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 Threw my back out! Rest or Think-Psychological?
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bagofwater

USA
27 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2010 :  15:48:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hellooo!

Even though I've been successfully dealing with chronic back pain with TMS therapy for almost two years, I still occasionally "throw out" my back. These events can be discouraging, but I'm learning to work through them.

My question is, what is the consensus about how best to get through these events? I'm not sure if I should "keep it psychological" and not use any physical remedies OR if I should use conventional remedies, such as ice, ibuprofen, vicadin etc. to get me through the worst of it (today I can barely walk!) I know my issues are TMS related - I have a good TMS therapist and I think I have a handle on why I had the initial spasm. Will the use of physical remedies undermine my recovery? What is the best approach from a TMS perspective?

Last time I did this I soldiered through, trying to do everything as if my back was fine. The idea being, that the pain was TMS and not due to an injury. To treat the physical symptoms, so I thought, would set me back. The pain didn't seem to go away until I gave up and took it easy for a few days. So I'm wondering: Is only the spasm itself is caused by TMS or is the subsequent pain also a manifestation? Is the pain after the spasm still just mild oxygen depravation or should I consider it a conventional injury and treat it as such with ice and meds etc.

I'm wondering if it's possible to have that type of spasm (the kind where you're doing something simple and you "throw out" your back) and NOT have residual pain. Do people without TMS have them and then go about their day? If that's the case then my theory that the residual pain is a conventional injury would be wrong and both the spasm event AND the subsequent pain are TMS.

Any thoughts on this are appreciated.

Thanks!

Back2-It

USA
438 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2010 :  20:20:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Is only the spasm itself is caused by TMS or is the subsequent pain also a manifestation?


Being new to TMS thinking, I'm wondering the same thing. I have a knot in my back near the spine that never leaves, and, I guess the muscle is always in spasm. It never goes away. There is always pain, unless I am prone for awhile or asleep.

So far the vote in my previous posts says that it is TMS and that I am still not set with it being TMS yet.

I'm soldering on with no meds, no ice, no hot baths, not additional doctors. The only doc I may see is one trained by Dr. Sarno, who is in the area. I could really benefit from the lectures that Dr. Sarno gives, so I could understand back problems ( or lack there of) better.

The residual pain could very well be TMS. Think of athletes who "throw their back out" and are sore for a day or so, then are fine. Or think of a charley horse in your calf. I've gotten those, been sore in the spot (sometimes) and then better.

I think you might be on the right track.

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Dave

USA
1860 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2010 :  21:08:21  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If you seek physical treatment such as ice, stretching, or exercises designed to ease the pain, then it is contradictory to treating the pain as TMS. However, taking pain killers is fine so long as you accept you are treating the symptom, but it is benign and has no structural cause.

A TMS 'attack' is a real physical event so you cannot expect the pain to magically disappear. Although the cause is not physcial, the muscles and nerves are still affected and need time to return to normal. You should not be discouraged if the pain does not disappear quickly despite doing the work. Ignore the pain as best as you can, and resume physical activity when the pain subsides.

It's all a matter of how you think about and react to the pain. If you believe you can "throw out" your back and then proceed to treat it as an injury, then it is contradictory to the TMS approach.
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bagofwater

USA
27 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2010 :  23:29:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Guys!

Dave, your take makes sense. I believe you're saying, the spasm occurred for a reason. The reason being, to create pain to distract me from my emotional issues. The spasm itself would not be enough of a distraction.

To put a finer point on it: You say, physical remedies are contradictory, but like Back2-It, I can see and feel a huge knot in my back where the pain is. Icing the knot reduces it's size noticeably and gives me relief, albeit temporary. Are you saying that the knot is being caused by TMS and not from the trauma of the spasm? (i don't doubt it. i'm just trying to understand what you're saying). Also, you say to resume physical activity when the pain subsides. I'm capable of enduring a lot of pain at this point so I'm not exactly sure when I should try to resume my normal activities. Isn't going easy on my back contradictory as well? If I can take it, wouldn't getting back to normal activity as soon as possible, regardless of the pain be best? In my case it's been over 48 hours.

Thanks again.

Edited by - bagofwater on 10/24/2010 23:34:11
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Back2-It

USA
438 Posts

Posted - 10/25/2010 :  07:34:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:

To put a finer point on it: You say, physical remedies are contradictory, but like Back2-It, I can see and feel a huge knot in my back where the pain is. Icing the knot reduces it's size noticeably and gives me relief, albeit temporary. Are you saying that the knot is being caused by TMS and not from the trauma of the spasm? (i don't doubt it. i'm just trying to understand what you're saying).


Right! I'm trying to really understand if the actual, physical knot can be caused by TMS or is the physical knot a structural thing vs a creation of TMS? I guess I'm dense this way, as in my reading I have understood that when people are examined by, say, Dr. Sarno, there is no physical reason for their malady, no clear physical evidence of anything being wrong beyond their having a herniated disc, which does not always produce symptoms in people.

