1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
    Dismiss Notice

Q&A How can I find out if the cause of my pain structural (hammer-toe) or psychological (TMS)?

Discussion in 'Mindbody Blogs (was Practitioner's Corner)' started by sonjaoc, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. sonjaoc

    sonjaoc New Member


    I'm wondering how can I find out if the cause of my pain structural (hammer-toe) or psychological (TMS)? There seem to be no TMS doctors in my country. I don't know if the specialist that I saw about my hammer-toe accepts TMS - therefore how can I rule it out as a source of pain?

    For the last 6 years, I have been suffering with chronic pain in the left side of my body: neck, back, left buttock, left leg and left foot. I also suffered from chronic tension headaches since I was a child, migraine since adolescence and depression more recently. In recent years the headaches have lessened and the muscular pain has gotten worse.

    I have read Dr. Sarno's books and the wiki and, given my symptoms and history, I think I have TMS. I certainly can relate to most people on the wiki and the success stories in the books.

    However, I feel that I am not fully accepting the (self) diagnosis.

    I was diagnosed with a hammer toe in my left foot over 15 years ago. I was advised that I did not need an operation at that time as it was not painful at that time. At that time I was suffering from migraine and headache, which have since gone away. However, as the headaches went away the foot, leg and back pain got worse.

    I think that as my practitioner helped me "cure" the headaches, my body found another way to create pain and relied on the hammer-toe diagnosis to create pain in the foot and leg and all the way up the back to my neck! I am very sceptical that the hammer toe is causing all (or indeed any) of my pain and I want to accept that it is TMS causing my pain. HOWEVER, I fell like I need to rule out the hammer-toe as a source of pain before I can fully accept the diagnosis.

    Will going to a physician who does not subscribe to TMS help? I suppose he will be able to advise whether he thinks the hammer-toe is causing that amount of pain?

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank- you.
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Marc Sopher, MD is well-versed in foot issues and TMS. He does distance consultations, and was very helpful for me. After a review of my history, etc, he was helpful in eliminating the doubt I had about my foot pain. Recommended.
    Here's his email for contact: mdsophermd@comcast.net
    Good luck in your quest for clarification!
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sonjoac, Andy B has given you some excellent advice about contacting Dr. Sopher about your hammer-toe pain. I never had it, but it sounds like your unconscious mind is moving your symptoms around. Once you find a repressed emotion, it wants you to find another. It took me several months to discover mine that went back to my boyhood. And you have to rule out anything structural and believe the pain is 100 percent TMS. Steve Ozanich says anything less won't work. "All or nothing" is his motto.
  4. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I found this in the New York Times about hammer-toe pain. Maybe it will be helpful to you.


    A hammertoe is a permanent deformity of the toe joint, in which the toe bends up slightly and then curls downward, resting on its tip. When forced into this position long enough, the tendons of the toe shrink, and the toe stiffens into a hammer- or claw-like shape.
    Hammertoe is most common in the second toe, but it can develop in any or all of the three middle toes if they are pushed forward and do not have enough room to lie flat in the shoe. The risk is increased when the toes are already crowded by the pressure of a bunion. Risks include:
    • Lying down for long periods
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases that affect the nerves and muscles
    [​IMG]Click the icon to see an image of a hammertoe.

    Treatment for Hammertoe. At first, a hammertoe is flexible, and any pain it causes can usually be relieved by putting a toe pad, sold in drug stores, into the shoe. To help prevent and ease existing discomfort from hammertoes, shoes should have a deep, wide toe area. As the tendon becomes tighter and the toe stiffens, other treatments, including exercises, splints, and custom-made shoe inserts (orthotics) may help redistribute weight and ease the position of the toe.

    Surgery. Patients with severe cases of hammertoe may need surgery. If the toe is still flexible, only a simple procedure that releases the tendon may be involved. Such procedures sometimes require only a single stitch and a Band-Aid. If the toe has become rigid, surgery on the bone is necessary, but it can still be performed in the doctor's office. A procedure called PIP arthroplasty involves releasing the ligaments at the joint and removing a small piece of toe bone, which restores the toe to its normal position. The toe is held in this position with a pin for about 3 weeks, and then the pin is removed. The procedure seems to have a high, lasting success rate.

    The article doesn't mention the pain is caused by TMS but that's what it could very well be.
  5. sonjaoc

    sonjaoc New Member

    Thank you both for your helpful reply.

