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What worked for me...coming "back" from disc protrusion

Discussion in 'Success Stories Subforum' started by Mimi Unger, May 31, 2018.

  1. Mimi Unger

    Mimi Unger New Member

    This is an update to a post I made over a year ago. At that point I had been diagnosed with a 6mm disc protrusion with possible nerve impingement. I had gotten epidurals, physical therapy, gone to a chiropractor and started talk therapy. I had read and listened to the Sarno book and once I started journaling, got to about a 60-80% pain free life. I am happy to report, I am closer to 98% pain free!!!!! As I write this my right buttock and my thigh both feel tight and there is a little pain, but the important thing is that I now know I will have more pain free days than ones with some discomfort. Two years ago, I had days where the pain was so great and my thoughts about limitations so depressing, that I had really lost hope.

    So, what took me from 60% to 98%? I believe a big part of it was BELIEF, which is tough for super rationally minded people. For some of us, it is not like flipping a switch. So, here are the things I did to help nudge myself to believe I would get better.

    1. WENT TO a doctor who specializes in T.M.S. I went to David Schechter and read his book. He charted my pain levels and reassured me, by doing a physical exam. For those of you with less confidence, this reassurance was key.

    2. READ David Hanscom's book "Back in Control" This book is very realistic. It explains exactly how the pain loops. It goes into research and motivated me to keep journaling.

    3. LISTENED to the therapy sessions on this website by Dr. Alan Gordon.

    4. STOPPED TALKING ABOUT PAIN. I am lucky to have very caring people in my life who asked me how I was doing. I would usually say "I'm still in pain, but it's a lot better" So, I was honest because I wanted people to know why I seemed low energy at times or didn't want to sit in a movie, but I also wanted to continue to reprogram my pain receptors. Also, it was helpful to be seen as a recovering person rather than an invalid.

    5. LIMITED BEING OPEN TO NEGATIVITY. This was really tough, because I do have a couple of family members who are very negative and have a habit of calling and unloading for HOURS...not exaggerating. I believe many with T.MS. have people like this in their lives. Though it was not received well, I told them I wanted to support them, but I needed the conversation to be mostly positive. When they seemed resentful or took that as a cue to ask me about my pain, I would just reiterate that I still wanted to hear about their life, but it was a part of my healing that I stay positive and then I would change the subject to something affirming without sharing much about my pain.

    6. WENT TO TALK THERAPY I found a therapist listed on this site and went once a week for several months, which was all I could afford. Your friends are not therapists. Your family does not understand what is happening in your head. I found trying to explain my ideas about why I was in pain and the confusion the followed, just increased the pain. The TMS pain theory is not yet understood in common culture.

    7. TAKE ACTION: Though we can't take control of every problem, back pain can make you feel like you don't have any control. I had a couple of very toxic situations at work that I am pretty sure brought on my pain. I finally took legal action and when there was a resolution, OH MY within days I no longer had that early
    morning back pain at all! So quit the job, get out of the relationship, sell the house, whatever...just take action slowly but surely.

    8. TIME: It takes time to really heal mentally and physically. The lack of certainty about how much time can make people feel as if it will never happen. It took about 3 1/2 years for me. I still get tightness, but I just talk to myself and say "Your disc is healed. This is your life." I make a point of charting my progress and take mental note when I am able to do something almost pain free that I couldn't do before. For example, I can do sit ups now....and I am smiling the whole time I am doing it.
    Marinedad, Jules, MWsunin12 and 6 others like this.
  2. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    Mimi Unger,

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts with us. You have some wonderful advice here for helping us out with our journey.

    So happy to hear about your success!