Apologies if this is in the books; I am reading and re-reading when time permits.
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bagofwater

USA
27 Posts

Posted - 10/25/2010 :  18:18:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Been reading through Dr. Sarno's books and found more info on this question. In Healing Back Pain on pg. 14 it becomes clear that TMS can indeed keep the knot/contraction tight indefinitely, therefore unless the psychological issues are addressed the knot can stay present. An example given: when you sleep, because of a slight lack of oxygen in your legs you can experience cramps. If you manipulate and flex the leg muscles you return blood-flow and oxygen to the area and the cramp subsides. TMS has the ability to restrict oxygen as well (and cause spasm). We can apply physical remedies to our spasms that will temporarily bring oxygen to the contraction, but the only way to manipulate TMS (the underlying our immediate and chronic pain) is psychologically. ….so again, yes. it appears that TMS can indeed cause and maintain the perceivable knots we can touch and feel in our bodies and that cause us pain.
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Back2-It

USA
438 Posts

Posted - 10/25/2010 :  18:31:28  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
In Healing Back Pain on pg. 14 it becomes clear that TMS can indeed keep the knot/contraction tight indefinitely, therefore unless the psychological issues are addressed the knot can stay present


Thanks, Bag. I was re-reading HBP and on page 13. One more page and I would have gotten an answer.

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Dave

USA
1860 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2010 :  15:54:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bagofwater
...Are you saying that the knot is being caused by TMS and not from the trauma of the spasm?

I believe it is counterproductive to overthink it.

To even consider that there is a "knot" means you are attaching a structural explanation to the pain.

IMO it is best just to accept that the symptom is benign and ignore it as best you can and go about your life.
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Back2-It

USA
438 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2010 :  17:07:43  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dave

quote:
Originally posted by bagofwater
...Are you saying that the knot is being caused by TMS and not from the trauma of the spasm?

I believe it is counterproductive to overthink it.

To even consider that there is a "knot" means you are attaching a structural explanation to the pain.

IMO it is best just to accept that the symptom is benign and ignore it as best you can and go about your life.



Dave -- think you are right. However, when you're new to the TMS concept --and a bit obsessive to boot-- it's natural to over-everything. Good advice.
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bagofwater

USA
27 Posts

Posted - 11/09/2010 :  10:39:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well, just as I was almost completely over this episode, I threw my back out once again ! This time far worse. Not since I discovered TMS has it ever been this bad. Figuring out I had TMS changed my life 3 years ago, but this attack has me confused and frustrated. I'm having a lot of difficulty breaking the pain cycle. I believe it's TMS, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to keep thinking 'psychological'. The allure of traditional remedies becomes more attractive each day this episode continues.

I thought I had a handle on the emotional problems that caused the first part of this episode, but clearly I do not. I'm journaling, but that's never helped me that much in the past. The small attacks/spasms I've had the last three years simply passed within a few days.

I guess my question remains, given the severity of my pain, what physical remedies, if any, do I dare try to get me past this? …or do i just keep soldiering through the excruciating pain? At this point neither TMS nor the minor conventional remedies I've tried have helped much.

Thanks!
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tennis tom

USA
4520 Posts

Posted - 11/09/2010 :  11:22:45  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Curl up with a TMS book.

See a TMS doctor if you can or call one for a consultation over the phone.

See a regular doctor for the pain and tell him you want to treat it minimally invasively; don't be talked into a rushed surgery.

Take pain killers, Dr. Sarno says you don't have to suffer stoicly in silence.

Try physical stuff like heat/cold, massage, hot-tub, etc., but with the intention that it is to relieve the TMS pain and that the pain is benign and not structural.

Curl up with a TMS book.



DR. SARNO'S 12 DAILY REMINDERS:
http://www.tmshelp.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6415

TAKE THE HOLMES-RAHE STRESS TEST
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holmes_and_Rahe_stress_scale

Some of my favorite excerpts from _THE DIVIDED MIND_ :
http://www.tmshelp.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2605
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bagofwater

USA
27 Posts

Posted - 11/09/2010 :  11:29:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Tom.

What would people suggest I do with these two daily reminders?:

7. Therefore, physical activity is not dangerous
8. And I MUST resume all normal physical activity

I CAN resume physical activity, but it would be excruciating. Conceptually, at this point is physical activity really not dangerous for me? …any thoughts?
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Martina

United Kingdom
3 Posts

Posted - 11/11/2010 :  04:55:22  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi there,
what about getting some help on a psychological level? I love the concept of making the mindbody connection and sometimes feel that clearing some childhood conditioning can be a huge help in understanding ones emotional and physical pain. Have you done anything in that direction? I can suggest NLP and Time Line Therapy(TM) to help with the clearing.
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tennis tom

USA
4520 Posts

Posted - 11/11/2010 :  09:47:53  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bagofwater


I threw my back out once again !

