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TMS and muscle weakness related symptoms?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Shajarcito, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. Shajarcito

    Shajarcito Peer Supporter

    Hello everyone,

    I'm familiar with Sarno's ideas and had already read his first book on chronic pain. In my earlier posts, several months ago, I have described my symptoms in details. So here I would rather mention the core issues.

    I'm a 35 years old guy, suffering from extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, anxiety (and particularly health anxiety), upper back pain, chest, and shoulders pain for almost one year, yet the specialists don't know what I have. Some suspect CFS or Fibromyalgia while noting my case is not typical.

    I have the TMS personality and I'm struggling with a lot of frustration due to my chronic condition. Most of the repressed anger raised as a result of my chronic condition itself – I miss to the person I used to be before , and I'm not pleased with the way my parents and friend treat me. I'm trying to work on it through writing sessions and with my psychologist, with no much success.

    The symptoms also changed. They became a little different lately: from pain related symptoms to muscle weakness related symptoms (though still with some pain and especially stiffness in the upper back and shoulders). Specifically, I feel some general progression in my condition as my breathing became more difficult, I have swallowing problems (not something serious, just it feels like the food is hardly going down through my esophagus), I feel cramps in certain limbs or muscle twitching from time to time, and I cannot raise my arms for more than several seconds. It is hard for me to lift objects as well. I may also have the Carpel syndrome in my right hand – I could not lean on it at all, cause it hearts (or weak?).. I did many lab tests and scans and suppose to do another EMG test in the next month, on behalf of my Neurologist. For now she assumes it is "only" fibromyalgia but still sent me to more tests to rule out more serious conditions.

    The thing is that I'm afraid of some terrible muscle illnesses (ALS, Pompe, MG, Myositis and more) as the source of my symptoms. Sarno said that we have to rule out serious conditions first, but these diseases are usually diagnosed clinically after long long time, and as a result of elimination of many other conditions.. This is a long and debilitating process.. In the meanwhile I cannot take this possibility out of my head, and this makes my symptoms worst. It is not, however, a structural abnormality that freaks me out. It is rather the ongoing weakness of my muscles that represent, in my mind, certain serious diseases.

    This is something less discussed here than pain related "abnormailities", so I would like to consult with you about it. Could progression in muscle weakness could be psychosomatic or as part of TMS? How can I stop worrying about that and be sure that this is TMS related?

    Of-course, If I would feel better for more than just few hours or so, it could be a sign for me that this is Tms. However, the more my condition becomes worst the less faith I have in the possibility of Tms. Is there is any relevant success story or a specific tool for my condition?
  2. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I had muscle weakness, diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome, bad EMG test, swelling, pain, cramps and more. It is all gone. It was pure TMS. You can look up my post under Success Stories. To stop worrying, you need to go through the same process all of us who succeeded went through.

    You are in the right place. Search this site, read, absorb, listen and believe us. You will get better. It took me 2 years, but it may take a month or 3 years - nobody can predict. I came out of my TMS being a stronger and better person than I was before. Best of luck to you, and be patient and open-minded!
    wonder2021 likes this.
  3. jimmylaw9

    jimmylaw9 Peer Supporter

    Hi TG your reply and story were just what I needed to read this morning thank you. I have had several TMS symptoms and lots of help on this site.

    I have fully accepted it’s TMS. I can specifically relate to the muscle weakness.

    My own take on that, and for all my own TMS symptoms is basically it’s all Fatigue. The Fatigue is brought on by stress and anxiety re life situations and reactions thereto either consciously or unconsciously.

    You can work on the conscious stuff directly reducing stress getting out of the situation you can’t control etc but if it’s unconscious you will be unaware of what it is. To defeat this it’s doing things like rest relaxation journaling being good to yourself meditation etc back to activities.

    Eventually doing the above combo your fatigue will get better and consequently so will your symptoms.

    But regardless it is all fatigue initially imo.

