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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Domenick Posted - 06/22/2005 : 10:08:50
Now for the positive stuff, to offset the negative spam posts.

I felt like many of you for years. At 18 years old I suffered from a miserable family life, and suddenly developed back pain. Insane fall-on-the-ground pain. I thought I had inherited my fathers 'bad back'. In fact I had been told by my unstable mother that I had.
This went on for my last year of high school, interfering in my athletics, but I still managed 4 varsity letters before graduating. More importantly, I learned to be a ferocious competitor, and to believe I can excel in the most difficult situations.

At this point in my life I was an athlete, but it hurt.

I went away to college, which was very confusing for me, and went out for the Cross country team (long distance running)I had big potential, I was on the best team in our league, and I could be one of the best.

Then the TMS kicked in, in my right IT band. I couldn't run. The trainers worked on it for two weeks, using ultrasound (I think)and it was fine. The next day my LEFT IT band was killing me. Classic TMS. My injury was gone so I needed a new on. I quit the team.
Later I would conclude that this symetric injury symptom was the best indicator of TMS.

For four years I went to college, with limited physical activity. Some days I couldn't get out of bed. 21 years old and I couldn't get out of bed. Total lunacy. I had pain everywhere, every tendon, back, hips (bad) upperback. It sucked. I spent every spare moment (every day) studying massage techniques and trying to heal myself. I never gave up. But I suffered alot and will never forget it.

I had suffered for about 6 years, but I was determined and tough. I had been dealt many bad cards in life but I was going to win.
I had won some really hard races, come from behind countless times.

I heard Howard Stern mention Sarno on the radio. I bought the book that day.
I read the book straight through and got very angry.

This is where you come in.

Sarno says you are angry. I was. I bet we both have really good reasons. There is a part of our personalities that is enraged.
I've been hit, hurt, lied to, betrayed, left alone, tricked, insulted, degraded. We all have in some way, we can't change it but being a victim is a choice.

Don't try to 'undo' or 'let go' the anger. Not yet. Embrace it. In fact, you need it to win.

Beating TMS is YOUR race, you need to decide, BEFORE the race that you are going to win. NOt see how it goes, not 'do your best'.
That plan has failed you if you're here. Take all of the anger, identify your opponent, and kill it.

Punch TMS right in it's face.

Unless you stop being the 'coper' and victim, nothings going to change. Look in the mirror. You have the cure to all your pain, right
here, handed to you by Dr. Sarno. Are you really so helpless that your aren't going to reach out and take it? Do you really 'need' the injury, like I did when my right leg was suddenly fine and then the left hurt?

Talk to your brain. Yell at it.

Hate TMS. Kill TMS. Stop 'coping' and hiding your natural human emotions. Direct them at TMS. Stop being it's pathetic victim.
Don't have sympathy for yourself. YOU are doing this. Hate the part of you that is failing you so much.
If you feel ashamed that you are the cause, good. Stop making everyone think you are suffering, stop making your family worry about you.

I was never afraid to really hate the part of me that was so counter-productive. I accepted my mistake, forgave myself, and fixed it.

This is what worked for me. For the record, (not to sound rude) I'm not interested in others assesment in my tactics. Use it or don't.
I have introduced Sarno to others and changed their lives.

"The important thing is this: to be able to sacrifice at any moment what we are for what we could become." Chinese Proverb

The End.

Now if your still interested, here's some of the bodybuilding exercises I do. (with video explanation)

I've done this with 260 lbs. Not bad for a former cripple.

Think you have cured TMS? Try this ultimate test.

I've pulled 175 lbs on that one. Lower back fine.

I'm now a healthy muscular 27 year old. I've made quite a mental and physical transformation. If you have any questions, I'll answer them, I may sound somewhat harsh in my story but I'm not a jerk.

20   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Tunza Posted - 03/22/2006 : 13:34:49
robbokop Posted - 03/22/2006 : 12:37:20
For any newbies(or anyone else who has lost their way), I have been wallowing around recently and feeling very sorry for myself. Today, I suddenly remembered this guy that posted last year that caused a bit of a stir with his positive post! I think he is spot on, have a read - it might cheer you up, it did me!

