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Derek S. TMS and vertigo/dizziness

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by Guest, Sep 7, 2014.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

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

    Hi I've been having dizziness and vertigo whenever I get stressed. I'm in the middle of trying to apply Dr Sarno's ideas but meanwhile it only seems to get worse. How do I know its definately TMS and how long will it take to go away?
  2. Derek Sapico MFT

    Derek Sapico MFT TMS Therapist

    Thanks for your question.

    Here are some thoughts:

    "I've been having dizziness and vertigo whenever I get stressed."

    Dizziness and vertigo are common manifestations of anxiety. If you are noticing a correlation between conscious stress and these symptoms, it is very likely that they are being caused by TMS and/or anxiety.

    "How do I know it's definitely TMS?"

    I would recommend seeing a TMS physician for a mind-body diagnosis. If you can't find one in your area, have a non-TMS physician rule out any structural causes for your symptoms. If you are told that your problem is rooted in anxiety, you can be fairly certain that you're dealing with TMS.

    "I'm in the middle of trying to apply Dr Sarno's ideas but meanwhile it only seems to get worse."

    This sounds like it could be extinction burst or symptom imperative. Often, when your unconscious mind realizes that you are trying to take away one of it's primary defense mechanisms, it will either amplify your existing symptoms or create new ones. This is a critical point in your recovery because if you are able to self-soothe and stay out of a fearful fight-or-flight state as much as possible, the symptoms will likely begin to subside. Stay the course and create safety for yourself via breathing, mindfulness, and self-talk.

    "How long will it take to go away?"

    This is different for everybody. For some people, symptoms can recede in a matter of weeks. For others it can be longer.

    Here are some tips that may help to accelerate your progress:

    -Practice self-compassion and do not engage in comparing your recovery with that of others. This will only create more fear.

    -Refrain from criticizing yourself for your recovery taking longer than you had hoped (if applicable).

    -Be relentless in your self-care and assertive in your resolve. This is one of the most important aspects of recovery and it takes practice. If you are struggling here, this is where working with a TMS therapist can be helpful.

    Keep it up and you will get there!


    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

    I've had some dizziness and vertigo and it's always when I'm upset or anxious about something.
    I just stop what I'm doing, sit down, breathe deeply, and let it pass.
    Claire Weekes says one of the best ways to deal with and stop anxiety is to "Let time pass."

    I also tell myself it is just a short sensation and not to worry about it. I don't think it is structural,
    just from TMS. A cup of hot milk helps at these times.
  4. wojtekn1974

    wojtekn1974 New Member

    OMG! I had the same thing happened to me. And the question whether this could be one of the manifestations of TMS did cross my mind. But since there was no pain involved I kind of brushed it off and went on with my life. These episodes of vertigo would usually happen at night when changing the position in bed. Since I became aware of the work of Dr. Sarno and faced the fear of returning pain (I initially suffered very extreme case of sciatic pain which in the end put me in operating room) I noticed that some symptoms (maybe not full blown sciatica nerve pain but more like muscle spasm in leg and foot) return. I'd refer to these symptoms as "my brain jumping from one body part to another". I was scared at first but with help of Dr. Sarno and his books I literally turn them off. The relief was UNBELIEVABLE! No pain killers. I simply learned to visualize certain images, relax etc. And it makes these short episodes of brain tantrums just go away on its own. It's a work in progress which means I still have some uncovering to do but at least now I got my life back (running, swimming, lifting or sitting for a long time) and I can do it on MY terms!
    Benjuwa likes this.
  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wijtekn, your story is great, very inspirational. You find that visualization helps so much in relieving pain.
    Keep discovering your repressed emotions to become more pain-free.
    You're active again! Wonderful!
  6. wojtekn1974

    wojtekn1974 New Member

    Yes, it was visualization that worked in my particular case. I'm an artist and what helped once I became aware of what's really going on was this one book I once read called "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" It pretty much had to do to with shutting down the left side of the brain and use only the right one when drawing an object. I won't get into detail of how it worked but I remembered using this technique to re-learn how to draw correctly by confusing part of the brain and eventually shutting it down. I was able to incorporate this technique with my struggle with nerve pain. I simply visualize my brain turned up side down and try to imagine the picture I receive to be upside down. It completely confuses my brain and keeps it occupied with this whole new idea of seeing the world up side down. It may sound sill but it works for me. I can almost feel the the oxygen rich blood flow being restored to every oxygen deprived nerve. And pain quickly going away. It's on of the ways I deal with TMS. Other times i take deep breaths, slow down, think spriritual thoughts, relax my muscles, stretch or pick up on of Dr Sarno's book.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2014
    Durga and Lavender like this.
  7. alexandra

    alexandra Peer Supporter

    I had severe vertigo coming back from a Mexico vacation after being virtually pain free while I was there. I ended up in the hospital from the panic attack that followed, I didn't know what was happening to me. Now I understand it was TMS. It was horrible and lasted 10 Days. Now I'm in a nerve pain relapse because I'm having a hard time believing my widespread nerve pain can be caused by TMS. My next book to read will be unlearn your pain and to visit a therapist who deals with phsycosomatic pain this friday.
  8. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ditto. Only my episodes of vertigo would occur when I quickly changed position in bed when I was waking up in the morning. I do notice that as the major manifestations of my TMS (lower lumbar pain, sciatica, ankle pain etc.) have subsided, these little episodes of vertigo seem to pop up from time to time. Seems to be part of TMS's strategy to frighten you and make you apprehensive about some uncertain future. Sounds like they do relate to anxiety, Wijtekn, doesn't it?
  9. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, Dr. Sarno says dizziness and vertigo are symptoms caused by TMS repressed emotions,
    from anxiety or worry. In bed, try turning positions slowly. Getting in and out of bed,
    try a gentle, low rolling motion. If you feel dizzy standing up, sit down again for a few minutes
    and do some deep breathing. Before going to bed and also at breakfast, a hot cup of milk is very relaxing.
  10. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    There are natural ways to deal from dizziness and vertigo... eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and
    fish and chicken, turkey, salmon. Drink more water. The very thought of eating healthy helps me to be positive and
    that reduces emotional stress that causes TMS.
  11. sybilla

    sybilla Peer Supporter

    I have had dizziness for many years. It flares up occasionally and i have accepted it due to my anxiety. However, i have a terrible TMJ flare up with tooth and jaw pain at the moment. I have been studyi ng my facial muscles which are extremely tense and all have trigger points. It feels quite hopeless to ever be able to relax them. One of them, the sternocleidomastoid runs along the neck and actially does not have to feel tense but can give trigger points like pain on top of head, over the eye, across cheek, back of tongue and DIZZINESS caused by movement and disturbed balance. I am in doubt now. Is the answer tight muscles due to anxiety which gives me dizziness. But my muscles are tight all the time. However only occasional dizziness. I just want to understand the mecanisme but maybe that is impossible if it comes to TMS.
  12. Lavender

    Lavender Well known member

    I used to love that book. Maybe I will check it out of the library and apply that. Thanks for sharing!
  13. Beastmode

    Beastmode Newcomer

    Have you we
  14. Beastmode

    Beastmode Newcomer

    Have you seen a therapist for bppv maybe I was dizzy for two months no one could find anything finally vestibular specialist fixed me give it a try
  15. gabrield

    gabrield Newcomer

    just as another option... my daughter had vertigo for years, almost on a weekly basis. In her case, it took a few sessions with a good chiropractic.
  16. Durga

    Durga Peer Supporter

    Wow! Thank you for sharing this. Will check out the book, very inspiring!

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