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RSI has put my life on hold, could it be TMS?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Doomsee, Feb 16, 2019.

  1. Doomsee

    Doomsee New Member

    Hi everyone, this is my first post here and I thought I'd introduce myself. I'll try to keep this as short as I can.

    I'm a professional esports player and in September 2018 I developed some severe pain in my right thumb one evening. Before my RSI I played around 4-6 hours a day. I play on a controller and my right thumb is certainly my most active body part when gaming. From that day onwards I've been plagued with constant sharp and dull pains in every area of my thumb, and even into my palm and the base of my fingers. The pain is in the back of my thumb 80% of the time but moves about throughout the weeks. I've had an x-ray and an ultrasound which were both healthy, and I have an MRI coming up soon. The hand therapists I've seen can't figure out what is wrong, but I've tried all of their suggestions: heat packs, cold packs, stretches, braces and I haven't played in over 3 months. There hasn't been much improvement.

    I discovered TMS online and read The Mindbody Prescription shortly after. The book was pretty convincing and revolutionary, I never thought that my pain could be psychogenic. Whilst logically I'm very certain it's TMS I'm sure that unconsciously I don't fully believe it yet.

    I started the TMS Recovery program over a week ago and have read a lot of information on it as well as a lot of different success stories. It's still early days yet so we'll see where I'm at in the future, but I'm definitely one to worry about absolutely everything, so getting over the fear and frustration of TMS is a major factor for me. Whenever the pain comes up I keep telling myself "your thumb is healthy, the pain is in your mind" but I always get worried when it comes, especially if it's worse than usual. Journaling has been useful in discovering all my past and present emotions, including those that led up to my RSI, but since it's only been a week I haven't seen any improvement yet. I've started playing again to get rid of the fear of my pain when using it and the pain definitely increases when I do this.

    I've also had IBS for four years and as a result my diet is very restricted, but only after reading about TMS and how IBS can be that, I've wondered whether or not that's the case for me. One symptom at a time though.

    For those fellow RSI strugglers out there, what did you do to overcome this pain, especially when it comes to overcoming the fear and frustration? They say if you keep doing certain activities with RSI for too long then the pain can become permanent, but after reading plenty of success stories of people who've had RSI for years fully recover, it gives me hope, but that's if what I have is actually TMS.

    Thanks for reading.
  2. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    LOng before this computer I am typing on was invented people typed, weaved, pounded and sewed for hours and hours every day, Yet RSI didn't get invented until..the 80's? I have had several manifestations of TMS. My Back was Prima facia but it has gone to my knees, shoulder, and Hands. I play guitar and I notice my 'Hand numbness' only came when I first sit down to play guitar. When It happens at work it is when I need to do some detailed sanding or other fine handwork.

    The whole point of it is to distract you. That's it. It is trying to draw your attention away from the realm of the emotions to the world of the physical. That's why it chose your Thumb. If you were a weightlifter it would have been your back or shoulder. If you were a professional skateboarder it would be your knee or an ankle.

    "They say if you keep doing certain activities with RSI for too long then the pain can become permanent" THEY are full of shit. THEY make money from us getting their placebo treatments, buying their pills and and getting expensive surgeries.

    One of the greatest moments of my TMS recovery was doing a Donkey Kick on my bike over the curb in front of my Physical therapist....the one who said simply JOGGING made me risk full paralysis. THEY love saying really scary things , and that only furthers the problem. Nuff sed

    OK. I read mindbody prescription after I was fully healed from reading Healing Back Pain, so obviously it didn't have as large of an impression on me since I already believed and agreed with the text. BUT in Healing Back Pain it gives pretty specific instructions of what to do. I didn't miraculously lose my pain when I had the intellectual 'aha' of identifying I had TMS. We all had to go through that frustrating couple of days when we 'got it' but weren't getting relief yet. Really frustrating.

