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 Muscle/Tendon Tightness and Pain
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25 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2011 :  12:32:04  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello everyone,
I'm hoping someone who has overcome TMS with similar symptoms can offer some advice or just relate.

For the past 6 years I have been struggling with chronic, debilitating bilateral foot, ankle and leg pain/tightness. I've seen MANY specialists such as neurologists, podiatrists, orthopedics, rheumatologists, vascular doctor, chiropractors and many different types of therapists, who have ruled out diseases such as MS, Lyme disease, Stiff Person Syndrome, RSD, etc. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, plantar fascitis, and tendonitis (foot). I was also diagnosed with bilateral Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome by a neurologist and podiatrist, but was later told by ANOTHER neurologist that he doesn't believe I have Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome and that my problem is more muskuloskeletal. I have left many of those doctors baffled and have been told I'm an "enigma", an "anomaly", etc. After recently reading Dr. Sarno's The Divided Mind and MindBody Prescription, and looking at many websites including Dr. Sopher's, I am pretty convinced that I likely have TMS. In addition to my "pains", I have acid reflux, TMJ and history of intersistitial cystitis and tendinitis in my arms. My personality traits also match those described with TMS and I've been diagnosed with anxiety, OCD and possible panic disorder.

I plan to make an appt. with Dr. Sarno, however, if anyone can recommend another good TMS doctor in New England (RI, MA, CT, NH) I would also appreciate a recommendation.

Until I get an official diagnosis I don't think I'll be able to successfully treat my TMS since I'm still afraid I'll injure myself more, more specifically related to my muscle tightness - sometimes it feels like my muscles are rubber bands being pulled too tight, leading me to wonder if I really could injure myself more if I pushed them too much. I've been told my PTs and massage therapists that my muscles are very tight so I feel like I have a legit problem. Has anyone overcome similiar symptoms? I haven't really found much on tight muscles and TMS, moreso just pain.

Thanks so much!


387 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2011 :  15:43:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I get tightness as a result off all the tension that can build up in my body. How many doctors do you need to tell you there is nothing wrong until you believe there is nothing wrong? I suspect you will never actually believe this even if Sarno tells you cause that would mean you would have to give it up. The tightness and problems keep your mind off the "real" issues in your life.....welcome to TMS

You need to start to prove to yourself that it's emotional instead of always proving to yourself that it's physical.

try this...the muscles that are tight...squeeze them as hard as you can for a few seconds then relax. Repeat several times, soak muscles in very hot water and then do some stretching. Do this for a week and I'll bet you start to see an improvement. This should tell you that it's simply tension and that working and using the muscles won't make them worse. ( don't be surprised if it moves around )

Take belief about it being a physical issue and delete it from your mind......then start to look at the issues in your life and your thoughts around them

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13 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2011 :  17:33:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I can relate to your concerns. I also have SUPER tight muscles -- all over -- but especially calves and hamstrings. I have also had many Drs. comment on that. My massage therapist says she's never seen tighter calves. It honestly feel some days like my muscles will just rip off the bone.
However, I'm completely convinced that this is TMS. Like you, I have been to lots of different specialists -- including neuros and rheumies -- I've been dx'ed with fibromyalgia, adrenal fatigue, dysautonomia, etc etc etc. Nothing a doctor has ever done over the last 5 years has helped at all -- in fact, most of what they've tried has made me worse, so to give up on allopathic doctors isn't hard for me at all. I've also been to chiros, PT's, had accupuncture, taken handfulls of supplements and herbs -- also unhelpful.
I have been busily reading a lot of the books on TMS. I fit the personality (in fact, Dr. Brady -- the Florida guy -- has come up with 5 different personality types that are prone to TMS.....I am 3 of them.)
I know you would feel more comfortable if I could tell you I'm already cured, but I've only barely begun this. I would say this to you -- you have nothing to lose. Beyond the price of the book(s), it's free and you have the chance to release all those painful cramped up, messed up muscles.
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1903 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2011 :  11:38:54  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You're never going to get a diagnosis that will remove your fears. We all struggle with the same issues, and the more doctors you see the more likely it is there's nothing structurally wrong.

