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Sore wrists and elbow while using crutches... HELP!

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Seraphina, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. Seraphina

    Seraphina Peer Supporter

    Hi all! This is Seraphina, new to TMS forum.
    I have a background of having back & neck pain when i was a teenager and knee pain till last year--all presumably TMS (no meaningful diagnosis on MRI that can be matched to the pains, but the pain persisted until I finally "gave up" on it).

    This is gonna be a long story, but I'll do my best to make it as short as possible.

    I've been in a cast and crutches for 4 weeks due to the right ankle ligament injury. As soon as I started using crutches, I came to have sore hands and wrists--which I didn't experience at all when I used them in high school years. I was quite nervous if I come to have another health issue, but try to think of it as just due to overuse or maybe TMS.

    Last Tuesday, I made my right arm, specifically the inner elbow (funnybone), pressed a little hard on a crutch when I was getting on a car. (I had a fracture surgery right above the elbow 15 years ago, so the skin and nerve there are a little more sensitive than on other areas.) The pain was just for the moment, no swelling, no heat, not much odd sensation. My wrists rather became more painful over the next 2-3 days, not the elbow.

    However, after 3 days, last Friday, I had a weird feeling when my inner elbow touched my desk softly. That feeling reminded me of the elbow incident 3 days ago, and I became quite worried. Last Monday Tuesday went okay, but on Wednesday the annoying elbow came back. I was so worried about my wrists and inner elbow, and i searched through all the possible injuries or medical problems I might have. I could feel the annoying sense being developed into a pain while I was doing so. Since these couple of days was really the period of fear, my back pain and knee pain sometimes came back.. I know... not good..

    I'm worried if it's a real soft-tissue issue. The internet has so many scary episodes of the people who have painful wrists and elbow while/after using crutches... How do you think about my wrists and elbow? I'll be done with the cast tomorrow, and it will take at least 1-2 more weeks for me to be able not to use crutches--not giving me an option of full rest on hands and arms. What should I do...? Is there anyone who came to have sore wrists after using crutches?

    *FYI, I live in Korea, there is no TMS therapist or doctor here yet.

    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  2. Ryan

    Ryan Well known member


    Welcome to the forum, you will get some great knowledge here and lot of wisdom from some great people. I'm no doctor, so you need to get stuff checked out. My personal opinion, it sounds like it is tms.

    I suggest you start doing the SEP program on the site. Also read books " healing back pain" and "the great pain deception". Remember this is a marathon not a sprint so don't get discouraged if you don't see results instantly. As the great doctor said "knowledge of this disease is the penecillin."

    I suggest you stop googling your symptoms and focusing on your body, this will feed the tms. The fear of symptoms will only make things worse. I was doing the same thing before I stubbled across dr. Sarno. This man, this forum, other tms authors, and God saved my life.

    Wish you the best of luck and keep asking questions. Perseverance and faith go a long way. Your mind is a powerful tool and you can heal, just believe in yourself. We are what we believe.

  3. Seraphina

    Seraphina Peer Supporter

    Hi Ryan! Thank you very much for the warm, welcoming words :)

    I am pretty familiar with the TMS concept after reading the Grand Slam by Dr. Sarno: Healing Back Pain, The Mindbody Prescription, and The Divided Mind. I see many people here recommend The Great Pain Deception, so I will definitely read it, too. I think my problem is not being able to effectively apply the concept in my daily life, in every moment of pain..

    Okay, first, I have visited my orthopedist yesterday and was told "tired ligament, maybe elongated a little with some inflammation" on the wrists, and nothing significant on my elbow. He said I should come back if the pain gets severe on the elbow. I'm getting anti-inflammatory for my wrists and trying to take some rest as much as possible since I'm still using crutches although I'm off-cast now. The 4 weeks of cast left me a very light leg with less muscle. I need crutches for about 2 more weeks. By the way, it's funny how my shoulder now gets painful.. haha it seems my brain can't let me be... :(

    And I think I really should stop googling about my symptoms. It really feeds tms. I can feel it. I have an experience of reducing my pain on other bodypart after reading Dr. Sarno's books. I should get back to the basic concept and keep thinking about it. Everytime I go to bed, I always thank God for letting me know TMS and TMS communities like here. I really appreciate that people here are very welcoming and trying to help.

    I will start doing the SEP as soon as I'm done with crutches, too. I really need some time to think about myself, talk it out loud, and get feedbacks on it to get my body back healthy!
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  4. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Also read Steven Ray Ozanich's and Nicole Sachs' great TMS books! You're on the right track THINK EMOTIONAL! when you feel the pain.
    Seraphina likes this.
  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Seraphina. Yes, spend time on yourself, doing things you enjoy, that lift your spirits and morale.
    Your symptoms are from TMS. Keep working on the recovery techniques in SEP and in the subforums.