    Tomorrow I’m going to play golf for the first time in 8 months. I’m scared because of my symptoms but I’m going anyway. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

    Good luck in healing
    Tennis Tom and TG957 like this.
  4. Shajarcito

    Shajarcito Peer Supporter

    Thanks for the support,
    I hope I could eventually believe in TMS and reject the illnesses from my shelf.
  5. grapefruit

    grapefruit Peer Supporter

    Yes I had extreme muscles weakness, could not lift my foot higher than 12 inches off the ground. That completely disappeared after reading Sarno. Even after being bedridden for 6 weeks, I could lift my leg as high as I wanted.
    TG957 likes this.
  6. Shajarcito

    Shajarcito Peer Supporter

    good to know!
    Reading his book did not help me yet..
    Which book did you read?
    Is there any reference to some detailed tms explanation for muscle weakness and not pain?
    It would be great
  7. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    You can read mine, it is on Amazon, as cheap as Amazon allowed me to go. My worst symptom (one of many others) was dystonia, which is muscle dysfunction. It was in fact hypertension, but doctors had told me that I had weakness, my guess is because they did not know how to measure hypertension and saw that it took me a great effort to move my hands. Judging by everything you posted, you have TMS. TMS can cause all kinds of cramps, muscular issues and what they call movement disorders. Your changing symptoms another very typical scenario. I will be more than happy to answer your questions.

  8. grapefruit

    grapefruit Peer Supporter

    I read all of them. Muscle weakness is from lack of blood and oxygen flow to the muscles - TMS. Sarno talks about muscle weakness in his books.

    Think about it - when your muscles are warmed up (which means increased blood flow), they can stretch farther.
    Shajarcito likes this.
  9. Shajarcito

    Shajarcito Peer Supporter

    Thank you for this,
    Its really encouraging to read such relevant success story.
    I bought your book in paper version now!
  10. HappyLittleClouds

    HappyLittleClouds Peer Supporter

    A pattern of progressively getting worse is definitely something many TMS patients experience. In addition, symptoms changing, evolving, or moving around is common. This doesn't imply you have a progressive disease. Personally, over the course of my life, I've experienced chronic pain, GERD, IBS, anxiety, panic attacks, muscle weakness, orthostatic intolerance, dizziness, and chronic fatigue. When each one came on, I thought some new illness was upon me, because they seemed so unrelated. It's only many years later that I can look back and see how they all have a common cause.

    While there are some people who can get better in days or weeks and then stay better, for most people, it's a long journey back to wellness, with ups and downs along the way. Sometimes a "down" period may last for a while and make you question whether you can really get better. But just remember, even an illness with psychosomatic origins may take a long time to heal. You are working with a nervous system that has been wired over the course of your life time - it needs a lot of time, compassion, and patience.

    Have you tried any treatment programs? You may need the support of a program or a TMS practitioner, rather than just reading books, so you can do specific exercises to help retrain your brain.

    If you are working with a neurologist, it sounds like you already have had pretty comprehensive testing. If so, the good news is that the likelihood that you have a serious undetected disease is rather low. And mind-body syndromes -- which can cause severe neurological symptoms of all kinds including muscle weakness -- are completely curable. Try to focus on that hope.

    Furthermore, consider the rare possibility that you might have a serious disease, either now or in the future. Many people live very full, happy lives who get terrible diseases. Even with such a disease, your mindset and the way you view your situation still plays a major role in your well-being. So try to practice mindfulness techniques that will help you come back to the present. Instead of focusing on what you can't do, and how it might get worse in the future, focus on what you can do in the present.

    I think if you really examine your worries, you will realize that they are completely unhelpful, even in the unlikely possibility that you have or will get a serious disease. It's okay -- we've all been there. It's totally natural to worry. But don't let your life pass you by while you consider what might happen in the future. Recognizing that these kinds of thoughts may not be helping you is the first step to change.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
    Mars497@, Shajarcito and TG957 like this.
  11. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you! My story is a good example how a worried mind turned a small problem into a serious, debilitiating condition. The more you worry about ALS or MS, the more likely your mind will generate symptoms that would strengthen your worry. It is a trap. Do not go there!
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
  12. Shajarcito

    Shajarcito Peer Supporter

    Thanks for your detailed, thorough encouraging overview!
    This helps me a lot.
    I did some of the structured TMS program here but was not as persistent as I may should be.

