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Using Dr. Sarno and Dr. Schubiner's techniques

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Murphy, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. Murphy

    Murphy Peer Supporter

    Hello All,

    I've found this forum community to be a terrific resource for education and it has been immensely helpful to just read about others in a similar situation.

    I've read Dr. Sarno's books and they have been helpful as far as theory and cause of TMS / MBS., but i've really connected with Dr. Schubiner's Unlearn Your Pain and have been applying the workbook program to my life.

    I see myself on almost every page of Dr. Sarno and Dr. Schubiner’s books, so I tend to believe with relative confidence that I have TMS.

    I’ve been rolling along pretty good with Dr. Schubiners workbook, trying my best not to be too perfectionistic and hard on myself during the process - which has been hard.

    I've recently hit a bit of a snag in my progress and was wondering if I could ask this forum community for some guidance. Someone who may have first hand experience or know of a similar story that may help. Forest - The site founder - has spoken about how he received a lot of benefit from reading stories of those who recovered from TMS / MBS symptoms like his own.

    Here is the issue I can’t seem to get past:

    I am an illustrator and designer using the computer and drawing most days. I tend to think about my hands a lot and worry about them. I’ve been able to control this pretty well recently with techniques I’ve learned to combat this - self talk, repudiation of symptoms, reinforcing in my mind that I am healthy. but lately, ( And maybe it’s because I’m working through the Unlearn Your Pain workbook and my symptoms are increasing as a result ) I’ve had problems with my arms like I’ve never experienced. Cramping, weakness, tingling, and tightness as well as some pain. I can watch as my muscles involuntarily move my thumb and index finger.

    What really is getting in my head and sort of halted my progress is the fact that I can rub my elbow and actually feel the electric shocks move down to my hand. This seems to get right up in my head and make me doubt. I know that the body can create symptoms as a distraction, I know that if I dwell on it I am allowing my subconscious to successfully distract me, but this one is tough for me. Could it possibly be a stimulated nerve pathway like Dr. Schubiner talks about? I was hoping someone else with these symptoms might be able to put me at ease. Ultimately, just some reassurance.

    I know at some point I need to realize that my mind KNOWS what will distract me. It is doing whatever it can to keep my mind occupied on the physical. I tend to catastrophize things and am a perfectionist who worries about most things.

    But if anyone else happens to have this symptom, I’d love to hear from you.

    Thank you very much in advance.

  2. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    The power of suggestion.

    The sub-c gremlin can play some weird tricks on our bodies. Your symptoms can all be TMS manifestations, they've all been sighted in the TMS literature and by forum posters.

    I have a strange phenomenon I experience that has now become comical to me. I drive a lot along the kali coast from Nor-Cal to S0-Cal and whenever I pass through Santa Cruz, my hands cramp-up while holding my steering wheel. The traffic around 'cruz is always horrendous, it's a bed-room community for Silicon Valley. It's a university town, a hot-bed for surfers, some of which may have been hit by on the head by their boards too often. It's also been a hot-bed for the recreational use of pot for decades, has an annual smoke-in on what-ever National Pot Day is and had a pot-head mayor. I don't know if I'm having a TMS structural flash-back of cosmic paranoia or it's a contact high--I guess I need to put the top up on my convertible before going through there on the Coast 1.


    Whoever came up with the Banana Slug as the school mascot must’ve been stoned out of their gourd. UCSC earned the honorable distinction as the school with the most drug referrals for two years running. During the 4/20 festivities in a meadow of the Santa Cruz campus, cops took a whopping three pound joint away from one druggie. “Attending this festival, I felt a sense of pride in being a banana slug, in smoking marijuana, and in fact that those two, if only for one day, were linked under the slogan ‘higher education,’” said sophomore English major Rach. Not only do Santa Cruzians smoke weed, but they’re on the forefront of marijuana innovation by hosting SC Labs, the largest cannabis testing facility in the world.

    It has now become amusing to me that my hands cramp up, becoming lobster hands and it's always while cruiszing through 'Cruz. The TMS gremlin is a weird bugger, but after a while when you recognize the games it plays it can become laughable and the symptoms can fade--or you can keep them around to amuse yourself and friends.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
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  3. Murphy

    Murphy Peer Supporter

    Yeah, I'm sure there is something to the fact that the symptoms occur when I'm at my computer working. Learned response perhaps. Pretty intense cramping as if my hand wants to close up on its own along with the tingling and muscle twitching. It's weird how symptoms move around. I'll have it in both arms and hands and then just one. I was able to reassure myself that it was all TMS, until I started to notice that certain stretches and actually touching my elbow would create electric shocks. Started to mess with my head. Started to make me doubt the psychological and focus on the physical. When I was a kid I had a ton of pain and was taken to a rheumatologist. I was told that I had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and of course that stuck with me and made me scared for my body for a long time. I've had two blood tests that are negative for any inflammatory factors and have had two doctors tell me that it's fibromyalgia - which I am now aware is a form of TMS / MBS - but as you are probably aware the mind can work really hard to distract you. I began doubting what I was learning and was hoping someone with the same symptoms would chime in. Thank you for your response Tennis Tom!
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  4. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    higher education :D

    sensitized nerve pathways, I know this from experience. I could push certain spots in my calf muscles that would make my feet itch. The same for certain spots in arm muscles that gave a sense of electricity in my hand. Don't worry about it, it's my opinion that it is TMS.
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  5. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    page 15, "BACK PAIN PERMANENT HEALING", Steve Ozanich

    "The "spinal problem believers" are forever lost in suffering. The physician with higher credentials firmly convinces them they have a defective body. At that point, that's it--their healing has been negated . But what the physician doesn't know is harming them. Even worse, few physicians care to know.

