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TMS & the whole picture

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Mala, Nov 14, 2021.

  1. Mala

    Mala Well known member

    What about aches & pains associated with growing older?
    What about the role of medication in treating TMS?

    Many success stories & advice here from both people who have recovered & people who have recovered to become tms coaches but not much mentioned about how medication plays/played a role in their recovery. Not only is it hard to believe that people in severe pain are not taking some meds but it's also off putting in a way because it almost implies that it's not ok to use meds when needed even while doing the TMS work.

    Yes the mind body connection is powerful as is the idea of repressed emotions being the main reason for the pain but the pain is real & its very hard to believe that so many who are cured here by doing 'the work' did it entirely without the help of certain drugs.

    Why is this?

    Plus how do you distinguish between TMS vs aches & pains & inflammation which are inevitable due to aging?

    Worth thinking about?


    Last edited: Nov 14, 2021
    Cap'n Spanky likes this.
  2. hecate105

    hecate105 Beloved Grand Eagle

    As I had over 20 years of chronic pain I feel able to answer this! I was given strong painkillers hand over fist by Doctors - in the early years I took them. I was in pain constantly - so i took the tablets constantly - I still ended up being in pain much of the time - I noticed as soon as a tablet wore off and took another - obsessed about getting to the point where the pain was masked.... But it made me 'spaced out' forgetful and irritable. I could not cook unless my husband was home as I would leave rings on and had several fires.... I crashed my car..... Also I felt very nauseous and got constipation.... I realised that I was getting more problems from taking medication than they were solving.... Gradually I stopped taking them - I would save them for when I had exerted myself and was in 'extra' agony... I found that for many of the pains I had a hot water bottle worked better than tablets - no nausea and very comforting. I also used a lot of gels and essential oils - lavender in a carrier oil worked really well in soothing muscle aches.
    When i eventually discovered the Sarno books and TMS wiki etc - I was rarely using medication at all. I found that when I started 'calling out' the pain - i was SO impressed with a few seconds of no pain - so I kept at it - I took a couple of months out from the world - no relatives/friends/work or any exterior stress - I just did the TMS work - read the books, meditated, went outdoors into nature daily, and was kind to myself - no pressure!!
    It is a crazy and difficult balancing act - we need to do the work to heal - but we need to be aware of our perfectionism/people-pleasing/competitiveness.... and not allow it into our healing journey.... But well worth the effort - like the Buddhists say - doing without doing...!
    Mala, plum, Ellen and 1 other person like this.
  3. Cap'n Spanky

    Cap'n Spanky Well known member

    Before Dr. Sarno, I was taking large, unhealthy doses of Ibuprofen. 1,000 MGs three or four times a day. After I recovered, I never took pain medicine for TMS issues and never have. Now I did take some pain meds temporarily for a cracked tooth and after oral surgery.

    Also, I've taken Tylenol and Naprosyn at night when I wasn't sleeping well and was extremely tired. For some reason, they help me sleep. But I seldom do that.

    I'm 66 and I would challenge the assumption that aging causes aches and pains. I would say it's due more to lack of mobility and flexibility. Staying mobile and flexible is more challenging as we age, but certainly possible.
    Mala and plum like this.
  4. Mala

    Mala Well known member

    @hecate105 & @Cap'n Spanky thanks for your responses.

    I am old school Sarno, meaning I very seldom take pain killers except when absolutely necessary & over the years have used mainly the mind body & push -yourself -through -the -pain -approach.

    I have a large bunion in my left foot & was noticing that over the last 2 years my left knee turns inwards when I walk & that it was affecting my gait & my lower back wld act up from time to time. I would occasionally get some knee pain but chose to ignore it. Last year I finally went to a podiatrist who gave me a foot lift for the right shoe & said I should see the osteopath as it was a pelvic problem. I thought to myself 'here we go again' & decided not to go down that route.

    Last week I squatted to play with my dog Missy & as I got up I heard this loud crunching sound in my left knee & since then my knee is significantly swollen with a significant amount of pain. I still continue my walks with Missy but find that going down the hill is torture which I must do if I am walking. I've been taking panadol extend at night for a week now & I'm limping a lot.

    I notice that my 63 year old body is beginning to feel old & it hurts here & there & wonder if this knee pain is something I should treat as TMS or whether I need to get medical help.

    Of interest is that I noticed in the mirror today how twisted my pelvis was & how some muscles in that area are extremely tight, significantly so. I also find that because of the bunion & knee I feel a lot of instability when walking.

    The conflict lies in the fact that Sarno very clearly says to avoid any treatments like physio or use any tools that lead the mind to believe that the condition is physical yet some TMS experts have actually been using such treatments themselves & have mentioned them here.

