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Unusual Pattern of Pain

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Ed A, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. Ed A

    Ed A New Member

    By way of background, I am a three-year TMS sufferer/recoverer, and I believe that I have basically memorized Dr. Sarno's book. Every year or so, I have a flare up of pain - usually in my lower back - and every time, I perform all the recommended exercises such as talking to my brain, performaing all normal activities, and so on. My pattern has been gradual relief of pain within a few days and then I get back to my normal stressed out life.

    This past month has been an unusual one for me, however, with a pattern of pain that has changed, turned on and off, and does not seem to be responding to the normal TMS techniques. It all started with an intense period of unbelievable stress for about six months, during which time, I was focused on familay and work activities that required my full, undivided attention. Without going into specific detail, I can share that the time included severe work-related issues, death of a family member, and financial issues - all hitting at once.

    I made it through the period, finally - and experienced great feelings of relief when I realized that things were looking up. But as may be the case for some of you reading this, I soon developed that early twinge of lower back pain that has been my signal that TMS is on its way. I also noticed that felt like I was getting some sort of cold/cough, and this terrified me, because coughung with TMS back pain is like a double stab in the back.

    I decided that I wasn't going to stand for it - and I spent time really talking to my brain about this TMS. I meditated and connecting with my subconscious - and magically, both the twinges and the beginning cold just stopped. I was amazed. However, just as these symptoms stopped, my shoulder, arm, and wrist began to ache terribly. THis gradually increased to the point where it was almost unbearable. I had business-related trips with air travel, and had no choice but to force my way through it. But for almost three weeks, the situation was tough.

    Suspecting TMS, I focused on everything we've all been taught - and eventually, three or so days ago, I felt relief in my shoulder and elbow. I even wrote in my journal how grateful I was that the pain was gone and that I was feeling so good. But just as that pain stopped, yesterday, I felt that damn twinge again. And sure enough, today, I have full-flegded lower back pain - with the usual twisted body, limping walk, and fear of acute flare-up.

    My question to the group is whether anyone has seen such a pattern before? I know TMS is notorious for moving pain around, but I've never experienced this before - namely, having worked through a full round of pain, concentration, and gradual improvement, followed by what appears to be a new process in a different location.

    Looking forward to any advice or insights.

  2. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    Hi Ed,
    Yes, I have totally had all kinds of symptoms. I had lower back pain for a few weeks then it left. Then, after a
    few months I then had sciatic pain on my right leg for two months then it moved to my left leg then I had
    burning in both legs. Then as these got better I had a totally stiff neck, I had to be driven to work. That got better
    after a few week. Then I started walking and pain came when I was walking and then I started
    limbing then that left after about 10 days. At first I felt really discouraged after doing well then getting yet another
    symptom. Now, I realized this is just my subconcious trying to get my attention to distract me from repressed emotions.
    It took me a long time to get this deep within my mind. I realize each day or many times a week it helps to
    keep renewing my mind toward the principles of TMS.

    I think the subconscious does this to keep us busy analyzing what is going on which produces a certain amount
    of tension, anxiety and fear. And TMS is fueled by attention and fear. TMS wants our attention but we cannot give
    it to the symptoms. I try to just focus on what is going on when the symptoms try to come. Sometimes, I do believe
    when we cannot find an emotional thread to our pain, it is then probably either that the autonomic nervous is revved up
    too much or the pain is coming from a conditioned response. There is a lot of good information about this
    in Dr. Brady's book called Pain Free for Life.

    I was not making time to journal. However, now I been journaling for about three or four weeks and it is amazing
    how this is helping me unmask a lot of repressed and suppressed emotions. I don't really like doing it but it has
    been so helpful.

    Hope, this encourages you.
    tarala and JanAtheCPA like this.
  3. Ed A

    Ed A New Member


    Thanks for your thoughtful response. TMS is such a mysterious condition, requiring such unusual thinking, that it helps to hear from people like yourself who have dealt with similar issues. I will certainly go grab Dr. Brady's book as you suggest.

    As a new member of this forum, I can say that it is refreshing to speak with others of similar mind. Everyone in my life has been offering sincere suggestions that I consider massage, chiropractic care, even homeopathy. And when I explain the TMS view and it's emphasis on psychological issues, I always sense their feelings of pity that I have fallen into such a misguided view. This seems so crazy, because I've been able to lead a normal live, free of drugs and surgery, simply by studying Dr. Sarno's work.

    It's just these darn flare-ups that I need to address!

