Some of the most common symptoms of Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) are back pain, migraines, TMJ, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia, but there are almost too many to list. In fact, almost any chronic symptom can be TMS, also known as Neuroplastic Pain, or Mind Body Pain.
Do you have pain that has gone undiagnosed even after many doctor visits? Do you have fatigue and cannot find an answer? Or have you received a diagnosis such as Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or been told that you have a bulging disc, but nothing is helping you get better?
I understand how frustrated and helpless you feel. This was me until I learned about Tension Myoitis Syndrome or (TMS). TMS is when the brain is causing the pain, not the body. The brain is just making a mistake and signaling pain where there is no injury. This is very common! Read on to learn more about common symptoms, uncommon symptoms, and how to know if your symptoms are TMS.
Have you had puzzling symptoms over many months or years? Have you been to oodles of doctors and practitioners and still don’t know what is wrong? If this is the case, you are not alone. I went to numerous physicians, physical therapists, nutritionists, energy workers, etc…and nothing worked until I realized that my symptoms were TMS.
TMS is easier to diagnose than you would think, and if you have it you can count your blessings because it is very treatable. Click here to read about how to treat TMS.
A Pain In The Brain
I have had around 15 different symptoms over 30 years or more that have all been Mind-Body symptoms, or TMS. I know it seems impossible, but our brains are so much more powerful than we give them credit for.
Our primitive brain, or unconscious, is always trying to keep us safe, and sometimes uses pain to do so. This is an unconscious (it is happing without us being consciously aware) process, so our job is to make it conscious, so we can interrupt the fear/pain/fear cycle and eventually get out of pain.
Tension Myositis Syndrome is when the brain is creating the pain, not the body. The brain is just making a mistake and signaling pain even though there is no injury. Read on to learn some of the more common symptoms of TMS, and how it is diagnosed.
Common Symptoms of TMS
- Back Pain
- Neck Pain
- Knee Pain
- Shoulder Pain/Frozen Shoulder
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Jaw Pain
- Nerve Pain
- Hip Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Pelvic Pain
- Chronic Insomnia
- Chronic Anxiety
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
From my experience these are the most common symptoms of Mind-Body Pain, but there are more symptoms and conditions that are diagnosed as TMS after an organic pathology has been ruled out. Below some of the more uncommon symptoms are of TMS are listed, however, there can be more.
Uncommon Symptoms and Conditions Often Diagnosed as TMS
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Lyme Disease
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Frequent Urination
How Do You Know If Your Symptom is TMS?
To determine if your symptoms are Neuroplastic or not first make sure you get checked out by a doctor to rule out a structural issue or organic illness. Once a structural issue has been ruled out, here are 10 questions to ask yourself to help you get a pretty good idea whether or not you could have TMS.
- Have your symptoms lasted 6 months or longer?
- Do you have more than one, or multiple symptoms?
- Do your symptoms move around your body?
- Have treatments been ineffective, or short term?
- Were you going through a stressful time when you first noticed your symptoms?
- Did you undergo trauma or adverse experiences as a child?
- Have you undergone trauma or adverse experiences as an adult?
- Do you consider yourself an anxious person?
- Do you struggle with low-self esteem?
- Do you consider yourself a go-getter, somewhat intense, or perfectionistic?
If you answered yes to several of these questions there is a good chance that you have TMS. Most of us with TMS have suffered childhood trauma or have gone through some pretty intense experiences that have caused us to be on high alert, or living in a fight/flight/freeze/fawn state.
This along with being sensitive in the world can be a perfect combination for our brains to go into protective mode. And our brains, always trying to keep us safe, will go to extremes to do so, even if it means signaling pain.
The Six Month Rule
If you are trying to figure out if you could have TMS ask yourself how long you have had symptoms. Many people, such as myself, had back pain and fatigue for years, but most of the time our bodies heal within six months.
We are not fragile Beings. We are strong and we heal, but some of us buy into the idea that we are weak and fragile, and this just isn’t true. When I had chronic fatigue syndrome for many years, I told people that “I must have a weak constitution.” This is what I believed and it absolutely wasn’t true. Our beliefs matter, and it was my brother who set me straight and told me the truth; that my body was strong and had a perfect ability to heal itself.
If your symptoms have been around for six months or more there is a really good chance that you have TMS.
When You Have Multiple Symptoms
An even stronger case for Neuroplastic pain can be made when you have more than one symptom for six months or more. Multiple symptoms where no physical cause can be found is a really good sign that you may have TMS.
Do Your Symptoms Move Around?
Do you have pain on one side of your back one hour, and then pain on the other side of your back an hour later? Pain that is inconsistent, or moves around is another really good sign that you have TMS. Do you have Plantar Fasciitis in both feet?
I had plantar fasciitis in both feet for months and was able to heal it completely using mind-body methods. I don’t even think about it anymore. Most people I know who have plantar fasciitis have to keep up on it all the time, rolling their feet out every night using a frozen water bottle and wearing special shoes or inserts. I don’t do any of that because I healed it one hundred percent.
If you have symptoms on both sides of your body; both arms both sides of your neck, both legs, both knees, etc…there is a good chance you have TMS.
As I mentioned earlier, myself and many of my clients have tried everything in order to heal their symptoms. In some cases treatments may help for a while, but then the symptoms come back, or you start to have other symptoms. If you you have had many unsuccessful treatments for your symptoms there is a good chance you have TMS.
Stress and/or Trauma and Symptoms
If you were going through a stressful time or experienced a traumatic event right at or right before the onset of your symptoms you may have TMS. Mind-Body symptoms are almost always brought on by chronic stress. When we have been under stress for an extended length of time, our primitive brains can go into overprotective mode signaling pain even when there is no injury.
Anxiety and Symptoms
If you consider yourself an anxious person, or have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, this increases the chance that your symptoms are mind-body symptoms. Anxiety causes us to see life through a lens of danger and over time this can cause our brains to go into over-protective mode in which the brain may signal pain.
Anxiety is extremely common in people with TMS. For many of my clients, anxiety has become so much the norm for them that they aren’t really even aware that they have it. Healing from TMS involves becoming aware of the anxiety, or the fear, and learning how to live in a more peaceful state.
Low Self-Esteem and TMS
Low self-Esteem is when people have a low opinion of themselves. They lack confidence and self-trust. They constantly compare themselves to others and feel lesser than. This causes them to put themselves down, engage in people pleasing, and generally feel like they don’t have control over their own lives.
Here is a good article which explains 11 signs of low self-esteem. Their relationships suffer because they do not set good boundaries. They often put other people’s wants and needs before their own which results in them feeling drained and unsettled. This is a stressful way to live and may lead to symptoms of chronic pain, fatigue, headaches, or other TMS symptoms.
Perfectionism and TMS
Low self-esteem can lead us to living a life of perfectionism in order to feel worthy, to feel like we have done enough, and to please others. We want others to have a good opinion of us at the detriment of our own well-being.
In this post I write about how perfectionism led me to working eighty plus hours a week as a retail manager many years ago. Perfectionism is an addiction and can be difficult to find our way out of. If you have chronic symptoms and struggle with perfectionism, there is a good chance your symptoms are TMS.
No one of the above criteria is evidence for TMS, but after reading this post I hope you have a better idea of whether or not your symptoms are Tension Myositis Syndrome. Make sure you see a doctor to rule out other things, but even if you do have a structural issue, getting treatment for Mind-Body symptoms can help you cope with your symptoms, and turn down your pain.
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