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TMS explanations for back pain

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by pain78, Jul 20, 2018.

  1. pain78

    pain78 Newcomer

    Hello everyone,

    I'm new to this forum and I've been suffering from lower back pain since... almost 20 years maybe :( After a painful event in life a few years ago, many additional symptoms added up: pain in both hands and elbows among others (i.e. carpal tunnel), which is a problem for someone working in the software industry. It seems to me I'm a great candidate for TMS ;).

    I came across Dr Sarno's work and TMS approximately 2 years ago, read his book The Divided Mind, articles, watched his videos, and I'm currently reading Steve O's book etc. but I'm not healing :( Maybe because I'm not buying the entire story! Maybe because I need more than just books and stories. That's why I'd like to get your advise.

    While listening to Dr Sarno (like this interview), it's like no physical activity should ever produce pain! I know, I'm a bit extreme :). But what does he say to the lady in the interview: "Oh no, your pain is not from gardening". While I'm convinced that the mind plays so many tricks on us and is deeply involved in this process (especially in chronic pain like the one I have), I can't convince myself that the type of activity you have on a daily basis doesn't play a role in your pain. In his book, I think he mentions for instance that you don't need to pay attention on how you pick up something heavy. You'll know if it's too heavy for you: you simply won't be able to pick it up (something like that as far as I can remember). So explain to me then why weightlifters have this unique technique and use a belt in order not to injure themselves. I've recently watched on TV the soccer WW cup. From time to time players got injured, they needed massage, physical therapy, time off etc. Is it TMS? No, to me, it's simply that they overused or misused their body.

    So, how to differentiate? I'm currently in real pain after falling off badly while playing sports with the kids. Diagnosis from my Doctor: sciatica probably caused by L5-S1. No X-rays or MRI requested, as recommendation in my country is always to go with standard treatment first (pain killers, anti-inflammatory, physical therapy), before doing any scans. According to the TMS theory, I should (ideally) just convince myself it's not physical but in the mind and I would be cured without any treatment of any sorts (of course excluding cancer, infection and similar nasty things). But when I look at anatomy videos explaining sciatica for instance, it makes so much sense to me, considering the proximity of all those organs (bone/disc/muscle/nerves) that something is currently injured and inflamed in my body because of the accident and is the source of my acute pain (whatever it is: disc, muscle or bone spur pressing the nerve). What scientific proof really makes TMS practitioners state that all of this is wrong or very rare? Although suffering from back pain since many years, I've never experienced, cared or documented myself about sciatica before. And here I go, I hurt myself hitting strongly a concrete pole and wake up the next morning with excruciating pain. Should I really believe it's TMS or is it simply the shock I received?

    I also find denying RSI not very convincing. How can we expect from someone sitting 10 hours a day in front of a computer (that's my case) to not develop any kind of long-term damages? Is the human body really designed for such a position (everyday, years long) unless you have regular exercises outside work? My understanding from Sarno is that stretches, work out, yoga etc. It's all great, but you don't need it. I've also listened to Dr Schubiner's video and the only examples I'm always hearing for RSI is the one with old typewriter. I'm sorry to say I find this one example not very convincing either: the position of the hand was so different than with modern computers, with no pressure on the carpal ligament and the time we spend in front of those devices can't be compared IMHO. Finally, the only one I like is the story about whiplash, because there are real studies and comparison behind that with the case about Lithuania.

    As a conclusion and please don't take me wrongly, I'm not here to troll or discourage people, I would very much appreciate if you had any recommendation (additional reading, links to previous discussions, medical studies, videos etc.) that I could digest to convince myself and help me get rid of this chronic pain, as I'm truly convinced though (despite what I've just written) that the mind plays a big role in the process.

    Thank you very much :).
  2. pain78

    pain78 Newcomer

    I think I'm going to have to answer my own post as it seems a few folks already read my post but don't have any answer.
    I came across this interview from Dr Arlene Feinblatt. This woman is really amazing and I really enjoyed listening to her.
    What I liked in what she said is: "First get the proper diagnosis. Everything isn't in your mind, everything isn't in your body. There is a whole grey area".
    It makes a lot of sense to me.
  3. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    I'm such a Luddite when I do anything on my smart phone. So, I have the title, but not a link.

    Anyway, you have probably read this thread, but read it several times and also read Forrest's story. Let them convince you. You really are well and you can also feel well.