My favourite bit, 'punch TMS right in its face'. Classic.
miehnesor Posted - 06/30/2005 : 11:03:36
Originally posted by alinnyc

Phenomenal post. Thank you. This is what I got out of it. My TMS is caused by that part of my brain which wants to me not to acknowledge the needs and hurt and anger of my child. That child has been wronged and stepped on and abused. This child is furious and angry and wants someone to protect her. When my brain is trying to divert me from acknowledging the anger, grief and feelings of self loathing --- it is saying run away from all of those things in effect saying "don't accept that part of you". F*** THAT. My parents couldn't deal with me when I was a needy child but I am not going to abandon that part of me. The things that caused those feelings happened and the only one who can defend me from those feelings is me. I WILL NOT RUN AWAY FROM THOSE FEELINGS. I will not allow my brain to try to divert me with pain. I accept responsiblity for healing my child. Fighting TMS is all about that.

Everyone here knows this...but sometimes it takes a kick in the butt to be reminded of the simple truth.
Well done.

Amy- Right on. I love your attitude. It was only when I decided to take this attitude about being responsible for my childs pain that I was able to make any headway on TMS. Unfortunately simply screaming at my brain to knock off the TMS didn't work for me. I had to connect with the childhood pain and anger before I noticed any change.

From your comments about your mom in the "In the name of love" thread its pretty clear that you've got a lifetime of hurt to try and heal. You are on the right track- keep it up.
UK james Posted - 06/29/2005 : 17:05:47

I too am 27 yrs old and went through a pretty traumatic family life (alcoholic mother etc) before going to uni. I can see so many similarities between our stories. I was a very successful sportsman, particularly excelling at football before the tms set in. My time at uni, like yours was hindered massively by tms but I never gave up - I always battled against it in the gym / pool and spent a fortune seeking advice.
I'm now cured thanks to Sarno and am 100% back to my sporting best - and I think that this whole experience has given me an added steal on the field and a real appreciation of being pain free.

Take care amigo

wolf29 Posted - 06/28/2005 : 18:41:50
Nice post. I just posted today how I seem to feel pain after every session of squats or deadlifts. Regardless of how much weight I use. I was posting inquiring as to whether I could be conditioning myself to feel pain in just these exercises because it involves the back and spine compression.

It was refreshing seeing how you overcame your issues and was even deadlifting. That gives me hope. I do not want to give in to the pain so I will stick with the exercises I like, but have a fear of in the back of mind. Odd thing is I can do them pain free but either start to hurt after my workouts or the next day.. and just when I sit. I can bend over with no problem WTF?

I'll keep at it and keep learning.


Logan Posted - 06/28/2005 : 15:35:25
I think you hit the nail on the head when you said you have to get mad at the part of your brain that is perpetuating TMS. I used to, when first getting better, yell at my brain and swear like a longshoreman. I'd tell it that I was in no way going to tolerate its **** any longer and that it had better stop ****ing with me. It sounds funny but getting good and pissed off at the pain and fighting back verbally totally helped me. For one, it helped me stop feeling like I had to take the pain, like I was a victim.

Did you by chance read Facing the Fire by John Lee? I ask because you seem to have used similar methods. I found that book and the anger release exercises to be extremely helpful. I think for me, like for many women, I needed to see in print that it was not only okay but human and healthy to get MAD and get it out.

Dave Posted - 06/25/2005 : 11:08:52
I agree with Michele about the palpatations being a conditioned response.

You've clearly made a lot of progress with treating TMS, so just stay the course and think long term. It sounds like you "know" that there is no connection between the palpatations and the back/shoulder issues; it will just take time for it to sink in to your unconscious.