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

    Cap'n Spanky likes this.
  5. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I was starting to feel what I described as age-related stiffness and pain. I was working out 3 times a week, but it didn't seem to help. Once I started groaning every time I got up from the sofa, I knew I needed to change something. Then I happened upon an article in the New York Times about research they did on the most efficient and effective form of exercise. Their first recommendation a few years earlier was the NYT 7 minute workout, but it was too hard for most older people. They did more research and came up with the NYT 7 minute standing workout. There is a good version of this on YouTube by Chris Jordan if interested. I started doing this daily and in a couple of weeks the stiffness and pain went away and my aerobic fitness improved substantially. I have kept doing it every day (only missed a few days here and there) and have been able to increase the difficulty of the exercises to keep it challenging. The fact that it is only 7 minutes makes it easy to commit to every day. I was actually spending more time per week on exercise before, but not feeling the benefits like this 7 minute workout. I highly recommend it.
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  6. Mala

    Mala Well known member

    Hi Ellen. Good to hear from you.
    Thanks for the 7 minute workout recommendation.
    So my question is how do I know whether the pain is age related or TMS? You are doing exercises to alleviate the aches & pains you feel but isn't that TMS?
    How can you differentiate?
    Is there a difference?
    Is everything TMS?
    Are some pains not TMS?
    This is where it's not clear. If we are to believe Strictly Sarno then everything is TMS.
    I have asked this question before but have never really gotten a satisfactory answer.
    Maybe some experts like Alan Gordon, Howard Schubiner or Fred Amir would like to comment & shed some light.
    I would be grateful.

    Thank you.

    Last edited: Nov 18, 2021
  7. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Mala,

    Because the daily exercise took away the stiffness and hip pain (that I thought was arthritis), I believe it wasn't TMS. I agree with @Cap'n Spanky above that as we age we need to ensure flexibility and mobility. Exercise never takes away TMS pain for me, though sometimes yoga would very temporarily.

    Some time ago, I developed lower back pain that also had a clicking sound when I bent over. Occasionally my back would "go out" and I hobbled around for days after. That turned out to be TMS and went away when I realized that was what it was. But the stiffness and hip pain didn't go away.

    So, yes, it is all very confusing and age makes it more so. I guess my test of whether it is TMS or not, is what "treatment" works to make it go away--TMS treatment or treating it as physical in origin.
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  8. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    As we age my feelings are that it becomes ever more important to cultivate flexibility, of body and mind, and grace where this fails.

    It is hard to differentiate between TMS and natural ageing but for me for TMS has a very definite psychological component (ie. obsessing, catastrophising, absurd fears, weirdness… I simply recognise the hallmarks even if I struggle with them), whereas ageing with all its aches and such leave me feeling variously sanguine, nostalgic or sometimes sad. There can be a hybrid or crossover where it feels like a bit of TMS and a bit of wear and tear but if it’s hard to really say. Very interesting thoughts to consider though and on balance I find stretching, yin yoga and swimming all soothe the worst of it and my ability to do them infrequently (life is a bit stressy and demanding at the moment) stokes those TMS fires.

    Sending you love Mala x
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  9. Mala

    Mala Well known member

    Yes the lines between the two blur into a confusion of sorts & my perfectionist personality wants there to be a clear demarcation. Therein lies the conundrum for me at least. But I do feel that this is a subject that needs to be discussed more.

    I want to treat my 63 year old body the same way I did when I was 40. I get the feeling that if I went to see Dr Sarno today he would probably tell me to ignore the aches & pains & just get on with it or at least that's the gist I get from reading his books even though he made no mention of age related TMS.

    It would be of immense help & benefit to us baby boomers to know & understand more about the role of TMS as we age.

    I hope you are keeping well @plum.

    Last edited: Nov 22, 2021
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  10. hawaii_five0

    hawaii_five0 Well known member

    hi Mala: I have thought about this as well. I am very close to your age. What Plum said really resonates with me. I know in my case the "psych" component makes it really obvious for me to differentiate, because of the many other symptoms that came about at the same time as the back pain: tinnitus, frequent urination, weird skin rashes, obsessing, generalized feeling not good, very difficult to even enjoy things in life, even things I used to love. I know it is my entire nervous system gone a bit haywire. A legitimate physical injury will almost certainly get better over time, even at an older age (but probably would heal faster if we were in our 20s), as long as you give it some time to heal. I have had numerous little things go wrong over the last 10 years, and they always healed themselves. I was hit by a car riding my bike two years ago and had a lot of road rash and other minor injuries (fortunately nothing super serious), but they all healed within a few weeks. Your knee sounds like a legitimate physical thing that will probably get better over time with prudent care. But to me, the TMS component that differentiates the most is the obsessive mental component. Getting older does NOT equate to "my body is going to always hurt", in my opinion (or shouldn't anway).

    Anyway, sending you some healing thoughts though!!!!!!
    westb, Mala and plum like this.
  11. Mala

    Mala Well known member

    Thank you for your reply & yr observations @hawaii_five0. And also for yr healing thoughts.
    I'm taking some pain pills & using patches to treat this latest bout of knee pain as a physical symptom.
    Interesting that you say that 'getting older does not equate to my body is always going to hurt' because I do think abt that & catastrophize about it a lot.
    In fact many of my friends of a similar age say that 'old age is a real b#&ch & I look around me & seen a lot of ppl hobbling around with pained expressions on their faces. Someone or the other has had a knee or hip replacement & most have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

    Lots to think about for me.


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