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Q&A Relapse after 6 yrs. Pain moving around my body, not going.

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Megan, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. Megan

    Megan New Member

    I had lower back pain 6 yrs a go for 2 yrs. Upon reading Sarno's books and slowly getting active, all pain went. Incredible, I still live in awe! Then Sept last yr I developed minor neck/shoulder pain escalating to debilitating scary pain by Feb despite chiro, acupuncture, fancy pillow and new mattress. The penny dropped, I re-read 'healing back pain' and the pain left in 4 days. Yes, just 4 days! I was in awe, again! But a few hours after realising I was 100% pain free, my right leg completely gave way while I was walking through my living room. It was very painful and I could not weight bear. It gradually eased then I had another attack in the library walking to get a book, it was incredibly hard hitting and scary. Went to the doc, he sent me for an xray, xray is all clear for my hip and pelvic area, so I know it is a muscle/nerve/tissue situation. But I can't shift the pain. I've not had another acute attack, but I have minor flare ups and I can only walk slowly and carefully. I am feeling angry that it is NOT leaving, yet perhaps I am not 100% convinced it's TMS? Is the groin area a common TMS site? I understand it's influenced by the L1 spinal nerve. It throbs gently a lot of the time and feels hollow and unable to weight bear most of the time. Ok, thanks for reading! I'd love to hear of anyone who has had a relapse after 6 painfree years.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi there Megan, and welcome!

    I think you're probably part-way there: you've been checked out medically, you accept the TMS diagnosis, and you've already had success just by reading Dr. Sarno's books. The reality for many TMS sufferers is that they become frustrated when they don't experience the same success just by reading one of the books and following the suggestions in it. It doesn't mean that a TMS diagnosis won't work for them - it's just that it's going to take some more work.

    Dr. Sarno himself tells us that if you accept the diagnosis but don't experience relief, that some more emotional work may need to be done.

    The thing is, we're talking about the human brain, and we're talking about the brain's reaction to our human lives, and there is not necessarily going to be any rhyme or reason to anyone's TMS experiences or symptoms. What worked six years ago may not be enough today, simply because your life is different six years later. New pain may mean that new stresses today are bringing up old emotions that weren't previously an issue.

    My experience of discovering TMS is that after reading The Divided Mind, I had about 80% relief of some chronic, but not terribly bad pain symptoms, but no relief at all from increasingly-severe dizziness that had been going on for quite a number of years. I really wanted to be one of those people who was cured after reading the book, and was discouraged that I might need to do the emotional and psychological work that Dr. Sarno mentions, as emotional work is not one of my favorite things to do! But before going out to find a therapist, I discovered the TMS Wiki and the Structured Educational Program - and as a result of that work, I now experience 90-100% relief, most of the time, from the dizziness, as well as the other sympoms, which included shaky legs, digestive complaints, weak back, low back pain, and a constantly stiff neck.

    100% all of the time? No, not yet, and I'll be the first to admit that I probably have more work to do - but I'm pretty happy with 90%+ and I've been spending my time getting back to doing the things I enjoy, and taking on more challenges, so I've kind of put "the work" on the back burner for now.

    So - I urge you to check out the Structured Ed Program and start digging deeper into the root causes of your TMS symptoms. As we always say: it can't hurt - and it's free!

    Oh, and to answer your question, check out the list of symptoms at the wiki Page "Success Stories By Symptoms..." You might find your current symptoms on that page somewhere.

    Good luck, and keep us posted!

    Forest likes this.
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hiya Megan and Welcome to the wiki

    I am sorry to hear that you are going through a tough time. Relapses happen quite often, but it doesn't mean that it isn't TMS or that this approach won't help. As long as our mind is connected to our body these mindbody symptoms will pop up. The good part is that it sounds like you have the tools to be successful. You mentioned that re-reading "Healing Back Pain" helped you to ward off one symptom already. That sure does sound like TMS to me. It sounds like your symptoms are moving around a lot which for is very common in TMS. There is a great recovery story from a person with a severe relapse at Relapser's curse

    This is a great point. There may be new things going on in your life now, that weren't a factor previously so you may need to adjust your treatment approach a bit from the last time you recovered. A great place to start would be the wiki's program that Jan mentioned and also the page, Relapse Recovery Rules. It was largely written by wiki member, Redsandro, and really gets at the heart of adjusting our approach some to address the new stresses and anxieties that come along with a relapse. This is by no means an exhaustive list and if you or anyone else has any other ideas on how to recover from a relapse I would love to hear them.