    Simple intellectual agreement and returning to activity is not all there is to recovery. The unconscious mind that developed this strategy isn't going to let go so quick. The key is to Mindfully go through each and every part of your pain 'charade'. When did the pain start? What was going on in your life? Is that still going on? Do I even Like what I am doing? Is there something else I'd rather be doing? What do I feel responsible about that I am not tending? Do I feel guilty about anything?

    Sarno mentions that returning to activity too soon (before all of those Q's have had some time to sink in) might only lead to discouragement. It took me a couple of weeks to get relief and then a couple more before I was 'healed'

    ...and lastly. Conditioning. We are as condition-able as lab rats. If you gamed for months while in pain it will take some serious inner focus and dialogue to 'delete' that bad program. You might want to go play a different game..that you don't care about so you can not worry about the outcome and focus on what is going on inside of you. when did this pain start? What was I doing? Why do I believe in RSI but not the Easter Bunny?

    These are all important questions to ask. TMS likes to take on new faces, but it's always the same 'ol same 'ol. You will get free.
  3. Doomsee

    Doomsee New Member

    Thanks for the great reply!

    You make a good point about the recent rise in RSI, sounds similar to the back pain epidemic and the decline in Stomach ulcers.

    I stopped playing for a few months but I'm starting up again and working hard on exploring my emotions and telling myself it's the mind that's causing the pain. I'll try reading Healing Back Pain, you can never learn too much about TMS.

    Before the pain began i was definitely quite stressed about my career and had a fair few other emotional issues as well so the onset of RSI makes sense. Even before my IBS began I was going through a lot of pressure and stress at uni so there's another bit of evidence there.

    The hardest part of me I think is to not get annoyed by the pain. I always try to think about what I'm feeling emotionaly when the pain occurs but i understand it takes practice to observe and be aware of the pain without judging it or letting it affect you mentally. Also trying to 100% believe it's TMS is another hurdle.

    I'll try playing different games though, that's a great idea I never thought of. I'm glad you recovered so well from your TMS, it's really encouraging hearing people's success stories.
  4. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I am glad that younger people are catching this stuff sooner. This is a process but it really doesn't take too long of being frustrated to try a new road. I've been on it 20 years this year and it was always TMS

    The Sarno work also helps in one way we don't discuss as often as we should...the things we are no longer afraid of because we know it's BS..the admonitions on how to lift, stand, move, type,sit etc. At 53 I am afraid of less than I was at 32. I curl up into impossible balls and push plaster knives all day long pain free... Sometimes sore, but never that gross icky buzzy TMS feeling. Most of my age peers at work are nursing some chronic something or other (and listening to political radio shows all day...coincidence?)
    Get it out of the way now and be the wiser of the two. It's like money in the bank

    Rainstorm B likes this.
  5. cdub

    cdub Peer Supporter

    Is this true or if it that people didn't complain or talk about it or they'd lose their job?
  6. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1774221 (The RSI syndrome in historical perspective. - PubMed - NCBI)

    There you go...have at it! Sarno discusses the evolution and re-naming of back pain and related symptoms all over his book. In "The divided mind" he cites examples of early identification of lots of TMS fore-runners(in diagnostic terminologies, not symptoms)

    That being said, before modern diagnostic tools (CAT scan, Myelograms, X-rays,etc) they weren't taken all that seriously and people expected them to heal and THEY DID!
  7. Doomsee