    Careful on the crutches.
    Seraphina likes this.
  6. Seraphina

    Seraphina Peer Supporter

    Hey TT! yes think emotional! It seems my brain doesn't want to give up TMS on me yet since I'm such a easy target to use that strategy on. But I will win! Thank you
  7. Seraphina

    Seraphina Peer Supporter

    Hi Walt! Yest I think my elbow thing is pretty much TMS. I do have a sensitive elbow because of the surgery 15 years ago, so it should be no surprise for me if I do feel some odd sensation when touched a little.

    The reason I was worried is that there is a little pain-ish sensation time to time when I use that part (e.g., stretch, bend, put some weight on it, etc.) or even when I don't use it! It was okay yesterday, gets worse today, on and on and on... However, as my doctor said, the ulna nerve is a peripheral nerve so it will recover for itself as time goes by. If the pain grows, I can consider surgery to re-locate the nerve somewhere deeper inside the elbow. But I think the pain is mainly TMS. I do not have other symptoms related to ulna nerve injury but only the distracting and itchy stretchy pain-ish sensation. I should get myself solid on ignoring such feeling and keep working on the TMS recovery techiniques. I think just reading the books were not enough for me.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  8. Ryan

    Ryan Well known member

    Always remember tms will attack you in the areas you think are weak in your body. Hence the elbow area because you have had surgery there before, your brain may know its your weakness. Just some food for thought, goodluck.

    Ellen and Seraphina like this.
  9. Seraphina

    Seraphina Peer Supporter

    Thank you Ryan! That's such a good food for thought :D

    Update: I'v been trying to ignore my right elbow pain(-ish sensation & stiffness around that area) for two days, and it's going okay. One thing is, I had actually recognized the left inner elbow had been showing the similar progress (the funnybone area getting itchy, odd, and later developping into some pain-ish sensation when I use my arm). Today, as soon as I sit at my desk at work, I unintendedly put my left inner elbow on my desk, and it felt almost the same way as the right one. Also, about the right elbow, one of the things I worried was the feeling of the ulna nerve moving oddly under the skin (i.e., not smoothly but quite reluctantly with some blocking during its movement. sometimes with little boney? sound). I guess the ulna nerve is a little swollen inside and thus acting very sensitively as a way of TMS now--not sure if it's possible scientifically but I sort of feel it. Well, for the right one, I can consider it due to the previous incident (pressed on a crutch), but the left one has no reason to be so--especially when i stopped using crutches and started using only one crutch on the right side). Even if using crutches before put some RSI type of stress on my elbow, it should have been better, not worse, since I'm putting less and less weight on it by gradually throwing away the crutches. I'm getting more and more confident that my elbow thing is TMS. I think I will see good results on it. HA!

    Update 2: as I feel less pain on my elbow, the ankle pain (on the uninjured one) comes back with more severity. The first TMS I had after my right ankle injury (this was a real one) was the left ankle pain. The pain was even more severe than that with the actually injured one. I couldn't go to sleep bc of the pain. I took the ultrasound test, and the doctor said "nothing much significant that can be matched with the ankle pain, except the inner ligament became relatively weak due to flat-foot and my overusing it to compensate for the right ankle's disability." As soon as I was confirmed with "no significant structural issue," the pain shrinked and mostly moved from outside to inner side of the ankle... How funny?! Now it seemed pretty obvious then that it's TMS, so I read Dr. Sarno's book to confirm my belief, and I've been ignoring any pain appearing on the outside of the ankle and be cautious with the inner part so far. However, the pain on the outside and the middle of the ankle has been more annoying and severe these couple of days when my elbow was getting okay. Since I am overusing the left ankle a little after being free from cast and using only one crutch recently, maybe that could put some stress on it. But I can't stop overusing it until my right one become pain-free after at least 2-3 weeks of rehabilitation. So what I'm trying is to think positively and get myself "let-go" mindset because... there's nothing I can do better for my left one now. :/ Even if there's a soft-tissue issue on the left ankle, I can't do anything to fix it for now :( I will have patience and take another ultransound test on it after my right ankle gets okay.

    Update 3: I was diagnosed with a slightly enlongated ligament on the wrists, and I know the main cause of my wrist pain is because of that. BUT I also think the TMS is adding unnecessary pain onto it. I should work on this too as soon as I become off-crutch which means I have no doubt of having enough rest on my hands.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  10. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Seraphina, your entire post is in the language of physical injury. TMS is doing it's job of distracting you from the psychological/emotional! You don't have to publicly spill your private life here, BUT you should be starting to look at the life issues that are at play bubbling in your subconscious.
  11. Seraphina

