Q&A: Is it possible that the pain from diagnosed "degenerative facet disease" is really TMS?
Answer by John Stracks, MD
Degenerative facet disease is a recently "discovered" condition in which the facet joints (the areas between the sides of the vertebral bones) are thought to become arthritic and inflamed leading to severe pain.
As can be seen in many areas of this wiki and in other writings on TMS, numerous studies over the years have failed to convincingly demonstrate a connection between arthritis and other degenerative conditions and chronic pain. That is, MRIs of healthy control subject frequently show the same "degenerative" changes that are seen in patients with chronic pain.
Degenerative facet disease is simply one of the latest names given to what is likely a normal process but which can certainly be the locus around which TMS pain is organized.
So, yes, I would say that Degenerative Facet Disease is absolutely a form of TMS.
Follow Up Question: From discussion thread: (Paraphrased) What are your thoughts on the work of Sarah Key, who attributes much back pain to facet disease?
I am not familiar with the work of Sarah Key, but when I looked up her website it did not appear to me that the two techniques are mutually exclusive.
Research in the past 10 years has shown that pain is a multi-dimensional phenomenon that includes sensory inputs but also emotional and psychological inputs. Our experience in teaching people about TMS has been that for those who can understand and accept the diagnosis of TMS the pain gets mostly or completely better because the emotional and psychological factors that contribute to the pain are changed.
It is quite likely that by eliminating the initial physical signal through spinal manipulation some people could also significantly decrease their overall experience of pain. The patients who come to see me, however, often-times feel that spinal manipulation never cured their pain for very long. My explanation for this is that, because the emotional/psychological factors have not changed, once the physical signal comes back the pain does as well.
There's certainly more than one way to skin a cat, but in my experience the most effective way to handle chronic back pain has been by understanding the TMS concepts. My guess from reading Sarah Key's website would be that she would agree that truly healing the pain includes tending to emotional and psychological factors as well.
Thanks for your question.
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