Talk:An Introduction to Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS)

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Importance of this page

We get an awful lot of traffic for our "An Introduction to TMS" page, but it feels very basic at this point. As of 3/14/10, it's the 12th most visited URL on the site (out of 1563 URLs visited in the last month!), but people clicking on a link entitled "An Introduction to TMS" may be expecting so much more than we are currently giving them. It should also be one of our very best pages because it is what the complete newbies will be clicking on, and we want to help them be as open as possible to the TMS approach. It's also an extremely important page because it essentially introduces newbies to the wiki. At the bottom of the page we should have links to other wiki pages that they might want to read next (at this stage I think it's important to avoid off-site links because we want to provide an integrated experience and get them used to the wiki's layout).

A delicate subject

The "What is TMS?" page is probably the hardest page on the wiki to edit because it may be the first introduction that someone who has TMS receives to the idea of TMS. They may have been told in their past that their pain was all in their head and they may be furious with the idea because they know that it isn't true. Having read Dr. Sarno's books, we understand that emotional factors can cause very real pain that isn't "in the TMSers head," but if we don't write this page extremely carefully, they may just click the back button and they may never read the books.

We may want to focus on success stories rather on this page because TMS success stories are so powerful and moving.

TMS professionals can be very direct about the causes of TMS because of the authority that their role as licensed and trained medical professionals gives them in our eyes (it's true, right?). Dr. Sarno can write similar things because he is an MD and bestselling author who has developed a reputation for succeeding where othe doctors have failed. On the other hand, people tend to be very skeptical of what they read on the web.

We probably have a certain amount of authority because we speak as a community of sufferers from chronic pain and people tend to trust other people who have been through common experiences. However, our audience probably won't initially see us as experts on the mechanisms behind chronic pain, so we may want to be careful when speaking about that.

Also, the mechanisms behind TMS can bring up some very strong emotions. As one editor wrote, "When my councellor suggested my back pain may have a psychosomatic element, I did a runner and never went back to her - I thought she was way off mark. But when I look back I wonder if she'd approached it from a different angle I might have been more receptive."


  • the mechanisms behind TMS are controversial outside of TMS circles
  • the mechanisms behind TMS can bring out some hostility (as a doctor at Harvard medical school said in the 20/20 documentary, “If anybody told me this was all in my head, my rage would not be repressed”)
  • we speak primarily as TMS sufferers not as medical professionals,

we may want to avoid the ins and outs of the diagnosis and instead focus on sharing how TMS has transformed our lives. Hopefully, what we write will whet their appetites and get them interested in reading more (perhaps by reading one of Dr. Sarno's books).

Feel free to discuss what you think should be in the "What is TMS?" page both here and in the discussion threads below.

DISCLAIMER: The TMS Wiki is for informational and support purposes only and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. See Full Disclaimer.