    "99.999 percent of the medical profession does not accept this (TMS) diagnosis.

    John E. Sarno, MD "

    Murphy, this quote from SteveO's new book is appropos. Many of us are given NOCEBOS, early in life, by docs. They label us, compartmentalize us, and lay the groundwork for TMS symptoms to take root later in life, when the sub-c needs a bodily location to stake a claim in.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
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  6. Murphy

    Murphy Peer Supporter

    Thanks Gigalos! That helps. I appreciate it!
  7. Murphy

    Murphy Peer Supporter

    Excellent post! I agree that I was "primed" to believe in a structural source for my symptoms. Doctors told me to go out and buy books on arthritis and study them so I'd know how to cope. Meanwhile I was reinforcing a false diagnosis and feeding my subconscious just what it needed. I feel like I am on the way to fully accepting TMS as the culprit. Thank you for your help!
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  8. pspa

    pspa Well known member

    If TT can repeat quotes all the time so can I. Dr. Francis Peabody, 1927, to a group of medical students: "You will find that physicians, by wrong diagnoses and ill considered statements, are responsible for many a wrecked life, and you will discover that it is much easier to make a wrong diagnosis than it is to unmake it."
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  9. pspa

    pspa Well known member

    A conditioned response anecdote similar to Tom's: virtually every time I walk down a certain hall in my local hospital that leads to the medical office building and lab, I get a cramp in my right foot. It's uncanny.
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  10. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    Hi Murphy,
    Sorry to hear what you've been going through. Given the different manifestations of your symptoms and their severity, I get why you're having a difficult time fighting the doubt that there's a structural cause.

    There are lots of things I can tell you: the brain has the capacity to generate any physical sensation in any part of the body, the purpose of the pain is to scare you so it makes sense that the symptoms are ramping up, etc.

    And it will be wonderful advice that you'll take wholeheartedly...until the next time you're in pain, and you hear that little voice that says, "THIS symptom can't possibly be TMS!"

    So here is the most helpful thing you can do. Find a TMS physician, Gwozdz, Schubiner, take a short flight if you need to. Perhaps they'll do a nerve conduction test or some other exam to determine if there's anything going on.

    Once you get the go-ahead, it'll be way less work to fight the doubt. Ultimately you want to most easily and convincingly tell yourself, "I'm safe, this pain is not dangerous," and go about your day.

    That is a much easier task when you're armed with a diagnosis from a TMS physician.

    Good luck!
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  11. Murphy

    Murphy Peer Supporter

    Hey Alan,

    That is great advice. I live in Michigan, approximately 2.5 hours from Dr. Schubiner. I could make the trip and have thought pretty seriously about it. I've had pain since I was a little kid and brought to rheumatologists that told me I would have issues and put me on pain meds. I've had two blood tests since that have ruled out rheumatic conditions and told by a local doctor that it appears to be fibromyalgia. It seems as though I should be embracing the thought that it's TMS / MBS, but my mind is stubborn. I see myself on every page of Dr. Sarno and Dr. Schubiners books. I get what is wrong with me, but my mind is latching on to every opportunity it can to reenforce structural issues. My body pops and cracks a lot and my mind loves to used that as a structural excuse.

    By the way, I loved the recording of you talking to your employee that had the hand pain and you were able to successfully talk her out of it. Really great!
    brendan537 likes this.
  12. MHHB

    MHHB Newcomer

    Hi Murphy and Alan,

    I'm new to Dr Sarno's ideas but took to them quite easily as I have always believed in the mindbody as a totality. I just never put together the way the physical pain is a pathway to the underlying emotional pain. That said, I have plenty of "old thinking" running around in my head about the extreme inflammation in the tendons of both my hands that began in mid October. It gets better and then I return to normal activities and wham, I'm out of business for days (and lately weeks) at a time. Initially, I used to recover completely, but since the last bad relapse three weeks ago, I still haven't recovered. I take very little in the way of medication to ease the pain especially since discovering Dr. Sarno's ideas. But I confess, the blistering "blowtorch" quality of the tendon inflammation when I do the wrong movement makes it quite hard to shift out of the "organic origins" mindset into connecting it with the underlying emotions. I have been doing self work (journaling) and I think it has helped, but I can tell that because of the extreme nature of the pain, I'm still stuck in some amount of doubt.

    Yesterday I listened to a 2015 interview with Dr. Sarno in which he explained that he was compelled to modify the concept of Tension Myositis Syndrome not only to include nerves but also tendons. I was heartened to hear him clarify that idea as a small part of me does seem willing to recognize the emotional component at work in that 'blowtorch' tendon pain I experience. Any suggestions for clearing the 'doubt' hurdle?
  13. sbmumford

    sbmumford Peer Supporter

    That's hilarious. I mean, it's not hilarious of course, for you, but it's still kind of funny.
    I went to UCSC for 2 years a long time ago. Even then it was unique and sometimes uniquely annoying.
    Let's name this new syndrome.
    TC: Tension Cruzitis?

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