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Relapse of 6+ years after 3 years of pain free

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by aidanob10, Dec 14, 2023.

  1. aidanob10

    aidanob10 New Member

    https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/back-pain-fully-gone-after-10-years-of-torture.4488/#post-27688 (Back pain fully gone after 10 years of torture.)


    My success story from 2014 is above. Unfortunately my story of hope has turned to a struggle the last 6+ years. After being pain free for 3 years I was hit with a back spasm while fixing a socket on the morning of March the 17th in 2017. I thought it was funny. I knew what this was and I would get a few flare ups of the years that I would laugh off and they were gone. But this time the flare up increased throughout the day to the point I could not sit up or I would be struck with a back spasm that would send me to my knees. I had a rugby match the next day but had to take pain killers and my movement was very restricted. The pain went over the next few days but gradually would come back more and more.

    Unlike before my recovery these new attacks were acute aggressive back spasms. After the first one I would be extremely stiff and any movement, especially from lying down to getting up I would be whack with this pain that could make me a statue for a few seconds unable to move and then just pain and ongoing spasm. I would need to use my hands to climb up walls to get to straightened up. Bending and putting on shoes was a nightmare. I was extremely annoyed but thought I just need to do the reminders and re-imbed the TMS teaching and journal. All will be fine. Over the next few months the pain spasm became more frequent and chronic stiffness crept in. I was doing the work and journaling (but honestly I found I was going over the same childhood stuff and found the writing work harder to do) I was doing before but no relief. If anything it felt like it was antagonizing the symptoms.

    Then about 2 months in I was having a spasm and did my TMS thoughts "I know what this is" "it is TMS and it is harmless" etc and whack the spasm just kept increasing until I was on the ground. Then the thought hit me " What if I know this is TMS and the unconscious is aware I know but just keeps increasing the pain anyway to crazy levels, where do I go from there". I unmask the truth but the minds eye ignores me. I cant function in that pain. That was defeatous thought but the pain was incredible and wasn't going away.

    Since the the stiffness has become chronic especially in right lower back. I move in bed and I get spasms. I sit in a chair I get extremely stiff. Other symptoms added to the misery. the worst being brain fog and a constant headache that makes concentration day to day a chore. I also have wrist pain that only happens when I but weight on them on the floor in a crawl or press up position. It was in one wrist and then went to the other. Now if I try a press up my right wrist wont bend the 90 degrees and the wrist feels like it will snap. Press ups on my knuckles are uncomfortable but doable. But anxiety and depression have crept back in to.

    It has felt like my mind and body have been out to get me. Life feels like a my body is a prison again. If I do get a good day(say 1 in 50 days) the next day I am guaranteed to be whacked with a huge spasm.

    I have tried therapy and hypothesis. Still having a TMS mindset but trying to get to deeper underlying issues but no real break through. With the brain fog I cant say I give the work my best.

    In September 2022 I went back playing rugby. It really helped before and I do consciously know there is no physical issues and it was a great help. I was back part of a team. I never got 100% pain or stiffness free and some games I found it tough but overall a very good experience. I could have more pain free days (if not fully loose) and gaining a good fitness level was good for the mind. Again I found chasing a ball a great distraction. Playing soccer with my sons felt much better that I was fit again.

    However, I was 40 going on 41 and my body did not to play for another year. I vowed to go jogging but the pain/stiffness comes back with a vengeance when I train alone. My mind feels like a dark alley in a bad neighborhood. Constantly pinging for pain until it gets a response.

    I have a gym in my garden and do kettlebell workout 3 times a week which I find great. Bought a treadmill but my back turns into a old bike chain when I use it until it is too unenjoyable. I thoughts of using now makes my body ache.

    It is intellectual embarrassing going through this again. I still recommend TMS to anybody I meet who has chronic pain. I have no doubt it is the answer.

    I have not engaged with this site since 2014. feels weird thinking that and not do anything sooner but with 2 small kids time is scarce. Reading relapse stories over the last few days has been a comfort and encouraging. It must be a different approach to dealing with a relapse. When I was pain free my favorite thing was getting out of my bed and feeling nothing but freedom in my body after a decade of unrelenting back pain. Now I find it hard to remember what that was like.

