1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Our TMS drop-in chat is tomorrow (Saturday) from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern (***NOTE*** now on US Daylight Time). It's a great way to get quick and interactive peer support, with JanAtheCPA as your host. Look for the red Chat flag on top of the menu bar!

TMS Doctors

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Explorer, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. Explorer

    Explorer Well known member

    Can someone please tell me what TMS doctors do? I had an appointmentan hour away from my house with a TMS doc on this site. He said that he gives his TMS patients Sarno's book and if they don't recover after a few reads they are not really TMS patients and he provides treatment.

    I am a little confused. With TMS isn't one supposed to move away from treatments of various types? He also said he's only had 2 success stories with folks just reading the book. Most TMS'ers have gone to extremes with docs, MRI's etc and there is no structural issue. So that's a low number.

    I am going to cancel my appointment. I think it could do great harm for someone to see a doc who BELIEVES they have TMS, which is the hard part, only to have a doc turn around and say that it's something else and the viscious cycle starts all over again.

    Many, many people recover from the book, journaling and theraphy. I already feel so much less pain and it's only been one week! I do have a long way to go and I am not getting attacched to the outcome.

    Thanks for listening!
  2. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Hi Susan,

    I think I get what your doctor is saying--people who read Sarno a few times and don't want to accept they have TMS will not be open to treating TMS. They will have to go for things that temporarily take away the pain or are placebos. You have read Sarno and believe in TMS so maybe you are just looking for validation of that? That was why I saw a TMS doctor.

    I have a TMS doctor and he's great! I found out about TMS back in January and then found this website and started doing the structured ed program. I had already seen numerous other doctors who had diagnosed me with benign conditions like TMJ disorder, chronic tension headaches, anxiety disorder, plantar fasciitis, posterior tibialis disease (sooooo many diagnoses!!) Though I read the Sarno books and thought TMS sounded like me, I felt it would be helpful for me to hear an official diagnosis from a doctor.

    My TMS doctor, Dr. Martinez, is a physiatrist who treats a lot of conditions, not just TMS, so I knew if I had something else besides TMS he would be able to tell me. I emailed him to say I found him on the TMS wiki and that I wanted to come in for an appointment about TMS.

    Our appointment was pretty much like what Sarno describes in his books--Dr. M. spent about 1 1/2 hours with me talking about TMS, personality traits, what was going on in my life, childhood, etc. and then also pressing on some of the points Sarno describes that are usually sensitive in people with TMS (most of them were sensitive on me). I have one foot that very noticeably turns in and then was supposedly related to the leg pain, but he thought that even though I have a lot of "torsion" there that wouldn't be enough to cause pain like what I had been having.

    It reassured me to hear that the conditions I had all fell under TMS, and to hear that from a doctor that treats TMS and also other conditions.

    Dr. Martinez told me to call if I had any different symptoms pop up. That did happen a few times and we would usually just talk about it on the phone and he'd tell me it sounded like more TMS and just to come in if it didn't improve or got worse. Any new symptoms were TMS too and went away pretty quickly so I have only seen him that one time.

    A lot of people don't have a TMS doctor near them and just have a primary care doctor rule out more serious conditions and then treat TMS on their own. I don't think you have to go to a TMS doctor, but for me this really did help a lot.

    ~ Veronica
  3. Explorer

    Explorer Well known member

    Thanks Veronica. This was a medical doctor working at a pain center, not a therapist. I am working with a therapist as well but he is not trained in TMS. All that said we have a good relationship so I will give it a try.

    So this doc provide medical treatment if the book does not work.

    Do folks who have TMS see medical docs as well for treatment if the book doesn't work. I thought if it's TMS you stop all treatments to get well....
  4. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    My TMS doc is a physiatrist (not a psychiatrist :) ) -- I have a separate person for TMS therapy who is also great.

    I don't really have any "treatments" from my TMS doctor, it was more of an assessment to determine that I did have TMS and knowing that I can check in with him if I have new symptoms and I want to make sure they are just TMS and not some other condition.
  5. Explorer

    Explorer Well known member

    Ha Ha. Sorry :) I went to a physiatrist. He told me he didn't know why I had the pain in the facia but did not know about TMS. Maybe I can find of of those in my area. Although that said, I have cancelled all my doctors appts given I now know it's TMS.

    Thanks for getting back to me!
  6. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    Susan, are you sure that doctor said that to you? That doesn't sound right, hopefully you heard him wrong. If he did say that he's not a TMS doc and should be removed from the list here. If he said that, he doesn't understand TMS. But it sounds more likely that you heard it wrong, or typed it wrong here.