    I am certain now that the chronic pain I was suffering in my left foot was TMS.

    The hammer toe pain has stopped but pain has moved to my right foot at the ball of my foot where I may have a slight bunion.

    Again I am not certain whether the pain is because I have a slight bunion and recently wore some shoes that are too narrow or if it is TMS. It sounds suspicously like the TMS moving around!! I know that certainty that the pain is not physically caused is important so I will contact the physician you recommend.

    Thank you for your help!

    Any sucess stories from people dealing with foot pain would be great. Thanks!
  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    It's great to know you no longer have hammer toe pain. That sure means it was just TMS, and now the pain has moved around.
    That's because you still have some repressed emotions to discover. Dr. Sarno says we don't even have to try to solve the repressed
    emotion, just identify it, then the pain will go away.

    But a bunion can hurt when you walk on it. I get bunions or calluses on the sole of my foot when I wear the same shoes all the time
    or if the shoes are too tight. Try changing shoes every day or two, and be sure your toes aren't pinched in the shoes. And go to the
    drug store and get something to remove the bunion.

    You're going to be just fine. You believe in TMS 100 percent and that's the secret to healing.
  7. sonjaoc

    sonjaoc New Member

    Thanks for that. I suppose im ffinding it difficult distinguishing between the real/physical bunion pain and TMS caused pain. Any tips for telling what's physical and what's TMS?
  8. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi sonjaoc,

    Here's encouragement to find a clear TMS diagnosis, and then take every measure to address TMS. TMS pain won't go away unless you take that stance. So you are in a tricky in-between place with regards to the "bunion" pain. It is difficult and scary to embrace all of it: the pain, the TMS diagnosis, the TMS approach, the (inevitable) fears it isn't TMS... Meantime, if what you're experiencing as a bunion is TMS, it has plenty of fuel, in your doubt, to keep generating pain. And if you go to a regular "bunion" doctor, you'll get a good reason to believe its physical. Like I did from over 10 doctors!

    I used to have "neuromas" that bothered me, debilitating, before my "plantar fasciitis" developed. I treated the PF with TMS approach, and now no more "neuromas." Or rather, sometimes I can feel them, but no pain. And even now the PF pain moves around some: in the ball of the foot, then in the arch, a little at the ankle, etc. I personally treat it all as the same TMS, and it never stays around or worsens, and it only shows up at about 1/50 th of the strength it used to have. I dismiss it. So for me, I have an approach for all of the foot pains, that works. ---And as a bonus, my two "whiplash" residues are now almost completely gone, which had bothered me for many years. So there's a success story for you.

    Good luck in getting that clear diagnosis, and working your TMS practices!
    MWsunin12 and Ellen like this.
  9. sonjaoc

    sonjaoc New Member

    Thanks Andy that is very encouraging!
  10. Waterbear

    Waterbear Peer Supporter

    For what it's worth, I have 2 hammer toes from a lot of soccer and my 2nd toe is longer than my big toe.

    Aside from my toe nails getting a bit bruised and banged up from games, the toes never have me any trouble. Now that I don't play soccer, I never have toe pain yet they are still bent to this day.
  11. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    I always consider psychological first and then maybe maybe structural 2nd. I have had numerous numerous TMS symptoms. Now 14 months after starting the program. I am having problems with my feet. I walk 4-6 miles each day to manage my symotoms and keep depression away. And I know it is TMS. I feel like I have a rock in my shoe at the ball of my foot... certainly never had this before. Well, I start having a conversation with my foot and my mind. Stop It, Stop It... nothng is slowing me down... nothing. It hurts every morning but after a half hour it goes away.

    You can do it Sanjaoc... you can do it....yes you can
    Plumcrazy and MWsunin12 like this.
  12. Plumcrazy

    Plumcrazy Peer Supporter

    Pay attention to your toes. What I mean is, do you notice that you tend to curl your toes in tension? I have hammer toes that don't give me an issue, but last year, I started to develop foot pain that has resulted in my right big toe hurting. I now have sometimes painful bunion that hurts if I bump it, but the foot pain is gone. I have started to pay attention to the tension in my toes. They are not as curled as they once were. I sometimes wear something called Yoga Toes to help me relax my feet and spread the toes away from each other, in hopes to help me retrain the tension. I think TMS thought certainly doesn't hurt. Anything to keep us from avoiding surgery!

Share This Page