Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) is condition where chronic physical pain is caused by emotional factors. Physiological change is initiated by negative psychological conditions. Psychological influences on the physical body occur through the autonomic nervous system mainly at the subconscious level.
The Tension Myositis Syndrome diagnosis states that the build-up of negative emotion such as tension, anxiety, stress and especially subconscious anger can initiate chronic pain symptoms. This mind/body connection happens when the hypothalamus sends signals to the effected region causing mild oxygen deprivation to tendons, nerves, and muscle tissue. Blood (oxygen) flow is regulated by emotional peptides, which signal receptors on blood vessel walls to constrict or dilate, and this influences the amount and velocity of blood (oxygen) flowing through them at any given moment. This change in physiology causes chronic but not permanent pain.
In TMS pain disorders, physical pain is not attributed to mechanical or physical dysfunction, but rather a person's conscious feelings, personality, or subconscious state. The emotions and mental activity that produce chronic pain are fear, anger, guilt, worry, frustration, resentment, people pleasing, trying to be perfect, and being highly competitive. People with an A-type personality are highly susceptible to Tension Myositis Syndrome.
These personality characteristics interact with stressful life situations, which then initiates the physical pain cycle. Our mind, as a defense strategy, will repress emotional energy into the subconscious so that we will not be aware of these feelings or experience them. This repression causes inner tension in our nervous system, which initiates a biochemical change in muscle nerves and tendons. Our mind uses pain as a distraction strategy so that we will focus our attention on the body and away from unwanted thoughts.
This conditioned response has been studied for over 100 years by the medical community going back to Sigmund Freud MD who studied extensively the effects of emotions on health. Dr. Freud had a similar diagnosis to TMS that he called Muscular Rheumatism. The modern version of this Mind/Body condition was created by John Sarno MD. Dr. Sarno recently retired after a 50 year career as a professor of rehabilitation at New York University Medical Center where he successfully cured over 10,000 chronic pain patients through non-traditional, non-medical methods. Sarno is the father of the modern movement of psychosomatic healing.
Neuroscientist and research professor, Dr. Candace Pert has contributed much of the ground-breaking research on the connection between pain and emotions. She states, "I believe all emotions are healthy, because emotions are what unite the mind and body. Anger, fear, and sadness, the so-called negative emotions, are as healthy as peace, courage, and joy.
To repress these emotions and not let them flow freely is to set up a dis-integrity in the system, causing it to act at cross-purposes rather than as a unified whole. The stress this creates, which takes the form of blockages of peptide signals to maintain function at the cellular level, is what sets up the weakened conditions that can lead to chronic pain."
While the entire medical community is focused on MRI results and treating pain symptoms, the real problem and the real solution lie elsewhere.