    You are correct. If it's diagnosed as TMS, then you move away from all other forms of treatment. You also don't have a set number of times to read Dr. Sarno's books and then flip back over to allopathic measures. If you're diagnosed with TMS, which only an MD can do, and if it doesn't work after a few readings, then you go to a therapist to dig deeper. You don't bounce back and forth between TMS and allopathic.

    Also, it's very rare to just "read" and heal. Dr. Sarno regretted even mentioning that. As the years passed he realized it was not helpful to say how people read and heal because it's so extremely rare. This puts great pressure, and then guilt, onto people who read and don't heal, thinking they have somehow failed in the process--when they have not.

    If you just discovered TMS, then you're lucky, but there is much to learn. You're asking all the right questions though. It's always cool to see someone come in new again; digging for answers.

    Be well, and don't push to heal. You don't try to heal, you simply allow it to happen. The harder you try to heal the more you can setback healing because "trying" implies body-monitoring, which is very bad. It's often paradoxical.

    Grateful17 likes this.
  7. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    Hmmmm. That is not what Dr. Sarno would say. Many people don't recover after a few reads; that doesn't mean they don't have TMS.

    Also, please keep in mind you can have a structural issue as shown on an MRI (I do--herniated discs) but that does not mean the pain I was having was due to this "normal abnormality".
  8. Explorer

    Explorer Well known member

    Hi Lori:

    I heard that from Steve as well. I too have a herniated disc and only had a painful bout with it once or twice.
  9. Explorer

    Explorer Well known member


    I am pretty sure I heard the doctor correctly. I can forward you the e-mail thread if you like and you can decide for yourself.

    And as for healing, I feel as I am getting "a little" better every day. Learning about TMS has given me hope and I am the classic worrier, perfectionist, people pleaser. I try not to push to heal, but sometimes I have trouble not feeling for the pain and then evaluating where I am. Versus going back to emotional issues.

    Today I thought - wow the pain is getting better. You can get back to your life. Then I thought - well what is your life you've been consumed with pain for months. Kinda makes me feel a little lost, but gradually I am getting back to doing the things I enjoy and really being present.

    Have a great day!
  10. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    Susan, you got it already! I would expect nothing less from an engineer. Choo choo! Feeling "lost" and consumed by a life that has run out of direction is a major factor in pain. The pain tells you that you're unhappy because, due to ego, you cannot openly admit it. The pain is the deeper self expressing what you yourself can't say, don't know how to say, or won't say. Pain is the virtual language of the unconscious mind. It's expressing one of what I called the 4 bigees: rage, frustration, fear, or resentment.

    Females are far more adept at seeing this within themselves than males. They are much more likely to go directly to these emotions as sources of their physical symptoms, and not only admit it, but embrace it as part of who they are. For cultural reasons, men in most societies, are taught that it's a weakness to "feel" and therefore have some form of alexythemia.

    Women appear to be more in-tune with their entire self. But it's all relevant since they experience fibromyalgia at a rate of about 10:1 over men, due to these same traits of attunement.

    Can you send me exactly what that TMS doc told you?

    This is how the "process" works in a typical person. The person finds out about TMS and they get a bump in improvement from the good news only, that they're ok physically. Then they fall back after that initial bump because the reason for their pain is still there. Nothing has been learned, nothing in their lives has changed, the thinking patterns that got them there still exist.

    A rare and lucky few heal once they know they're ok. That's because that's all you really need to know. But some people need more, or demand more. They pick and parse and desire to microscopically dissect the process. Why? Because this focusing on the minutia allows them to avoid the emotional pain once again. The "looking for answers" now becomes their TMS, their distraction-- a new way of avoidance.

    So you can skip all the details you're about to bring down upon yourself and just heal, or you can parse out the healing into fine details. The second is the normal option, most likely because it's needed as a safety net and more psychologically safer than avoiding the undertones. Like I said, there is something that needs to be expressed, and it should be expressed if possible. So there's no right or wrong way, only a necessary way.

    Good luck
  11. Explorer

    Explorer Well known member

    Hi Steve:

    I am sure my pain is the result of anger. I have a long laundry list. :) It's mainly related to family. I am doing insight-oriented theraphy now, however, like you said, I don't plan in refreshing every childhood memory. For me it's more about understanding who I am and how I got where I am today. Then avoiding those thought patterns in the future.

    Folks tell me that getting the nerve pain I have is a gift and it will make me a better person. I believe it already has. I am much calmer, my relationship with my kids and husband are great and I refuse to beat myself up about anything.

    So I've read Sarno's book twice, skipping around the second time and I get TMS. More importantly, I have it. The one thing I am curious about is the fact that Sarno talks about depression and anxiety as the same kind of distraction as, say back pain, for example. I find it interesting that a lot of folks say anxiety precipatated their TMS or that they have a GAD. It's also noted that people with chronic pain suffer higher levels of depression because of the pain.