If you're confident in the TMS diagnosis, then by all means go ahead and do strength building exercises. Just try to shake the belief that it will somehow affect the palpatations. Approach it with an overall goal towards health and fitness.
molomaf Posted - 06/25/2005 : 11:05:07
I think that your palpitations coming when your back starts to hurt is just a conditioned response. You expect the palpitations and your brain delivers it for you. You just don't realize that you are thinking that because it is happening so quickly. I started getting palpitations at one time and it was frightening. I can imagine how frightening it would be if I had had a heart attack. Try telling the palpitations that you are not going to give them any attention. Forget about them, they are nothing. I know it's hard but you are doing it with your back and shoulder pain. It's the same deal.
Bonnie Posted - 06/25/2005 : 10:28:37
Dave, I agree that it's early days yet, it's only been a month and bit since I started the work but I've been doing things I never thought I'd ever do again. I've been gardening and doing jobs around the house that I haven't done in years. Before I got the Mindbody book there were days I couldn't pick up or carry more than two pounds without my back or shoulders going into spasms.
And the unfortunate fact is that there is a connection 'in my mind' between the muscle spasms in my back and the palpitations, when my back tightens up it triggers the palpitations because since the heart attack I've always been afraid of them setting of another round of pain or even more serious things. One of the worst manifestations of the TMS for me was in my left shoulder and upper arm which mimics the same things I felt before the attack. I've gotten that figured out now and it doesn't happen anymore.
For the past ten or so years my life has become more and more curcumscribed by what my upper back and shoulders will take. It had gotten to the point where I was afraid to turn over in bed or lift my arms above my head in case it "put my back and neck out" which in turn meant a trip to the Chiropractor which helped for five or six days, if I was lucky. The trips to the Chiro would stop the palpitations for that amount of time until the muscle tension set things off again. But it was getting worse and worse and the time between episodes was getting smaller. It was a never ending round of muscle spasms and trips to the chiro and pain meds for the muscle spasm headaches that lasted three days and made me want to just give up. I'm trying to teach my nervous system that just because I'm putting a little more stress on my muscles that doesn't mean the world is coming to an end and it's time to haul out the big guns and make me miserable.
My back and shoulders are severely weak from not being used properly for years. I have started doing things, as I said, but I wanted to try some mild weight training to get the upper back and shoulder muscles in shape. I'm doing very well, Doctor Sarno's therapy works, I know that beyond a shadow of a doubt, and I'm not stupid, I'm taking my time with getting it all back, its just that there is no-one in my area that I can ask about proper weight training techniqes and I don't want to hurt myself.
The book and this website are godsend and I'm grateful for the advice given here.
Thank you.
Baseball65 Posted - 06/25/2005 : 09:40:07
I too had a fast 110% recovery from pain,and I too was left by the medical system in the "chronic pain" scrap heap,assured I could never return to my normal job again(I'm a painter....lifting crawling bending)

I just spent the week schlepping 100 pound ladders in impossible positions on a hillside in 90Plus degree temps.My respite was to get to work on an angled piece of roof 60 feet in the air over concrete..Don't look down ! is our mantra.

Reading your post reminded me that there was more than a year of my life when I was told(and believed) that I would never be physically active in my more Baseball,no more work,no more rough stuff,no more (#^%^%$&) know what I mean.

This week was sunstroked a little(dizzy nausea) angry and frustrated,tired and THAN had to coach a Baseball practice for two hours after every long work day.

Your post reminded me that I don't HAVE to do anything....I could cry cripple,pain and go and hide under a rock.

I GET to do all these things.That's a whole different deal!



alinnyc Posted - 06/25/2005 : 07:42:51
Phenomenal post. Thank you. This is what I got out of it. My TMS is caused by that part of my brain which wants to me not to acknowledge the needs and hurt and anger of my child. That child has been wronged and stepped on and abused. This child is furious and angry and wants someone to protect her. When my brain is trying to divert me from acknowledging the anger, grief and feelings of self loathing --- it is saying run away from all of those things in effect saying "don't accept that part of you". F*** THAT. My parents couldn't deal with me when I was a needy child but I am not going to abandon that part of me. The things that caused those feelings happened and the only one who can defend me from those feelings is me. I WILL NOT RUN AWAY FROM THOSE FEELINGS. I will not allow my brain to try to divert me with pain. I accept responsiblity for healing my child. Fighting TMS is all about that.

