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when the pain IS that bad...

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by rabbit, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. rabbit

    rabbit Peer Supporter

    New here, no doubt TMS applies to me. Wish I had learned of it long ago. Would have saved a lot of time, suffering and money. Have been struggling with leg and back issues for the past year, working with a conventional MD who is supportive of mind body connection as a general matter and seems to "get it"
    Had the worst flare up I've ever had a few days ago. I know now what the 10 on the 1-10 pain scale is for me, never experienced anything like it in my life. I tried to apply the TMS principles I learned, to no avail. Was essentially unable to function for 3 days and truly was in agony. Couldn't even bend my head down with out piercing pain in my tailbone area. What is helping right now is an oral steroid . Its slowly getting better. Had an xray a while ago (standard L something or other) and now off to an MRI (sounds like the usual story Im reading about) BUT How on earth can the steroid be some kind of placebo effect? Im trying to merge my understanding of conventional medicine with this new approach, which i believe in fully, but i've got a lot of questions. Another of which is can someone explain under the conventional approach and the TMS approach how inflammation, nerves, the spine and muscle spasm work together.
    Thanks in advance, looking forward to learning, and glad to have found this site
  2. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    According to Dr. Sarno's TMS --The Mindbody Syndrome approach --he believes psychosomatic pain can exhibit itself in most anything, including inflammation. The nerves are part of the wiring system for the body. They are the wires that transmit information back and forth. A big bundle of them runs through the spine branching out like the wiring system of your house or car, through openings in the vertebrae. The messages are transmitted electro-chemically through the synovial fluid that bathes the spine and the brain. It's instantaneous like electricity, or throwing a light switch.

    Earlier in his career, Dr. Sarno called his theory Tension Myositis Sydrome, based on his training as a rehabilitation specialist, dealing mainly with backs and limbs. His theory for muscle, ligament and tendon pain was that it was due to a slight oxygen deprivation to a very few cells. Although it could be excruciatingly painful, it was benign. TMS pain is caused by the brain's unconscious, the conventional allopathic medicine view is that the pain is structural.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
    Ellen likes this.
  3. rabbit

    rabbit Peer Supporter

    Thanks for the fast reply! Where I'm also confused is the connection between inflammation and muscle tightness. Am I correct that under a conventional approach an MD would say due to a structural issue in the spine, say a disc or vertebrae compressing a nerve, that when aggravated for some reason, "flares up" as in gets inflamed, which then leads to the muscle tightness, spasms, aching, sharp pain, dull pain, whatever...?
    I know worrying about these details is certainly an UN TMS approach, but I want to learn the different ideas about the physiology. And Sarno's physiology makes a lot of sense to me.

    So, in comparison to the above [assuming that is what a conventional MD would say] would Sarno say it's all about mild oxygen deprivation to the various parts, churning through the "electrical system" you described, and yes, tho it hurts a lot, but dont worry about the muscles, spine, tendons, ligaments, nerves, it's harmless and they will be fine?

    That being said, in recent days I experienced more pain than ever before, unable to function or move (never experienced anything like it) I tried to "think it away" to absolutely no avail. I eventually required a prescription painkiller and chose to take an oral steroid, and I'm improving, somewhat more mobile and in less pain, but not 100% by far. Would it really have been possible if I had learned and practiced Sarno's methods correctly to be able to "think it away" and actually function or be in that much pain and decide, instead, hey, I'm going to go for a jog anyway? I was in so much pain with certain movements, it took my breath away, I almost passed out (honestly). It seems my not moving in ways that it hurt (ie bending down to pick up something, turning my head too far) was my body's way of actually protecting itself. It was totally instinctive. There is no way my body or brain would have allowed me to dash up a flight of stairs!

    And, again, I cant see how the steroid was a placebo effect. SO is it possible then, the inflammation was caused by my brain, the inflammation caused the pain, the steroid helped the inflammation, which helped the pain?

    One last thing: I get the sense that there's somewhat of an all or nothing mindset with TMS. I'm 100% sold on the mind body connection but i dont understand abandoning things like stretching, massage, a heating pad, sleeping a certain way, and things that help [including meds when needed] even if they provide only temporary relief. Otherwise, its seems like unnecessary suffering. How, while learning and healing with the Sarno method, do you make the jump - just cold turkey at the very worst point ever, for lack of a better way of thinking about it? I was so grateful to have my conventional MD to help me the past few days. But now I know i'm heading down the "bad" road -- MRI, PT etc etc

    Sorry for all these questions. I'm so interested in learning more. Thanks to all for listening!
  4. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    Hi Rabbit, to respond to your question about 'all or nothing mindset", I have to say that this is one thing in the TMS literature that I do not agree with. I had a lot of the kind of pain you are describing and am mostly pain free now - with only occasional flare-ups. To me, and what really made the TMS theory work for me is that it taught me that the mind and body are truly not separate. Once I knew I did not have any terrible physical problem that was responsible for the pain - although I did have some physical issues like mild scoliosis and osteoporosis (which are usually not painful conditions), I just gradually came to realize that my mind was capable of making or breaking me. I completely let go of the mind/body separation, of the idea that I somehow had to figure out if my pain was in fact physical or mental. I did a lot of work with somatic experiencing (to enable me to OWN my own pain without fear) and spirituality to assist me in my recovery.