Fear of injury is part and parcel of TMS. There's a point where you have to take a leap of faith and commit. 6 years is a long time. If it were me, I'd realize the docs have nothing for me and try the psychosomatic route...

Fear will only keep your symptoms going.
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United Kingdom
76 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2011 :  05:10:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I haven't really found much on tight muscles and TMS, moreso just pain.

It's because this is one of the key things Sarno, like 99% of physicians, overlooked. Muscle tension is inseparable from anxiety, and it can explain a large number of "mysterious" symptoms by itself. "Tendonitis" is really just a sign of the same thing. Every time you experience stress, a massive number of muscles in your body reflexively tense. Do this 50 times a day (or better yet habituate it completely) for 3-5 years, mixing in activities like prolonged sitting (shortened hamstrings, elongated quadriceps) that exasperate the problem, and what do you think the inevitable result is?

Overcoming your anxiety can prevent further tension accumulating and even remove enough to relieve your pain. Without first taking a big step towards doing this, any sort of therapy, stretching etc will have little more effect than a painkiller and you'll be fighting an uphill battle. Personally, I believe exercise can also be extremely important as a follow up; we're after a mindbody prescription after all. The way I see it is, if I can touch my face to my knees like one of my colleagues, then tension in my legs will be a thing of the past. Stress will prevent me from ever getting there, but overcoming it won't be enough to reach my goal either.
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tennis tom

4590 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2011 :  09:14:11  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Javizy

I haven't really found much on tight muscles and TMS, moreso just pain.

It's because this is one of the key things Sarno, like 99% of physicians, overlooked.

I don't know how you can say this, since much of Dr. Sarno's theory is based on muscle tension. He theorized it's caused by mild oxygen deprivation, hence Tension Myositis Syndrome, now renamed The Mindbody Syndrome to encompass a plethora of other disorders beyond muscles.

Whether you call them "tight" or "painful" doesn't matter because it's still TMS, creating a distraction from emotional issues as a protective defense mechanism.



Some of my favorite excerpts from _THE DIVIDED MIND_ :

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." Jiddu Krishnamurti
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1903 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2011 :  10:53:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is an interesting discussion. I'm currently dealing with a hamstring/tendonitis issue which is really pretty much impossible for me to sort out. My informal rule as a runner is to assume TMS in evrything over-use related. except when it involves hamstrings and Achilles.
The downside is just too great if it turns out to be real...

Still, I do cautiously push ahead where I can. In this current case, I'd pretty much made up by mind it was TMS and kept running. Now I wish I hadn't...

The funny thing is, as a long time TMS'er, I've become very aware of my body's reaction to stress. There's no question that the damn thing twinges at moments of high stress. The other night I had a sad dream, and at the saddest moment I kind of half awoke and felt my tendon ache in a way that I just absolutely knew was viscerally related to my reaction to the dream...

Some would say, aha!, Prima facie evidence of TMS. I'm not so sure. For various reasons as I've said, I think it's a genuine injury and there's no reason why something real wouldn't be momentarily exacerbated by stress....

Anyway, TMS or not, it's a pretty damn interesting phenomenon.
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25 Posts

Posted - 07/14/2011 :  09:13:34  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Everyone,
Thanks for taking the time to reply. Dr. Sarno apparently doesn't see anyone outside of NY so I'll be seeing Dr. Martinez in Boston and hoping he can give me a TMS diagnosis, as I believe that will be crucial to my recovery. I'm very doubtful by nature and always need reassurance. I'm looking forward to having some professional guidance. While I've read Divided Mind and Mindbody Prescription and visited many TMS docs websites, I think I'll be best off sitting down with someone giving me a "plan".

I've had some improvements since I started "treating TMS" and all of you on this forum have given me great support by testifying about your own issues, particularly ones that relate to my own. Thank you!
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