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Day 1 Solving my knee pain?

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by TrueGrit, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. TrueGrit

    TrueGrit New Member

    I have struggled for a couple of years with knee pain. About a year ago the pain started persisting and got significantly worse. While it first only hurt after running, or cycling with high resisting, I started to get pain during virtually all daily activities where both my knees weren't resting horizontally stretched..Sitting with bended knees for instance is very painful. I even started getting pain while resting in bed. As a 24-year old studet that has somewhat of a sport addiction, this obviously is dreadful for my quality of life. I tried a couple of treatments. Several months of quadriceps stretching and strengthening did not help. Seriously resting from all pain-inducing activities hardly helped healing my knees or increase my 'envelope of function'. At this point, doctors tell me I pretty much tried everything and should just hope to get better in the future, or attempt physical exercises again. Nothing shows up on x-rays or MRIs. They call the condition Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, which is a vague diagnosis where it is unclear what causes the pain and how healing occurs.
    I read The Mindbody Prescription from John Sarno after I had been through a 'total rest' period of about three months. Seriously considering the option that the pain was induced by psychological processes, seemed to improve my pain and confidence the days after.
    Two months after reading the book, I want to seriously give this a chance and will therefore do this program. I think the pain is to some extant 'in my head' and therefore I should work on myself psychologically, instead of trying to solve the pain physically which did not show results anyway.. In order to do this consistently, I am going to stop doing this in kind of a nonstructured way, but follow the TMS program. Sarno's theory seems pseudo-scientific to me. But science is narrow-minded, not open to options that are hard to verify empirically. Anything out of the scientific paradigm is discarded as ridiculous bull shit (notice the main argument against Sarno in the 20/20 youtube video is 'this is not a mainstream theory'). Mainstream medicine did not help me, so it is time to look further. What I do believe, is that my mind plays a big role, or should play a big role, in the knee pain I have. Whether this is due to my brain trying to distract me from my repressed anger I do not know, but it will definitely not hurt to start acting based on the hypothesis that this is true. Physically, my knees seem pretty fine.. So the solution of my problems might very well be mentally.
  2. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    Welcome, TrueGrit! You will find a lot of support here.

    I don't think it has to be repressed anger. It could be other emotions you're not aware of.
  3. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    Hi. I do believe this can work for you (it is up to you!) and it is very much worth the effort!
  4. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    The Mind/Body Connection is amazing. This wiki site has a great deal of powerful information that can probably really can
    help you. The success stories will really encourage you.
  5. TrueGrit

    TrueGrit New Member

    Not sure if this is the right place to do this, but anyhow..

    Do I have TMS?

    Arguments pro:
    - At some point I completely adopted the physical overuse hypothesis, that is: every sign of pain I interpreted as a sign of knee damage, so I avoided all activities that induced pain -> total, insanely disciplined rest. From the moment I adopted this approach the pain significantly worsened, because it wasn't just pain anymore but any pain meant, in my mind, an obstruction to the healing process. Resting did not lead to obvious improvement, I only experienced low pain levels while resting.
    - This knee problem bothers me a lot and there are periods where it occupies my mind 90% of the time. So this seems obviously a recipe for a vicious circle.
    - Simple quadriceps exercises that are supposed to not bother one's knees, I could not do without getting pain.
    - The pain in my knees is a bit random (which is common to PFPS patients). The place where I feel pain is different every time (although 99% it is at the front around the kneecap), the quality of the pain varies extensively.
    - There are some things that do not make sense, but do make lots of sense from a TMS point of view. 1 In the first session my physical therapist asked whether I had pain lying in bed. I said, 'no obviously not'. A couple of weeks later I did consistently have pain in bed. 2 To make resting easier I bought a laptop and used it extensively. Obviously I developed some serious RSI problems which scared the hell out of me. 3 Someone asked me 'how can you sit all day long, doesn't that hurt?' and some time later I started experiencing pain sitting (tailbone pain). 4 To get upstairs I sometimes use my shoulders (not sure if this is phrased right). Someone warned me that this could hurt my shoulder and yes, I got pains in my shoulder.
    - If I do a lot of research on TMS, I tend to have surprisingly low pain levels the next day.
    - I'm glad to have clean X-ray and MRI results. So there's nothing structurally wrong with my knees, right..?
    - I don't have the standard TMS personality as mentioned in the Mind-Body Connection, but the TMS Personality Traits page also names the 'Stoic' personality, which is definitely a good description of me and I can link this as being the type of character that could develop TMS.
  6. TrueGrit

    TrueGrit New Member

    Strategies that I use:
    - Meditation. 20 minutes focusing on my breath. People seem to do this for all kinds of different purposes. For me it is a way of calming the mind, taking a pause from the common chains of thoughts. Also by meditating I learn more about the way my mind works which I can use.
    - If I experience pain, I ask myself a couple of questions: what were my thoughts preceding the pain signal? What thoughts automatically followed after the pain signal? What components of the current situation are potentially stressful? What is bothering me? and so forth
    Then I direct my thoughts away from the pain and the worry. If the pain persists, I take it for what it is, not being anxious about damaging my knees and never recovering.
    - Gathering information/investing time in TMS.
    - Reminding myself that I have no structural physical problems. (and other 'daily reminders' from Sarno)
    - When I see other people being active, e.g. running, cycling, I try to place myself in their (painless) position and convince myself that I will be able to do the same.
    - Daily quadriceps exercises to gain confidence.