    Here on the forum, some of us adhere strictly to the works of Dr. Sarno and others accept TMS in different ways. So don't get the idea that this is some sort of religion. We all try to help each other with whatever works and share our experiences. I also must exercise on a regular basis to stay pain-free. However, because exercise is one of the very few things that makes me feel really good mentally, it is not clear if this "need" is psychological or physical. I don't really care as long as I find things that work.

    Regarding medications, they will often work even if the pain is a mind/body issue because your body will still respond to them even if the pain is more psychological than physical. However, with TMS, you will often find that "mind" medications may work on the pain just as well. I used to take some meds, but not a lot. I think weaning yourself off them is the best way to go. This gradually teaches you that the pain can be controlled using mind/body techniques. I hope this makes some sense to you.
    westb, Mala and Ellen like this.
  5. Ryan

    Ryan Well known member

    You have doubt in the tms process which is normal. Tms is universal but very few believe they actually have it. You cannot have one foot in and one out the ballpark. It's a all or nothing kind of thing. No one here can diagnose you, but if you have been checked out medically with nothing wrong, then dive in. The decision is ultimately yours, you will be the one to ultimately heal yourself, others will help along the way.

    your whole posts above talked about the physical body. Nothing is wrong with your body if you have tms. It's your mind that needs healing. your pain has so much of your attention, it's doing its job by distracting you from the underlying emotions. As the great doctor said if one is preoccupied with the body/symptoms they will persists.

    The steroid worked for you because you believed it would work. The placebo is powerful. Just like you always hear epidural injection usually help people short term then the pain comes back(this has happened to numerous people in my family) these people never get to the root cause of the problem, which is mental. I even took muscle relaxers with oral steroids which helped short term then my pain return. Once I started tms healing it left after I did some long hard work.

    Just try tms healing when your ready, most people are willing to try when they are desperate enough. You have come to the right place, keep getting knowledge by reading tms books and stop all your physical therapies when your ready It's up to you. Wishing you the best of luck, you will thank us at tms wiki later. We are what we believe.

    Ellen and Tennis Tom like this.
  6. rabbit

    rabbit Peer Supporter

    Thanks for the responses. I wish I had more to add than questions and thoughts at this point, but hopefully soon.
    Chickenbone, I like the way you frame it. That really spoke to me. And ryan, the gentleness of coming to what I am ready for at
    a given point is gentle and kind and makes perfect sense.
  7. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    As long as you keep searching for "how inflammation, nerves, the spine and muscle spasm work together" you are still TMSing. Don't get caught by yet another of your brain's tactics to fool you. Intellectualizing is TMSing because it takes you once again out of the emotional realm. Jung described it best, "nothing inhibits feeling like thinking."

    If you have TMS the oral steroid is nothing but a placebo.

    I remember at several points, praying my pain would drop down to a 10, on the painometer. During those rapid flare ups there's not much you can do except to try to soothe your being. I liked Dr. Sarno's suggestion on how to handle them, "get a bottle of wine and a good book, and go to bed." I would add one other caveat, you don't need a book.

    As with everyone else, you need to ask yourself what's going on in your life right now. Why do you need your pain now? Why is your rage so intense? Of course it's almost always due to a relationship, so who are you angry at? Sometimes it's based on moving as well, new house, school, country, etc.

    There's some type of separation occurring, has recently occurred, or soon will occur.

  8. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Rabbit,
    I think you have three wonderful responses, and this shows the similarity and differences of successful work here with TMS. Mostly it is the similarities.

    One thing I would add related to physical vs psychological causes and Dr. Sarno's approach.

    I was told by several physicians who wanted to operate on me to "release my nerve" physically, that the nerve was pinched and there was oxygen deprivation. And this was causing/would lead to: pain, numbness, etc. Boy did that click with Dr. Sarno's idea. The way I answered the questions you have is that the surgeon was right about the oxygen deprivation, and the effects on the body (the symptoms) but he was wrong about the cause. Two months later I was climbing mountains with backpacks, after three years on crutches in terrible foot pain.

    To me, the process you are doing ---to eliminate the doubts-- was important, and helped me embrace Dr. Sarno's work. Good luck in sorting this out in your mind.

    Andy B.

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