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Alan Gordon Is it PPD/TMS or a real structural issue?

Discussion in 'Practitioner's Corner' started by Enrique, May 4, 2012.

  1. Enrique

    Enrique TMS Guru

    On behalf of the PPD/TMS Peer Network's Q&A with an Expert program, Peer Network member yb44 forwarded the following question to Alan Gordon.


    Forest and veronica73 like this.
  2. dabatross

    dabatross TMS Guru

    I am going back and forth like a mad woman - One minute I believe it's TMS then I revert back to thinking it’s structural. Why does this happen? And how can I overcome it? got this sounds like me when i have a bad day. i can't read this fully right now but i plan to post on this later tonight. sounds really interesting to read alan gordon's stuff always is
  3. dabatross

    dabatross TMS Guru

    yeah after reading this fully its definitely what happens to me when I have a bad day. my mind starts wandering back and forth again with doubts and stuff about the past and if I did this right, or if I did this long enough, or maybe its this, blah blah.

    I didn't think of this before as being part of the distraction though. That internal struggle of debating whether the symptoms are TMS or structural is part of mind body syndrome itself.

    The part I still have questions about is this:

    I get that the whole premise behind TMS is that the mind is trying desperately to distract you from painful thoughts and emotions but many people describe it like a strategy, or something like an enemy, where your mind is fighting against you and you have a battle to win. From what Ive seen in my journaling and stuff, I haven't found any more deeply repressed emotions that the mind would try to cover up. What I did find was some things that are happening to me currently that contribute to things like TMS and MBS. Stuff like anxieties, OCD, obsessing about the pain, preoccupation with the symptoms which is the subject of the last two articles Alan Gordon talked about. When I first started learning about TMS I thought it was all about deep repressed emotions that were hidden down there and you had to find them but after doing further research and reading stuff from Monte and Alan Gordon, I realize it's more about things that are going on in your life right now and not emotions that are repressed deeply. For me personally I think this it the largest hurdle I need to get over is the preoccupation in dealing with the symptoms all the time.

    The monitoring part is another big one I think a lot of us deal with. I usually monitor my pain day to day to see how its different and correct me if I'm wrong I believe Scott Brady tells you to do this in your journaling in the Pain Free for Life book. I think this is a bad idea because it keeps you wondering when you have a bad day "Oh what happened today that changed my symptoms" and then you get preoccupied with it again. Or if you're having a good day then you're fearing "I hope this doesn't come back tomorrow again I'm having a good day today and its great". I've had these thoughts before and I understand it's important to feel out what emotions could be causing your pain to change but to monitor them in your journals on a day to day basis I think could be a bad idea. It just keeps your mind focused on the symptoms instead of the emotions and the way you think about things. The latest stuff I've been reading is more concerned with your thought patterns of negativity, anxieties about symptoms, the back and forth between the structural diagnosis you were given and TMS, preoccupation with symptoms, etc. that keep you in this loop of pain.

    This is where I think the OCD and anxiety disorder comes in. It's the preoccupation with the symptoms that keep the symptoms around.. once you get rid of the power that the symptoms have over you they go away. This has happened to me in the past with other parts of my body where I obsessed about the pain going away but when I stopped giving a damn it went away on it's own. Forest you touched on this in another post you made about when you stop caring about your pain it goes away. I think it's the same thing.. the fear and anxiety about the pain keeps it around so if you're monitoring it all the time, questioning why it got worse today and not yesterday, you're just feeding it. I still think its kind of bizarre how some people talk about the brain having a strategy and stuff I believe it's more of anxiety and fear that perpetuates it. This talk of the strategy makes it sound like the brain sketched out blueprints of ways to screw you over.

