1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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Day 1 Starting the education program

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by DRZ, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. DRZ

    DRZ New Member

    I am 23 years old, just graduated college and preparing to start a new chapter in my life all which I am very excitied about. My TMS story started this past summer. Let me set the background a little bit….I was finishing college so I could graduate and move out of state to start a new job as an engineer that I was offered in January. If I didn’t pass all my very difficult courses over the summer there was no chance of getting the job, including several writing intensive courses and Physics. I had been hired in the winter time but the stress grew larger as the time to move got closer. This alone generated a huge amount of stress, seeing as how difficult good jobs are to come about today, and I had been offered my dream job, working as an engineer for a company I love. Many of my friends who have graduated still have not found jobs. And not to sound like a cynical jerk but I'm set to make a very good salary. Also the job was out of state...I always said I would never leave my hometown but there was no way I could turn down that kind of money. After thinking about it alot and talking it over I was ok with the move, but I would have to leave my friends and family. I have had the same friends nearly all my life, and I was worried about leaving my Mom as I was the man of the house after my father's passing in 2008. I was working full time as a landscaper over the summer, finishing up my last semester of college, and living the normal social life of a typical twenty three year old. It all started as small pain in my left hamstring. The only time I would notice the pain was first thing in the morning when I was getting ready for work, like when I bent over to tie my shoes. I would take four Motrin in the morning and feel great the rest of the day, I thought I had just pulled a hamstring. The problems began to get worse when I began to seek medical advice about my leg and talk to people about back problems....everyone had a horrific story to tell. I finally went to see my doctor and my family doctor said I might have a herniated disc and should start physical therapy, she also diagnosed me with high blood pressure (which is now completely normal without medication). I ignored advice to begin physical therapy for about a month until the pain started to become a slight annoyance…It might hurt to sit in my truck, but I could still work a demanding job for eight hours a day and not complain. I finally started physical therapy and this is when the pain got much worse. After one week of physical therapy and the therapist jabbing his elbow in my lowerback, and the therapist also confirming that I had a herniated disc I was at the point where I had to take two Percocet every morning just to be able to get out of bed and walk, I quit my landscaping job about a month early because of fear of injuring my back further. This increased pain and PT failure led to X-rays and an MRI revealing Degenerative Disc disease in my lumbar spine and a large herniation at L4/5. The pain was still bad in the mornings but I could get through the day just fine, espically with the help of perscription drugs every now and then.

    Ill try and keep the next part short and sweet because I could probably write a novel about it. I saw an orthopedic surgeon who informed me my herniation was very unlikely to heal on its own. I put all my faith in his advice as he is known to treat most patients nonsurgically and is the top spinespecialist in my area. I had surgery a few days later and felt awesome for a few days. Then a very intense muscle spasm attack sent me to the ER where I was informed I had reherniated and had surgery immediately. Its now almost five weeks after the second surgery and I feel a lot better. I still have some pain occasionally but generally feel much better, Ive been walking alot but still resting a fair amount. After reading Healing Back Pain and The Mindbody Prescription I've slowly realized it's been TMS all along. I know its TMS because the pain moves around so frequently. In the morning it might be my left hip and then a couple hours later my right hip will be bothering me and sometimes no pain at all. Im going through a period of great transition in my life, I am 'Leaving the nest' and my inner child is very resistant to this idea. I wish I would have never had the operations, but the past is the past and I know I can't look back. The main problem I still have is sleeping. Lying down in my bed usually causes my pain in my lower back and hips....pain I never had before surgery. I can sleep in my recliner just fine; almost pain-free….this doesn’t make any sense. Is sleeping in my bed a trigger for the TMS? One of the hardest things is trying to decide when pain is part of recovering from the two surgeries I had five weeks ago or if it is my TMS acting up.

    The good news is im moving one state over in a few days and starting my new career beginning next month. I was supposed to start a month ago my new employer has been very understanding with me recovering from the surgeries. Consciously I am very excited about this, I know I will love this new town and will have no trouble making friends. I still have a little bit of fear in being able to work a full day again so any advice or encouragement from anyone who has gone through something similar would be very appreciated. After reading many stories where people have had TMS related pain for years; I feel blessed to have discovered Dr. Sarno's work so soon after the pain started.

    Ive always been viewed by my family and friends and very strong both emotionally and physically. Im a big guy at six foot 225lbs. (the one positive of seeing the surgeon is he got me losing some weight and even convinced my to quit my chew tobacco, said it was bad for recovery, habbit of 5 years!! that was a blessing as I thought I could never quit dip.) So this was difficult to get the courage to"spill my guts" for anyone on the internet to see. But If it can help me, and hopefully one day being a success story to inspire others! My goals for the next part of my recovery is to stop taking any pills and resume some of my normal physical activities. I love working on trucks and taking them off-roading, but the work and ride can be very stressful....this is what I miss the most and I can't wait to get back into it. I want to build a new truck over the winter! Im looking forward to becoming a part of this community
  2. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Welcome, DRZ!
    Wow, sounds like you have been through a lot. Glad you found this community--there's so much great stuff here and a lot of supportive people too. I found out about TMS in January after having had chronic headaches, foot & leg pain, and TMJ disorder for years. I'm now mostly pain free and just working on the underlying emotions. It has been really helpful to know that other people are going through something similar and have recovered.
    Hope to see you around :)
    ~ Veronica
  3. movingcloud

