You could start having whole days free of pain, then weeks...I had about two weeks free of pain up until a few days ago. Past couple of days I feel a slight twinge as my russian jewish mother just came back home from Isreal. AAAAAhhhhh moms :)
  9. danny1943

    danny1943 New Member

    Orion, I'm a beginner with TMS. Started having sciatica pain about a month ago. I was wondering if you're still here could you let me know how things worked out for you.
  10. Orion2012

    Orion2012 Well known member

    I don't spend much time on the forum these days, but I am glad to report that I am 95-99!% recovered. I still get the occasional twinge, but no more severe pain, no more chiros, meds, inversion tables, no more fear.
    It took a few months of journalling, meditation, and affirmations, but it worked. Check out my success story for the details:
    Forest and David88 like this.
  11. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Orion. You're doing great in healing, which is proof you are doing everything right in TMS. Yours is a wonderful success story.

    Any remaining pain may be because your subconscious has not yet processed that you discovered all your emotions that cause the pain.
    Or everyday stress needs to be dealt with. But being almost healed is a blessing. TMS can be an on-going process, but now you know what it is and how to deal with it.
  12. danny1943

    danny1943 New Member

    Orion, thanks for all you shared. I just had an MRI which showed all sorts of stuff-5 bulging discs, one herniated disc, spinal stenosis. I have an appointment with a TMS doctor in a few weeks. I'm doing a little better after a few weeks studying TMS principals. In the beginning the pain was the worst in my life and I'm 72. I'm doing the SEP program which is great. I think even if the TMS suggests structure problems I don't think I would accept it. Thanks again.

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