    Occasionally I notice a pain symptom or some other TMS symptom, and have always been able to sort of just tell it to go away. I am just not afraid of these symptoms like I used to be and I don't start to be afraid every time by shoulder, arm, knee begins to hurt a bit. I simply say this is just TMS and go about my day. Eventually the pain fades away. I am a little curious if this works for other people, but I have found it to be helpful at dealing with relapses.
  4. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I had a major showdown with my migraines the other week. Since then I have had every pain and symptom you can think of from neck pain, shoulder pain, ankle pain to tinnitus, TMJ, inability to focus on a task...you get the idea. I give a brief wave to my brain to let it know that I know what it's up to. Like Jan I realise there is plenty of work that still needs to be done but I will get there in my own time. And like Forest I arise from my bed in the morning, pain or no pain, and go about my day as if nothing is wrong.
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, Forest - this is huge for me! At age 60, I thought that every symptom was part of the slide into old age and disability, even though intellectually I knew it didn't have to be that way. At my lowest point, I was able to see how easy it would be to become housebound, which was pretty horrifying. Now, I do the exact same thing as you - I feel a little something, it might be familiar, it might be something new, but I assume it's TMS, and tell it to go away, which it does.
  6. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member


    I remember my first (and only) major relapse. I had been 2 years healed from very bad RSI. I ran a marathon and immediately after had some pain in my knee in the days following. I took 1 month off from running and when I tried to run again, it hurt after just 1 mile. So I took an additional 6 to 8 weeks off (don't recall the exact time). Then I tried to run again and to my surprise, I had bad knee pain again. I was suspicious so I emailed a TMS coach about it and he said most likely it was TMS/PPD. Guess what... I went out and ran and ran and ran with no pain. I learned a HUGE lesson: to always remember to consider that a pain might only be a mindbody condition. Since that time, I have not had any (chronic) pains. Like Forest and others are agreeing... when I get a pain, I just tell it to go away, I assume it will, and it does. Sometimes it happens quickly, but other times it takes a few days or weeks. Regardless of how long it takes to go away, the pain never keeps me from training or competing. I'm a triathlete so I've had all kinds of pain at one time or another: back, shoulder, neck, foot, knee, hamstring, groin, back, hip.
    Forest likes this.
  7. Megan

    Megan New Member

    Thanks so much for all these comments. The support and encouragement is way more helpful than I thought! I take power walks each day, 15-20mins and have little/no pain which is amazing. As soon as I get home, however, i have twinges in the same hip/groin area and have to really work hard not to limp. It's nice to see a pattern, but frustrating too. It's 2.5weeks now since my acute attacks, but none since I put my mind to the TMS diagnosis after receiving an all-clear xray. I find the constant mind awareness really tiring - constantly thinking psychologically, not physically. Something's going on in my unconcscious mind because I wake at night with huge, long sneezing attacks and it's not hayfever! I guess this road to recovery will be harder, emotionally, than the 1st, but I'm OK with that and a lot calmer. once again, many many thanks for your help, all of you.
    brianleejackson and Forest like this.
  8. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Megan: I walk the beach and notice I have NO pain. Then when I get home, my back starts hurting quite a bit. I agree - so weird to be able to enjoy the outdoors, but then whatever-it-is rears its ugly head when you get home.

    If it makes you feel any better, I have the same "exhaustion" over this. I am on "therapy hiatus" which actually made for a pretty good day today. I guess I've worked and learned a lot so taking a break from even thinking about it - is working.

    Good luck to you! And keep us posted on your progress!

  9. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    When a relapse happens I take out my whole toolbox which is rather huge now and I go through all the lessons I have learned and apply them as needed like medicine except its knowledge.

    I always check Sarnos 12 daily reminders to make sure I'm keeping up to par on those. Then I listen for the bully or the critic part to see if I'm putting any self imposed pressures on myself. After that I will up my meditations and breathing to calm my ANS system down.

    I will often pull out the journal and write about my experiences from the last week or so. And I often find something that happened that I didn't get to process well so it went to default repression and then I have to go over and feel the emotions attached to that event.

    This is just some things I do if I have a pain or anxiety.

    Thanks for the Thread.

    Love it.
  10. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Megan, most of us who have felt pain free for long periods of time also have relapses where
    an old or even a new symptom occurs. It keeps us reminded that TMS can come and go and
    when it comes back we need to reinforce our thinking and mind-set that it is not structural,
    it is TMS, and look again into our repressed emotions. While doing that, we need to practice
    all the TMS healing techniques we know and remember that they worked for us in the past
    so they will work for us again.

    Herbie's right about suggesting you go back to Dr. Sarno's 12 Daily Reminders.

    Good luck and keep remembering, you will be fine.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.

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