    - I have to do more journaling! Amazing what comes up..
    - I only read the Mind-Body Prescription.. Maybe I need more books..
  7. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    These are some great strategies. How are they working out for you? One of the most helpful things we can do when we have pain is to immediately ask our self what is going on emotionally. I know for me this helps in reducing the fear/anxiety response of "Oh my god I have pain, what am I going to do now," and gain control over my emotional state.

    I don't think you really need to read more than one TMS book, especially if it is working for you. My general idea for recovering from TMS is to stick with what works for you, and if something is not resonating pick up another tool from the toolbox. If MBP is really resonating with you, then keep reading it. If it is getting tiring or you need a different viewpoint, then yeah sure, get another book, but you don't really need to read more then one.
  8. TrueGrit

    TrueGrit New Member

    I ordered The Divided Mind, and tbh I never reread MBP, but I will for sure.

    I am definitely improving. After about two weeks not worrying about structural damage etc when in pain became automatic for my mind. Now I sometimes go for a walk without even having to think about pain/TMS which is quite amazing.
    I almost never have pain that persists anymore, but I keep being very careful, which is okay I guess after 3 months of doing absolutely nothing.
    So things go well. Tomorrow I will go to a dance party and have a great night. After the weekend I will take a 'balance month' for about 4-6 weeks, where I will try to maintain a healthy sleep rhythm, abstain from alcohol/caffeine and do lots of meditation. I expect this to be very healing for me. :)
  9. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi TG and welcome! It really sounds like you're experiencing positive changes - so hooray for that!

    You asked about other books, and in your first post you mentioned doubt that TMS might be pseudo-science. I think you'll definitely enjoy The Divided Mind, which was my first TMS book, and I really appreciated the information provided by the six "guest" authors, five of whom are MDs.

    For an in-depth study of the physiological processes behind emotional stress and repression, you might be interested in "When The Body Says No" by Dr. Gabor Mate. He's a Canadian MD who doesn't mention Dr. Sarno or TMS in his book. He is exploring what he calls "the stress-disease connection". I am finding it absolutely fascinating. For an intro to Dr. Mate, here is a 50-minute video posted on the forum: http://tmswiki.org/forum/media/dr-gabor-maté-how-stress-can-cause-disease.39/ It's just him talking to an audience, so you can listen rather than watch.

    And I sure as heck wish I'd learned about all of this when I was 24, instead of 60. I think my life might have been very different in certain key ways. So congratulations on discovering this so early - it will serve you well for many many healthy decades to come.

  10. CyclesGoff

    CyclesGoff Newcomer

    Hi TG,
    I would love to hear an update on whether this worked for your PFPS. I am in a similar situation. I've had PFPS for over 18 months now, which started while riding hard up a long climb and progressively got worse. In the last few months the pain has spread to my other knee and to my elbows. MRI and x-rays both showed nothing obviously wrong, and each time I visit the doctor he has hinted that it could be partly or mostly psychological, which led me to discover Sarno yesterday. I too am the "stoic" type. I've tried pretty much everything else, so I'm willing to give this a shot. Can you let me know if it worked for you, how long it took, and what your routine was? Recently I've been on the Scott Dye protocol of very light exercise within my EOF (walking 15-20 mins twice a day), NSAIDS and icing. Based on Sarno I would stop the medication and icing, and get back to normal activity as soon as the pain is gone. I'm wary of returning to normal activities (like using the stairs, ha ha) too soon. Did you go full force into the psychological program or did you try to balance that with physical modification and therapy?
  11. shannonstoney

    shannonstoney New Member

    I have some knee pain too, suddenly. It started this winter in January. I think it had to do with things I was reading in the news, to be honest. (I'm a Democrat.) Of course at first I attributed it to my new winter boots. And they do have a little bit of a heel, whereas most of my shoes are zero drop. Still, I don't think it was just that. I think I am seriously enraged. I'm laughing though as I'm typing this. It makes sense to me that knee pain could be the new back pain: so many people I know have had to have knee replacements, even people who are not seriously overweight and have no real risk factors for knee pain like that.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.

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