    As I mentioned in my post, I'm not a regular TMS patient but rather hypochondria
    so the fight between the two explanations (TMS vs. terrible disease) is harder for me.
    Therefore, relating to your ideas, I think I should focus more on moving up with life anyway (which is also difficult of-course)
    rather than trying to convince myself that I have TMS and not terrible illnesses.
    I may need to give less attention to my symptoms
    instead of trying to search for repressed emotions underlying them.
    In other words, instead of "thinking psychologically" I should less think at all..
    Specifically, it seems that I need to do more regular "normal" things than journaling about my anger.

    It is true that TMS personality by itself embodies some degree of health anxiety,
    but actual hypochondria is still another level of worrying..
    I believe I'm 4 times more anxious about my health than most TMS sufferers
    so the worry will always wait for me at the corner - no matter how much I would try to rewire my brain.
    Its part of my personality.
    I can only try to reduce this to some extent and fill up my life with better experiences.
    Thanks once again
    U helped me a lot
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
  13. Shajarcito

    Shajarcito Peer Supporter

    I know, and I try not to fall into the trap but it is a very difficult task for me-
    See my response to HappyLittleClouds
  14. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I found meditation being a powerful tool to calm my worries. It is the best medicine for the sensitive nervous system.
    Shajarcito likes this.
  15. HappyLittleClouds

    HappyLittleClouds Peer Supporter

    So glad I could help! I agree, it is better to focus on the things you enjoy most in life, and seeing the good in the present moment. However, journaling and cognitive exercises can really help give you the tools to do that. I would still recommend finding time to work regularly on the program of your choice. Personally, I am using the Curable app program, and do one new writing or brain training exercise per week, while doing a guided meditation daily each morning. However, it's important to avoid falling into the trap of overdoing your recovery efforts (obsessing over it, going through the programs too fast without giving it time to sink in and repeating exercises, stressing out over whether you're doing it "right").

    About your hypochondria - I also suffer from severe anxiety (panic disorder with agoraphobia - fear of leaving my house). I don't think I have full-blown hypochondria, but I certainly have pretty strong health anxiety, and it has taken years for me to work on that. Some things that help me are to reduce or eliminate my online research about symptoms and diseases, and other health anxiety behaviors. I know it's really difficult when you feel like so many things are unexplained. But you need to give this mind-body approach a chance to make a difference. If you are spending a lot of time exposing yourself to new possible symptoms and conditions, and overanalyzing your bodily symptoms, you're making it a lot harder for your brain to feel safe.

    If this seems impossible, just remember, EVEN in the worse-case scenario, spending lots of time obsessing is not going to help you. Giving yourself some "time off" will not hurt you at all, and on the contrary, will certainly improve your well-being. Choose a small, achievable concrete goal based on your current behavior. If you obsess over symptoms most of the day, allow yourself only 1 timed hr to do it. Or if you do it 4 days a week, you could allow only 1 day. When you're ready, you could take a complete break for a week or a month and see how you feel.

    When you're taking a "break" from your research and thoughts over symptoms and diseases, it's one thing to control your googling behavior, and another to stop the thoughts. Stopping thoughts is a lot harder. It's like saying "don't think of a pink elephant." Instead, you have to choose positive things to distract you. You can read mind-body books, do your mind-body program, and limit your forum visits to this forum only. More importantly, you can engage in proven ways to improve your health like exercise, breathing exercises, laughter, restful sleep, and taking care of your social relationships. If you must be obsessed about your health, redirect your energy to helpful things only. Again, if this seems impossible, you can just do it for a set amount of time that seems achievable. As you start to see some benefits, you will become more willing to set bigger and bigger goals.

    Here are some health anxiety behaviors I used to do obsessively on a regular basis that I have gradually reduced: checking my blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature, checking my symptoms and obsessing over any worsening from yesterday, googling frantically and spending hours daily reading forums and other questionable sources, reading all documentation for the meds I was taking to check for side effects, combing through all the stats measured in my fitness tracker to see changes over time. Those are just a sampling but I think you'll see I definitely have health anxiety. I started noticing how these behaviors harmed me, when I was hospitalized and every time they told me my blood pressure, I felt even worse after hearing it (it was much higher than normal for me, so every time I heard it, I felt a surge of anxiety). Eventually I told the nurses not to tell me, and it really helped. Overall, it has really helped me to reduce and even eliminate many of these behaviors.

