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 Ready to begin believing, but a few hangups still.
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2 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2009 :  10:27:37  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello. First I just wanna say my name is Richard, and this is going to be a lengthy post and for that im sorry please bear with me! I am 24 now and for 4 years off and on I have had an l4 - l5 lower lumbar ruptured disc that radiates pain down my leg to my foot when it flares up and there is some numbness in my foot for over half a year now. I had always just believed it to be something I would have to live with and was structural. ( opted to not take the surgery course thus far. )

With that said I have read Sarno's book and I am going to read it again and actually begin to put it into practice as alot of it makes sense though there are a few issues I cannot seem to get past. I am hoping someone can make sense of it for me so I can get past these mental road blocks as I begin the tms process.

I know Sarno definitely states it is not a structural problem at all but the mind uses places it would make sense and a disc cannot really do what I am lead to believe it can. What throws me off is that sometimes my lower back right in the spot of the l4 - l5 disc area pops alot. I can feel it popping from time to time on normal movements, and in my mind that triggers the "it must be a structural thing its popping for gods sake!". Another fact is that even before I knew about TMS and if it is TMS, the pain would be terrible for months, would slowly go away and go back to normal for some time which also makes me feel like it was structural and just took time to heal.

Now somethingthat really helps me believe it is TMS is that the times I triggered it, it didnt really makes sense. I pulled my lower back muscles and they tightened really bad, normal muscle pull. Now two days later as the muscles began to get better the the pain down my leg went crazy out of nowhere. If it was truely a disc injury shouldnt the sciatic nerve been irritated from the onset, not right as the muscles began to get better? I often wonder if my mind used that injury as a perfect time to initiate the nerve pain. The Doctor didnt really have any answers why it would happen in that sequence.

Anyways thanks for those that read this long, I do appreciate it as well as any comments to maybe explain to me where im getting hung up. I may read the book again just to see if i missed a few parts that related to exactly what im asking. Hope to hear from you guys and even if you just have alot of similarities to my ordeal i would like to hear that too!



United Kingdom
79 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2009 :  16:10:22  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Richard

My back problems started 42 years ago and sound similar to yours and in particular I know what you mean about your back muscles going into spasm and then, as the spasm relaxes, the pain in the leg starts up with a vengeance! I always explained that to myself as the muscle spasm preventing the movements that caused the sciatica - I called it my 'concrete corset'! - but that was just me trying to make sense of it.

The important thing to say is that, since I've been following Dr Sarno's instructions, I've gone from daily pain at some level in April to virtually pain-free for the past couple of months or so I haven't kept count as we are advised not to 'calendar-watch'.

The only reason I haven't yet written my 'success story' is that I have had better periods in the past and I want to be sure that this isn't just one of them. Once I started to think about it and journal, I realised that these better periods coincided with times when I felt under less pressure. I don't actually think this recent pain-free period is one of them though as this hasn't been a particularly easy time for me in many ways; but I've used the journaling to direct my attention away from my pain and towards the various issues that have cropped up.

I live in the UK and haven't been in a position to consult a TMS doctor and I must add that because of that, I wasn't entirely convinced that my back was healthy but decided to act 'as if'. And it's paid off!

I think what has helped me most has been regarding my pain as a signal that there's something 'psychological' going on that I need to investigate, even if I can't necessarily resolve it.

As for not allowing my pain to stop me doing things, I think that is the hardest part if you haven't got a definite TMS diagnosis and I would advise you to get that checked out if you possibly can before you start resuming normal activity.

But I believe that just the journaling (or whatever way you wish to address the psychological issues) is the core of the 'treatment' and you can do that without harming your back in any way!

Good luck!

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Capn Spanky

112 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2009 :  17:00:47  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I can't necessarily address the specific symptoms that cause you to doubt the TMS diagnosis. But I can tell you that my doubts and lack of belief kept me in pain longer than needed.

For some reason the more I had faith in what Dr. Sarno said, the more pain-free (and healthier) I became.

Another thing I would strongly caution against is focusing on the symptoms. You want to do just the opposite. Ignore the symptoms and focus on what's going on in your head. I realize you're working through your questions and concerns right now and there's nothing wrong with that. I had to do the same thing.
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United Kingdom
202 Posts

Posted - 07/12/2009 :  02:13:04  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I would say the clicking/popping is normal, it's been dicussed on here before if you want to search on "popping" to reassure yourself. I had popping and cicking for years before my back pain began.

It is hard but you must stop thinking structurally, you must accept there is nothing physically wrong with you and start doing the emotional work.

Good luck,


A beginner's guide to psychology: If it's not your mum's fault.... it's your dad's...
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2 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2009 :  04:42:40  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks guys for the awesome feedback. I am completely convinced now as I am seeing some progress already after only a week or so! The parts of my foot that has been numb for half a year I am actually getting some aching and pain there which in my opinion is a great thing (sounds kind of morbid lol). As I have read in Sarno's book can happen, pain has shifted from my right leg and foot to my left leg and foot, though nowhere near as bad. If it wasnt TMS then what else would do that.

I still have a long way to go and it doesnt happen overnight but I have experienced enough to truely believe its tms. So once again thanks guys for the responses and I'll be sure to post again as it gets better.
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72 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2009 :  09:43:34  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
"Joint popping" is listed as a symptom of anxiety (listed on the website). Basically, it says that popping is normal and can increase when we are stressed because the muscles around the joint stiffen when we're in pain or stressed.
Don't let the popping concern you and trigger a worry/fear response.
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