Everyone here knows this...but sometimes it takes a kick in the butt to be reminded of the simple truth.
Well done.
Louise Posted - 06/24/2005 : 23:30:44
Yeah, you're probably right. It must be a placebo. On Monday, I'll be sure to call the Neurosurgeon & schedule that spinal fusion that he told me I needed 2 years ago.

Louise Posted - 06/24/2005 : 16:32:53
Domenick -

Thanks for the kick in the a**. It's just what I needed.

TMS has been hanging on in my left knee (the site of previous surgery, so there is a "physical" aspect that's been hanging me up)for a while. By this point, I feel like I've identified all of the past & present events which have fueled my resevour of rage, and re-visiting them hasn't been helping me get over the knee pain. Thanks to your post, I got really ANGRY with TMS, my brain, myself, and my pain. I mentally shouted at all of them that I've had enough, and I - my conscious self - was now taking control. I reminded myself of the events in my past, and instead of thinking "I'm angry/hurt/scared/sad about ______ ", I changed my thought process to "I SURVIVED ______" and I'm still here - and I'm FINE." I told my TMS in no uncertain terms to consider itself fired, as it had done a sh**ty job of protecting me from whatever it considered painful - in fact it caused me more pain than the past events ever had. Being a rather profane person, I told it to F-off in no uncertain terms, over and over again. I mentally stomped the crap out of that frickin' gremlin.

Guess what? I feel a whole lot better - both physically & mentally. The knee pain is a shadow of its' former self, after months of hanging on. Yippee!

Dave Posted - 06/24/2005 : 13:18:18
Originally posted by Bonnie
Can you recommend any exercises to strengthen the middle, upper back and shoulders.

This is misguided. First, muscle strength cannot possibly affect palpatations. The heartbeat is regulated entirely by the autonomous nervous system. Second, exercises reinforce the feeling that the pain is due to a physical problem.

It is certainly a good idea to undertake a workout regimen which may include strength building exercises, but at a point where you are confident in the TMS battle and can honestly consider the purpose of the exercise to be overall health and fitness -- not as a means to improve symptoms.
Bonnie Posted - 06/24/2005 : 11:08:43
Hi Domenick, thanks for the positive stuff, for those of us that are just starting out it's very easy to get knocked off center. I've had a lot of sucess getting rid of the Fibro pain, that wasn't a problem, it's the heart palpitations or skipping beats that scare the bejesus out of me. They started about a two months after I had a heart attack during the time I was having trouble getting back on my feet, due to fear and not having a support system to fall back on. My autonimc system went into overdrive, kicking in the PTSD and I was allergic to every pill the doctors gave me and they had no patience with someone who wanted to heal as holistically as possible. I hate pills, I weaned myself off everything that I felt I didn't really need, but that meant that I lost support from my doctors who would prefer their patients to be good little yes-women and men. Am I mad at them, you're bloody well right I'm mad at them.
But the thing is, I've read the book and started getting better but it's been very hard to get a handle on the palpitations. They are what scares me the most and they start up when I sit down at the computer or in a chair to read a book or watch TV. I know they have a psychological cause, I've proved that to myself, but it's been very hard to cope with them.
The tension in my upper back is a trigger, I love writing and I spent a lot of time at the computer, still do, I make myself do it in spite of the agro and fear because I know it's my brain doing a number on me but it makes me very tired and takes a lot of will power to just push on through.
You mentioned leaving the stuff that triggers you the most to last but I have no choice but to write, it's potentially my living and it's also my greatest escape. I love it and it makes me crazy that this bloody TMS is messing with the one thing that gives me the most pleasure. Of course it makes sense to attack at the area I'm the most vulnerable.
Can you recommend any exercises to strengthen the middle, upper back and shoulders. My legs and lower body are fine because I never stopped walking or hiking no matter how bad the pain was, it was my lifeline, sort of walking away from my troubles, but my upper back is where I hold all the tension and I think it triggers the skipped beats. I want to find out if I could help re-adjust that trigger by strengthening my back.
Any help would be appreciated. I must admit my back, arm and shoulder muscles are weak, so I'd have to start slow.
Domenick Posted - 06/24/2005 : 10:35:57
Awesome news Suz. TMS cannot survive your level of personal accountability and determination. But don't 'see where it goes'. It's your life. Decide where it goes and carve your path armed with confidence. You've obviously decided you are in control. I have no doubt you are going to see a fast recovery.
Suz Posted - 06/24/2005 : 09:29:28
I just had to write that your posts on this thread really really helped me. Thank you. It is funny how one thing someone says can suddenly strike a chord - I could almost hear a "ding" noise! Last night, I decided to constantly tell myself that this is my brain doing this - and it is up to me to stop it - sounds obvious but it never hit me before. I was definitely thinking in victim mode. I have experienced a shift where now I am the boss - very empowering. Last night, I had minimal back pain in the night and woke up very triumphant. I am taking this attitude throughout the day today and lets see where it goes.
Domenick Posted - 06/24/2005 : 07:11:56

