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Daniel L. TMS and acute back spasms

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by Guest, Mar 23, 2015.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    This question was submitted via our Ask a TMS Therapist program. To submit your question, click here.

    My back started severe spasm on Saturday.
    This happened almost 2 years ago (not as severe then). At that time I read Dr. Sarnos book after seeing my PCP who indicated it was just spasms nothing physically wrong.

    Hadn't had any recurrence til Saturday. Read his book again, and have been talking to my mind-body, but continue to have severe spasms. Not getting any better. How can I get the spasms under control?
  2. Daniel G Lyman LCSW

    Daniel G Lyman LCSW TMS Therapist

    I’ll be honest - this seems fairly straightforward. Back spasms can happen for a number of reasons, some of which might be TMS related (stress, anxiety, etc.), but it could also just be a pulled muscle, which could get better on its own over a week or so. Either way – it’s the same solution: Don’t panic.

    You recently submitted this question, which means your back only started having these spasms just a couple of days ago. Here’s my clinical advice: Relax. Take it easy. Give it a week or so. Of course your back doesn’t feel great right now, but panicking about it is only going to make it feel worse. Use your back as a reason to take care of yourself. Watch movies. Eat ice cream. Read a book. Anything you enjoy doing.

    The best thing we can do when our pain shows up is to practice whatever self-care we know. You will get your pain under control if you allow yourself to relax and not freak out about the spasms.

    Remember, the only constant in our world is change. And that’s true of our pain too. The pain, or spasms, may show up, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be here forever. Remind yourself of that. And don’t forget to breathe.

    Any advice or information provided here does not and is not intended to be and should not be taken to constitute specific professional or psychological advice given to any group or individual. This general advice is provided with the guidance that any person who believes that they may be suffering from any medical, psychological, or mindbody condition should seek professional advice from a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions. No general advice provided here should be taken to replace or in any way contradict advice provided by a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions.

    The general advice and information provided in this format is for informational purposes only and cannot serve as a way to screen for, identify, or diagnose depression, anxiety, or other psychological conditions. If you feel you may be suffering from any of these conditions please contact a licensed mental health practitioner for an in-person consultation.

    Questions may be edited for brevity and/or readability.

  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    You're so right, Dan. I began having some pain in my right knee which I never had before.
    I immediately thought it was arthritis, because I will be 85 in June.
    Then I decided not to attribute the pain to arthritis and just made up my mind it was from TMS.
    It went away. I am confident I know the repressed emotions from my boyhood that gave me
    back pain. Those emotions can resurface when current things trigger them, and in my case
    they did.

    So, Guest, your spasms could very well be a return of TMS pain. There may still be repressed emotions
    you haven't brought to the surface yet. Doing the Structural Education Program would help you
    discover your repressed emotions. If you've already done the SEP, maybe do it again andd
    focus on the exercises that are most helpful to you.

    Good luck and keep believing 100 percent in TMS. And keep doing deep breathing.
  4. stayfit65

    stayfit65 Peer Supporter

    I have a dilemma...I am a fitness instructor and have known about TMS for about 3 years. Most of the time my back pain has been about a 2, but within the last month it went away for a week. I happened to be on vacation then! But when I came back all hell broke loose and I started having spasms during dead lifts. Now for over a week my low back is "catching" and hurting even when I'm not doing those activities. My question is should I rest or should I keep going despite the pain??? And is it OK to use heat, Epsom salts etc.? I love teaching but I can't just take 2 weeks off suddenly...they are counting on me. Do you think that is part of the issue? Thoughts appreciated. Thank you, Stayfit
  5. PamD

    PamD Peer Supporter

    Interesting that the pain went away while you were on vacation... That could be a typical TMS reaction. What type of stress did you return to? Sometimes we aren't aware of the stressors we face on a daily basis because they have become part of our "routine". It might be a good idea to try some journaling, just let it rip on a few pages to see what may be going on. I sometimes even ask my pain what it is trying to say. Have you read Dr. Sarno's books? He suggests journaling and as Walt said above believing 100 % in TMS. As always it is hard to say online what is going on and then sometimes a "medical diagnosis" might be needed but could tie us back into the belief in a diagnosis vs the belief that TMS is rearing it's head... Worrying about taking time off of work will only contribute to TMS. Take care of yourself in a way that makes you feel good, safe and nurtured.
  6. AndyG.

    AndyG. New Member

    Before learning about TMS, when I would have back spasms the pain would last for weeks at a time. I admit, I didn't do much therapy for the TMS other than reading the book, which helped tremendously, but the spasms returned. I had one 5 days ago, but I took Dr. Sarno's advice. I went out for a run today despite the pain and managed 12km, and now the pain is nearly gone.
    1.Don't panic. It's just a spasm and it'll be on it's way and gone in no time.
    2. Try to think about what's going on in your life that caused it to happen (Money issues, anger, fear, etc.). In your case, coming back from vacation could be the trigger.
    3. Rest for a day or two. Take a pain reliever/muscle relaxer and try heat to relax it. Ice isn't necessary since there is no injury or inflammation.
    4. Not being able to exercise can be tough if it's something you usually do. If you stress about not being able to, you'll only make it worse and the recovery time longer.
    5. You have to be over the fear 100%. I've noticed that my back spasms tend to happen when I'm mentally thinking about not hurting my back while doing a particular movement.

    I hope this helps!
  7. stayfit65

    stayfit65 Peer Supporter

    Thanks for the replies ! I used my pocket TENS unit yesterday and it feels better today. No class to teach today so I'm going to rest. Will be back on the spin bike tomorrow and Sat. I also decide that I am putting too much pressure on myself for the "perfect class." So I'm going to be kinder to myself and remember it's not about me, it's about helping others with their goals!

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