    Tendonitis" and "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome" in both wrists

  4. pain78

    pain78 Newcomer

    Thanks you Lizzy, it feels good to get support from the community ;). There are indeed great pointers.
  5. AnonymousNick

    AnonymousNick Peer Supporter

    I've had trouble here too, because I had lost a lot of hope of getting rid of this pain and discomfort, I kind of stopped taking care of myself, so I did have some weakened and/or tensed up muscles in addition to the TMS. Stretching, walking, running a little bit is important for me to clear away the other discomforts and find the actual chronic TMS pain. Then I can start to work on those issues. It becomes obvious when you've stretched/massaged your damn neck for hours and the pain (mine's more like a bad cramp) just won't go away, or even gets worse. It's even more confusing with my digestion, because it's a whole system of (very necessary!) involuntary contractions that don't always feel pleasant depending on what you've consumed. :) When I had real food poisoning, it was frightening, but my body worked just as it needed to and it felt very different from this nagging, insidious TMS stuff.
  6. pain78

    pain78 Newcomer

    Totally agree with you. I've started to meditate again on a regular basis, doing yoga, put less pressure on me and care more for myself. TMS and pain is kind of a vicious circle, but when you start acknowledging you have it, and when things start improving a little bit, you get hope and start (re)-doing these others things. It becomes a virtuous circle this time :).
    AnonymousNick likes this.
  7. HattieNC

    HattieNC Well known member

    Hi pain78,

    Please don't equate the lack of quick responses to members not caring. Like me, a lot of members probably don't check the Wiki on the weekends, plus those that have healed (or are considerably improved) are rejoicing in the ability to participate in travel and summer activities, and aren't spending a ton of time on their devices.

    Almost everyone with TMS goes through the questioning process, so you are not alone. Some for a short time, for others it's a longer process. My advice would be to go back through the posts written by the experienced contributors on this forum. You'll find them under the member's tab. Their combined wealth of TMS knowledge is remarkable. Most likely, you will find they have answered posts from newcomers that have the same questions you do.

    I view my journey with TMS as a a very individual process. You'll eventually find what works for you. For most of us it's a combination of different modalities: journaling, mindfulness, self-care, self-compassion, unlearning emotional repression, etc. I have to limit my time "working" on TMS to 1 hour or less per day or it will become an obsession. Actually, I don't view it as work since I find anything mindbody to be a fascinating topic.

    If I had to point to just a few things that have helped me the most with my own questions about physical/structural vs. emotional, it would be the time I spend listening to podcast recovery stories while getting ready for work in the morning, self-care routines, and finding "my voice" after decades of being too nice.

    By the way, please read my story. I've recovered from Carpal Tunnel (before they called it RSI) and also sciatica. I've spent almost 30 years working eight hours or more on a computer, and have no issues with pain while typing.
  8. pain78

    pain78 Newcomer

    Hi HattieNC,

    First, thanks a lot for your reply :) It's very much appreciated. Reading my post again, I realize it was not formulated in a smart way (hey, I'm not a native speaker ;)). I certainly won't dare to complain on this forum that people don't answer quickly enough. It's true that being in the software industry, I'm used to quick answers and fixes on forums :). But the human body is way more complex than a computer program isn't it? I know TMS cure can be a long journey, and I decided to start posting my findings, as I know some folks read my message already. Maybe it will help people too.

    I do agree with you that TMS is certainly a very individual process. I was very surprised for instance to notice that meditation was decreasing significantly my sciatica pain. I'm also finding more impactful to listen carefully to Sarno's lecture, although I get some frustration that he doesn't go deep enough into explaining why (e.g. "compressing a nerve doesn't cause pain': well... why? how did you come up with that? There are 1000 of entries about pinched and nerve entrapment on Google :)). There are too many evidences thrown that we should believe, and as a scientific person, I don't take things for granted ;). But I guess that's going to be my long and hard battle to cure myself: find all those explanation, so that I can be convinced on the points I'm currently not, and so that I can start healing.

    I'm definitely going to go read your story, especially if it involves Carpal Tunnel and sciatica. It's all me :)

    Again, thanks a lot for taking the time to answer.
  9. HattieNC

    HattieNC Well known member

  10. pain78

    pain78 Newcomer

    Thanks you so much HattieNC. It's indeed a great story and I didn't know Nicole Sachs. I'm going to watch her videos now ;).

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