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Welcome to the Support Subforum

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Beach-Girl, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. Alexis1984

    Alexis1984 New Member

    Hello All, I am new to this forum. I have been suffering lower back pain since January of 2015. Coincidently, this was about two weeks after my amazing father was indicted on some really horrendous charges, which he confessed to immediately. It was a debilitating shock to say the least. But I loved my dad and when he told me what was happening, he also told me all the steps he had taken to correct his actions, make amends and improve himself. He told me, all the span of a few minutes, that he was prepared for prison and everything would be ok. Until that point, I had experienced a good number of strong panic attacks that manifested in vasovagal responses and I was very comfortable with the reality that they were psychological, and not harmful. As soon as my dad broke the news, I never had another panic attack but my back became excruciatingly painful. The pain came and went, and 6 months later, my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The pain and the anxiety attacks were relatively stable as all of my attention was focused on caring for him and my family. When his death became imminent, my back "went out." X-rays and MRI's showed a "significantly degenerated disc" at L5S1 and a herniated disc 2 above that. I had no sciatica. I had no numbness or tingling. I was given physical therapy, the whole regime. It went out again, but I trusted that the exercises would help and I just agreed to live with this sudden, searing pain. In the months following his death, the pain subsided somewhat, distracted by summer and other happy things. In the Fall of 2016, my pain steadily became worse, by body more and more tight until right after Thanksgiving, going into the holidays, my back spasmed again. The entire day leading up to the pain, I thought it might happen again, I was confused and concerned about why my back wasn't in as much pain, I was agonizing about the holidays without my dad, I was wound up to say the least. I had plans to see my family in New York a few weeks after my back went out and I decided I was going to get better. I went to every doctor, surgeon, PT and Chiro I had ever visited and demanded they do whatever had to be done to feel better. They all said I had reached the end of line with most traditional treatments, that I'd need epidural shots in the disc although it was interesting that I had no sciatica, no numbness or tingling. They did tests and told me my muscles were tightening because either my joint was unstable, the impact was causing inflamation, or the disc was shooting out pain protiens. No one suggested my back hurt beacuse my muscle were tight... becasue I was tense that my dad, my best friend, had been humilated and then died a slow, painful death begging for me to be by his side every step of the way.

    Looking back, I thought to myself "wow, its hard to feel how horrible this all is because my back is on fire." Even further back, the panic attacks happened after my son was born and I was feeling very left behind from my old life on the east coast. When I was a kid, in a very small middle school and the object of bullying, my neck would freeze up painfully every few months. Back then, my dad told me it was just stress... gave me a hot pack and let me watch TV for a day or two.

    The thing that hurts the most was that I asked a doctor if it was from stress and she said no. She was clearly trying to be kind. She said she could feel the muscle tightening... stress pain is more lingering. My back had been guarded for two years at that point, tight and relatively immobilized because I was so afraid that I was going to "pop" a disc or crumble that degenerated disc. I didn't bend or slouch or arch or twist or anything and the muscles just got tighter and tighter and tighter.

    I read Dr. Sarnos book and I immediately felt my back free up. There is still pain and stiffness but the fear is gone. The pain is easily recognized as just tension or weakness from underuse. I still get a twinge walking to work in the 20 degree weather and moving sharply. I just don't freak out about it anymore. I was and am an athlete who loves to play rough. If I felt the same twinge in my arm or neck, I'd just move on and never think of it again.

    I have felt an increase in other anxiety symptoms though... Even when my dad was dying, I slept fine during the night. Now I am a little restless, but I can remind myself that I am going through a hard time. I cuddle up to my husband and remember that I am safe and its bedtime. I also feel the pain wandering around my body trying to find a home. Sometimes in my right ribs, sometimes in my left thigh, sometimes in my breast bone. I just acknowledge it as "my anxiety pain" and move on.

    I am so, so grateful to have found this book and this site. The concept of the structural excuse for pain rings so true for me. I am very, very strong, physically. I had my son without pain medication, I still move beautifully at 32 when I dance or exercise. I have had so many surgeon friends, off the record, tell me that they agree with this book whole heartedly. So many have said they really only do back surgery because the patient wants it, not because they think it is necessary. Discs are a scape goat. I am sure I will have tension and pain from anxiety for a long time, but I know I am learning the tools to avoid allowing it to spiral out of control.

