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Would love some support and encouragement

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by plafield, Jan 15, 2019.

  1. plafield

    plafield New Member

    I developed pain in my tailbone and was diagnosed with "coccydynia" about 6 months ago. I had an x-ray which came back normal and my insurance denied an MRI. I've had no other symptoms but this very localized pain in my tailbone, especially when sitting but sometimes when lying down or standing. I tried ibuprofen, hot baths, ice, and saw a "pain specialist" that recommended a steroid injection which I declined. Of course, all I could think about was the pain, spending hours on the internet reading all about coccydynia and feeling scared all the time that I'd have to live with this pain for the rest of my life or that it was actually a cancerous tumor (even though I have no other symptoms but the localized pain) that wasn't getting diagnosed because I can't get an MRI.

    I'm a psychotherapist and a couple of months ago I came across an article by Howard Schubiner in one of my professional periodicals about chronic pain and MBS/TMS and it just jumped off the page at me. Intuitively it made complete sense that this pain was a mind/body syndrome especially because it started right after my sister died and my daughter got married (all in the same week!) and I then spent months worrying about it incessantly.

    I immediately read Sarno's book "The Mind Body Prescription" and started working my way through "Unlearn Your Pain." I had a 50% improvement in pain as soon as I read Sarno's book and it's been up to 85% percent at times but I've had several relapses. The first few relapses sent me spinning back into fear that there might really be something structurally wrong or tissue related but I'm now 99.9% convinced that it's MBS. But I'm still obsessing. I keep trying to take my focus off it but I notice I'm always checking: "Is there pain? Is it better or worse?" I'm doing all the recommended things, writing, lot's of emotional release, mindfulness, dismissing the pain, practicing outcome independence and distraction, but it's in my mind in some way so much of the time. Any further tips to stop thinking about it so much would be great.

    There aren't a lot of success stories I've found for MBS and coccydynia and I don't have any other symptoms so I'd love some encouragement and reassurance about my journey. I'm so glad to have found this forum!
  2. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    " I'm always checking "

    I have been largely symptom/painfree for 20 years this year Via Sarno's work. I have never read any of the other writers on the subject because I haven't needed them. (yet?) I have had virtually every symptom switch you could name except the coccyx thing you describe, though a number of my friends who I am certain have TMS have that as their primary symptom. I assume by MBS you mean 'mindbody syndrome'? or is there a new ailment of which I am not aware?

    That continual checking IS TMS. TMS is synonymous with OCD and that checking is one of the main features of Both. I actually learned that from someone in your profession who did his Thesis on it. The main text I have used for recovery is 'Healing Back Pain' and the instruction to switch your attention to a source of irritation when 'checking' e.g 'noticing' the symptom is Imperative for recovery. It breaks the obsessional chain and reconditions the mind (which is where the problem is obviously)

    I always found it harder when I was in a situation where my attention was necessary. Being a manual laborer I don't have to 'pay attention' to anything other than my work which leaves my mind free to wander. It would have been harder if I was a therapist who has to listen (or at least pretend) to a bunch of other peoples' sorry ass stories all day long (which must also be enraging)

    Many of us here are 'cured' . I have symptoms maybe 2 days a year total...sometimes only minutes. I'll take it. To hear from others with your specific symptom (not that it's of paramount importance) you might want to add it to your header in the string to catch their attention.

    Lainey likes this.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    A Hardy Har Har!!! Baseball, I love your no BS, no mamby pamby approach!



    I love Baseball's "checking for pain is TMS" comment.

    When you're doing this checking, Sarno's approach is "what am I not feeling?" and Schubiner/Gordon's might be "how is keeping me in fear loops/alarm state adaptive to vulnerable child who gets activated in order to stay safe/protect self?" Either way, acceptance, inquiry, reassurance does work. And loving yourself regardless of progress, fear, superego judgement is key. It is your personal journey, not someone else's.

    You might check out Alan Gordon's multimedia program, free at the Wiki.

    Often, too, it is worth mentioning that we find that the more permanent or deeper healing work does involve deeper psychodynamic exploration/support: understanding how our childhood imprints reach into the moment-to-moment ways we treat ourselves, and resolving some of this.

    Andy B
    Lainey likes this.
  4. plafield

    plafield New Member

    Thanks for your comments Baseball. It makes sense that the "checking" is a similar mechanism to OCD and a clear feature of TMS. I do want to say though, I actually love my work and even though sometimes I'm aware of my pain when I'm sitting with people, often I'm so absorbed in my work I can easily ignore the pain although it's in the background and can sometimes be distracting. I don't find the work enraging at all but can understand that it might be hard (and/or enraging) for some people to sit with others' pain.

    Andy, I'm looking at Alan Gordon's program as well as using Sarno and Schubiner's guides. As a therapist myself I totally agree with you about the importance of doing the deeper emotional work. Even after years of journaling and in depth psychodynamic therapy, I know there's still more for me to do. My symptoms started right after my sister died and I've been examining as never before how our relationship so deeply impacted me, both as a developing child and also throughout our adult lives. I've seen a dramatic improvement since I've been treating this as TMS and even the fluctuations help me to feel completely convinced it is TMS. The fear of the pain is pretty much gone but it's so hard to stop continually bringing my thoughts back to checking if the pain is there or not or anticipating the pain when I know I have to sit. Once I feel the pain I do redirect my thoughts to either asking what I'm feeling emotionally or telling myself that it's TMS and no need to worry about it but sometimes even doing that feels like I'm still thinking about it on some level almost all of the time. Thanks for the reminder to be gentle and loving to myself!
    Lainey likes this.
  5. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi plafield,

    I think it might be helpful to simply accept that you're thinking about it a lot. Part of this work is to allow yourself to be where you are, and be patient with the process. I think time will do a lot of journey for you at this point.

    This sounds great. A lot of what needs to be known will simply show itself over time. Just that you're contemplating, inquiring may be most of the work needed, I think.

    Andy B
    Lainey likes this.

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