question re TMS

Discussions relating to Lower Back Pain.

question re TMS

Postby karen » Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:17 am

Hi all,
Am reading Dr. Sarno's book at the moment about TMS and think I may be a candidate. I've come a long way with Dean's exercises but can't seem to get rid of this nagging pain in my L buttock. It just refuses to go away completely. My question is for anyone else who has read Dr Sarno's book or followed his program. He suggests that you need to let go of the idea that there is anything wrong with your back for it to get better and he says one way to do this is to stop all exercises you may be doing for your back. Now I am just so reluctant to do this, I'm a real believer in Dean's exercises. My question is, if I have TMS, can I follow the rest of his advice and still do my RYB exercises, and get better. I think Randolph mentioned following Dr Sarno's book too, any advice for me there ?
Thanks again,
Karen
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Postby Dean » Tue Apr 17, 2007 5:17 pm

Hey Karen,

You have to take Sarno with a grain of salt. As you've now noticed, some of his statements just don't make any sense.

The thing to do is ignore his obvious mistakes and focus on the theory behind what he's saying.

You can't "think away" a herniated disc or a pinched nerve or a torn muscle... but there is evidence that you can alter and control the mind's perception of pain... since it is a process that's controlled within the brain itself.

If some (or even all) of your pain is psychosomatic then the mental exercises he suggests should be sufficient to remedy the situation. (Although some people do benefit from the help of a trained therapist.)

The goal is to re-program the subconscious mind. The way to do that is through your conscious mind. In a nutshell, what you're going to be doing is repeatedly telling yourself what you want to have happen.

Physical activity should not alter the outcome one way or the other... so there's usually no reason to stop exercising.

Dean
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Postby Seann » Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:00 pm

Karen-
In a sense you need to just 'chill'. I've been a user of the RYB program for a while now, have researched Dr. Sarno's books and have noted that, in a nutshell, tension makes lower back pain worse. So, at some level he makes sense, but the rest of his theories are a little out there.

In addition to your excercises find a way to relax, whatever works for you, and focus on relieving muscle tension in your back. Don't stop the excercises unless they are making your problem worse. It may take some time but I can attest that the results are worth it.

Hope this helps you a little. Please keep us posted on your progress.
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Postby randolph » Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:52 am

Hi Karen

I think Dean's/Seann's comments are right on. I will expand on a few of their comments by making specific connections with how Dr. Sarno's work was helpful to me, specifically. Basically, I believe some of my sciatica pain is TMS related, and I continue to do, daily, many stretches and exercises (some of which are the RYB exercises) with great benefit.

I read two of Dr Sarno's 4 books. I've been told by his devotees that all his books have the same stuff ... so reading one is sufficient. There were really only 2 ideas, among the many in his books, which I found helpful.

First, because it had been a year since the injury to my lower spine, I was most likely physically healed, and any pain I experieced was likely psycho-somatic. Thus, I could confidently, GRADUALLY increase my level of physical activity without fear of causing a relapse. In fact, if I was unnaturally afraid to do certain things, that was a clue that I could in fact challenge myself right there. In my case, for example, 5 months ago I was unnaturally afraid to resume running; I am now running 4-6 miles 3-4 times/week ... and increasing time and speed steadily. In those 5 months, I've experienced all kinds of pains come ... and (always) go. So far, all the pains that had not disappeared with doing the RYB exercises for a year, seem to be disappearing with gradual resumption of normal, daily activity, which for me, includes lots of running and strength conditioning. I occassionally get flashes of the old sciatica type pain (especially, numbness in little toe, tightness in calf and hammy), but instead of fearing the flash of pain, take it as an invitation to do some exercise that involves that body part. Pain always goes away. Thus, if I was to experience the buttock pain you mentioned, I'd be inclined to do some exercise, like the piriformis stretch, to challenge it.

Second, exercise for physical conditioning (for the sheer fun of it), not with the fear that if I don't do the exercises I will be inviting a future back relapse. This takes a bit of self-honesty and self-awareness. There's a definite difference in the feelings. The RYB exercises I continue to do, I do because I like them for the stretch (like the cobra), or for the strengthening (like squats or pushups), not because I fear NOT to do them. One of the symptoms of this wrong (fearful) motivation is that you have very definite boundaries to what you think can and cannot do, physically, or else you'll really hurt yourself. I think this may be part of what Seann means when he writes that "tension makes lower back pain worse."

There are many treatment recommendations that Dr Sarno makes that just didn't seem to apply to me; but they seem to be important to other TMS sufferers. Some folks seem to have a very complicated time of it (see the TMShelp website, for instance). I seem to be fortunate that my TMS related pain disappears so quickly and dramatically to such simple ideas. I didn't need to do the journalling, psycho-therapy, search for past traumas that cause present angers, etc.

Hope this helps some, Randolph
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Re: question re TMS

Postby Woodchuck » Tue May 01, 2007 2:13 am

karen wrote:Hi all,
Am reading Dr. Sarno's book at the moment about TMS and think I may be a candidate. I've come a long way with Dean's exercises but can't seem to get rid of this nagging pain in my L buttock. It just refuses to go away completely. My question is for anyone else who has read Dr Sarno's book or followed his program. He suggests that you need to let go of the idea that there is anything wrong with your back for it to get better and he says one way to do this is to stop all exercises you may be doing for your back. Now I am just so reluctant to do this, I'm a real believer in Dean's exercises. My question is, if I have TMS, can I follow the rest of his advice and still do my RYB exercises, and get better. I think Randolph mentioned following Dr Sarno's book too, any advice for me there ?
Thanks again,
Karen


Karen, I would not take Dr. Sarno with a grain of salt. In fact, I would suggest reading his latest book called "The Divided Mind" (much more detailed than his previous books) and giving it a go exactly as he suggests unless you have a diagnosis that is irrefutable that your pain is physically caused. As long as I held on to the idea that my lower-back/sciatica pain was physically caused and to "be careful" and continued with back exercises to "fix" the problem, not only did the pain/discomfort NOT go away, it got progressively worse! When I finally quit analyzing TMS (seemed far-fetched to me at first) and accepted I had TMS and resumed all physical activity, ignored the pain and stopped trying to "fix" my back with exercising, my pain/discomfort literally evaporated within a week! That was a little over 2 mos ago, maybe 3 mos....not quite sure. I'm not saying this will happen that quickly for you (I think I'm a lucky one), but if you have TMS, I am quite sure you will not get rid of the pain completely if you are trying to fix yourself physically. I tried to do just that and got nowhere. It is kind of an either/or situation IMHO and in my experience. Since you mentioned buttock pain, you might want to also check out Monte Hueftle's TMS-based book called "Get Rid Of The Pain In Your Butt NOW!" He is a runner and struggled for years with buttock pain, but has now been pain-free for I believe about 4 years with his TMS approach. His website is www.runningpain.com . Also I would suggest you check out the TMSHelp.com forum and ask the same question there. Sure doesn't hurt to get multiple points of view and then make a decision and go for it! Hope this helps!

Ken

BTW, I have begun to exercise again for the general health benefits of exercise, but not as a curative activity. For example, I took a brisk 6 mile walk this morning with zero discomfort. Prior to accepting the TMS diagnosis, I couldn't walk a mile without intense sciatica and the feeling that my right leg was shorter. LOL!
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