    So does the anxiety lead to TMI. In my case it did. There was a direct connection. I also know that we people pleasers, perfectionist tend to have more anxiety because we are alway anticipating a certain outcome.

    That said, I don't believe all people with TMS and long term chronic pain have anxiety and depression. The number is likely pretty high though.

    I am happy that I am healing already. Of course TMS has now thrown in tension headaches as if the nerve pain is not a distraction enough. I also did a good bit of walking today. Then I put on jeans which I've been avoiding because they hurt where I have the nerve pain.

    Still haven't gotten your book. Thought for sure I'd have it by today. Maybe tomorrow.....

    As for the TMS doc. Is your e-mail on the site anywhere?

    And are you sure you are an engineer, I don't see any spelling errors in your posts. :D

    Have a good night!
  12. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

  13. Peter Zafirides

    Peter Zafirides Physician


    This approach is absolutely not representative of the way we, as TMS physicians, approach treatment. Not getting relief from reading Dr. Sarno's book is hardly the "litmus test" as to whether someone has TMS or not.

    It was rather upsetting to read your post describing the experience with this doctor - especially if he is a "TMS doc on this site" as you stated. To me, the experience you describe tells me more about the doctor's personal doubts regarding TMS theory than it does your diagnosis.

    You have begun to feel better. This is all that matters. Keep moving forward. Be kind and compassionate to yourself. And remember to forgive - yourself (most importantly) and others. This is so critical.

    As I have said before, Forgiveness is triumph over Anger.

    Or put another way, Forgiveness is Anger's Kryptonite!!

    Dr. Z

    PS: If you feel comfortable in forwarding that email to me as well, I would greatly appreciate it. That approach is simply not representative of what we are trying to accomplish as TMS-doctors. You can send it to peter@thehealthymind.com
  14. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I apologize that you had a bad experience when you went to see a TMS physician that you found on our list. I removed that MD from our list about a week ago because of the concerns that you raised.

    Before our list was created, there were roughly five lists of TMS practitioners on the internet. If I remember correctly, each list had between 5 and 50 practitioners. We created our list by combining information from all of those lists so that people could have a single place to go where they could find all known practitioners who would at least respectfully discuss the idea of TMS with you. Someone could go to one of those old, infrequently updated lists, and not know that there were other practitioners much closer to them. A friend of mine complained that it took her almost a year to get a UK practitioner on the largest of the old sites. Through regularly updating our list (several of them contact us regularly to update their info), we now have 107 practitioners from 27 states and 5 countries.

    Before adding the doctor you saw to our list, we found him on the following lists:
    • Tar Pit Yoga
    • DefeatChronicPain.com
    • Howard Schubiner's list
    In general, we don’t have the resources to surveil all 107 practitioners out there. As a result, our philosophy is to provide as much information as possible and to let the prospective patient decide who would be a good match. However, this case seemed like an appropriate place to exercise discretion.

    I think that this thread shows the important role that training authorities such as the PPD Association and SIRPA have. Whereas we are a loosely affiliated network of peers, trying to share our experiences and views in a respectful manner, the PPD Association and SIRPA, as organizations of practitioners that train and hold conferences, they will need to develop the resources to train and monitor practitioners, based on their conceptions of how to treat TMS (or PPD or Stress Illness). I see the Peer Network’s job as being to bring that information together with other sources of information so that the peer can make their own choice.

    In addition, Dr. Sarno has a list of physicians that he used when recommending people. We have that list and I would very much like to mark those practitioners that Dr. Sarno referred to with a special colorful logo. I don’t feel comfortable doing so without his permission, though, and I haven't yet had a chance to contact him. It's quite intimidating to write the man!

    To increase the amount of information available, we also created the TMS Practitioner Survey Project. Here is Dr. Rashbaum's survey (an excellent TMS Dr., to whom Dr. Sarno's trusted psychologists now refer patients):
    For about a year now, I haven't been willing to add a new person to the list unless they have completed the survey. I think that the survey contains valuable information that helps people to make a decision regarding whether a given practitioner would be appropriate for them.

    Bottom line, for anyone reading this, when seeing a practitioner, always gather as much information as you can to ensure that their treatment philosophy matches your own. Even when there are more training authorities that certify TMS/PPD/SI practitioners, practitioners change and you will always need to do your homework.
  15. Explorer

    Explorer Well known member

    Hi Forest:
    No worries at all. I ended up canceling my appointment after a frustrating e-mail dialog. I have found a TMS Psych who studied with Sarno and he gave me the name of a TMS doc as well. It's quite a hike, but I am sure it will be well worth it.

  16. Marcoinpain

    Marcoinpain New Member


Share This Page