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 Success Story - Goldie
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20 Posts

Posted - 05/21/2006 :  01:59:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I suffered from what i thought were RSI / computer problems for around 12 months. Symptoms included stiffness / tightness in the shoulders, neck and upper back with the main pain being mouse & typing related pain in my outer forearms and elbows.

I was forced to quit work and heavily restrict my computer use / gym activities. Depression, stretches, pain and more stretches became my life (if you could call it that). For the next year I was bounced around chiropractors (2) and physical therapists (2) with only marginal, short term improvements.

I found out about the concept of TMS and Dr Sarno in November last year and bought his book, 'The Mindbody Prescription'. I was very cynical and thought it would be just another self-help book of bulls#%t. Nevertheless, i was encouraged by this forum and other sites expressing support for his findings and read it (and re-read it for about 2 months).

During this time i spent my down time (before bed each night) thinking about how this might relate to me and whether i might be suffering from the 'condition' that he outlines.

I also found that talking about my pain and the issues that the book brings up with close friends & family helped alot - it made me realise that otherwise sensible people thought that it sounded quite logical and possible and that what he is suggesting was not that leftfield after all. Validation, i think they call it :)

Growing in confidence i quit the chiro i was seeing a month or so later which was a big step and finally allowed me to make the jump to being able to convince myself that he was speaking the truth.

Guess what - i was 99% better within 2 months!

Today, my pain and depression are only a distant memory and i am working with computers again full time as well as being back at the gym enjoying a full weights program again. I am 100% confident that i have my pain under control, understand why it happened and am forever grateful to Dr Sarno.

I have maybe 1 day a month now where i might experience mild pain but as soon as i feel it i think 'i know what that is - i am just stressed because of X, Y and Z' and it goes away within 12-24 hrs.

Don't despair - there is truth in his words that can help you overcome your pain just like i did.

If any of you would like to email me with any questions you may have, tips on what worked for me etc or just some supportive words please feel free - brad.mcdonald 'at'

Edited by - goldie on 12/18/2012 09:58:41


United Kingdom
879 Posts

Posted - 05/21/2006 :  07:51:00  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

It's great to hear your success story, goldie. (I've put the above tag so people can find it on their searches.)

I, too, have recovered from RSI - I still find it strange sometimes that I can work all day at the computer without any problems, because I had been unable to do so without speech recognition software for over 10 years.

Hilary N
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79 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2013 :  21:53:52  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks a lot for sharing. I too, at times, feel like I beat TMS and then it arrives with a little change. At least I have fair feeling of what to do and your post helps a lot. It shows we are not alone.
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20 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2014 :  13:11:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

First thing I want to tell you is that you can (and will) get better. So don't be discouraged.

In my case, there were a number of different factors which allowed me to recover fully from TMS:

Firstly, it was owning my own diagnosis. When my problems began, like most other TMS sufferers, I had never heard of Dr Sarno and his research. As a result, my natural reaction was to 1. think it was a physical overuse injury (RSI), and 2. seek professional/semi-professional diagnosis on that basis. I'd say I spent probably a year bouncing around various doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors etc. who all thought it was something different and tried to apply their own physical treatments without success. On the whole they were not really interested in it being anything else (let along a psychological root cause) than what their own specialisation could, in their minds, fix. It was only through trying and failing at these treatments and becoming discouraged by the medical industry as a whole did I eventually take it upon myself to read as widely as possible on what my issues could really be and find Sarno and his books. The TMS forum was the #1 source for this so you're in the right place.

Secondly, some brutal self appraisal. I mean both in terms of 1. reflecting upon what kind of personality you are: are you a stresser? a perfectionist? Do you place a LOT of pressure on yourself to succeed etc?, and 2. looking at external factors: do you hate your job? are you bulled by someone at work? a recent death in the family? financial problems? marriage/relationship issues? etc. In my case, I am and always will be a type-A perfectionist and major, major stresser/worrier. It's just who I am. While I kinda always knew this, reflecting on this as Sarno suggests and starting to consider whether this may be as reason for my issues made me realise that I was a prime candidate for developing TMS issues. There is definitely a personality type that fits this diagnosis more than others. At the time I was 25 and had just upped and moved to a new country for a new job. On top of that I had major homesickness and was supporting my girlfriend who couldn't find work. The inner child in me WANTED me to fail, turn tail and return home, while my conscious self refused to accept that and just ignored it. Bad idea. While I did a great job of internalising these stresses for a while, I realised that they were still having a strong negative effect on me and my personality just exacerbated the problem. This eventually developed into my psychosomatic TMS issues. Just accepting that this was true and consciously acknowledging and accepting that this stress was causing my physical symptom really helped.

