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TMS and the trigeminal nerve

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by jc777, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. jc777

    jc777 New Member

    Hello, This is my first post. I discovered this forum last Saturday. I consider this discovery most timely, as I've been pondering a TMS issue and eagerly solicit the feedback of all forum members. First, I need to set the stage, i.e., my TMS background.

    I've dealt with lower back pain for over 40-years. Last Sept, I encountered sciatic pain on the left side of one thigh. Pain like I'd never experienced before. The trigger was 'improperly' lifting a new 70-lb freezer. It was a bulky thing - made picking it up awkward. The next morning, I woke up with BIG sciatic pain. Soon I was ingesting 2400 to 3200 mgs Ibuprofen to quell the pain. I followed the standard protocol: orthopedic doctor exam, review of MRI [herniated discs, stenosis, degenerated discs = all 'causes' of sciatica]. My refusal to consider steroid injections led me to PT. The PT was functioned as a placebo. However, I soon became aware of several disconcerting things: 1) Robin McKenzie recommended extension exercises [selected by PT therapist]; 2) Paul Williams, MD recommended flexion exercises. These were direct opposites!; 3) I learned that if 100 folks with no back pain were treated to an MRI, approx 80 would exhibit 'problems' similar to mine. My placebo effect was rapidly wearing off.

    Then, a genuine God-send occurred - I discovered "Healing Back Pain." I knew THIS was the answer! The timing was perfect. I was primed for TMS. I also purchased "The Mind Body Prescription"; "The Divided Mind"; and Dr. Sopher's "To Be or Not To Be - Pain Free." I purchased Sarno's $100 DVD - and his 3 CDs on "Healing Back Pain." All this arrived by Feb 1st. You might be thinking this guy went "Whole Hog." I did. I'd discovered something that actually made sense. For 6-weeks, I've devoured Dr. Sarno's materials - literally all day long, 7 days a week for 6 weeks. I kept rotating and re-reading the three Sarno books. [Being retired made that easier]. By mid-February, all sciatica pain in my thigh had been eradicated. It worked just like Dr. Sarno said it would. I was/am a firm disciple of Dr. Sarno.

    Now, the reason for my post - and my earnest solicitation of the viewpoints of the forum members. I call your attention to page 88 of "The Mind Body Prescription." Dr. Sarno's comments on page 88 grabbed my attention in a big way. Following is an excerpt:

    [In Dr. Sarno's own words]: "A number of years ago I had an episode of dental nerve pain that could not be explained. After suffering it for a few months, I was looking at anatomical drawings of the nervous system with patients one day when I came upon a particularly vivid depiction of the nerve supply to the teeth, branches of the fifth nerve, and immediately wondered if the dental pain might be TMS of the trigeminal nerve. I concluded that it was - and the pain was gone in less than forty-eight hours. This is an example of the therapeutic power of awareness as will be described in Part III of this book."

    I had no difficulty in locking onto the reality of TMS and sciatic pain. There were thousands of documented cases in evidence. My conscious mind had ample leverage to issue orders to my unconscious mind. It amounted to a 'slam-dunk' 'case closed' issue. My unconscious mind capitulated. No more sciatic pain.

    TMS and the trigeminal nerve? My conscious mind is acutely aware of only one documented case, albeit Dr. Sarno himself. It's as though my unconscious mind is looking back at me with the question, "You expect me to take on my powerful unconscious counterpart with one documented case and expect him to rollover?"

    This is my dilemma. This is why I'm seeking all the forum feedback I can get. I need enough feedback to establish a healthy consensus of the reality {or lack thereof} of TMS and the trigeminal nerve. I need to know if I'm looking at a horse of a different color - or, just another example of the far-reaching TMS.

