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Back in the ring with TMS

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by TMSMatt, Jan 19, 2018.

  1. TMSMatt

    TMSMatt New Member


    It's been nearly a year since my last posting to the site, well, because I was able to achieve some lasting relief from my symptoms. Like many of you, I struggled with back & leg pain and have been given the diagnosis of herniated disc(s), spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, etc., etc. Here's my back-story up to the point of a breakthrough (apologies on the length):

    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/day-10-im-on-to-you-tms.14132/ (Day 10 - I'm on to you, TMS)

    In a nutshell, I devoured Dr. Sarno's & Steve O's books and really committed myself to working the SEP. There came a point where I hit a wall and didn't see improvement until I told myself that I was going to live fully and completely ignore the symptoms (as much as possible). To my amazement and pleasure, I achieved 100% symptom improvement that lasted about 5 months! It was incredible to feel like I had "conquered" my pain syndrome and could live life to the fullest not having that big, hairy, ugly prognosis and impending surgery hanging over my head. It was a wonderful period of my life indeed!

    Eventually the pain started coming back, starting in the hip and then working its way into the legs and feet with the burning, pins & needles, and numbness that goes along with sciatica pain that so many of us unfortunately know all too well. The difference this time is that I have a few spots on the underside and tip of my big toes that have gone continually numb. I know from our reading that "pinched" nerves don't transmit pain, rather they die (i.e. go numb) within moments. I've had the numbness for a few months and can't really recall how the onset started.

    When the pain started again I kept going over Sarno's points in my mind, "back is normal", "mild oxygen deprivation", "think psychologically", etc., but I'm becoming increasingly concerned about this numbness. During my time of being pain free I increased my physical activity to a great extent, I'm talking about 20,000 steps a day, 5 days a week (TMS perfectionist here!). Part of me wonders (and hopes) if this numbness is just a result of foot overuse in bad shoes with horrible support (I have Fred Flintstone's flat feet).

    The mistake I made was consulting Dr. Google, which pointed me to the conclusion that the stenosis is causing irreversible nerve damage...O' happy day! So to say the least, I'm spooked and find myself falling back in the anxiety and depression I experienced last year before discovering TMS. I suppose I'm just looking for some encouragement from the group about this type of continual numbness and hopefully a positive outcome with TMS healing. I can't imagine going to a neurologist at this point as that would just lead down the rabbit hole of more bad news, images, etc.

    Thanks for reading, and happy healing!
    JeffA likes this.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Matt,

    For some reason, reading your post and absorbing the timing of your relapse, it really hit me just how many people are struggling and back-sliding in the last year. I wonder how much of it has to do with the state of the world? I know it's really affecting me, ramping up my stress, and my distress, and my symptoms. And my blood pressure, which has crept up over the acceptable level during the last 18 months.

    Just a thought - you know how to journal, so you might want to break out the old pen and paper, and have a go. Journaling does help me when my symptoms feel like they are out of control. And mindfulness, too. Check out the free Mindfulness and Meditation Summit coming up: http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/a-new-mindfulness-meditation-summit.17819/ (A New Mindfulness & Meditation Summit)
    TrustIt and andy64tms like this.
  3. TMSMatt

    TMSMatt New Member

    Thanks Jan, a great reminder to get back to basics. I agree that the state of the world, especially the last few months, probably has a lot to do with overall pain increase. My anxiety has been high during this time, and my home life has been stressful. When I look at it from an outside perspective, it all makes sense. I have dabbled back into journaling and mindfulness. I need to remember what got me relief in the past and get back to it. Hope things subside for you soon my friend, and that tax season gives you a needed distraction from those symptoms!
    TrustIt likes this.
  4. KevinB

    KevinB Well known member

    So how goes it now, you better?
  5. TMSMatt

    TMSMatt New Member

    Hey Kevin, thanks for asking. Yes, I have improved a great deal. Really the only persistent issue is the numbness in my big toes, but even that has improved. I have tingling from time to time there, and sensation has improved to the point of being able to feel when the skin was dead before. The fact that there is improvement where there was once continuous numbness confirms the fact that it is TMS and not a "dead" nerve. All I know is that what was once dead is now alive, which is an unlikely scenario if there was true nerve damage. What really helped was reading Steve-O's new book where he describes having one of his legs become completely paralyzed (no sensation at all) for 9 months. He talks about how he had to drag it around. Today, he has absolutely no residual side effects and is completely normal. As we know, TMS is a master at inciting fear, and the prospect of never regaining feeling again is up there with the worst of them all. For me, I really do think the less I dwell on my symptoms, the better I become. It really is that simple for me. That has been the constant in my TMS journey, and the key to my healing. Once we deprive TMS of its desired goal, that is the preoccupation with symptoms/body, as Dr. Sarno said, the cover is blown and healing comes. All the best to you Kevin, and thanks again for the reply.
    TrustIt, JeffA and WorryWart like this.
  6. joshcm

    joshcm Peer Supporter

    Hey Matt,

    I know how you feel.

    My foot/toe/butt cheek was numb for months and I had complete calf paralyzation in both legs (separately).

    Couldn't walk properly, couldn't put any weight on my leg at all. Got lost in the fear - any movement with cause perm nerve damage, won't be able to run again, would I be paralyzed etc etc blah blah.

    Then one day I decided to attack it with exercise. Ran (with a limp), played football (limping) started lifting heavy weights - serious weight training with heavy squats, presses, snatches. The stuff that doctors will warn you against.

    A few weeks later and all the numbness has gone and my calf has 90% strength back.

    The brain is tricky, It still amazes me what length it will go to.

    TrustIt and JeffA like this.
  7. KevinB

    KevinB Well known member


    Man, so glad to read your post, especially the part about the calves!!!! I haven’t come across anyone with that exact symptom. My left calf has been super weak, also numb in feet and butt cheeks. Glad to hear you’re getting through it, def encourages me!
    JeffA likes this.
  8. joshcm

    joshcm Peer Supporter

    Kevin, It was terrifying at first but now I just laugh at the lengths the brain (subconscious) will take your body. Challenge it every day, push yourself and stay determined. You will heal.
  9. TMSMatt

    TMSMatt New Member


    Thanks for sharing your incredible story! I think our experiences are very important for folks on this forum to read about since numbness/lack of sensation is widely viewed as evidence of a "dead" nerve or permanent nerve damage. Clearly in our cases, that isn't so. Instead, our brains use the one thing we fear the most (permanent symptom with no chance of recovery) to try and distract us from our mental & emotional issues. I also agree with you about challenging it, that is crucial to recovery. When all of my pain started, I just sat completely depressed in a 90% chair with a lumbar roll thinking that I would never be the same again. Now, I'm working out heavy 5 days a week, walking 20K steps a day on most days, and wrestling around with my 3 year old like I was meant to. Dr. Sarno's program is important work, the kind that saves lives. Kevin, I too hope that our experiences give you the confidence you need to press on and realize that you can and will heal.

    TrustIt, JeffA, KevinB and 1 other person like this.

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