I CAN resume physical activity, but it would be excruciating. Conceptually, at this point is physical activity really not dangerous for me? …any thoughts?



"I threw my back out once again !"

I would discard this terminology because it maintains the structural viewpoint. If it's TMS, then you need to be thinking psychologically and examining what is going on in your life. The Rahe-Holmes list below will help you pinpoint the emotional issues that are triggering your TMS event.

I have no way of knowing what your level of physical activity capability is so I can't advise specificly what activities you should pursue. I would say swimming is safe (if you don't drown that is) because it is non-weight-bearing.

According to TMS theory, since there is no structural damage, you can't further hurt anything by doing physical activity. My issue is my hip, I have found that after twenty minutes of walking my pain goes away.

So take a couple of Tylenol, (as I just did), and "soldier through". Then curl-up with a TMS book until the theory is firmly embedded in your mindbody. You need to recondition your thinking to believe your body is strong--it's the mind that gives up first. Keep plugging away.




DR. SARNO'S 12 DAILY REMINDERS:
http://www.tmshelp.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6415

TAKE THE HOLMES-RAHE STRESS TEST
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holmes_and_Rahe_stress_scale

Some of my favorite excerpts from _THE DIVIDED MIND_ :
http://www.tmshelp.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2605

Edited by - tennis tom on 11/11/2010 09:59:53
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Forfeet

USA
40 Posts

Posted - 11/11/2010 :  13:49:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bagofwater,

I had some sciatica pain on and off for a couple/few months in the spring last year and then from the TMS reading, etc., and not worrying about it, it went away. It has come back recently, and for the most part, I am working as if it is not there (I work at a very physical retail job). I did take Tylenol last night but keep them to a minimum as with other pain meds.

I recognize I have a lot of stress in my life, which triggers it, but also try to see if some of my physical behavior may also contribute. For instance, the shoes I've been wearing have been different, and I recently started using a wedge pillow, prior to the recent symptoms. So while I'm not going to take drastic measures to deal with it as a physical symptom, I will make some minor adjustments in my footwear, sleep, etc. to see if they will lessen the symptoms. Like Tom says, relieve the pain but not obsess over the structural, but see a doctor if you feel the need.

I read in a chiropractor site recently, that most back pain resolves in few weeks on its own, so when it comes up, keeping that in mind helps me. I know personally that it is not comfortable to deal with, but when I stress over it, it only makes it worse for me. I try to recognize it will pass.
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bagofwater

USA
27 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2010 :  11:28:57  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for all this!

Point taken Tom. "I threw my back out" is an inherited phrase from my fathers side of the family and needs to be discarded. An "acute emotional attack" is more accurate for sure. ….brings up an interesting point that how we deal, or don't deal with our emotions may be an inherited trait.

I'm finding the sentence "since there is no structural damage, you can't further hurt anything by doing physical activity" very useful. This is of course a basic TMS concept, but it's very difficult to accept. I've decided that if I can endure the pain I should endure the pain. It's only day-two of trying this approach, but it seems to be helping.

btw my main activity is just sitting. Before I found TMS I could only sit for 15 minutes before I had to stretch in order to avoid back pain. After TMS, for the last 3 years, I've been able to sit in any chair indefinitely without pain. With this latest emotional attack I find myself again getting a great deal of pain when I sit (actually the pain sets in when I get up from sitting) and worse, I am fearing sitting.
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bagofwater

USA
27 Posts

Posted - 11/15/2010 :  11:50:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's still only been a few days, but I'm finding my somewhat new approach to my pain useful.

I had been avoiding things that caused pain to get through this last attack. Not sitting for long periods, walking very carefully, not bending at the waist, hot showers, everything to minimize the pain to keep it out of mind so I could focus on the psychological. However once the pain had reached a tolerable level (not gone by any means, "endurable" as I define it) I began, with the phrase "since there is no structural damage, you can't further hurt anything by doing physical activity" in mind, to systematically NOT avoid the pain. To sort of lean into pain when it presented itself. The pain, as we all know, is simply the messenger. It's actually serving a very useful function by alerting us to emotional issues. My new approach is to not avoid the pain, but to thank and embrace, it for what it is. Now, every time I perceive tolerable pain I'm digging into it - adjust my sitting position to increase the pain, walk in a way that the (again, tolerable) pain is actually worse etc. all while reflecting on what message the pain is trying to communicate - and every time I've tried this so far the pain has run away to where I can not find it. Whenever I was getting up from a seated position I was getting major pain in my lower back. The natural instinct would be to hunch over to minimize the pain so you could dismiss it and reflect and focus more clearly on thinking psychological, but now if I lean-into the pain it dissolves away! Sometimes immediately, sometimes after a few steps.