    More than two years ago, I bit on something hard. I felt something akin to a faint electrical 'bite' from a lower molar. Ever so often, when chewing I'd feel a 'twinge.' This twinge has come-and-gone for nearly 2½ years. Over time, the sensation has grown to discomfort/pain. You can well imagine, I Googled a great deal. What's been called 'cracked tooth syndrome' surfaced as a potential cause. More specifically, a below gumline crack. These are nearly impossible to detect. X-rays often will not reveal it. There's no evidence of a crack above the gumline. My regular dentist thumped, prodded and employed a 'bite-stick.' No pain nor evidence of a cracked tooth. I'm sure the dentist looks at me with a jaundiced eye - and is probably convinced I'm imagining things. Another dentist looked and poked and gave up. But as time passed, the discomfort has escalated. I can employ my own version of a bite-stick - no pain. There's pain only at times when chewing. Cold/hot normally doesn't effect. [this is a lower second molar - #31]

    To further add to the mix: about a month ago, I was scheduled for a teeth cleaning session {regular dentist's office}. In advance I requested the dentist 'check again' for evidence of a crack in #31. I let him know if he could confirm/strongly suspicion it was cracked - I wanted it extracted. [below gumline cracks are poor candidates percentage wise for root canal procedures]. The hygienist never said boo about seeing a crack. When she finished, the dentist prodded with dental pick {only}. He then remarked, "It's cracked - I can see and spread the crack with my dental pick." At which point, the hygienist appeared to agree. The dentist then recommended he install a crown on the molar to prevent the crack from spreading. I made an appointment for the procedure. After reflecting what/how everything unfolded, I canceled the appointment. End of talks with dentist.

    My take: I think he got tired of all the 'nonsense' and decided once and for all to bring this 30-month game to a close - and maybe sell a crown job in the process. IMHO, the whole scenario had a funny/phony ring to it.

    NOW, my query/dilemma: I'm 80-90% convinced this is TMS of the trigeminal nerve as described by Dr. Sarno on page 88. However, as we all know, 80-90% is 10% short of convinced. No worth-his-salt unconscious mind is going to rollover at the conscious mind's 90% positiveness. This requires 100% conviction. Currently, my results are varying - depending on the forcefulness of my conscious mind-set. I have observed one thing: whereas before the pattern was consistent - intermittent pain only when chewing. Now, there are times I experience hot/cold reactions and no chewing pain. According to Dr. Sarno, this reflects the unconscious is attempting to 'relocate' the pain - a good sign. I've elected to inform my unconscious mind {with vigor}, I refuse to be deceived by the tooth pain and am proceeding to ignore any and all counterfeit tooth pain. Heretofore, I obviously favored chewing on the left side of my mouth.

    This is why I'm seeking max feedback. If the forum consensus is, "Yes, it's just another example of TMS" - I can add the forum's consensus to my one documented case of TMS and the trigeminal nerve being responsible for my tooth pain. That will greatly raise my 'convinced' level towards the required 100%.

    If on the other hand, the consensus favors the 'horse of a different color,' I'd like to know that too.

    Based upon all the above, do you recommend I take the same approach as with the eradication of my sciatic leg pain? Should I give TMS the benefit of the doubt - refuse to accept the 'but what if the molar really is cracked' possibility? From my point of view, the hit-and-miss molar pain bears all the earmarks of TMS. It's just that little if any has been said or documented relative to TMS of the trigeminal nerve and the fifth cranial nerve.

    I apologize for the 'long read." It seemed necessary. Thanking you in advance for your response(s) ~ james

  2. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Hi James,

    I've cracked teeth before from grinding--the cracks were above the surface and easy to detect. I've also had headaches/neck pain including in the area you are talking about that were TMS.

    You could have the crown done for your peace of mind (although they are so expensive)! or maybe just ask the dentist if you can leave it until your next 6 month appointment and see if it clears up in the meantime as you continue to work on TMS.

    Glad you are recovered from the sciatica!

    ~ Veronica
  3. jc777

    jc777 New Member

    Hi Veronica,

    I'm discovering that replying to a post in this forum is different. They appear to circumvent the main forum. So be it. {Oops! They don't by-pass the forum. It only appeared that way ~ jc}

    I appreciate your reply. Yes, crowns are $$$ and draconian {especially when one questions the validity of the 'diagnosis'}. I'm still thinking the dentist was attempting to bring 'closure' to my 30-month tirade of a suspicioned invisible cracked molar. I've been a patient of this dentist for over 20 years. It's just that his 'off the wall' snap diagnosis had a tinny ring.

