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Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Sam, Jan 23, 2014.

  1. Sam

    Sam New Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I've just joined this forum so I can relate what's going on with me, get some opinions about it, and hopefully help others who can see bits of themselves in my situation.

    My problems with RSI began about 8 yrs ago (I’m in my 40’s now). I had been doing quite a lot of typing both for school, and for the job I had at the time. Also, I was playing a lot of guitar with various bands on the weekends as well as practicing whenever I had the time. After going on at that pace for a while, I began to notice some clumsiness in my left hand pinky, along with pain and a burning sensation at both the elbow and wrist. I figured I'd been overdoing it, so slowed down as much as practicable. This slowing down didn't really help much and I soon found myself at various doctor's offices practically begging for help. All I got from them - it was 2 hand surgeons, one chiropractor, my family doctor, and a neurologist who gave me a nerve conduction test that found nothing wrong - was a recommendation to rest it. It was at this point that I started panicking.

    The pain, spasms and clumsiness increased as time went on and had taken up residence in my right arm as well. My guitar, one of the biggest sources of pleasure in my life to that point, was unceremoniously abandoned. Life wasn’t as grand as it had been. I was sad.

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I’d had a passing acquaintance with anxiety attacks in my late teens and early 20’s. I finally got on top of the anxiety by learning how to meditate. I came to discover that the body can create any sensation it needs to, and that all anxiety was, was an artificial set of symptoms triggered mainly by various unresolved conflicts and fears I was barely if at all aware of. At its worst, my anxiety had allowed me to wrongly suspect for a time that I might have had MS due to the various symptoms that I was experiencing at the time.

    Moving to the present day, I have come to believe, though not with absolute conviction yet, that TMS is more than likely responsible for the persistence of my symptoms. I was acquainted with Dr. Sarno’s theories from about 2 yrs ago, but didn’t really dig in and investigate them until recently. I have been doing a lot of icing/soaking lately and it simply wasn’t helping me, so I started a renewed effort to find out as much as I could about my problem as possible. It was then that I became reacquainted with the concept of TMS and so I re-purchased “The Mindbody Prescription” and downloaded it to my Kindle.

    I started jumping around the book, and also looking at what others on this site and others had to say about their experiences. Suddenly, I became aware that the pain in my arms wasn’t there. It was truly amazing. And trust me, I’m not the type to be given to magical thinking whatsoever.

    I was able to go over to my keyboard and start typing without worrying about the pain. Until that time, typing more than a paragraph or two would have made both arms flare up, but not this time. I then picked up my guitar and while the pinky was still as uncooperative as ever, I had to admit that there was no real pain to speak of. I thought for sure I was on my way, only now I’m not quite so sure. This is why I’m writing now.

    The pain is starting to come back. It’s been about a week or so since my epiphany, but now I’m starting to feel some doubt. The root of the doubt is that if TMS was the cause for all my symptoms, why is it that my pinky is still not allowing me to play my guitar like I once was able to if all the other pain melted away? It leaves part of me thinking that I’ve just fooled myself into believing I had been healed, but that there is actually something going on with that nerve that all the positivity in the world isn’t going to clear up.

    I have to say that as it stands, I can go either way. I guess I just need a bit of encouragement and perhaps some specific experiences from others, which might help me to renew my waning confidence in my fleeting cure.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for making the efforts you all obviously are to help people like me.


  2. JoelA

    JoelA Peer Supporter

    Hey Sam,

    and welcome. I see your struggle - I'm there too but ALOT better. 9 months ago I avoided using computers completely due to hand pain. Right now I feel NOTHING in my hands (instead it moved to other spots, which is a good sign). There is hope for you. First of all, you mention anxiety in your twenties etc, but nothing about what happened/is happening in your life, personality traits etc - do you see any connections between the onset on anxiety/pain and life events?

    There is a list of mindbody physicians on this wiki, specializing in TMS. Maybe you could visit one of them to get your confirmation - because it certainly sounds like TMS. However, my best recommendation right now would be to get "The great pain deception" by Steve Ozanich - it is by far the best book on chronic pain and have been the light in the darker doubt days, at least for me.

    Read and learn more. Good luck.
    Msunn likes this.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    doctors call hand and wrist pain from working on a computer, playing the piano or guitar or other instrumetns
    "carpal tunnel syndrome," even though they can't find anything causing the pain.

    Dr. Sarno says there is no such thing as carpal tunnel syndrome and that the pain is TMS from repressed emotions.
    You folks know that. It's just that we can condition ourselves to believe wrist and hand pain comes at certain times,
    such as when at the computer or piano or playing the guitar. It's coming from our repressed emotions, not from
    any activity. But doctors can make us think the pain is caused by something structural even though an X-ray shows
    no damage.

    Think TMS and it also would be very helpful to read Steve's book. He tells how he healed from severe chronic back pain
    by practicing the advice of Dr. Sarno in Healing Back Pain.

    And do some journaling or just plain thinking about anxieties or stresses past and present. Present ones may trigger
    memories even back to your childhood that you've been repressing. Once you discover them, your unconscious mind
    stops sending you pain because it figures you no longer need that awful incentive to get to your repressed emotions.
    Msunn likes this.
  4. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Hi Sam

    I'm a professional guitarist, with RSI problems.

    I see some parallels in our situations. I also had problems with anxiety years ago which I was able to let go of, and about a year ago developed problems with my left hand. In my case the ring and pinky would become hard to move and almost lock up.

    As this progressed I went to physical therapy, had ex-rays of my hand, ex-rays of my neck, MRI of my neck, did nerve conduction, and pinched nerve tests, acupuncture, seeing a kinesiologist, massages etc, which led me to taking off work for three months. None of the doctor tests showed anything conclusive, and thats when I read Dr Sarno's books and recognized the perfectionist, goodist traits fit me perfectly.
    After all the therapies my symptoms multiplied. many different aches and pains in my left arm, the same symptoms moving to my right arm, tingling in the hands, tingling in the feet.

    This of course brought back anxiety worry, fear which I would compound by obsessing and fearing those symptoms!

    Accepting the TMS diagnosis 100% has taken time for me but at this point it's the only thing that makes sense.

    I've been back playing for five months. It's getting much easier to play and I've had some extremely good times playing recently, after stopping all physical treatments, only journaling, learning meditation techniques to calm down. I've also been meeting with a TMS therapist.

    My progress in general fits the two steps forward one step back type, which is frustrating at times, but I'm also very grateful for where I am now compared to six months ago.

    What you are experiencing with symptoms almost gone and returning seems to be very typical for those of us who take longer to heal from this. The fact that you got such dramatic relief from just reading through Dr Sarno's book would probably be impossible if the problems were physical. I see what you are saying about the pinky. What has helped me is relaxing into the discomfort rather than fighting it. I've become aware of how much tension I hold in my arms even when I'm supposed to be relaxed, and gradually I'm learning to let that go, and also not to fear the pain.

    There is a video by Dr. Sarno posted on this site which I found very helpful. It is great to hear his explanation of the problems and his treatment.
    The Structured Education program here is also very good.
    I've also gotten great help from the members of this forum, a wonderful group of people.

    Please keep posting and sharing your progress with us.

    Wishing you the best
    Ellen likes this.
  5. Sam

    Sam New Member

    Thanks for the info and good wishes. I'll keep working through this until I've made it go away. Though I've kept a journal on and off for many years, I've renewed my efforts of late with TMS in mind.


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