    Thanks for reading.
    Lunarlass66 and Bodhigirl like this.
  2. justmike

    justmike Peer Supporter

    I'm here because I just need some support in dealing with my pain. I'm totally alone and have no one to talk to. I'm seeing a TMS therapist on a regular basis, but I don't have anyone else.

    I've had pain symptoms for a very long time, but they got much worse after my divorce 6 years ago. I was unaware of TMS and believed that my pain was cause by various injuries that I've had.

    I went to a lot of doctors and was told there was nothing wrong with me. This went on for years; going to doctors, physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, and hypnotists with no success.

    Then, last year I had an actual medical problem where my renal arteries became clotted and both of my kidneys were damaged (kidney infarction). This is something that is very rare and I was in the hospital for two weeks. The doctors ran every blood test they could think of, scanned my entire body (including my brain and my heart) and examined me from head to toe. They couldn't find any reason for what happened.

    After my hospital scare, I eventually began to focus on my pain again and went to yet another pain doctor. He looked at my MRI's and my medical history. Then he asked me what I wanted him to do. He said he could give me a steroid injection in my neck, but it probably wouldn't help with my pain symptoms.

    I felt really hopeless at this point and was considering suicide. It was about this time that I found John Sarno's book "The Mindbody Prescription". I was skeptical, but when I started reading the book, I began to feel like it was a book about me. A few weeks later I started seeing a therapist from the Pain Psychology Center via Skype sessions.

    I feel like my therapy has been good for me in many ways, but I'm frustrated because I'm still in a lot of pain. My chief pain symptom is pelvic pain. And I also have back and neck pain. It's bad enough that I have trouble getting dressed for work in the morning and I have quit being active and trying to be social.

    I know that I'm supposed to ignore the pain (because it isn't dangerous) and go back to being physically active. I've tried doing this and while my pain is subdued for a few hours after exercise, I end up feeling bad or worse later. I don't think anything is structurally wrong with me. My two weeks in the hospital (and all my other doctor visits) convinced me of that. However, the pain keeps me down. It hurts to do very much of anything.

    After working with my TMS therapist for almost a year now, I feel discouraged that I'm still in so much pain. I'm grateful for her hard work and feel like therapy has helped me with a lot of emotional issues from my past. But I'm ready to not be in pain any more.
    Bodhigirl likes this.
  3. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    Welcome... wondering how you are doing after a while of being with us?
  4. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    Well, now you have multitudes of us to be with! Great news, yes?
    My progress came when I told my fearsome unconscious that the magic gig was over, there was no rabbit in the hat, nothing was wrong but feelings of rage, self-hatred, ingratitude and depression, grief and self-centered fear! And when I told the unconscious I was willing to Bring It On and I would feel every feeling...the pain remitted and pretty much stays at bay.
    I backslide and come here for support and always find some...

    How is therapy via skype? I tried it with a Buddhust therapist - I am a therapist - I didn't like it compared with face2face engagement, but that's just me (-:
    Best wishes on the journey!
    Don't give up... you will find your words that tell your unconscious the game is over, the defense failed.
  5. justmike

    justmike Peer Supporter

    The skype sessions work okay for me. I live in Houston. There are no TMS therapists here or even in Texas as far as I know.

    I've read Steve Ozanich's book in addition to the Sarno books. Steve talks about an unawareness of negative emotions as being the source of his pain. I think I can identify with that. My childhood was troublesome and my marriage was a disaster. I think somewhere along the way I became disconnected from my emotions. That's what I'm trying to do these days. I'm trying to feel...something...anything besides my symptoms. Even if I manage to feel sad about something, I notice my symptoms will reduce a little. The problem I have is that I go into my head and analyze everything (like I'm doing right now). My therapist has been very good at getting me to feel my emotions. It's hard because I've buried them very deeply and for so long.
  6. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle


    Jonna Lee Barta, PhD
    Dr. Barta is a licensed psychologist. She says "I have an individual private practice and I enjoy working with clients diagnosed with PPD / TMS. I generally require that any outstanding physical conditions are ruled out first by a physician. Consulting a medical doctor who treats or understands PPD / TMS may be warranted, but in general the client can consult any doctor of their choice. It is generally recommended that clients read Dr. Sarno's books or information written by other experts in the field before starting therapy. It is best that the client has tried the suggested methods for treatment first (journaling, using Dr. Schechter's MindBody Workbook, practicing learned techniques) before beginning treatment for PPD / TMS given they may experience symptom relief from these efforts.