    In summary, I don't think you should resign yourself to these thoughts and behaviors just because you have received a diagnosis of hypochondria. Hypochondria is a type of anxiety, and like all anxieties, there are treatments and ways you can improve your outlook with it over time. It may be hard to believe it's possible to change, when it seems to you to be an integral part of your personality. But you are not alone and positive change is definitely possible.

    Good luck and please don't hesitate to ask questions if you think of any more!
    Shajarcito likes this.
  16. Shajarcito

    Shajarcito Peer Supporter

    Thanks again,
    This would really help me to deal with my condition.
    The only problem with some of the suggested techniques is that exercise makes my symptoms worst.
    It feels like anemia or some heart disease (though I don't have these).
    Exercise makes me hunger to air and my chest becomes tighter,
    as well as muscle soreness and cramps.
    I also feel more dizzy after exercising as I don't get enough air into my head..
    This is also a bad sign for me that it could be muscle disease..
    I do some gentle walking for no more than 20 min. a day, on a plato surface.
    This is the only exercise I could do.
  17. jimmylaw9

    jimmylaw9 Peer Supporter

    It’s Fatigue. I played golf see my post above for the first time in eight months. Was almost chucking it on way round as legs muscles were sore weak back felt as if it were about to snap and after shower couldn’t put on my shoes.
    After dinner had my first few glasses of wine for months and got chatting in company.
    When I got home suddenly for first time in about a year and half I felt no back pain. This continued for the next day. I felt so emotional.
    On Monday it came back and I felt so tired fatigued but I now have the evidence and belief it is conditioning I just need to do the work. It’s sore n scary but it is TMS.
    Shajarcito, TG957 and grapefruit like this.
  18. HappyLittleClouds

    HappyLittleClouds Peer Supporter

    Please understand that "exercise" looks different for different people. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome too, and at my worst, I was completely bedridden - could not even sit upright, let alone stand or walk due to severe muscle weakness and light-headedness (and I am 29 years old). It has taken me years to get from that to where I am now, able to walk short distances (not even 20 minutes like you, but it's a great improvement for me). Before I hit rock bottom, I would try to "exercise" the way I was used to (trying to jog, push myself to sweat, etc), and it just made me worse and worse. I would panic and just try harder. Any over-exertion would set me back for weeks. Only when I focused on very small steps did I get any better.

    At the beginning, "exercise" was practicing pointing my toes in bed, lifting my arms or legs, or turning my body over. Over many months it went from bed exercises to sitting exercises to gentle standing/walking exercises. I used a wheelchair for many months. This kind of change does not happen over night! You shouldn't force yourself to make a radical change. It's all about the small steps. If you're able to do gentle walking for 20 minutes a day, try increasing it just a tiny bit. Or perhaps do some very easy strength exercises. If you are very weak like I was, you would not even need any equipment. Search youtube for "low impact chair exercise." Maybe try gentle water exercise. Don't push yourself into exhaustion - be gentle and take breaks. Exercise is not an all-or-nothing thing.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  19. Shajarcito

    Shajarcito Peer Supporter

    Yes of-course, exercising is a totally subjective experience.
    Good for you for the improvement,
    it seems that your motor challenges were indeed rougher than mines.
    Officially I have CFS/ME diagnosis but the doc that gave it too me wasn't that sure, as he said.
    As we discussed earlier I'm afraid from progressive illnesses that can make the same symptoms.
    For now for example I feel so bad, hardly breath, nauseous with strong chest and neck pain.
    I'm so exhausted from visiting the emergency room, though, usually ending up with no significant results..
    Its not a panic attack (sometimes I experience those as well) but rather continuous symptoms that become worst and worst lately.
    I'm so afraid and feel crap,
    I just wanna feel better.. :/
    nowa and HappyLittleClouds like this.
  20. HappyLittleClouds

    HappyLittleClouds Peer Supporter

    So sorry you feel that way. You are not alone - we are all in this together! I experience all those symptoms too and was in the hospital so many times. It's totally understandable to feel really sick and tired of being sick and tired. It is the worst. I wish you hope and strength to find your path to recovery!
    nowa and Shajarcito like this.

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