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

TMS + Running

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by runningyogi, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. runningyogi

    runningyogi New Member

    Hi everyone!

    I am new here, and I hope I am posting this in the right place. I wanted to post a little bit about the TMS symptoms I have been dealing with, in hopes other runners/yogis/athletes can relate and we can help each other.

    I am a 31-year-old competitive recreational runner. I have been running for 8 years. I have a history of tendon pain (Sever's disease, plantar fasciitis), also shin splints, hip pain/tightness and pain at the back of my knee. All of those symptoms resolved and never returned - except for the hamstring pain at the back of my knee.

    Last year, my life completely unraveled. Completely. I was devastated by the results of the American election. During the campaign season, I had to come to terms with my abusive childhood and the fact that my mother is basically the female Donald Trump. I had held her in high esteem my whole life because she is a bully and I was afraid of losing her approval. But I had to cut her off, because her fascist fanaticism spun completely out of control. I finally saw her for who she is and that person is so very ugly to me.

    During this time, I experienced pain at the site of an old hamstring pull in the back of my right knee. I kept running, but I stopped racing and I slowed my training pace considerably. It was the dead of winter and so cold and I was just alone and hurting and miserable. I tried all the conservative treatments that always worked before (stretching, ART), but I seemed trapped in the pain cycle. I finally gave in and went to see an ortho. My MRI was unremarkable. Very minor tendon degeneration he didn't seemed concerned about. At this point, the pain jumped mostly to my left knee. The jump coincided with a sudden fear that both of my legs could become affected. There is clearly a psychological component.

    I doubled down on seeing my sports chiro and my yoga routine. I also stopped running and crosstrained on an elliptical machine each day. I still experienced random moving pains, stiffness, and the feeling like my legs were being yanked backward when I wanted them to move forward.

    It had been gently suggested to me by my sports chiro (who is also my friend) that I might be letting my anxiety about this get the best of me. He said he'd seen/felt far worse, that I had good mobility and my tissue felt relatively healthy and flexible. We never talked specifically about TMS, as it is a recent discovery for me, but he did bring up the fact that MRIs are almost never reliably correlated to patients' pain and that really resonated with me.

    I'm registered to run the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia in two weeks. I have run this race for the past 8 years, and I am determined to finish it this year, even if I have to crawl to the finish. I have been training pretty hard the last 3 weeks, since I read Dr. Sarno's The Divided Mind. It's been a struggle bus. When I first started running again, after crosstraining for a few months, I had to chant "It's all in your head." "Calm down." "Fear is your disease." for miles, just to get through it.

    You see, running is my identity. It is my medicine. I am terrified of ever having to live without it, because it makes all the past trauma in my life bearable. It makes me feel calm and powerful.

    With each run, since I read The Divided Mind (The Great Pain Deception and Healing Back Pain are arriving in the mail this week), I have felt better and stronger, though I am still finding my stride. I am still afraid of the pain, though it's subsiding. Last week, I ran 30 miles, which is nowhere near where I want or used to be, but it's enough to keep me feeling solid.

    Last night, on a short 4 mile run, I started to feel new pain on the outside of my left knee. It was sharp, but I continued to run .5 miles to finish out the distance I had planned for the day. I have cross-training scheduled tonight, so I will give it some rest, but I have to resume training tomorrow (I have a 7-mile group run planned). I am trying to tell myself that this is just the TMS moving and responding to new trauma (My mother is running for local office under the campaign slogan "Make (My Home Town) Great Again" (I kid you not) and the rage I feel toward her is giving me literal chest pains too.

    Thank you for reading this, if you have. If any other runners can relate to my story, I would love to connect with you! I feel so isolated in my experience, because everyone in my real life and on social media seems to be running with reckless abandon and loving their pain and stress free lives.

    Much love and healing,

    Sofa and bbarbee like this.
  2. booboo

    booboo New Member

    Forum....(if I'm hijacking completely ignore my questions)

    1) How does one deal with "politics"?

    2) What if a solid citizen thinks they are on the right side of an
    "issue" but are "in fact" mislead....does it create tms?
  3. bbarbee

    bbarbee Newcomer

    Hi Eli,

    I can completely relate to your story.

    I have been a competitive recreational runner for about 3.5 years, and it means everything to me. Back in May of this year (2018), I competed in my second marathon (Pittsburgh Marathon) and qualified for Boston. I was really excited, until, 8 days later, my wife of nearly 10 years suddenly told me that she didn't love me anymore and wanted to leave me. I then discovered that she had joined a cult and started an affair with none other than the cult leader himself. I was completely devastated. Of course, she dropped all of that on me while my body was still in the early stages of recovering from the marathon, so I was already physically vulnerable. It was the worst possible time for my stress hormones to suddenly go through the roof, my stress levels to suddenly max out, and my sleep quality to suddenly be ruined.

    I tried to follow the usual return-to-training protocols laid out by the coach of my team, but, unsurprisingly, my body started breaking down. Calf knot after calf knot, quad knots, ITBS, ... I was seeing my PT every other week and I spent more time deep water running in the swimming pools than I spent running on land. I fought through all of that with my PT throughout the summer months, and I was finally getting back to a regular training routine and high land mileage in August, when, at the very end of August, I suddenly had pain in my hamstring after one of my long progression runs. So, on coach's orders, I've spent the past 3 weeks mostly deep water running and not doing track workouts, long progression runs, etc. And I have the Richmond Marathon coming up in 7 weeks.