    I received specialized training (a portion of my internship training, 1 year post doctoral training and 4 subsequent years of practice) working with clients diagnosed with chronic pain syndrome from a conservative pain management perspective. Although this treatment model is different from a psychosomatic approach, this training has given me a greater understanding of the full spectrum of pain disorders and the etiologies of pain."(Source)

    8117 Preston Road, Ste. 300, Dallas, TX 75225
    (214) 629-6986
    Survey Response
    Insurance Accepted: Medicare, BCBS, Aetna

    MaryAnn Schaffer, PhD (Therapist)
    One Killeen Center
    Executive Suite 108-7
    Killeen, TX 76541
    (254) 718-2952

    John Sklar, MD (Physician)
    Dr. John Sklar practices Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation in Fort Worth, Texas. He has been treating TMS for 20 years. Here he reviews "The Presence Process" by Michael Brown. "In it is a very good description of the cause/source of our unconscious conflicts (the one's that result in TMS). Then a 10 week process is described which will begin to allow the unconscious material to be integrated/digested. I believe that it describes the single best TMS treatment protocol on the planet (and I am not one to throw about such words lightly). At any rate you should be aware of this material. I have showed it to DR. Sarno who was initially quite skeptical (after I described it to him) but later was quite impressed. He believes it is great description of the source of repressed emotions (one of "the best" that he has seen)." (Source)

    Board Certified in Physical Medicine/Rehabilitation and Pain Medicine
    2500 West Freeway
    Suite 400
    Fort Worth, TX 76102
    (817) 870-1868
    TMS Wiki Profile / Forum Posts
    Insurance Accepted: Aetna, Cigna, Medicaid, Medicare, Workers Comp, PacifiCare, Humana, BCBS, United Health Care, Wellpoint
  7. justmike

    justmike Peer Supporter

    Thank you. I will give some thought to contacting one of those people.
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  8. Alexis1984

    Alexis1984 New Member

    Thanks for checking in :) I was doing better... just feeling confident again was huge! I'm now about 7 weeks pregnant and a little nervous, but feeding off of my confidence that my body is structurally sound and the intensity of pain is not correlated to the intensity of an injury. I've been given the all clear by a few docs to do what I feel like I can do. I think I big issue is just over sensitization. Any small pain triggers a big response if it's in my hips or back. I can have a sharp pain in my neck and move on as though it's nothing but a little siatic pain during a long car drive and I'm on high alert. I haven't started a structured program yet, but I think that's a good next step! I'm looking forward to this pregnancy and feeling happy and confident that there will be more joy than anything else.
  9. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    Yep, analysis is another ego defense just like somatizing. Intellectualization. Be kind. Meditate. Listen. Write with your non-dominant hand and write to parents, ex-wife, it'll come. Promise.
  10. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    When pain comes perhaps speak to it like it's a baby girl (you). Great prep for motherhood! Give compassion?
  11. Alexis1984

    Alexis1984 New Member

    Good idea. I've got a little one but I never worried about pain with him. I'll definitely try compassion ...
    Bodhigirl likes this.
  12. Ap13evans

    Ap13evans New Member

    Hello all!

    My name is Alex. I am a 26 year old male and I have had chronic pain in my scapula area and hamstring for about the last 6 years along with debilitating anxiety and depression.

    After many doctor visits that ruled out any major physical ailments , I have decided through Dr. Sarno's and Dr. Howard Schubiner's literature, that I have Mind Body Syndrome (aka TMS). I suspected I had TMS a couple years ago, but since I was not whole-heartedly behind the diagnosis, I discontinued the healing program.

    I also visited Dr. Schecter in Los Angeles who confirmed the diagnosis.

    After two yearts, once again, I have come to the conclusion of Mind Body Syndrome, under different circumstances, and I am more convinced than ever of my diagnosis and am more willing than ever to carry through with the program.

    I started Howard Schubiner's "Unlearn your Pain" and I am enjoying it and already feel some benefit.

    I am hoping to gather some support from other people dealing with this condition and to speak with a therapist or "veteran".

    Eagerly awaiting some responses, this is my first time on the forum :)

    JanAtheCPA and Tennis Tom like this.
  13. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Welcome to the Forum, Alex!

    I started with Unlearn Your Pain, and think it's great. Just be patient and keep at it. It will change your life.