    Doomsee New Member

    That link doesn't work for me, just gives an error, unfortunately.
  8. Bryan451

    Bryan451 Newcomer

    Hey Doomsee. Just want to let you know I have a similar story to yours, only my pain started a little over a year ago. I was doing Physical therapy for my lower back Jan. 2018, and they had me doing a slightly strange exercise to strengthen my upper back muscles by pushing/pulling on a bar in a doorframe. I was using a broom handle, holding my elbows at 90 degrees and pushing/pulling on this bar, holding and tensing my muscles in the arms and upper back for 10 sec. I did 10 reps each side. It's a little weird to even explain, so not sure if that makes sense. I was ALSO playing a ton of Monster Hunter on the PS4 at the time because I was unemployed looking for work, plus I just game a lot anyway. Well, about 3-4 weeks after doing the exercise and of course gaming pretty regularly, I started noticing pain in the base of my right thumb. I convinced myself it was the damn exercise because I've been gaming for 30 years and never had pain like this (I'm 34). I stopped the exercise but kept gaming, only the pain didn't go away. It started to move into my wrist and then forearms. 3-4 months later, I started having pain in my left hand, with stiffness all throughout my fingers and palms. It also likes to switch sides, so when it's really bad in one hand, the other feels fine. When it's really bad in the other, the OTHER hand feels fine. It's insanity!

    I stopped gaming for a while last year, and even left my job in the middle of the year. I took a two month period where I did next to nothing with my hands except eat and maybe use the computer a little bit here and there. The pain never seemed to get any better, even with rest. It doesn't make sense!

    2 months ago I read Sarno's book, and I'm still working on 100% believing this TMS theory. It's really really hard not to be afraid of the pain when you start to feel it, so I completely understand this and I'm really sorry you have to go through it as well. I know this fear so well at this point, and it's been owning my life since it started. If you google around for RSI you'll just get a bunch of horror stories as I'm sure you know, so that's contributed to all the fear as well. I believe I've built this defensive wall in my mind that's really hard to bust down. It's a wall of pain, and whenever I feel pain I convince myself something has to be REALLY wrong and I panic. That wall continues to block me from freeing myself of the suffering.

    I'm struggling along with you, my friend, but I can tell you there's something really fishy about the pain. The switching sides, plus the fact that it likes to move around like you were saying. The pain centers have settled on my left pinky/ring finger, and then my right thumb/index finger, but it seems really convenient that it's two fingers on each side and it's almost balanced between the two regions of the hand... Just keep focusing on how much the pain doesn't really make sense. How you don't have any real inflammation, and how all your tests have come back normal/negative. I've had MRIs, bone scans, x-rays, nerve conduction tests... none of them have really shown anything serious. The evidence keeps coming back inconclusive...
    cdub likes this.
  9. Doomsee

    Doomsee New Member

    Sorry to hear you're going through that Bryan. As much as I'd rather you didn't have to, it is nice to know I'm not alone. Hopefully this post will spur you on.

    As an update on my progress things have been going really well. It's only been a few weeks but already my pain has been drastically reduced. At this point I'm 100% convinced it's TMS and it's rare that I am scared of the pain. Following both TMS treatment programs on this forum and constantly reading up on TMS as well as journaling and meditating, I'm feeling so indifferent about the pain now. It's a wonderful feeling. I've gone almost entire days where I've not even thought about my pain because it was so minimal. I've been playing every day, back to the hours I did before. The methods and advice by Alan Gordon is fantastic, and TMS aside, it's great for my mental health.

    I know it can be tough to overcome the fear, but if all the tests came back clear and you've had pain for this long, it's TMS. Tell yourself there's nothing wrong with your hands, that they're strong and healthy whenever the pain flares up. Embrace the pain; take the leap of faith.
    Bryan451 and cdub like this.
  10. Bryan451

    Bryan451 Newcomer

    Really happy to hear this, Doomsee. Happy for you, and happy to hear another success story to help me on my own road to overcoming this pain! I'll definitely be checking out this Alan Gordon fellow, and continue to have a positive attitude towards letting go of the fear. That's the biggest hurdle for me, but these success stories are super helpful.
    cdub likes this.
  11. Doomsee

    Doomsee New Member

    If you want some fantastic material to read through, I highly recommend The Structured Educational Program, the Pain Recovery Program and Breaking the Pain Cycle. Of course reading any of Dr. Sarno's books is also highly encouraged. Reading The Mindbody Prescription is what lead me to these forums. I've still got a big journey ahead of me, but we can battle through it together. I really believe you will overcome this Bryan.
    cdub and Bryan451 like this.

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