    I was feeling crappier and crappier, emotionally, because of how my body was betraying me. I assumed it was just because my cortisol levels have been spiked since May and that I need to find some way to get my stress levels back down. Then, earlier this week the top guy on our team told me about Dr. Sarno's work and The Mindbody Prescription book. He says he's successfully run through every "injury" he's had for the past 10 years using what he learned from Dr. Sarno's work. I ordered the book right away and decided to just go back to team practice yesterday. My hamstring was uncomfortable, but I just kept telling myself it's in my head.

    The book arrived in the mail today and I've already started reading it. I love running and need it in my life. As you say, it is my identity and my medicine. I'm not going to let the TMS win.

    Sofa likes this.
  4. edieb

    edieb New Member

    I am struggling with the same issues. I was a runner for over 2 decade and most recently a competitive club tennis player when struck with debilitating cervical neck pain. As I am working through this and journaling and all the other TMS work there are several points that have come to light. Of note, I was “ off “ running for almost a year completely with this and then post op from surgery.
    - My addiction to running to me has always felt good, a release, a part of my identity. As I return I question if it has been a way to use physical pain ( exhaustion, sore muscles, mental perfectionism) to distract me from my emotions. What if this has strengthened my TMS.
    - With tennis, there was a lot of negative emotions socially that felt like being a high school girl again.The drama was unreal and unnecessary. My continued flare with hitting makes me consider the true emotion of do I really want to play again? Am I truly wanting to put myself into these sometime emotionally volatile and sometime nasty situations. ( woman can be downright mean)

    My conclusion to this and what has helped are two fold.
    1. I refuse to let my emotions rob me of activities that add joy to my life, move my body and allow me to interact socially in athletics that I have enjoyed my whole life.
    2. I no longer have an agenda for my runs. No more mileage tracking, training schedules or such. I am doing 6 miles right now and sometimes I walk a lot with intervals, sometimes I outright run and sometimes I just walk the whole 6 miles. It is truly for pleasure and I am not having any outcome agendas painwise or performance.
    3. I love tennis, I love the smell of the courts, the feel of the racquet. I will continue to “ hit “ with my husband, my doubles partner and the ball machine and I will go from there. Again, no goal of joining a team anytime soon. Perhaps playing a short game on ladies day, or taking a clinic for my own enjoyment.

    I truly think a lot of the pain with these activities was my perfectionism, my need to push harder, farther, win more, be the most competitive. In learning about TMS it has occurred to me that this drive has been another way to use the physical to distract or mask the emotional. Reformatting my reasons for engaging in these activities has been a game changer! Good luck and keep going! Not being a runner that last year has felt like a part of me was missing. I laugh and say that I am still a runner except when I’m not, and then I am a world class walker that has found joy in that as well.
    Sofa likes this.
  5. Sofa

    Sofa Well known member

    This is an old thread but a good one. I wish there was some follow up to the "bully mother/election" related TMS and also about the wife having affair with the cult leader. No DOUBT, those could lead to TMS.
    I too am an athlete (triathlons and club volleyball) up until TMS hit me two years ago. I didn't know it was TMS until everything else under the sun had been ruled out. So I'm getting back in the saddle and resuming all activities.
    I am also trying to develop a System in order to dig deeper into my unconscious mind and seek the truth. Does the truth hurt? Of course it does (that's why our brains work so hard to distract us). But Baseball65 mentioned
    that once we find the truth it will be horrendous for a while, but then it will be amazing and we will rule over all. He said it much better but that's the basic idea.

    Edit: I looked it up, here's what he said:
    “seek until you find... when you find you will become troubled...when you become troubled you will become astonished and rule over the all”.
  6. bbarbee

    bbarbee Newcomer

    Hi Sofa,

    I'm glad that you're getting back in the saddle. I'm happy to say that the follow-up on my situation is that the book is curing me:

    * This past Saturday, I went 'pool running' (aka 'deep water running', or 'aqua jogging') for 2.5 hours. My hamstring was bothering me, and I was frustrated. I went home, discovered the book had arrived in the mail, and started reading it. I kept telling myself that my problems all stemmed from TMS.

    * The next day, Sunday, I went out and ran 14 miles (pretty fast, too). My quads were sore and heavy since I hadn't done much landing running over the past few weeks, but my hamstring area was OK

    * Yesterday (Monday), I did some pool running and then a 5 mile easy pace run on land -- hamstring was fine, and quads felt better than they did on Sunday.

    * Today, I joined my teammates at practice on the track, where we did an intervals workout (5 miles worth, including recoveries between intervals, and 10 miles total, including the easy pace warmpup and cooldown before/after the workout itself). I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to run some pretty fast times. Having been mostly pool running for nearly a month, I was expecting to be pretty slow during workouts for a couple of weeks, but instead I was pretty much where I want to be pace-wise.

    I'm still working through the emotional/mental side of things, because the way my life exploded a few months ago was pretty horrible. But, through recognizing what TMS is and convincing myself that my body is really OK, I am overcoming the physical problems and getting back to running, which fills me with more happiness than I can say.

    Sofa likes this.
  7. had

    had Peer Supporter

    I can't run anymore since bad surgery caused actual damage....but this bit in the Wikipedia article on Sever's disease caught my eye:

    "The main diagnostic tool is pain on medial- lateral compression of the calcaneus in the area of growth plate, so called squeeze test. Foot radiographs are usually normal. Therefore, the diagnosis of Sever's disease is primarily clinical."

    So it's a "disease" diagnosed entirely on pain...with no imaging or lab test that shows a problem. That sounds like classic TMS to me and like a made up disease. Perhaps there IS some actual diagnostic criteria that I missed that makes this legit...but at first glance it's suspicious. I had surgery because of diagnoses like this...and fear put into me by bad doctors....and it ruined my life. If I had known about TMS then and realized all these horrible prognoses I was given based on nothing but pain I'd have never had surgery and would have gotten on with my life.

Share This Page