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Repetitive stress injuries CAN be real!

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by savasana, Feb 4, 2019.

  1. savasana

    savasana Peer Supporter

    Hi there, thanks for reading this post.

    I've been a diehard TMS believer for years. I sing the praises of TMS healing wherever I go, to whoever is willing to listen! However, I've come to realize that I've gotten some very, very bad advice from the TMS philosophy of healing that quite possibly has caused my body damage.

    I've recently been diagnosed with a stress fracture of my lower leg after having what I now know are called shin splints. I used to exercise too hard too fast, thinking that I couldn't hurt my body through the repetitive stress of running long distances or doing very intense stairmaster exercises. After all, according to TMS, there's no such thing as repetitive stress injuries! (such as carpal tunnel or tendonitis)

    As it turns out, I developed shin splints from my exercises. Shin splints cause the muscle in the lower leg to not be able to take the impact of running or other repetitive motions and it puts too much stress on the bone itself, which over time, breaks. It's like bending a paper clip too many times. It weakens and then breaks. This fracture is a very real injury. The swollen spot on my shin is very real. And the pain I get when I touch it is not psychosomatic.

    I'm upset because I feel I've been mislead by this philosophy and I also want to warn others that shin splints shouldn't be taken lightly and can lead to a BROKEN BONE.

    I feel lost.

  2. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm really sorry you're in pain, and I hope you heal and feel better soon.

    I am concerned that you’re misunderstanding the true mind-body connection/TMS philosophy, as real injuries that have not healed are not considered TMS. This is going to be long, but please read it through:

    I don't want you or anyone else to lose faith in the mind-body connection/TMS and feel like you can't apply it to other things. This is why people are urged to get checked out medically and make sure nothing is wrong. Real injuries absolutely need to be treated as such; people like Steve Ozanich are the first to say this. It’s important to work with a doctor and get a complete understanding of what’s happening in the body before treating anything as mind-body symptoms/TMS. This is one of the benefits of working with a doctor who is knowledgeable in how the mind and the body are connected: they can closely work with you and guide you down the appropriate treatment plan (structural, mind-body/TMS, or a mix of both; my neurologists weren’t TMS doctors, but most of them VERY deeply understood stress-related symptoms and were able to do this for me). You can trust them to differentiate between the structural and the non-structural, eliminating the need for you to try to do it on your own - which we do not recommended for this exact reason.

    I do see that the member who responded to your “stress fracture in shin? Is this TMS?” post said they had experienced a similar fracture as you, and they recommended that you follow your doctor’s orders to heal because it is a structural issue: http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/stress-fracture-in-shin-is-this-tms.20203/#post-106437 (stress fracture in shin? Is this TMS?)

    A stress fracture does need to be treated structurally, as it’s an actual crack in the bone - this is not considered TMS. Similar topics have been brought up before, and the TMS doctors and counselors have stated that recent fractures which have not healed are not to be treated as TMS. One example: http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/is-my-back-fracture-tms.5634/ (Alan G. - Is my back fracture TMS?)

    It’s important for everyone to be aware of this, as our philosophy is not to simply write everything off as mind-body/TMS. We do not ever recommend that to anybody. The shin splits people have healed from using a TMS approach were not real injuries like your stress fracture, and that’s where the confusion in your post seems to be stemming from. There is a difference between your stress fracture and TMS shin splints. As another example, if a cancer patient has severe tendon and muscle pain after chemotherapy, it’s best they get checked out and follow doctor’s orders based on any test results, because not all tendon and muscle pain is fibromyalgia (a true mind-body TMS issue). It would be very unsafe for that chemo patient to assume that tendon and muscle pain is always fibromyalgia and solvable with mind-body/TMS work.

    Personally, I’m going through a non-TMS medical issue right now (100% unrelated to any symptoms I’ve posted about healing from on these forums). I’ve shared my success story on healing from mind-body/TMS symptoms and I sing the praises of this type of work all the time, but I know that if conventional medical intervention isn’t included in my treatment for this particular medical issue, it could lead to very bad consequences for me. I do have to have an invasive procedure done; nobody on these forums would ever want me to take a TMS approach with this type of problem. I would quite literally be risking my life. This is a reality that we have to face, even when mind-body/TMS work has healed our other issues in the past.

    I hope this helps with any confusion you may feel. I don’t believe the philosophy is misleading - we all need to make sure we’re being evaluated and diagnosed safely. The mind-body connection runs incredibly deep and is necessary to heal from various symptoms, and it's worth believing in when the situation is appropriate. Again, it’s best to work closely with a knowledgeable doctor you can trust who understands both sides of the coin (mind-body/TMS, structural, or a combination of both), because conventional medicine has also dropped the ball and harmed patients who had TMS but were subjected to unnecessary treatments like risky back surgeries, long-term antibiotics, opioids, etc.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
    westb and Lainey like this.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi savasana,

    I am very sorry for your experience. Your post is a good reminder of the pitfalls of treating pain with a TMS approach. I get the sense that you feel you were mislead.

    I personally worked with someone who was misdiagnosed by a TMS doctor who missed something physical, and then found it, and quickly changed to a physical treatment. Maybe this story will help you forgive yourself, and others about where you are right now.

    Most chronic pain is TMS. But not all.

    I wish you the best in your recovery.

    Andy B
  4. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Dorado,

    Thank you for such a thorough post. I think your discussion is very important for our community.