    Seraphina Peer Supporter

    ooh good point. But the reason I did so was that I recognized my pain was mostly from my lingering fear--fear of further injury, of any unknown injury, of my doing anything bad unintentionally on an existing injury, etc. so the entire post was sort of my defensive stream of consciousness against my fear inside. For the repressed emotion or childhoon memories part, I did a long long journaling on it (in my native language in order to be more detailed and honest), but I seem mostly accepting what's already happened and do not feel any "rage" sort of emotions. I see my symptom has been mostly from the stresses in daily life (family, work, friends) and the fear on my health issue. I think the latter is the biggest thing now--because it really feeds itself and gets bigger if i start falling into its trap. I just don't know how to end that cycle :( Ignoring seems to work okay with my elbow, but I still have to deal with my ankle pain which is coming back...! The small fear that started from the ankle pain coming back is making me scary for another possibility and it keeps feeding itself...
  12. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks for the update Phina, sounds like you're getting a handle on the TMS "KNOWLEDGE PENICILLIN", keep up the good work! Is commuting on the subway getting any easier?

    Don't forget to give yourself lots of rewards and treats to balance out the rage/soothe ratio.

    Your English is excellent, I would not be able to tell you aren't a native speaker.

    Cheers mon petite kim chee, ;)
  13. MatthewNJ

    MatthewNJ Well known member

    Seraphina, I think you are doing fabulously. Your story is classic TMS. Particularly the symptoms moving around and changing (symptom imperative). You have recognized TMS, you have done the reading, you have ruled out the physical. BRAVO for you! Based on the books you have already read you have plenty of knowledge. Now it's time for the next step. My suggestion would be to stop reading books and stop Googling symptoms. i feel the reading and Googling is distracting you from "doing the work". This happens to many folks with TMS (myself included). We do this because we are unconsciously in fear of finding the real causes. You use the word "worry" a lot, so you are like many off us: unconsciously in fear of seeing the real cause :) Yet when we do find the real causes, they are much less scary then our unconscious has lead us to believe. I would take Ryan's suggestion and do the SEP. As scary as that is, it is the "real work" and that is what will lead to reduced symptoms. If you still feel you need to read, I suggest reading some success stories. There are many posted here on the wiki. Mine is under my profile, if you like. You will see that those that have succeeded, acted on the knowledge by using process such as the SEP and other great methods. Please keep us informed of your progress and good luck.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
    Seraphina likes this.
  14. MatthewNJ

    MatthewNJ Well known member

    Seraphina, I just saw this posted by a friend (who has TMS) on Facebook and I thought about you (and all of us with TMS)

    "Because the sage always confronts difficulties,
    he never experiences them."
    -Tao Te Ching, 63rd Verse
    Seraphina likes this.
  15. Waterbear

    Waterbear Peer Supporter

    Just wanted to pop in on the Ulnar nerve stuff.

    I "damaged" my left Ulnar nerve while shoulder pressing only 10lbs during a workout which took place an hour after a very important job interview. I was out of work and I needed the job. I was at the gym to blow off steam. ( I got the job 3 days later and it didn't help since I was so scared I would fail at it.)

    It felt like fire shooting down my arm for 2 weeks. Then it felt like a red hot poker was stabbing my elbow every minute of every day for 7 months. I'm an artist and I stopped drawing for fun entirely. I was miserable and underwent extremely painful physical therapy (graston massage) for what was diagnosed as golfers elbow, tennis elbow and tricep tendonitis in the left arm (which was causing the pinched nerve).

    During physical therapy, my right arm developed the same symptoms and my right wrist started hurting as well. I was diagnosed with right wrist tendonitis, carpal tunnel and tennis elbow in my right arm. Now I pretty much couldn't do anything without pain. No art. No cooking. No sleeping. No reading - holding a book open hurt me. I certainly couldn't put my elbows on anything. No leaning. I made myself work 8 hours a day in agony because I needed to keep my job.

    My wrist and elbows would pop and tingle and make funny noises during my physical therapy exercises.

    Then I discovered TMS and I read all that I could.

    My pain reduced a lot in about 2 months, and I was able to work a bit better at my job. After 2 months, I remember working all day (still in a decent amount of pain) and going home. I always used to make art on my computer in the evening but I hadn't in months. I decided I was done with waiting. I remember taking off both elbow braces and my wrist brace and then I proceeded to work into the night with some of the most terrible pain I'd felt in my arms.

    I pretended I was enjoying myself like old times and even poured myself a glass a wine to celebrate how great it was to make art in the evenings again.

    Three hours later, the pain was 90% gone.

    After that night, it's been just steady progress. My elbows stopped clicking and popping so much at the gym (note: I did take it slow. I started lifting only 30 lbs on a lat pulldown and now I'm up to 50). I draw for hours now (I gradually built that up too). I can cook meals and use screwdrivers. I can pump gas.

    All in all I'm pretty healed up and it's all because of TMS learning. I was doing 70lbs on the lat pulldown before the "injury" and I see no reason I won't lift that again. However, I also see no reason to rush there. So I just take it slow and it's worked for me.