    If anybody has any advise regarding a relapse recovery that would be much appreciated.

    I am still 100% convinced all my symptoms are TMS but cant help thinking the pain will never leave again

  2. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi @aidanob10
    You have gone into very significant descriptions about your symptoms, (which I do not read, since reading other people's symptoms in fair detail can be a trigger). What you don't really discuss is what you are going through emotionally, and have been dealing with re: personality traits and your life and your psychological state.
    TMS is psychological as Dr. Sarno tells us, and to stop looking at the physical as our trigger and our only symptom because the REAL symptom is always hidden in the mind. You say you "unmask the truth" but you have only re-discovered that your symptom is TMS, you have not really discovered the truth once again, that this is psychological. It's the catch 22 of TMS isn't it!
    Why not go back and start the "work" again.
    As frequently described, TMS is like a giant bucket that when filled to the brim, overflows from the top in both physical and emotional pain but if we create a little hole in the bucket - a place for our emotions to slowly drip out and keep the bucket from overflowing, not only do we keep symptoms mostly at bey, we also keep everything underneath us well watered.
    That is to say, it might be the little annoyances, the small stressors that we don't realize that we don't let go of, that build in the subconscious until we brace against them so much, become so anxious (which as a life long habit it is sometimes hard to realize) that we get stuck inside that physical and mental prison again.
    It also sounds like you are putting MASSIVE pressure on yourself to be physical - to jog and to do other things. There is absolutely no harm in dialing it back and getting your nervous system and your psychological state back in line and SLOWLY get back to doing physical things. Be kind to yourself and realize that this is not something that you can force. Do the psychological work to get yourself back to baseline and do it slowly since you say your mind is such a fog.
    Just start, somewhere. Journal today or tomorrow.
    Find a way to begin seeing some light in the world, when it all seems dark. To do this I began with short meditations often called Meta or sending love to the world (as hokey as that may sound) with Insight Timer which has a basic app service which is free. It helped me take my mind off my own issues for a few seconds and send some love out into the universe, which in turn reminded me that someone out there is doing the very same thing, and I can harness a bit of it, too.
    I have been through some very similar things to you. Two years ago it was CONSTANT electrical shocks. It took me some time to realize just how much I was bracing my body away from the original pain, and then bracing away from the next pain and the next one and what I was REALLY and TRULY bracing myself against was internal pain, and how I would constantly re-generate it with these old thought patterns and habits that were not serving me what so ever.
    You did this once, you can absolutely do this again, remembering that TMS not something that magically goes away..the mind body connection is always with us so it is imperative that we keep up with the practices we learned at one point.
    BruceMC, Bonnard and aidanob10 like this.
  3. Bonnard

    Bonnard Well known member

    Hi Aidan,

    I was going to suggest returning to some of the practices that worked for you in the past. Maybe that would bring some comfort/reassurance and provide a spark that could get you trying new things and getting some results.
    It's clear from your success story that just reading Sarno's book provided a jolt, and that Sarno's journaling suggestions and Dr. Schechter's mindbody workbook were also helpful.
    BUT, after looking back at your post, it's clear you've tried journaling, therapy, and a couple other things.

    There are some great suggestions in the post above by @Cactusflower.
    Just taking action today and doing it without major pressure on yourself is one step you could take. It's clear that reading Success Stories has been helpful recently. Get into that. There are so many other resources available. Many more that were around when you recovered the previous time.

    You have so many things working for you. You've got a history of success (multiple years!) with TMS work. You know exactly what you're dealing with--no lingering doubts hanging around. So many people don't get anywhere close to that (for all kinds of reasons).
    Also, the first part of your success story is a brutal read--the title of it ends with "....10 years of torture" And, your symptoms came back with a vengeance this time.
    You don't have the kind of TMS that kind of affects your life. Your symptoms completely take over everything, and then they ramp up even more. So, there's no halfway with getting better. You have to go all in.

    Ironically, part of that 'all-in' is easing up and not pressuring yourself in athletic activities and in expecting to get fully better tomorrow. Taking it easy on ourselves is so important.
    Keep letting folks know where you're at.
    I wish you the best!!

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