    Andy B
  5. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    Andy, I definitely understand what you’re saying, but the difference between your friend’s misdiagnosis and situations like the one above is the fact that unhealed stress fractures are never considered mind-body symptoms/TMS, as they’re a true structural injury. Sarno, Schubiner, Ozanich, etc. would not tell someone with an unhealed stress fracture to treat it as TMS, and some guidance in the member’s post on stress fractures said the same (“follow your doctor’s orders”). I think we just need to be careful in pointing that out because it’s important for anyone else dealing with real injuries to be aware of this - the philosophy itself isn’t misleading, but in instances like this, it is being misunderstood. Treating real injuries like stress fractures as TMS is not part of our philosophy. :)

    The below is reflective of the philosophy:

    What Conditions Represent MBS/TMS?

    Many people want to know, how can I decipher whether my health condition is a mind-body syndrome or a disorder for which I need to seek other medical help?

    You should always see your doctor to rule out infections, fractures, cancer, tumors, and nerve compression before starting a MBS/TMS Program. This blog is for information only and no way intended to be a substitute for medical attention.

    Source of where I got this quote from: https://thebodysays.wordpress.com/tag/tension/ (tension – The Body Says What The Mind Cannot)
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
  6. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Dorado,

    Yes! I absolutely did not mean to conflate the two instances, and I appreciate your steadfast efforts to clarify and discern here, for savana's benefit, and for anyone else reading this post.

    Good link there, to a very good list of TMS and TMS equivalents. And that list is larger today, as more conditions are named. Stress fracture is not on that list.

    I hope my post to both you and savasana suggest to readers that TMS is very real, and that everyone needs to use physician help to eliminate physical causes.

    My mention of my client's experience was to suggest to savasana that "we all make mistakes" and nothing more. Again, I appreciate your insistence to clarify.


    Andy B
    Dorado likes this.
  7. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    Agreed, Andy! Good point. You're right - it can absolutely be tricky, and we've all made mistakes. :)

    It should definitely be noted on my end that the list is not exhaustive; I only quoted that site for the reference of real injuries and problems like fractures needing to be cleared. Thanks for pointing that out!
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
  8. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi savasana,

    I see "shin splints" listed as treatable as TMS, and this is what you thought you had.

    Again, I am sorry for your experience, and in the midst of my and Dorado's discussion, I don't want your caution about this to be lost. I don't know enough about what you had, vs what is treatable as TMS as "shin splints" --how to tell these apart. As Dorado says, we're always best off getting physician assistance when in doubt, but at the same time, mainstream physician diagnoses usually ignore the mind-body as we understand it.

    I understand what happened, I think, and I am sorry about this for you. I hope you get well soon!

    Andy B
  9. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, in case this got lost in my long post, and in case anyone is unfamiliar with the details of savasana’s story: the issue here was savasana assuming that a stress fracture confirmed via x-ray that caused shin pain was TMS. savasana posted a thread asking whether their fracture was TMS shin splints, and another member with a similar injury essentially said no, to follow the doctor’s orders: “I had a fracture in the 2nd metatarsal—they gave the diagnosis but it didn’t show up on the X-ray right away. I decided maybe they were wrong and tried to walk around on it without assistance. That was a mistake. Took 2 months to heal. I listened the 2nd time and I completely healed. That was 1989. No issues since. I would do what they say in this case.”

    The shin splints that people heal from using a mind-body/TMS approach are not real injuries like stress fractures; these people did not have x-rays showing any cracks in the bones like savasana. An unhealed stress fracture is never considered TMS, so the issue of being mislead is truly more of an issue of savasana misunderstanding and assuming. TMS doctors will also tell you to let stress fractures heal and not treat them as TMS, which other members and counselors have discussed on here. It has been said many times that before treating pain as shin splints, to first be cleared of fractures, tears, etc.

    That’s how savasana can tell the difference between structural and non-structural in the future: TMS isn’t a real unhealed injury. A real unhealed injury is structural. savansana appears to have wondered whether to trust their doctor or assume on their own that they had psychosomatic shin pain. It’s very unsafe to make these assumptions with real injuries. And it's best to find a doctor you can trust to help you better differentiate between mind, body, and both so risky self-diagnoses aren't made.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
    emporeon027 likes this.
  10. NicoleB34

    NicoleB34 Well known member

    I've had shin splints, and yes, they're very real. i developed them more than once because i simply have a bad jogging form (i pronate too much without noticing). I kind of figured out that running just wasnt for me, because i started sooooo slow and easy, and still got them. i found another sport that made so much more sense for me.

    however, i do have chronic tendonitis and it easily gets flared and if i wrench my wrist too hard. I accept that this is a problem area of mine, but how i "treat" it is different now. i used to freak out and put a splint on my wrist whenever it started acting up. I had a really bad case and wore the splint for 2 weeks, thinking i was helping. Instead, i think i was reinforcing the idea my wrist was injured and it still hurt like hell when i took the splint off. Now when it flares, i take it easy for the meantime (and i'll even wear the splint to bed, since i tend to bend my wrists in funky positions in my sleep) but i make sure i take it off in the morning and go about my day, even if it's a bit sore. I dont "baby" it the way i used to, and as a result, i get less flareups. I still have pelvic pain every day, but most of the time, i try not to let it discourage activity the way i used to. I notice it, and basically say "well that sucks, but i'm still gonna ride my bike later anyway". I'ts sort of a mental game where you pretend that you are the the same person as you were before all the pain started. You can only do this successfully if you truly believe you arent "damaging" yourself.

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