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Ruling Out Herniated Discs for Back Pain

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Brandon J, Jul 3, 2016.

  1. Brandon J

    Brandon J New Member

    Hi everyone! Let me first saw how happy I have to have found an active community discussing TMS. I am at the beginning stages of recovery and I am trying to remain hopeful that I will soon be pain free.

    My back pain has been prominent for about a year. I went through the usual Doctor process, pain meds, X-rays, MRI, physical therapy. The MRI revealed two 8mm herniated discs (L4-L5, L5-S1). Because of the MRI results, I had an epidural on December. I finally found Dr Sarno's Healing Back Pain about two weeks ago and everything started to make much more sense. For the last year I couldn't understand why I would have pain but someone with the exact same diagnosis wouldn't. Logically, I am convinced that TMS is the source of my pain. The herniated discs are general wear and tear on the spine and not causing me pain. Emotionally, I can't shake it. My insurance doesn't cover the TMS Doctor in my area so I am left to self diagnose. Because I can't get a true diagnosis I worry that I am wrong and that somehow my herniated discs will get worse.

    I am looking for some reassurance that my pain does not have a physical cause. Also wondering if anyone has had the same experience, where herniated discs show up on an MRI but the pain subsides by treating the TMS.

    I know that this is all a process but I can't help but wish that I had been cured simply by reading the book like so many others. I worry that the pain will never go away.

    Thank you all!
  2. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    Herniated discs don't cause back pain. The history of healings, as well as every current study proves it.

    When you ask if anyone else has had the experience of having herniated discs and then having the pain subside through treating it like TMS, I would say that almost, if not everyone here has.

    One year is the shortest time I've seen for being in back pain, good for you. You are fortunate.

    Very few people heal just by reading a book. It's a process that has to play out in order for the brain to change it's hold on fear. Rest easy, you will be ok, if you believe you will be.

    Good luck
    brendan537 and jrid32 like this.
  3. Brandon J

    Brandon J New Member

    Steve, Thank you so much for your reply. I do feel very lucky to have found TMS so early on. One way my obsessive nature has paid off (I was researching like crazy and stumbled upon Dr Sarno's book). I will let the process play out. Thank you for your encouragement and reassurance.
  4. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    I had surgery 20+ years ago for a ruptured disc in my lower back, L4-l5. The surgery did not cure my chronic pain but it did cost me $20,000. About four years ago I had an MRI for shoulder/neck pain and it showed several herniated discs. I was able to successfully recover without surgery thru my TMS work. I do think the MRI results, combined with the common wisdom of the medical community, made it more challenging for me to completely accept the TMS diagnosis.
    Lavender likes this.
  5. hecate105

    hecate105 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think we are conditioned to go to Doctors and believe what they say. If we get a ''diagnosis' we treat it as truth. But what happens when several different Doctors give different diagnoses, and different prognoses? Someone, somewhere is wrong! We all have an innate natural body wisdom. I suggest trying to tap into that. It doesn't exist instead of Doctors - but it does exist as well as Doctors - and we want to be well....
    I spent 22 years running round in circles (limping slowly actually!) from Doctor to Doctor - and they were all wrong! It was TMS all the time.... So now i still visit the Doctor for 'an' opinion but i listen to my own body far more, and I pay attention to my psychological and emotional thinking and reactions ALL the time. Any pain that flares - i can generally silence it within minutes or hours. Almost every pain that arises has been TMS. I have realised that i am healthy and vital and hold most of the answers within me.... I expect you do too....
    Ellen likes this.
  6. Cenzo_Mezz81

    Cenzo_Mezz81 Newcomer

    @Brandon J I'm in the same boat, except my MRI results came back a month ago. I am L5 S1 herniation. Pain from my butt to leg is awful. I've had two guided epidurals and they had minimal success. Colleague recommended Sarnos book and it makes total sense to me. My biggest struggle is that my wife two years ago had a herniation in her neck and the second epidural cured her pain. For me that's torture because they didn't work for me.

    I am determined to kick this thing I just need better tools besides books to do it. I reached out to a TMS therapist I found on this site for coaching.

    Let me know how things work out for you

  7. Brandon J

    Brandon J New Member

    Thank you to everyone for your responses, I am very much reassured.

    Mezz - I too had an epidural, mine was in December and got barely any relief from it. It was also a horrific experience, I was the one out of every 2k patients who get a spinal headache as a result. Spent a weekend with the most intense headache I've ever had, was on Percocet which made me sick, then had a really strange flare of tinnitus which made it sound like a vacuum was running in my head. Needless to say, I would never have another epidural.

    However, I just spoke to a friend who had my same "injury" two years ago and was "cured" by an epidural and physical therapy. I'm sure the people on this site can offer more insight, but my working theory is that epidurals, physical therapy and the more standard medical approaches work as a placebo. If the person believes it will cure them it does. I also think that having a procedure in some way alleviates some of the stress and fear that may have started the pain in the first place, so they are using the TMS recovery process without even realizing it. I fit the TMS personality to a T, so I just think I'm a tougher case and really need to work through the emotional issues that started it all. Not to mention, I am terrified of my pain, so I'm feeding the TMS all the time. I'm trying to break that cycle now.

    I'm sure this is much more than you needed to know, but I'm learning that talking out these things is all part of the process.

    Keep me updated on your progress, it sounds like we are at the same stage, it's nice to know I'm not alone!
  8. hecate105

    hecate105 Beloved Grand Eagle

    You hit the nail on the head Brandon!
  9. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Good place to start out, Steve. I don't know how many times this point needs to be emphasized and restated. The medical industry just doesn't want to accept the obvious though, does it? It's counterintuitive, but so true, so true!