Hard to say if this adjustment to my TMS approach will continue to bring benefits, but it strikes me as an interesting metaphor for TMS in general. "Avoiding" the physical pain is analogous to avoiding the emotional pain. The point is to "dismiss" and not give the pain anymore meaning than it deserves, not "avoid" it. Just as I'm leaning into my TMS pain, I need to lean into my emotional issues. They're far harder to pin down, but maybe they too will dissolve away with this approach.
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Back2-It

USA
438 Posts

Posted - 11/15/2010 :  13:38:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bagofwater

It's still only been a few days, but I'm finding my somewhat new approach to my pain useful...

..."Avoiding" the physical pain is analogous to avoiding the emotional pain. The point is to "dismiss" and not give the pain anymore meaning than it deserves, not "avoid" it. Just as I'm leaning into my TMS pain, I need to lean into my emotional issues. They're far harder to pin down, but maybe they too will dissolve away with this approach.



I'm happy your new approach seems to be helping.

I, too, am just "being" with the pain. It's there. I do notice that there are moments that it is not, and my conscious brain calls me back to it.

I have done a lot of thinking about past and current stressors and have decided and acted on a few. I think this helps. I think it is the overall fear that has to be conquered: the fear of the physical discomfort, the fear of addressing emotional issues, and the fear of life in "What-If Land".

Anxiety has been such a shadow twin brother to me since I was a small kid. Just yesterday, I recalled how my parents had me breathe into a paper bag to stop me from hyperventilating. It caused me, the doc's theorized, to get sharp pains in my chest, that same chest and abdomen that is the lingering source of the trouble. That's from age six, the young roots of my anxiety that has grown with me, larger, stronger, more intense, since then.

I now have my daily "list" called, "What I would do if I weren't in pain." And I do it with the pain as part of getting back to all activities.

I'm thinking out loud on your topic, Bag, but I do think you are onto something.
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bagofwater

USA
27 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2016 :  23:44:28  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wow. Returning to this thread after almost exactly seven years! I've had lots of little TMS flare ups in all that time, but nothing like the relapse I'm experiencing right now.

I'd almost forgotten about this thread. My situation is nearly identical now: a flare up followed by a big scary, painful event with symptoms occurring in my lower back. After so long it's almost a nostalgic feeling! This one started 8 days ago. It's slowly diminishing but it's been tough. I'd forgotten how bad these can be. I'm again wondering if it's my unconscious that's generating the pain still (depriving oxygen to my low back) or if I'm nursing an actual injury. I've been doing all the steps for recovery (reading the books, journaling like crazy, going to psycho therapy) so it's extremely frustrating that it's so difficult to shake.

I started to take my own advice and, instead of avoiding the pain, leaning into it. That was working, but I think I went too fast too soon - I ran to catch a bus and got stopped after a few steps with major pain that stayed with me. It feels like I set myself back by a few days.

So my question now, is why do we relapse? I've been almost pain free for years and then boom! Unfortunately all the books out there primarily focus on making a case for TMS. Selling the concept. However, I'm completely on board. Have been for years. At least my conscious mind has. Why am I having so much trouble now? Are there any resources out there for relapsers?

Also, can anyone recommend a doctor or therapist that does phone consulting. My current therapist is open to TMS but is not a TMS therapist. Speaking to someone that knows the ins and outs of TMS might help me.

Thanks!
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tennis tom

USA
4520 Posts

Posted - 11/28/2016 :  07:51:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For the causes of your TMS relapse look here:


TAKE THE HOLMES-RAHE STRESS TEST
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holmes_and_Rahe_stress_scale

For TMS coaching I would recommend:
http://steveozanich.com/

There are many other TMS practitioners listed in at the top of this page in the "LINKS" and also at the TMS Wiki's "PRACTITIONERS" listings:
http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Find_a_TMS_Doctor_or_Therapist

G'luck!
tt



Edited by - tennis tom on 11/28/2016 07:59:39
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bagofwater

USA
27 Posts

Posted - 11/28/2016 :  13:02:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks TT.

I might try Steve Ozanich. I have his book and like it a lot. I also like Alan Gordon's audio blogs on the TMSWiki. Any one know if he does Skype consultation? His website is not clear.

The stress test ranks me at low to moderate risk. Nothing major is going on in my life yet I'm in the midst of a major TMS event. Clearly I don't know what's generating the pain. ...or, again, what generated it 9 days ago (i'm still unclear if my unconscious is generating pain or if it was a one time event that i'm recovering from).

...am I the only one that's intimidated by the TMSWiki? Lot's of great info there but it's so massive. The forum is so sprawling it's difficult to get anything concise from it. The TMS Help Forum, while much smaller, is nice quiet place.

Edited by - bagofwater on 11/28/2016 13:04:10
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