My name is Adam and I am 25 years old. I have been having chronic bilateral pain in my forearms for a little over one year. During this time, I have seen 2 occupational therapists, 2 hand specialists, my general practitioner several times, a neurologist, 2 massage therapists, and a psychologist. Throughout most of this past year my pain has been located in my flexor carpi radialis tendons, as well as in my flexor carpi ulnaris tendons. Over the past month or two, I have begun to have pain on the back of both of my hands, the top for both of my wrists, and also in both of my ankles.
My pain began about six months after I graduated from graduate school. During these six months, I was working in an office environment eight hours a day, practicing trumpet two hours a day, as well as lifting heavy weights one hour a day. So, my pain was in full swing by Thanksgiving of 2013. Unfortunately for me, I decided to continue to work through the pain for about another six months, until I decided to take a leave of absence starting in July of 2014. My pain has been diagnosed as repetitive strain injury, with tenosynovitis in my flexor carpi radialis tendons, with the remainder of my pain simply being called tendinitis.
I have been completely off work for nearly 5 months. I have not practiced my trumpet for over six months, and I have not lifted weights for about eight months. Despite these drastic modifications to my lifestyle, I still have pain every single day. Throughout my days at home, I use all of the tricks I learned from therapy to temporarily relieve my pain. I have found that hot and cold contrast baths, taking hot showers, using ice packs, laying down in certain positions with my hands on my lap, and walking all help to decrease or temporarily alleviate my pain in my arms.
Over the past month, I have noticed pain appear on the top of my feet as well as on the front and back of my ankles. I think this might be due to the frequent hiking I have been doing on uneven ground, while wearing shoes that were probably laced too tightly. This being said, this may be another adaptation of TMS.
Additionally, I have had some blood drawn which tested positive for ANA antibodies (anti-nuclear antibodies). These types of antibodies indicate that I may have and Sort of autoimmune issues going on. I subsequently had a second blood test drawn, which came back normal. In light of this positive test for anti-nuclear antibodies, I have an appointment with a local rheumatologist scheduled in about a week and a half.
After reading dozens of articles, as well as after watching dozens of videos regarding RSI and TMS, I think it is extremely likely that some part of my pain involves a psychological component. I will admit that the type of person Dr. Sarno describes as having TMS, being perfectionistic, compulsive, and very success oriented, describes me perfectly. I am still frightened, however, to begin resuming physical activities again. This is because when I have tried doing this in the past, I have been in pain for weeks afterwards. As Sarno writes also, my pain has come to dominate my life and my daily thoughts. It seems like all I ever talk about to my family and friends is my pain. Instead of focusing on starting my life, I have to focus on curing my pain so that I can then start my life.
One of the biggest reasons I am hesitant to fully commit to Sarno's TMS theory, is because I have seen structural changes with some of my tendons and their tendon sheaths via ultrasound. One of the hand specialists that I visited actually showed me on his monitor that my FCR tendon sheath was a visibly inflamed. Furthermore, when I received cortisone injections into both of my FCR tendons, I did have several days of complete pain relief. I have not however seen any structural changes on the back of my hands, where I have been having pain for over one month.
I am hoping that people who have had a condition similar to mine can help me determine how much of my pain may be from TMS. Thanks for reading if you made it this far!