    So, yes, I do plan to employ Sarno's TMS 'cure.' ~ james
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi there James, and welcome to our support community - we're glad you found us! Just keep in mind that we're not medical professionals by any means (Me, I'm a tax accountant, taking a quick break to see what's new on the forum today).

    The think about teeth is that we use and abuse them for so many decades, and things really do go wrong with them. My parents always said that our teeth were designed to only last about 40 years, so if we intended to live longer than that, we needed to start taking care of them early in life:D I've got crowns on many of my molars, mostly due to small cracks from a lot of clenching (not grinding) when I was younger. I'm almost 62 now.

    Anyway, I do believe that there is such a thing as weird/phantom tooth pain. I was having some of that a few years ago, and my dentist couldn't find anything wrong, but he sent me to the endodontist for a second opinion. This endo had previously performed my one and only root canal, but after examining me with all of his specialized biting and poking and hot and cold testing devices, he felt there wasn't anything to be concerned about. My dentist performed a little bit of judicious grinding to improve my bite on the tooth in question, and we called it good - and I stopped having pain. Placebo? Possibly! But the truth is that there was a lot of value in that second opinion, so that's what I would recommend. Find someone young, from one of the better dental schools - the latest technology is worth it in dentistry!

  5. jc777

    jc777 New Member

    Hi Jan, I appreciate your comments. Interesting, you mentioned teeth clenching. Others have also mentioned clenching and grinding. Heretofore, it never occurred to me. I've always trusted my dentist - except for his recent 'out of character' diagnosis. It raised a red flag. Yes, I may give thought to obtaining a second opinion on the crack that suddenly became feelable/visible after more than two years of off/on inspecting. ~ james
  6. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    The Sarno quote that you mention is very curious. I tend to always try and be open that TMS is the cause. Of course not everything is TMS and, as Jan mentioned, we are not doctors. I do know that several TMS doctors mentioned that TMJ was in fact TMS, which makes me open to the idea that TMS can cause jaw and teeth issues. When you have TMS, especially when you first start out, your unconscious mind will create a wide variety of symptoms to trip you up. Your tooth pain could be this symptom imperative.

    As for the confidence issue, it is okay to be at 80-90% believe when you start out. If you think about it, the TMS approach is a fundamental shift in how you view your symptoms, so of course it takes a while for the message to sink in. It is your perfectionist personality that is demanding you to believe 100% right away as an attempt to make you give it up. Your unconscious mind wants you to think that since you don't believe 100%, you won't recover and this approach won't work for you. With the TMS personalty things are either right or wrong. You either believe in TMS 100% or you think it is total hogwash. Part of the treatment process is understanding that this black or white mentality is ridiculousness. Remember, having some doubts means that you are human.
    jc777 likes this.
  7. jc777

    jc777 New Member

    Hi Forest,

    Thanks for your reply. I'm {now} inclined to agree with you. At the time I posted, I was thinking you had to be operating at 100% - or, it wouldn't work. It's just that this foray into TMS/trigeminal nerve being responsible for my 2-year old tooth pain seems kinda remote from TMS/sciatica issues. Your reply is loaded with good sense. I will incorporate it into my thinking ~ james
  8. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member


    I agree with both Jan and Forest. First, get a second opinion. If your new dentist (who doesn't know you, and has no history with you) tells you there is nothing there, believe him. Stop. It's TMS.

    This is exactly what happened to me. I developed foot pain back in June. I went to one doctor after another, each of whom gave me a different diagnosis, none of which were right. I already owned Healing Back Pain and was a believer--I hadn't had any major back issues in awhile. My subconscious mind knew this and thus created pain in my foot, where I wouldn't connect it to TMS. It wasn't till November that I remembered TMS and wondered, could this be that? But at first I thought no, how could it? This wasn't in my back!

    It wasn't till January that I'd read enough here, and also become disillusioned with yet another diagnosis, to accept TMS. I still wasn't at 100% at all, but I was in enough to start the Structured Education Program.

    I am pretty much at 100% now. I see myself as having a typical TMS personality, and I can trace many aches and pains going back over the years that the doctors could find no reason for and that now I know were TMS. Tooth pain is one.

    Good luck on your journey!
    jc777 likes this.

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