    (For a time table, I discovered TMS in Oct 2013)

    Good luck!
    Never give up!
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
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  16. MatthewNJ

    MatthewNJ Well known member

    Waterbear, What a phenomenal success story! Thank you for sharing.
  17. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    WOW! This is a TMS success story! I remember coming across it earlier and not having a chance to reply. I hi-lited the TMS lines that resonated. It deserves a thread of its own. I'm inspired and will try to take a walk or run, I'm using a cane (but not on the tennis court), I do run in the pool for 30 minutes daily.

    TMS healing can take some trial and error with pain--maybe excruciating pain. I recall SteveO having his wife hit him with a bat to get over his back pain--as they say getting old is not for sissies, maybe getting through TMS pain may take challenging the pain sometimes.

    Great post Waterbear, thanks for sharing!
  18. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Waterbearer, your success story is fantastic. You worked through your pain and pushed ahead and your subconscious
    finally got the message from you that it was all TMS. TMS knowledge is so simple, yet profound.

    I don't know if you journaled about repressed emotions, but just the other night I was watching a rerun of
    the Masterpiece Theater series, MR. SELFRIDGE, the London department store owner, who was having physical
    and emotional problems. His mother told him, "The past haunts us if we don't confront it."
    He had still been having trouble dealing with the fact when he was a boy, his father had left them.
  19. Waterbear

    Waterbear Peer Supporter

    Thanks all, I'm glad my story might help people out.

    I did journal in the beginning. As a rule, I really hate journaling but I was in so much pain, I was willing to try (writing hurt the elbow too). Now that I've learned a bit more about journaling, I did about 90% of the fast thought journaling. I had no plan when I started. I knew the idea was to make the, "bad stuff come out." I just let myself write and pour it all out. It was barely English and full of pain and rage. However, each time I did it, I would feel exhausted but in a good way. I would need to drink a glass of water and relax for a few mins after. Often, I would be crying by the end of a writing session.

    I've never re-read them. They're done and locked away in my little notebook with a warning label on it.

    Now I don't do that so much, maybe 2x a month? Maybe less. I write short things on sticky notes now. It's sort of like a "shot" of journaling. I write one whenever I need it and it helps and I can put that issue to rest. I save some stickies and I throw some away that need to be thrown away.

    One thing I would like to mention because I don't want people to be discouraged, I've had setbacks. I haven't had one recently, but I've had a few since that first important night. One time, I scared myself at the gym and felt the fire all the way to the hand again. I told myself that it was TMS and it was allowed to be there until morning upon which it would go back to pain free. By morning, it was fine again.

    The first time I used a specific computer program for art, my entire hand ached and my left wrist acted up (a new place!). I spent the next 3 days using that program. By day four, I was fine.

    I do move slowly and gently. I try not to get mad at any slowness in myself. If I got really pained, I would allow myself a mental break since dealing with pain is hard sometimes. I might take a shower or take lunch a few mins early, or a quick mediation if I was working from home, something like that. Then, I'd get back at it.
    Seraphina and Ellen like this.
  20. Seraphina

    Seraphina Peer Supporter

    Thank you Waterbear. What a great healing story!!! I'll keep that in mind!

    My foot is in a good rehabilitation phase, but my wrist pain (both sides) has been attacking me so far. I'm currently putting myself away from computers and smartphones and now wearing splint-type brace around my wrists. (It's been only 2 weeks since I'm throwing my crutches away)

    I went to see a hand surgery specialist yesterday, and he recommended to wait 1-2 weeks since hand pains persist quite long once they started and since I'm only 25-year-old and not heavy-weighted so using crutches for a month is not usually expected to make a significant issue such as TFCC injury. I think the pain is very slowly shrinking and the pop sound when twisting has significantly weakened, and I'm considering that as a good signal. The intermittent tingling and mild swelling on fingers (didn't exist initially but appeared a week ago) annoys me a bit though. I'm just being careful so that I don't make the situation any worse.

    My inner elbow pain (right arm) is coming up again recently; sometimes it's sore when I'm just taking a rest, and it feels stiff when I unconsciously bend my arm. Not a big pain that stops me from moving using my arm at all, but it annoys me that the symptom grows. but I'm trying to ignore it since there is no reason the pain can develop after I stop using crutches. Well, I've recently relied on arms and shoulders a little more than before due to the wrist issue, but I don't think it can cause a physical problem. I don't do any housework or sports or using crutches (not anymore~yayyy) that can physically cause golfer's elbow type of pain. It could be related to my tendinitis on the wrists, and even that case gives me an option of ignoring--it will get better as time goes by~ My psychological state of endless fear seems to feed my brain to put TMS here and there. That's how I'm accepting my situation now. Hope it helps :/
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014

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