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Can TMS mimic rheumatoid arthritis?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Seanh153, Oct 22, 2021.

  1. Seanh153

    Seanh153 Newcomer


    For the past week or so I've been pushing through pain and trying to live normally despite pain in my hands. The majority of the pain is in my thumb + wrist joints, and occasionally on my pinky side and knuckles. The pain is identical in both of my hands. I saw a hand specialist who confirmed no mechanical problems and said there is no obvious cause for the pain. He suggested I may have rheumatoid arthritis due to bilateral hand symptoms. My other diagnosis from my NHS appointment was RSI. This has been going on for 6 months, came on rather suddenly in both hands, and I've not had a pain free day since then despite activity modification and using the computer less.

    My doctor won't refer me to a rheumatologist as I don't have any visible inflammation/swelling, or morning stiffness (the pain is pretty much constant throughout the day). I do think it's possible I have TMS, as Sarno's book describes me very accurately (anxiety, depression, low self esteem etc.). Pushing through the pain at the computer is only causing me more pain though, and it makes me nervous because it's in the joints, and it FEELS structural. Nothing came up an x-ray, so I don't think it's osteoarthritis (nor would it make much sense for it to be identical in both hands). I also find the RSI diagnosis difficult to accept for this reason.

    The pain is sharp but not constant - I may get a sharp pain in my wrist joint for a few seconds, which will fade, then a minute later get another sharp pain in another joint. It's not debilitating pain but it's enough to be distressing. I also get random pains throughout my upper body, especially in my forearms and elbows. I have good mobility and strength in my hands - my only symptom is pain really. I can exercise just fine but it hurts after.

    My question is, can my mind really cause all of this pain in my joints? It seems a little too good to be true. I do have certain triggers, like resting my hands on something tends to cause pain in the base of my thumb, and I tend to get pain in the same areas, but at random times as mentioned above. I can wash dishes just fine, but as soon as I rest my hand on my bed when I'm trying to sleep, it can cause pain. Likewise when I'm driving, I'm mostly ok as long as I don't push my hand against the steering wheel too hard. Most of the TMS success stories I've read seem to gradually improve whereas I'm getting worse, so I'm starting to lose hope.
  2. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    RA can be identified by a blood test. If you don't have markers for RA, then you most likely have TMS. In case of TMS, pushing through pain without emotional work may not yield any results. Not everyone is fortunate to have a book cure.
  3. Seanh153

    Seanh153 Newcomer

    Yeah, I had the blood test done, came back normal. I think I havent fully accepted the diagnosis and that's probably the problem - I keep thinking physically. I have tried journalling but I haven't really felt any benefit from it.
  4. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Journaling did not help me either. It actually increased my anxiety because I would get writer's block every time I sat down to journal. But meditation did help, a lot. You need to stop worrying about the diagnosis, you know it is TMS. Increase in pain at night is a good indication, because your brain is free from daily business to obsess about pain.
  5. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    Negative blood test is good news. Then most likely TMS. But pushing physically through without doing the mental work can sometimes backfire.

    Take a look at Chris Abraham’s story of recovery from 7 years of RSI.

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