How to cure TMS (Tension Myositis Syndrome)
First you need to accept that there is a mind-body root to your condition, and that as a result the pain is not symptomatic of structural damage. This on its own is the biggest hurdle to overcome as it allows you to do activities without the fear of further injury. It is of course important to note that Dr Sarno stresses that you must have been through regular medical check-ups to rule out any serious structural causes of the pain. (Though as you will see in the “medical evidence” section, sometimes structural diagnoses can be misleading).
You should start journaling every day with a diary of what stresses you have/have had in your life. Set aside 10 minutes somewhere quiet. Write about your personal life pressures both past and present. Who are you angry with? Guilty about? What fears do you have? See if you can link your emotional state to your symptoms. What was going on emotionally when they first started? Does the pain get worse when you’re stressed? The journaling will force you to become more introspective about your own emotions.
Put aside another 10 minutes a day for meditation. This simply means sitting somewhere quiet and trying to clear your mind of other thoughts. If (and when!) thoughts do appear, simply acknowledge them and then release them. During the day you can also do mindful mediation, which simply involves becoming hyper-aware of your surroundings – smell the air, notice what the touch of the steering wheel feels like, focus on the wallpaper pattern. This allied with deep breathing can be very relaxing.
Set yourself goals – both small and large. For example my long term goals were to type 1000 words without voice recognition software, to play badminton, to write freehand without any pain and to play guitar without any pain. My short term goals were associated with these targets – eg. To start typing without voice recognition, to play the guitar for a few minutes a day etc etc. Your pain will be partially generated by positive feedback -an activity appears to causes pain, so the next time you attempt that activity your stress levels rise, heightening pain awareness and worsening the pain experienced. This conditioned fear response can only be overcome by setting small term goals to recondition yourself to activities without pain.
Adopt visualisation techniques – in the same way that Olympic athletes use visualisation techniques to improve their performance, imagining doing activities that cause pain actually helps reduce the conditioned pain response.
6) Positive attitude:
Write yourself a number of positive mantras or positive sayings:
“TMS is real, the pain is just emotional.”
“It is ok to not succeed in everything I do.”
“The pain is just caused by a lack of oxygenated blood, there is no long term damage.”
Say these to yourself whenever you feel an onset of pain
Start doing exercise – this will make you feel better, and will also get your blood flowing. You should notice that your pain diminishes when you do this.
Embrace the above suggestions. Take things slowly and give yourself at least a month of genuine application. It won’t work if you’re half hearted. Ask yourself how much you would be prepared to pay to be cured of your chronic pain. If you’re anything like me, it will be every penny you can afford. Say you would be prepared £15,000 – well, 30 minutes a day for a month values your time at £1000 per hour – not bad! Ultimately there is nothing to lose – if after a month you’re no better off, well you’ve given it a go, if it works then you have your life back. I think that those are odds worth taking.
9) Not getting disheartened!
Some people report an almost immediate reduction in pain symptoms after adopting TMS techniques, for others it seems to be a longer process. The important thing is to not get disheartened if you don’t notice overnight changes. Indeed, for some of the success stories listed it was a journey that took many months. If you are struggling it may be time to speak to a medical professional who accepts the TMS concept. They might be able to point you in the right direction. And don’t underestimate the importance of community support – write about your experiences on the PPD/TMS Peer Network Forum or on the TMS Help forum, and listen to advice from former sufferers.
Information kindly reprinted with permission from RSI BACKPAIN UK