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TMS has been found in fibromyalgia, lower back pain, and most Chronic Pain
As described by Dr John Sarno, author of Healing Back Pain, and The Divided Mind.
In his work at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine in New York, Dr Sarno saw many cases where his patients didn’t respond as he expected to the conventional treatments of the day, considering the physical symptoms with which they presented. He noticed that in addition to their complaints (mainly back, neck and shoulder issues), his patients often shared a common pattern of underlying tension.
In Healing Back Pain (and his other books), Dr Sarno introduces the concept of Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS). Today TMS is often referred to as Mind Body Syndrome, and in my mind the terms can be used interchangeably.
In TMS, pain symptoms are caused by mild oxygen deprivation via the autonomic nervous system, because of repressed emotions and psycho-social stress. This is not to say that the pain is “all in your head” or that it is not real.
For people who have TMS or MBS, our built-in tendency is to repress unpleasant, painful or embarrassing emotions. When we repress these emotions, our bodies respond to the real and perceived threats that make up our lives, even though we’re not aware of all the action that’s happening ‘below the skin’, so to speak.
Unfortunately, though, things get complicated by the fact that most of us, most of the time, aren’t even aware that we’re repressing our emotions. For some of us, controlling, hiding from and/or ignoring our emotions has become such an integral part of how we live that we don’t even realise we have emotions.
As Dr Sarno explains:
“It is an interesting fact that the overwhelming majority of emotional and mental activity occurs below the level of consciousness. The human mind is something like an iceberg. The part that we are aware of, the conscious mind, represents a very small part of the total. It is in the subconscious mind that all the complicated processing goes on…
… This condition begins and ends in the unconscious.”
Working with a psychoanalyst colleague, Dr Sarno discovered that there’s another, more active ‘component’ of TMS, one that purposefully works to distract you from figuring out what’s going on in your emotional world. Physical distractions (i.e. pain) work really well as defence mechanisms against our emotions bubbling to the surface because “they have the ability to really grab one’s attention, particularly if they are painful, frightening and disabling”.
It’s almost as if the mind decides that a physical pain is preferable to an emotional one. Understanding this helped many see more clearly the role physical pain was playing in their lives and how it was helping them avoid some significantly emotional stuff. There’s so much more going on for someone with TMS than just the physical pain of the moment.
Healing Back Pain explains how we can become conditioned to believe that a certain activity – or even person or time of year or place – can cause pain.
If, for example, you got up from a chair one day and felt a twinge in your lower back, it’s possible that your brain might associate sitting with being the cause of your pain. Your brain comes to expect that you will feel pain every time you sit – and so you do. Without even realising it, we create habits that don’t serve us well and that can be very difficult to break, especially if we aren’t aware of what’s happening in the first place. The power of conditioning can be so strong that we can even be conditioned by things that people tell us or that we read – which makes it even trickier to break the bad habits.
Dr Sarno – and other authors, cite many fascinating examples of how conditioning contributes to pain. It seems we may be more similar Pavlov’s dogs than many of us might want to believe.
For some, simply knowing that the source of their symptoms is inner tension is enough for their pain to disappear. Dr Sarno reports that about 95% of his patients went through his programme (and healed their pain) without a need for psychotherapy. They got better just because they became aware of what was happening between their minds and their bodies.
The first step often involves being able and willing to look at things in a different way and to start thinking differently about how and why you’re experiencing pain. To quote a much loved and very wise Dr Wayne Dyer, when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
Dr Sarno believes it’s important to resume all physical activity as soon as possible. Once you’ve accepted the TMS diagnosis and figured out what’s really going on with your pain, it follows that there’s nothing physically wrong with you. There’s no more reason not to do the things you want to do and thought you couldn’t anymore. He recognises the role fear plays in keeping us stuck and encourages all his patients to resume normal activity, EVEN IF they’re scared. Using the same logic, he also recommends that patients stop all the physical therapy they’re doing to get better as it’s no longer necessary.
Drain That Pain is Pain Elimination not Pain Management. A powerful healing technique that uses conversational hypnosis and signals with the Unconscious and Conscious Mind.
Craig Denny believes that there is no limit to the changes the client can make – Drain That Whatever. Drain That Pain has been successfully used to let go of chronic pain, including arthritis, sciatica, lower back pain, chronic pain in all parts of the body, chronic anxiety, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, brain fog, migraines, trigeminal neuralgia, tinnitus and other switches including emotional pain, IBS and addictive substances.
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