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after pain free 6 months, TMS is back - trying to puzzle it together

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by lukas-z, May 22, 2023.

  1. lukas-z

    lukas-z New Member

    after being sciatica free for nearly half a year (it took me 6 months after discovering Sarno) my TMS is back.
    there have been some changes in my life
    a) move back to our vacation home for the summer (there is some drama around this area)
    b) vacation + first work trip since 3 years (I work remote, this was an offsite)
    some other stressors.
    interestingly I sleep much better now.
    How do I approach this. I felt I made so much progress, and now back to this.
    I haven't stopped working out etc, but it is a bit discouraging.
    where is the anger suddenly coming from?
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi lukas-z, and sorry you're back, but that's really common these days, because times are tough. Nicole Sachs even had a podcast in March on the subject of the Symptom Imperative and why so many people are experiencing setbacks.

    What did you do to recover the first time around? Did you acquire any particular skills by doing a program, for example?
    Wildflower6 likes this.
  3. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Maybe @TG957 can address this. She did a fab job discussing her tms recurrence struggles today on TMS roundtable.
    TG957 likes this.
  4. lukas-z

    lukas-z New Member

    hey @JanAtheCPA, yeah first time recovery took a bit of a time, like 6-9 months fully, and I think my main skillset was to 'take control' of the issue and feeling 'in control' overall. I don't know if this was the exact mechanism for the pain to leave, but i feel a bit i lost control recently and things have been a bit unstable (although nothing really changed in my life).
    the good news at least is that knowing that it is TMS, it feels much less threatening to me. done 2h workouts today and the pain seems to not be constant anymore. i have random pop ups during the day but also pain free hours. maybe this one will be short-lived!
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    If you never addressed the emotional aspects of the TMS brain mechanism, check out the SEP: the Structured Educational Program on the main tmswiki.org site. Many people who never did "the work" have success just from TMS knowledge, but it often doesn't last - especially under the stresses of the last decade, never mind the last three to five years.
  6. lukas-z

    lukas-z New Member

    thank you! I will work through this. i am virtually pain free for the last 48h. maybe it was just a 'glitch'.
    TBH the covid period gave me no anxiety or worries. I knew from day 1 that something is not right, and I am also pretty familiar with various antiviral protocols which are very effective (like chlorine dioxide to name 1)
    the emotional stuff is definitely the hardest, as all those hurts from the past might still be unprocessed.
  7. tmstraveler

    tmstraveler Peer Supporter

    Hey, Lukas. This is the norm, not the exception. Being pain-free for six months is a massive accomplishment. After you get past this bump, you'll likely go longer and longer without this cropping back up until hopefully it's a distant memory. The trick is to not get sucked back into the fear, which despite all your success, is still very tempting. Those are neural pathways too, the connection between fear and symptoms, and they will fire initially until we accept that we are safe and the pain subsides once again. So while you may have some stress or anger, it's not necessarily something that has to be fixed, just acknowledged in the way you already know how.

    Lorimer Moseley writes in "Explain Pain" that persistent pain is like a song that gets stuck in your head. Your brain knows the tune very well at this point, and sometimes that song can just pop back in there. How do you get a song out of your head? By not trying to!

    I'd also point to Alan Gordon's book "The Way Out." While his approach is a little cookie cutter, and everyone is different, there is a lot to like in there. At this point in my recovery, I particularly think about the section where he talks about the inevitability of relapses and how, in his experience, people always go through the same three phases with them: initial fear that something is wrong and can't be fixed, a reconnecting with the mind-body work that got them better, and finally their symptoms subsiding once again. How quickly you move through these phases has everything to do with how fearful and preoccupied you are with the symptoms. And I would argue how well you are taking care of yourself holistically.

    This is all to say what you're going through is totally normal part of recovery. Though it seems you are already seeing that with 48 hours of relief.

    Proud of you. Keep it up. You'll be fine!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  8. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    If we knew, it wouldn't be repressed! If that sounds exasperating , then you're normal.

    All of us had setbacks of one kind or another
    maybe they never will be processed. I am 57 and I am not a lot different inside than when I was 15....I process it different. The one 'trap' to avoid is "Oh... I already looked at THAT so I must have new and confusing dynamic reasons why I relapsed"

    It's usually the same irritants from 'back then' and they just scratched a new itch, or an old one and got traction.

    I still have my OG paperback from '99... I have been doing this so long the notes in Hi-Liter about my own life situations , relationships and responsibilities are great clues to seeing the pattern.

    One thing Sarno said that was really important. "If it seems to come out of nowhere, look close...really close"
    Immediate family, friends, job, partner you are "In love" with etc..... it's usually hiding in plain sight
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  9. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you, @Cactusflower , I will give it a try.

    @lukas-z , if you were born with the TMS personality traits, you cannot erase those in the processes of getting rid of the symptoms. You are who you are. Any stress may trigger your symptoms again - unless you had learned how to handle your stressors by being mindful of your predisposition and counterbalancing them by deploying whatever measures help you to stabilize your nervous system. In short, you need to maintain your nervous system very much like you maintain your car by taking it to the mechanic or maintain your teeth by going to the dental cleaning. Stressors are a normal part of life - be ready for it, pay attention to how you respond to them and take care of yourself!
  10. lukas-z

    lukas-z New Member

    thank you all. not give into the fear is a very good advice. interestingly this was my first sort of unconscious reaction. the difference is that this time i did not give into it. in fact, i went to the gym and did a bunch of deadlifts (something i usually don't do).
    i think that early on, when you learn about TMS, part of you doesn't want to give up the mainstream diagnosis 'maybe it really is the back or something', but with time as you learn and recognize the patterns, no doubts remain that it is TMS. i think that is the key to minimize and/or get rid of the pain quickly plus not let it emotionally drain/distract you. i feel like the approach 'oh, another TMS popup pain...nothing to worry about ...' is a very effective way to move on quickly for me, and interestingly most of the pain leaves nearly instantly (within hours)
    JanAtheCPA, tmstraveler and TG957 like this.
  11. lukas-z

    lukas-z New Member

    I got an exciting update. after some reoccurring pain and listening to the Ozanich audible book - i am virtually 100% pain free. it fully resolved within 3 days. even a higher dose cialis doesn't bring up the symptoms anymore ( am still debating why cialis would make TMS worse, i suspect it has to do with blood-vessel widening and some correlation to the pain area which suffers some blood vessel narrowing)
    I have absolutely 0 symptoms. Where Sarno got me 75% there, I do feel like dr Ozanich gets it to the next level.
    What i initially experienced, that after my sciatic pain resolved fully, my brain tried the TMS game for a bit longer, and suddenly i had random shoulder/knee pain. but that tactic did not last much longer and even those resolved.

    I have some more confirmation that the symptom imperative is a real thing. I recently traveled to my home country, where I met an old friend who just had lumbar fusion due to sciatic pain. I ofc. told him about Sarno, but as you can imagine he refused 'You do not understand I had a serious disc herniation bla bla". he had the surgery a year ago. I asked how is your pain. He said that immediately following the surgery all his pain was gone. but a year after, his pain is back. I still hope he will accept Sarno, as even with past surgeries you still can be pain free.

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