    I think most people can relate to this internal struggle though of going back and forth between the physical diagnosis and TMS because you have doctors telling you "oh yeah you have this wrong with you and its causing the pain" but you really have to tell yourself every single day.. like alan gordon said make a list of the things you did and how they didn't work and tell yourself why thats not the path I need to go down again. I have to do this with myself a lot and its something you have to do over and over again because doing it once doesn't sink in. If you have a bad day Im sure these thoughts will creep up and make you start worrying again "maybe I really do have something wrong with me". if you're done treatments for years, everything the doctor said to do, and got no relief (this was my case), then you can be certain thats not going to work anymore. so why waste the time even exploring it again? you're just further feeding into the pain and making it stick around. realize what is happening and dont buy into it and I think it will go away.. at least thats what I think in my case. obviously this is a lot harder said than done I can tell you that for sure.
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  4. Forest

    Forest TMS Guru

    I remember the part in Pain Free for Life, where it talks about writing down your level of pain each day. I kind of see the reason why because you will be able to see how far you have come, but it really seems like it is focusing on our symptoms too much. As this Q&A suggests, it is the focusing on our symptoms (am I better or not) that can serve as part of the TMS/PPD distraction. As you mentioned, in my own case all I really did was stop caring about it. The main reason I was able to do this was because I understood that I didn't have a structural problem and could not harm myself by doing this approach.

    Really getting to this point does involve educating ourselves, and as you said really letting the knowledge sink in. I love idea of doing a sort of affirmation about all of the reasons you have PPD. I'm not sure if you have seen it, but in this clip from the Story of Pain, it discusses how we can understand that we have TMS on an intellecutal level, but it can take time for our subconscious to really accept this. The place where everyone should stive to get to is to go from I have pain again, what is the possible cause to My back is hurting me, what am I feeling right now.
  5. dabatross

    dabatross TMS Guru

    i totally agree forest. when i read this in pain free for life i said to myself "yeah it would be nice to see if i made progress or not day to day, but this just keeps me focused on my symptoms and checking them constantly to see if im better". like we've been talking about lately and like you discussed in your video its really when you stop caring and let go that the pain symptoms dissapear and thats not really going to happen if you're symptom checking every day in your journal.

    i really think this is the cure of TMS. its eradicating the fear of physical harm to your body which breaks the cycle and lets you move on with your life without focusing on your symptoms anymore. if you dont fear the pain you don't really care if its there so it just goes away on its own. i watched that clip from the Story of Pain and I agree with that too. I've accepted it on the intellectual level that I have mind body disorder but subconciously there is a still a battle going on back and forth.

    This is a great quote because it sums it all up. i think a lot of us feel this way a lot during TMS treatment where you keep going back and forth. One day you're feeling better and you're like yes I have TMS this is working and then another day you have a worse day and then your mind jumps back to old habits again, keeps you in chains wondering what is really wrong with you, why is this working one day and not the next, etc. Like a lot of things in life I think its sheer repetition of doing these types of reaffirmation exercises every day and proving to yourself that you tried everything physically possible for your condition and there wasn't success to really accept the diagnosis and move forward with it. its hell going back and forth wondering what you have all the time.
    Forest likes this.
  6. Lori

    Lori TMS Guru

    I think I'd rephrase the question to be: Is a structrual issue the cause of my pain? Technically my back pain was blamed on herniated discs which I could clearly see on the MRI picture. It was allegedly pressing against a nerve. But I went the TMS treatment plan route and am pain-free for years now (not that other things don't pop up here or there, but nothing as painful as the back pain).

    So just because there is a so-called "structural" issue does not mean that's the cause of the pain. Yay! ;)
    Forest likes this.
  7. Forest

    Forest TMS Guru

    This is such a great point and a really helpful reminder. A lot of people have seen doctors who pointed out some sort of structural abnormality as the cause of their symptoms, but in most cases this just isn't really what's happening. I tend to think that the obsession over these structural abnormalities can really prevent people from making progress. The trick is to completely forget that we were told about these "structural issues" and instead focus on all of the other actual causes of our symptoms. The more we remind ourselves of what an MRI showed, the more we will continue to think physical instead of structural.
  8. chumba

    chumba Member

    I have a structural problem, a compresed vertebra in my thorasic spine. After suffering incredible pain in this area for nearly 20 years it hasn't really bothered me in over 7 years since reading Sarno . I think the body has incredible capacity to heal, but TMS and an anxious personality caused me to focus on the pain and kept the problem around much longer than it would have if I didnt have TMS.

    I now have a new "structural" problem in my feet that is causing me a lot of pain, the challenge is to deal with TMS thinking and to allow my body to heal.

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