You are right, this whole thing is about needing something to worry about, and needing a 'pet' injury. I wouldn't worry about not having a psychologist around. You are plenty strong enough to suceed. We're all going to have relapses, the idea is focus on the overall improvement. The relapses will become less frequent. Just keep remembering this isn't real, don't be afraid it will come back. You don't to to 'believe' this is nonsense, you need to 'realize' this is nonsense. Its a self destructive distraction that neither you nor your family need to deal with.

The other day I had a sharp shooting pain in the right side of my back. I literally laughed, thniking how funny it is that our evolved brains would do something so weird as hurt ourselves. Seconds later, my little TMS goblin tried the left side. It's always that way with me, its symetrical. I went about what I was doing and it lasted all of a few seconds.

I look at it this way: No more excuses. Just because alot of people suffer from a psychosomatic disorder doesn't make it o.k., it's still our fault and totally ridiculous.

As for family, I would never dream of offering advice, but just share that I threw all the poisonous people out of my life a few years ago and it feels great. I think family should be loved, not abused. I know it sounds obvious, but how many of us really do it?
Suz Posted - 06/23/2005 : 14:37:34
Great advice, Domenick. I have had the pain for 12 years and I am only 35. I now do weight training and all sorts of exercise I never did. I am seeing a psychologist(one of Sarno's) but I feel that there may be more I can do from a psychological aspect myself. I forget to personalize this - as if I yell at my brain and it is a separate being from myself - but really it isn't. I love that you point out the ridiculous nature of this condition and I wonder if part of me needs something to worry about and obsess over.
I was making real headway with a psychologist as I wasn't in any pain at all but cannot see her as frequently. In the meantime, my back pain, constipation and skin problems seem to have come back. My mum was here and my body has freaked out in response. I have had enough of it
Domenick Posted - 06/23/2005 : 12:42:54
I'm not sure where to begin. I know I think different than the average person (personaility and career) so my coaching will be experimental. You asked me where to begin. I would respond don't try to begin, you already did when you identified the TMS. Now try to end it.
As I said before don't get some timetable in your head like you have some uphill battle ahead of you. I cured six years in six weeks. I am no tougher than you or anyone else.

I read the daily reminders everyday, the goofy little poem everyday.

I think it's also chapter 9 in Sarno's new book that he recommends for daily reading.

Get active. I found walking, running to be the things that came around last, maybe the repetitive nature lets you build up fear with each step. Try weightlifting, pilates, yoga, something thats lets you proove how healthy you really are. Don't go with something that has bothered you yet. For example, this all started for me with running, so I knew in my recovering state I shouldn't run at first, but rather do something else that wasn't pre-linked to pain. Make sense?

In all reality I have alot of mental toughness. But no one gave it to me, and you don't have to be confident to be tough. Get mad, and realize you aren't suffering FROM SOMETHING, but suffering because of yourself. It quickly starts to look silly.

Being brave means you were scared in the first place.

As for your mother, yeah good luck. I know all about that. There are alot of worse parents out there, I know. Don't feel guilty for being mad at a family member. There is this concept to be more forgiving to a family member. I never bought into that, my saying is: with family we shouldn't be accepting less, we should be expecting more.

Sarno said get mad, yell at your brain.

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