Q&A: My pain started long ago. Will it take a longer time to get rid of it?

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My pain started 42 years ago ... Is it at all likely that the fact that my pain started so long ago will mean that it will take longer to get rid of it?

Answer by Howard Schubiner, MD

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Howard Schubiner, MD

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This is an excellent question that is frequently asked. There are several things that determine which people get better from TMS and how quickly. However, I do not believe that the length of time that they have had TMS is one of them. One of the proposed mechanisms for how TMS develops in the brain is that nerve connections develop that create pain pathways. One would think that if these path pathways have been active for many years, that they would be ingrained and hard to break. However, I have not seen this to be the case. The major things which determine if someone gets better from TMS are these:

  • ability to recognize the process as TMS and to clearly understand that there is no physical reason why they cannot get better
  • ability to recognize the psychological issues that have created TMS symptoms
  • ability to deal with the psychological issues effectively
  • ability to do things that have not been done, which may include physical activities, as well as emotional issues, that have been avoided
  • ability to renew their life and find pleasure, meaning and contentment.

I would maintain a positive view on the possibility of getting better, even if it started 42 years ago. If you work on the issues mentioned above, you should be able to make great progress.


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