It was certainly good to be seeing a therapist who I felt understood me & my history well. Even so, I unfortunately did not find the relief from back pain I had hoped for based on our sessions years ago. I was feeling lost & hopeless with regards to ever finding relief. I eventually began questioning my self-diagnosis of TMS, but some attempts at other treatment methods proved fruitless as well. I kept coming back to TMS as the only plausible solution, if only for the fact that it had been the only approach that had worked in the past.
I really thought returning to that particular therapist from earlier in my life would be the answer, but obviously I couldn't give up. I longed for TMS to become more widely known in the general public, and for a mind-body approach to healing chronic pain to become accepted in the medical community. I figured that would mean more TMS practitioners would start popping up, and some might even become available in my city. Many in other areas do currently offer Skype sessions, which I did try but found to be a format that didn't really work well for me. I needed the TMS treatment approach to become more mainstream, both for myself and because I felt it could help so many others. But I had also hoped this would happen years ago when I was first exposed to the concept, and it seemed not much had changed.
In an effort to understand TMS & its treatment better, I once again began digging into The TMS Wiki and reading more books by people who had successfully recovered from or treated TMS. It was around this time that I started to get a sense that perhaps a shift was indeed happening with regards to TMS in the arts & media:
- A documentary which had been in the works for over a decade was released in the summer. It's called All the Rage and contains interviews with celebrities such as Larry David and Howard Stern, in addition to lengthy screen time with Dr. Sarno. The filmmaker weaves his own pain story into the documentary as well.
- A book called Crooked was published on May 9, 2017. Written by journalist Cathryn Jakobson Ramin, it details the findings of an in-depth investigation into the back pain industry, inspired by- you guessed it- her own struggles with chronic back pain. While second half of the book, which deals with treatment, still focuses on physical solutions (although Dr. Sarno is featured in one chapter), the first half of the book does an excellent job of exposing what an ineffective, money-sucking behemoth the current back pain industry has become.
- TMS Practicioner Alan Gordon appeared on the CBS show "The Doctors." Admittedly, I would be skeptical of this story, had I not seen crazy changes in my own symptoms that cannot be explained by physical interventions. Believable or not, the story ended up being the catalyst for a groundbreaking study currently happening on the treatment of chronic back pain, due to the fact that Casey's fMRI's (images of his brain) were in such stark contrast before & after treatment.
- A mobile app called Curable was released. As the Curable website states, it "provides you with the tools used by doctors to reduce chronic pain caused by TMS." The founders of the app all overcame chronic pain of some sort using a mind-body approach. It's great to see another medium for people to utilize these treatment methods- I'm especially impressed with Curable's clean and modern branding. Curable also gained exposure in a Tech Crunch article written by journalist Jon Evans about his wife's recovery from migraines using the app. The Curable team also produces a podcast (oh how I've been waiting for something like this!) called Like Mind, Like Body, featuring some big names in the world of mind-body pain treatment and related fields, as well as success stories.
As for my own progress? I mentioned that the return to my old therapist was not the magic bullet it had been the first time around. Fortunately, about 5 or 6 months after Dean was born, my symptoms did at least lessen. I can't say with certainty, but I believe it had to do with stability. Our sleep improved, I started to adjust to a completely new way of life, and I came up with new ways to implement self-care. However, I am not where I'd like to be- my back still hurts many days, especially near the end of the work day or while traveling. I realize this is not the inspiring success story that many TMSers like to share, but the truth is my recovery is still a work in progress.