    All I know myself though is that every single episode of lower lumbar pain and/or sciatica I've suffered and endured has coincided with (or followed a short time after) a major emotional life stress event when I've also been socially isolated for one reason or another. Finally, it just becomes impossible to rationalize and evade the TMS diagnosis.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  10. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    I don't think I've heard of anybody who is the least bit receptive to the TMS theory of pain who has elected to have some form of epidural etc and has had relief from it. Think this sort of highlights what actually causes the relief in those who do find it successful.
  11. SME61

    SME61 Peer Supporter

    Hi Brandon and Mezz
    I have been on the TMS program for about a week now and it is giving me some real hope. I too was diagnosed with an L5/S1 herniation. It's much better than it was and I had 2 epidurals before as well, not much help. I am starting to really embrace the TMS diagnosis, I notice when I am on a business trip my pain subsides and the journaling wow it really helps clarify things.
    I still have some pain, but now that I have been accepting the TMS diagnosis it seems easier to ignore it and not be consumed by it.

    So hang in there, I am rooting for you both!

    hecate105 likes this.
  12. Brandon J

    Brandon J New Member

    Thanks everyone for your replies and support. I felt so incredibly hopeless until I found this forum, its becoming my rock!
    ali90 and hecate105 like this.
  13. Knut

    Knut New Member

    I can totally relate to that! :)
  14. Freedom

    Freedom Peer Supporter


    Im still confused that at the beginning he says to rule it out if he later says its not an issue. Those seem like contradicting statements. How can you know if you actually do have an issue then?

    I have pain throughout my entire spine (Cervical,Thoraccic, Lumbar). My MRI for Cervical shows Spinal stenosis, Disc bulge, disc herniation, possible contact with nerve rootlet, etc.

    I've felt more of an array of pain in these areas in the last 6 months than ever before. The previous years I would have low back pain on and off. I've had burning pains, I can sometimes feel bones clicking in my thoraccic/cervical when I stand straight up after slight slouching, tightness, aches, throbbing pains, nerve pain, etc.

    My guess as to what physically could have led to this is:
    1. Sitting for 10+ hours a day (affecting lumbar spine, also potentially creating anterior pelvic tilt)
    2. Using laptop at home on my lap (craning down effecting Cervical and Thoraccic spine)
    3. Having a good half dozen injuries in a 8 month period (atleast 4 of which were from picking up a heavy subwoofer)

    If it is indeed TMS my guesses would be:
    1. Turning 30 (happened a few months after turning 30) and not having my career handled.
    2. Not being the person I want to be socially and not guilt for not putting in as much effort as I should have in the last 10 years to work on my social skills. This also includes romantic aspects as parents had been on my non stop about getting married. However my family had given me a lot of limiting beliefs in this area which has bugged me endlessly for the last 15 years.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
  15. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    Hi Brandon,

    It is quite normal to feel anxious and doubtful without an authority figure giving us the TMS diagnosis. When after 25 months of back pain, sciatica in both legs, knee pain, neck pain and total disability I learned about TMS, I called Dr. Sarno to see if I could see him for a diagnosis. He directed me to read Healing Back Pain and that cured me.

    Give your subconscious time to adjust to this new knowledge and soon your doubts will be replaced with confidence. I have produced two short videos on pain facts doctors may not tell you that cover the research on spinal and other structural "abnormalities," including: stenosis, bulges, herniations and more. Visit fredamir.com for more information.
  16. Knut

    Knut New Member

    Sounds like me!!! And I think, knowing how to formulate the expression "anterior pelvic tilt" is a sign of TMS mate :)

    Turning 30 and not having the career handled is a superhighway to TMS, that's me all over!!

    Now I get the clicks when I stand up, exactly where you say, and the throbbing, and the burning, and the guilt...it's like a pain hallucination substituted for all the stress and guilt of the career and figuring-out-how-to-please everyone chase....
  17. Freedom

    Freedom Peer Supporter

    So what is Dr Sarno considering is actual physical problem and not TMS?
  18. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    Good question.

    Pretty much all structural changes due to aging is considered normal and not responsible for causing pain.

    If someone is in a car accident and fractured their spine that is a real physical problem.

    That's why I always accept my clients how did your pain begin. When they say it was due to a minor incident, like bending to pick up a pen or can't remember a major physical incident, then it is clearly TMS.

    Of course, we need to rule out a tumors or infections or other diseases. But spinal abnormalities due to aging are normal.
  19. Freedom

    Freedom Peer Supporter

    Also, in Chapter 2 of Dr Sarnos book, He says that disk herniations don't cause pain *most* of the time. So what are the times when it does cause pain?

    I feel like a lot of mine started after someone did a cupping massage one day, but to be honest, in this same time I injured myself MANY times from lifting a heavy subwoofer [[Think 65 lbs]] (like atleast 4 times in a 6 month period).

    No fractures shown from Xray. But did get things on MRI ][I only have MRI from Cervical]:
    C3-4: Disc bulge and facet hypertrophy
    C4-5: Protrusion. Mild stenosis, joint and facet hypertrophy. Possible contact of nerve rootlet
    C5-6: Protrusion. Contact/indentation of ventral cord. Contact of origin of both ventral nerve rootlets. Mild to Moderate exit narrowing.
    Moderate to severe central narrowing.
    C6-7: Disc bulge. Mild to moderate exit narrowing. Contact at left neural foramen.
    C7-T1: Mild facet hypertrophy
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016
  20. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    To me - as an absolute layman - I don't see how, Andrew, any of those mild structural abnormalities would cause much pain whatsoever

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