    Mimi Unger likes this.
  3. Timbercat

    Timbercat Well known member

  4. Timbercat

    Timbercat Well known member

    Mimi Unger
    I am always encouraged to read a post like yours and so happy for you to be enjoying your life again! I have an appointment to see Dr. Schubiner at the end of June to hear from a TMS expert what is going on with me. In the meantime I have descended into a severe pain cycle and I am just trying to stay out of the medical system until I can get to Dr. Schubiner. Thank you for outlining steps that worked for you. I love your post! Wish me luck...
    Lizzy likes this.
  5. Mimi Unger

    Mimi Unger New Member

    So glad you are encouraged! I went to this site a lot when I was deep in the pain cycle and just knowing there is another side kept me trying new things. If you have not started yet, journaling is the easiest thing to start. It's not magic, but I now see the whole process as a chipping away at some rock in the road. What ever you do to chip away at this "thing", just be consistent...mental rewiring, if that is what you need, takes time and a lot of self love. Also, try distracting yourself from the pain a little. Do something that is really engrossing or demanding...then quickly note how much time you were not aware of the pain...telling yourself if I can be pain free for 5 minutes maybe more is possible!!! This is supposed to help rewire the brain. Good Luck!!!!!!!!!
    Lizzy likes this.
  6. Timbercat

    Timbercat Well known member

  7. Timbercat

    Timbercat Well known member

    I will take your advice. I do journal though not daily. I definitely need to rewire my brain so distracting it for awhile is what I will work on. I have just been house bound, cannot walk well and sit here crying. All stuff that makes the pain worse. Thank you so much for taking time to respond. Today will be a better day!
    Mimi Unger likes this.
  8. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    My body was hollering yesterday and today and my husband suggested it might be better if I didn't speak about it. I was so embarrassed, as I know he's right. I feel anxious and BOOM, a symptom gets started and wants to gain traction. Today, I'm here to stop the momentum before it snowballs.
    I had a nasty cold all week and am better now but tired. When I'm tired, my defenses are down. I want to just rest but have stuff to do. The stressing and pressuring creates more anxiety which makes the symptoms rev their engines.
    I am writing to break the trance of the pain. Breaking the trance of the symptoms. Back to deskwork for half an hour, thanks!!
    Mimi Unger and westb like this.
  9. kkcarlton

    kkcarlton Peer Supporter

    Mimi, thank you for sharing, especially how long it took you. Your story is very encouraging.

    Timbercat, you will love Dr. Schubiner. He is amazing and so kind and compassionate.
    Timbercat and Mimi Unger like this.
  10. Mimi Unger

    Mimi Unger New Member

    Glad to hear it helps. May I suggest that you feel okay about the impulse to talk about the pain. That's totally understandable. Remember to be compassionate toward yourself while making the decision to take actions that will help you get better. Internalizing emotion, feeling shame is quite a trigger for me. Writing about the pain is a good option.
  11. Timbercat

    Timbercat Well known member

  12. Timbercat

    Timbercat Well known member

    So you must have seen Dr. Schubiner in the past? I would go to him today if I could. Instead tomorrow I am headed back to my orthopedic doc to see if he can do anything to get me thru until I can get to Dr. Schubiner. Ortho has been treating me for r hip bursitis which started to get better. Then I decided to practice outcome independence and in site of the usual back pain and some hip pain, I did some gardening 3x in a week, extra walking, and cleaned and mopped about 1/16 of my basement. Life has been hell since. Severe back , hip and groin pain with muscle spasms everywhere. I cannot walk very far and have to limp to do it. It has always been hard for me to distinguish tms from structural stuff. I couldn't be more grounded or depressed or scared right now. I absolutely have to make it to Dr .Schubiner. Thanks to you for listening.
  13. yvettemariabetancourt

    yvettemariabetancourt Peer Supporter

    Thank you for sharing. I am about 4 years out of crisis and also had disc protusions. Horrific experience. Worked my way out diligently and slowly through PT, shots, journaling, therapy and Sarno book. I know make decisions both large and small considering the potential consequences on my back and my soul, which are intertwined. Thanks for reminder to journal . I always forget. Beautiful story and wonderful to learn you have healed yourself.
  14. Mimi Unger

    Mimi Unger New Member

    Thanks so much for the reenforcement. Also, so happy for you that you came back from the nightmare that is back pain. Here's to supporting diligence and the human spirit! :)

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