    Thanks again,
    Ed A
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  4. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    I have had the same reaction with my family. That can be discouraging but I know from apply a lot of these principals that
    it works.

    Before, this happened I never thought I had any repressed emotions but the more I investigate oh my goodness there is a lot
    of emotions I have never experienced.

    I am very excited I started back at the gym this week. I am a runner but have not ran since June. Today was my second day.
    I am going slowly I walked about 5 indoor laps around a track not all at once. I am just going to keep at it until I am running

    Another book I read that I so gleaned from was Fred Amir's Rapid Recovery from Back Pain. A very inspirational read.
    He really would just push against his pain and set goals for himself. The Fred Amir book and Dr. Brady's book helped me
    the most.

    What is really helping you? Do you journal at all?

    I find that when I come against the thoughts that I cannot do something physically this is very powerful.
    For me, I think it has a lot to do with reconditioning my brain but the emotions definitely play into this whole process.
    Keep me informed of your adventures,
  5. Ed A

    Ed A New Member


    For me, activity is better, and sitting (especially in the car) is miserable. I find that being up and around makes me feel less tense and less focused on my stress issues, so I tend to pace around and stay active during TMS flare-ups. I hope getting back to running helps you accordingly.

    As for journaling, it's been a part of my life for twenty-five years. I keep a daily log of things to do, things on my mind, and the like. When I am in a TMS flare-up, I include introspective issues in the journal - and it helps. As you related, I never considered repressed emotions either, but they are certainly there.

    One other thing is that Dale Carnegie's classic book, "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" suggested keeping a list of things that are worrying you. When you do this, you can go back and review old worries, only to find that 99% of the things we stew about, never occur.

    Ed A
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ed, I'm going to add this to my list of things to remember and re-read. Oh, and maybe I better do it on a regular basis, too! I waste a lot of time and energy imagining scenarios that I know are totally unlikely.

    Welcome to our forum - it's a great way to find the right kind of support!

  7. Ed A

    Ed A New Member


    My father introduced me to Dale Carnegie's wonderful books on public speaking and human relations when I was back in high school in the seventies. I was a very opinionated (and annoying) teenager, and luckily, my father recognized that I had better learn to deal with people more effectively. So, the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" became an important part of my life and subsequent career success. Unfortunately, the book does have a hidden side-effect in its message of being a good person and avoiding conflict at all costs with friends, family, and business associates. Any TMS sufferer knows that exactly this type of life approach can create a growing reservoir of built-up inner anger, especially if being so accomodating is not in your nature - as it is not in mine. You know, I'd bet a large percentage of TMS sufferers are also Dale Carnegie disciples (just a hunch, but I'll bet it's true.)

    This is all so ironic, because Dale Carnegie's second most famous book "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" is so useful in helping to deal with this inner conflict. Written decades ago, it preaches a litany of useful techniques for handling worry. I've begun suggested to my own teenagers that they start dealing with their problems using Dale Carnegie's ideas. My favorite technique of all, however, is to keep a notebook in my private office where I'll jot down and date a list of items that are bothering me at some time. For example, if I find that I am fearful of something with my spouse or children (e.g., medical issue, upcoming travel, etc.), I'll jot down in my book exactly what I am worried about and why. Months later, when I look back at the list, I find it almost always looks pretty silly in retrospect, because the vast majority of things just sort-of work themselves out, and that the real problems in life tend to crop up without much warning. So why sit there worrying?

    You know, on this topic of tension being produced from "success techniques," I had the opportunity this week - as part of my work - to meet with a variety of senate and congressional members to discuss an area of which I have some expertise. The reason I bring it up is that it seems that half the people you run into in Washington - big names of people you see on TV - begin the conversation with mention of this knee problem, this backache, this pain in their elbow, and so on. It's so tempting to suggest that they read one of Dr. Sarno's books, but then, since when do members of congress listen to anyone? I just thought this was so funny and sort of comforting to know that it's not just us normal people who get TMS - it's also those really annoying public figures on CNN and Fox. They get the same aches and pains, and I'll bet 99% of it is TMS.

    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  8. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Interesting point: Senator Tom Harkin actually brought up his TMS recovery story in a Senate Committee Hearing, and guess who he had testify...Dr. Sarno himself! It is kind of surprising to learn about all of the different people who have TMS.
  9. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member

    Your point about Dale Carnegie disciples being TMS sufferers seems to ring true for me. I read many of his books including the ones you mention. In fact I still have my original copy of How to Win Friends. It's falling apart at the seams because I've read it so many times!

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