    There are many free resources on this site, so poke around. You will find a wealth of information and compassionate support.

    Feel free to ask questions anytime and keep us informed on how you're doing. We are all here to support one another.
  14. Ap13evans

    Ap13evans New Member

    Hello Ellen!

    Thank you for the introduction. I am looking forward to the positive changes coming :)
    Ellen likes this.
  15. Timbercat

    Timbercat Well known member

    Hello: I am a newcomer and very happy I found this site. After over a year of dealing with chronic low back pain and right foot numbness, with a series of unsuccessful visits to medical spinal specialists, a neurosurgeon, chiropractor, physical therapist, podiatrists, and pain management specialist, I am now finding my way to Dr. Sarno's approach. I have had two coaching sessions and I am reading Sarno's books like crazy. I am also exercising more, and just trying to stay on the positive side of things. My biggest concern is that as of early July or so, I started having a feeling in my leg muscles as though I had run 5 miles (I didn't - I'm 68). My legs often feel tired and weak with pain in the hips, groin, knee - you name it. I have numbness/tingling in my butt and right leg, and this is keeping me from committing 100% to Sarno's program. It seems that one is supposed to rule out neurologic causes for the pain. If someone could just assure me I have normal reflexes and strength, I think I could move forward. I am really scared. I hate the thought of going back to the infamous "spine institute" as I have had the MRI and x-rays (last summer and fall) and was told at that time mine was not a surgical case. My MRI last fall showed a bulging disc at L5-S1. Has anyone managed to push through these types of symptoms? I know Sarno talks about TMS causing numbness and tingling when nerves are oxygen deprived. Appreciate any feedback. Thank you.
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  16. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Your symptoms can all be attributed to TMS, I've had them all for over fifteen years. My solution has been to keep on truckin'--play as much tennis as I can, run in the pool, swim etc. I used to run marathons and had no problems--if I want to go fast now, I get in my Viper and put the pedal to the metal and hope I don't crash or go over a cliff--it makes for a good pain relieving distraction.

    Keep reading and if after you've read every post and success story here you still have doubts, see a TMS physician for a second opinion from a white-coat with a stethoscope--there's a list of them at this site--what state are you in?
  17. Timbercat

    Timbercat Well known member

  18. Timbercat

    Timbercat Well known member

    Thank you ...I am in Ohio. I think the closest TMS physician might be Michigan - not sure.
  19. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    YOU ARE IN LUCK! Dr. Z, in your state who SteveO has talked highly about, the other DR. I'm not familiar with, I think he's new to the list. AND, SteveO wrote the definitive text on TMS/psychsomatic dis-ease and he's in Warren. He also does TMS coaching by phone or skype.


    Peter ZafiridesPeter Zafirides, MD
    Dr. Peter Zafirides is a psychiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. He is President and Co-Founder of Central Ohio Behavioral Medicine (COBM). Established in 1997, COBM is a premier behavioral healthcare practice with a multidisciplinary staff of MD, NP, RN, PhD, LISW, and LPCC clinicians. Dr Zafirides is also Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry at Ohio State University. Dr. Zafirides' specific interest is in the psychiatric aspects of chronic pain management. He been published in this area of Psychiatry. Dr. Zafirides continues to be an active speaker on Psychiatric Aspects of Chronic Pain, speaking both nationally and internationally on this subject. Dr. Zafirides has incorporated core TMS principles along with his orientation in existential psychotherapy as part of his psychiatric practice for the last 10 years. Several years ago, Dr Zafirides was fortunate enough to have spent time in New York personally learning from Dr. Sarno.

    5025 Arlington Centre Boulevard, #500
    Columbus, Ohio 43220
    (614) 538-8300
    (614) 538-1656 (fax)
    zafshrink@yahoo.com TMS Wiki Profile
    Insurance Accepted: Ohio State University Health Plan, Ohio Health Care
    The Healthy Mind Radio Show with Dr. Peter Zafirides
    Main Wiki Page about Peter Zafirides
    Board member of the Psychophysiologic Disorders Association (PPDA)

    John NadasJohn Nadas, MD
    Canton, Ohio
    (330) 489-1495
    TMS Wiki Profile / Website
    Insurance Accepted: Aetna, Medicaid, Medicare, Humana, BCBS, United Health Care, Sierra, Wellpoint

    Additional Practitioner
    Steve Ozanich
  20. Timbercat

    Timbercat Well known member


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