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What do you do on high TMS pain days?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by AllyC, Nov 24, 2018.

  1. AllyC

    AllyC New Member

    I’m fairly new here. Making good strides in my 10+ years of back pain (with the last instance of it “going out” being about 9 weeks ago). I’ve been “thinking psychologically,” dealing with my emotions as much as possible (repressed and new), and working on being more physically active daily. I’m not yet fully healed, but my pain has been reduced quiet a bit.

    However, the last two days have been high pain days for me. I know the trigger... my husband got sick on thanksgiving and we weren’t sure if it was the flu or something else and it sent me into damage control mode with the kids and family—trying to get him home from the family gathering, take care of him, quarantine him from the rest of the family, sanitize the house, keep the kids quiet/fed/bathed/put to bed so he could sleep. And I slept on the upstairs couch-a classic conditioned trigger for my back pain (and usually leading to hip/knee pain for a few days after).

    I thought I had done well in dealing with my stress as it came, telling myself it’s just stress, my body is fine, sleeping on the couch won’t cause my back to go out, I’m just overwhelmed and a bit resentful of all the extra work this has caused,

    Well, I’m on day two since and still in pain-terrified that my back will go out again. I tried to speak my feelings out loud, remind myself that I was just responding to conditioned triggers and stress. But, alas, I’m still in pain.

    What are your thoughts? What do you do when you have a TMS attack?

    I’m fighting the urge to go back to physical soothing (hot baths, ice packs, and bed rest).

    Any advice is appreaciated.
  2. Duke

    Duke New Member

    I am so sorry your having one of those days. I am all too familiar with them. Not sure I can offer anything helpful other than support. I too am having an incident day. Been having stomach issues and was pretty sure it’s TMS but wanted to check with my primary doc. Didn’t expect him to call this morning and tell me he would see me right away. Coming out of shower I reached for the towel and wham! Lower back spasm. I can hike 10 miles on mountains, practice yoga and Tai Chi so there is no way I shouldn’t be able to lift a towel off of a towel rack. It’s almost comical. So now throughout the day its stiffening up and I anticipate several days of ugh! Here’s the curious thing, my stomach pains seemed to abate immediately after back spasmed out. Wierd right? Not really when you understand what’s going on. Fear=Pain. Body preparing for Figh/Flight/Freeze. My amygdala doesn’t know that the fear I feel about going to doc is not a true threat. It’s sees it as real threat and there you go.

    Anyway I think you need to cut yourself some slack. Sounds like you are overwhelmed because you aren’t able to control everything that’s going on. But from a strangers perspective there isn’t a person on the planet that would be able to control all that. Your expectations of yourself are, in my opinion, unreasonable. Being the main caregiver can cause the unconscious mind to become enraged. Throw-in the holiday season and it’s a recipe for disaster. You are doing a fantastic job of taking care of everyone and everything.....except yourself. If you are on this forum you are more than likely someone that has a need to please. Your a giver and with a young family there isn’t enough of you to give. Now your spouse becomes another dependent and you feel responsible to step up some more. I’m sure your furious inside but there is no mechanism to get in touch with it. So of course your terrified that your back is going to go out. In your mind if your back goes out your a failure. But also deep down your psyche knows if your back goes out it exonerates you from your responsibilities. It’s a vicious cycle. How to break?

    You should allow yourself at least the bath. Maybe put everyone to bed and give a good cry. Maybe watch something that makes you laugh. Deny that inner voice that is so critical. From my perspective you are doing an amazing job. Don’t let that damn couch scare you either. It’s just a trigger. It’s not real. Your healthy and strong. You can handle an amazing amount of responsibility. So how can a couch defeat you.

    Keep in touch. Let me know how your doing. I care.
    readytoheal and AllyC like this.
  3. AllyC

    AllyC New Member


    Wow! You read me like a book and had me in tears. I know I put so much pressure on myself and it’s a really hard habit to break. I appreciate your kind words—you have no idea how much I needed to hear them.

    And I completely understand the switching symptoms. I had a time period about 18 months ago where a several rounds of dental work (and ensuing anxiety leading up to them) left me with severe, all day, burning reflux. I blamed the antibiotics throwing off my gut bacteria, but looking back I can see TMS equivalent written all over it. Because wouldn’t you know that for the 6 months that I battled the reflux were the only 6 months I haven’t had daily back pain?

    I wish I had advice to offer or solace to give you in return for your lovely words of support. Please know that someone else is out there, fighting the good fight and rooting for your victory. I’ll be taking your prescription tonight and hope for a better day tomorrow for it. Take care :)

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