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Slow, Frustrating Healing 2 Months In

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by sbmumford, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. sbmumford

    sbmumford Peer Supporter

    I've had serious lower back pain off and on for 40 years. These days I have a serious episode (aprox 2 moths of debilitating pain, followed by 4 months of moderate pain) every 4 years or so. I've had the usual herniated L4-L5, L5-S1 MRI diagnosis, but I always resisted an operation, and it always got better on its own.

    This last episode brought me back to Dr Sarno's book, Healing Back Pain, which I'd dismissed 8 years ago. This time I felt that it made a lot of sense.
    BUT - I've had no miraculous healing upon reading and rereading the book.

    After 2 months I'd say that the pain is about 50% better, which is substantial, but the rest just lingers on stubbornly, making it hard to sleep without a painkiller, stand for long periods of time, let alone restart my karate practice.

    This is about the timeline that my back pain took to cure in the past, without Sarno's theories. I've bought Sarno's lectures and carefully watched them; I've listened to Sarno reading from his own book on CD.
    I've seen TMS Dr Paul Gwozdz and attended his lecture, reading my list of TMS-triggers several times an hour… I'm seeing a TMS psychotherapist here in NYC.
    It all makes sense, and yet my recovery is incredibly slow, even stalled.

    One weak spot I see in Sarno's theory is the reliance on repression as an explanation for the onset of TMS. Sarno himself comments that the fastest responding patients often have a traumatic repressed memory, which upon discovery, leads to a quick recovery. He also comments that many people are not aware to what extent they suppress their anger.

    Not me. I've been aware of suppressing my immediate anger since I was a teenager. I've spent many an hour obsessing over things that I didn't do or say, to express my feelings. I do not believe that there are any hidden memories of abuse in my subconscious.
    So the idea that my brain is trying like crazy to keep me from thinking about my anger just doesn't really wash with me - I think about these issues constantly, and have for years.

    I suppose one could say that my brain is trying to distract my consciousness from this thinking by causing pain.

    Even so: why the long, lingering pain 2 months into the process?
  2. Saoirse

    Saoirse Peer Supporter

    Hi Sorry for your challanges but can I ask where can I buy Sarno's lectures? I am from Ireland and no TMS doctors here so I would love to see the dvds. I am in serious pain for 20 plus years and I have read and re read sarno's book but hope one day I will see a good difference at the moment I am still in pain all day.
  3. sbmumford

    sbmumford Peer Supporter

  4. hippiesabotage

    hippiesabotage New Member

    I am very new to TMS. I just heard about it yesterday but the moment I heard about it I was all on board because it described me perfectly (after reading success stories and beginning to read The Mindbody Prescription).
    That being said, take what I say with many grains of salt. To me, it sounds like it may be taking longer for you to recover since you have been dealing with pain for 40 years. That is a long time that your brain has had to cement the pain defense mechanism in your body.
    On the other hand, the herniated discs sound like a pretty serious diagnosis and I thought you were only supposed to try TMS if more serious conditions were already ruled out.
    On the other hand x2, I have read success stories about people with serious diagnoses that utilized TMS and ended up pain free.
    In conclusion, I would venture to say, again, that it may be taking longer for you due to you having been dealing with pain for so long.

    P.S. I'm also a recovering alcoholic and something I heard in A.A. is that some people are able to "recover" from drinking instantaneously while others go through years of relapse before finally putting the bottle down for good. From what I have been reading about TMS, it appears that those in TMS recovery follow a similar pattern--some with instantaneous healing and others with long-term recovery with relapse. It's different for everybody. Have hope! Furthermore, I would suggest relaxing and not worrying about why you have not recovered fully yet. Let go of the outcome and embrace the journey. Peace!
    sbmumford likes this.
  5. sbmumford

    sbmumford Peer Supporter

    I think you're right about the different paths to recovery, and I will certainly take that to heart.
    Re, herniated discs, that's actually the heart of Sarno's TMS: that is, that herniated discs, degenerated discs and even disc material pushing against nerves are actually common occurrences in the general population after the age of 20, and that many people have these pathologies without experiencing any pain.
    Since Sarno considers these to be "normal" and not pain-causing, he says that the pain is generated by the mind and the autonomic system.
    The serious conditions he writes about needing to checked for are tumors and other diseases that may have similar symptoms to TMS.
  6. sbmumford

    sbmumford Peer Supporter

    Just thought I'd post an update.
    It's interesting to see my frustration in this thread after 2 months of pain, in light of my subsequent fairly rapid healing. Even getting a little better day by day, with occasional bad days, constitutes good progress, but is difficult to see when you're in the midst of it.
    My back went out severely in late October; I couldn't walk more than 6 steps without having to rest on my cane and let the intense waves of pain pass over. Any physical action at all involved negotiating the constant, debilitating pain and numbness. Sleep was impossible without large doses of Tramadol. I lost weight from an almost total lack of appetite.
    By late January, 3 months later, I was 90% better, walking normally, no cane, starting to cautiously train in karate kata again, taking almost no pain killers.
    Now, in mid-February, I feel basically 100%: no pain at all, but lots of stiffness from not stretching for months. I'm training in my karate class again.

    I took very seriously Sarno's injunction to seek therapy. I never suffered from real abuse, but like many, have some complicated issues in my past that no doubt needed exploration, and I sought out a therapist whom I trusted and tried to be 100% honest with, talking over everything that mattered; I'd like to put a plug in for Dr Olga Protomastro, my TMS therapist here in NYC. She worked directly with Dr Sarno for many years and is a lovely and supportive therapist and person. I also carried around a scrap of paper with Dr Sarno's 12 points to review during the day, as well as a simple coded breakdown of personal psychological issues, to review together.

    I should add that I cannot claim to believe 100% in TMS as a diagnosis! I'll put my belief at 85%, knowing that there's much we simply still don't know about the back and chronic pain. Might there be some aspect of there pain that's "structural"? Maybe... but clearly the mind-body connection is very real and I feel that I healed largely as a result of immersing myself in exploring how that connection worked in my case.

    I feel very thankful for Dr Sarno's research.
    Ellen and Lunarlass66 like this.
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, sbmumford. You're making great progress, so now I hope you can work on increasing your belief in TMS to 100 percent. That's what it took for me to heal from severe back pain. If you keep believing that some of your pain is structural, the pain is like to persist. Ask your TMS therapist for advice on how to increase your belief in TMS. Dr. Olga sounds great.

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