    movingcloud Peer Supporter

    Hi DRZ,
    I am a newby too. You have had a horrible time of it, haven't you?!
    All I wanted to say is that all the doctors, consultants, nurses, physios, and psychologists I've ever met have told me the same thing: pain is acute for the first 6 weeks after an injury, and then it becomes chronic. TMS pain is chronic pain as far as I can understand, and Sarno says you have it if you feel pain when pressing in these areas: side of the neck, top of the shoulders, down each side of the back, low back, and round the sides of the buttocks.
    I think you may still have some recovery acute pain. If it were me I'd sleep where I knew I got good refreshing sleep for now.
    Here's to no pain, hopefully soon.
    Good luck with the new job,
  4. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Without getting long-winded, the symptoms you are experiencing sound like a classic example of TMS that occurs during what Dr Zafirides describes as periods of existential crisis. Listen to his recent drop-in chat presentation and see if it doesn't remind you of things you are currently going through:


    I'm certainly not an MD and am therefore not in a position to diagnose, but as an arm-chair psychologist I'd say that leaving your mother after being a strong support to her following your late father's passing is a psychologically loaded situation that your pain could have emerged to distract you from. Probably quite a bit of guilt associated with abandonment issues I'd suggest. A period of transition such as the one you're going through is also intrinsically stressful.
  5. DRZ

    DRZ New Member

    Thanks for the inspiration. It never occurred to me that I'm experiencing subconscious feelings of guilt for leaving home and my mother, I appreciate the insight. Best of luck to everyone and I cant express how much I appreciate the support. Im going to turn off the football and listen to Dr. Zafirides right now!
  6. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Great to have a positive impact. I just noticed big similarities between your situation and my own at the time of the onset of my TMS symptoms in 2001-2002. I too had what the docs called a 'herniated disk'. Went through tons of PT, acupuncture, Pilates and stretching - all with brief periods of improvement even though the underlying pain condition never quite went away. However, I never stopped to realize that after my father died, I took over care of my mother with dementia for 5 years until she too passed. During that time I was a pillar of strength, working two jobs, managing a whole host of lawsuits, publishing books while visiting her daily in the rest home. The perfect son, huh? Well, 6 months after she died when the lawyer signed the paper giving me the family home, I began to get sciatica and lower back pain out running on the game preserve. I never stopped to realize then that I must have felt intensely guilty for 'failing' my mother, for not keeping her alive. Not very rationale, but quite understandable in terms of the laws of the unconscious mind. Suddenly, I was also in a free-form psychological situation where I was not longer working my butt off. Nothing to distract me from the larger issues that Dr Z would call 'existential'. Not hard to understand why at such period of transition that underlying psychological issues start to well up from deep in the unconscious mind where you've been keeping them safely locked up and ignored. I can see from the similarities between your situation and my own how the forces that generate TMS pain are universal and manifest during periods of intense stress when you can no longer successfully ignore them. Think of it this way though: with that engineering degree you'll be making a lot of money that others can't in the current economic crisis. That will give you the ability to do all kinds of things for your mom that you're not able to do on a landscaper's salary.
  7. DRZ

    DRZ New Member

    Im still trying to grasp Dr. Z's 'existential' teachings.... I plan on listening to his explanations once again, maybe tommorow after today's acquisition has some time to sink in. Ive always found that situations that greatly effect how we live our lives day to day have the tendency to generate the greatest amount of stress. In both our cases a great change took place that drastically changed our way of life; I can definately see how that would generate such a great amount of stress......
  8. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, DRZ, it's those big traumatic life events that generate the most anxiety about the future, which, in turn, often result in psychosomatic or psychogenic pain episodes. For example, although I didn't notice it at the time, when I had my so-called 'herniated disk' in 2001-2002, the patients I met regularly at PT all had recently endured recent life-changing traumatic events. One lady had just had her mother - who was beginning to show the first signs of dementia - move in with her and her husband at a time when both of them had recently lost their high-paying Silicon Valley jobs. She developed carpal tunnel syndrome that was so bad she couldn't work as a tech writer anymore. I had just lost my mother after a long illness only six-month earlier. Another guy with multiple back problems (two herniated disks as he pointed out) was out-of-work with a 300 lb wife who nagged him constantly. He came into PT on a periodic basis with terrible back spasms. He also told me about his abusive alcoholic father and mother, who he'd identified at work where she died on the job. Then, there was the lady who'd had a double spinal fusion operation after collapsing while jogging. She was in the most pain of everyone and she had had the worst trauma: Death of her father who she adored. An acrimonious divorce. Loss of her legacy in the stock market. And she's lost her job in a dot.com and was back working at family's steel business where she was made doubly insecure because her brother had sold it out from under her. IOWs: It's been my experience that TMS develops at those points in your life where you've recently went through a period of traumatic change that made it difficult for your old neurotic repressive habits to work the way they used to. According to Dr Z those moments are when you are faced with very troubling emotions about isolation, abandonment, fear of death, fear of aging etc. etc. etc. Those feeling are so threatening that the psyche develops TMS pain to distract you from emotions trying to break out of your unconscious that you'd rather not confront.

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