Thirdly, some plain old rational thinking about my symptoms. As I mentioned, I'd say the period from the beginning of symptoms arose to where I would say I was 95% cured spanned 1.5 years. When you really think about it a broken leg will heal in 2-3 months. So what the hell in the way of a truly physical injury could last for that long? pinched nerves? slipped disc? RSI? Pretty much nothing when you actually think about it rationally. Once you realize that the possibility of a psychosomatic root cause actually begins to make a whole lot of sense. Along the same vein, there was also a bull**** filter I applied to my symptoms. In my case, initial symptoms were RSI wrist/forearm pain in my mouse arm. At first I was OK sure, this is clearly RSI- has all the hallmarks. However, when I switched to using my other arm to let my RSI recover it took less than a week for the symptoms to occur in my other arm as well. Could that be RSI or anything physical? Did my arms just decide to stop working all of a sudden for a legitimate physical reason? Bull****. It's a common trend for TMS sufferer symptoms to move around the body and/or change the way they feel etc. Has this been happening with you at all? To me it was a clear sign that it had to be psychosomatic.

Fourthly, keeping an open mind. I'm not sure where you are on the spiritual spectrum but as a card carrying atheist, cynic and believer in nothing spiritual, it really took some time for me to even accept the fact that I, strong, independent Brad, was suffering from weakness of the mind and being too much of a wimp to deal with life's problems. Once you get over yourself and realize that everyone deals with it and it's not weakness at all (some base understanding of Freud really helps validate this), it made it a lot easier to accept.

The good news is once I applied all of the above and sincerely believed these things, I got better quite rapidly. In a matter of weeks I was 90% better and 100% in I'd say 3 months. This turnaround, after over 12 months of persistent pain and physical problems was really a validation in the strongest terms of the fact that I was suffering from TMS.

I also suggest Sarno's audio books if you've not tried them. For some reason, audio really seemed to work for me better than just reading (and re-reading) his books.

Edited by - goldie on 06/07/2014 14:37:12
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20 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2020 :  08:49:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

I would say a lot of it had to do with acceptance of the principles and argument that Dr Sarno sets out in his books. Once I had read his book and sincerely believed that my condition was TMS (which took a while as weíre all conditioned in the West particularly to focus on the physical rather than the mental/emotional as root cause of our pain), it was a matter of consciously reminding myself that my pain was psychosomatic rather than physical in cause whenever it occurred.

To me it was this direct challenge to my unconscious self that I knew what it was trying to do by causing physical pain (ie to force me to focus on the pain to avoid having to deal with my own fears, anger toward others, anxieties etc.) and that the game was up. Once I began doing that I would estimate that it took me 2-3 months to go from daily pain to almost pain free with only minor flare ups of a few days at a time now and then. When the flare ups happened I just applied the same process and it dissipated again in a matter of days.

Beyond that, a lot of it was self reflection- it helped me a lot to consider my own personal circumstances and personality when deciding that it surely must be TMS. These included an honest assessment of my personality type (perfectionist, placing an unhealthy level of pressure on my self to succeed etc), my life circumstances (I had recently moved to the US for a career opportunity and had been navigating a long distance relationship ó both causing immense stress and anxiety), recognition that my physical symptoms in many cases just didnít make sense (for example, I recall the pain started and grew over a few months in my preferred right mouse arm, but upon switching to use my left arm to give my right a break the pain almost instantly started in my left - that made no sense of it was a repetitive strain injury!), plus a realization that as I had tried so many treatments focused on potential physical causes without success (including ergonomic set ups/physical therapy/chiropractors/taking sick leave to avoid having to use a keyboard or mouse etc), that it was clearly not physical... so by method of elimination it had to be psychosomatic/TMS.

One last point, which Dr Sarno also makes in his books, as your subconscious actually thinks distracting you from dealing with your painful issues is beneficial (ie itís a defense mechanism), itís likely that your pain will move around once you begin to consciously challenge it - in crafty ways, for example if your hands begin to improve but you injured your ankle as a kid there is a good chance the ankle problem will flare up to replace the now unsuccessful hand pain in an attempt to keep you from dealing with your underlying anger etc. logically youíre likely to assume ďwell yes that makes sense as Iíve had ankle issues beforeĒ... but itís a trick and you just apply the same principles to defeat that too.
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