Tension Myositis Syndrome. TMS. It’s a term coined by Dr. John Sarno in his books on chronic pain. But anything that ends with “syndrome” is just a description of a thing that exists outside of the label. In this case, calling fibromyalgia TMS is not really saying it isn’t fibromyalgia. It is saying that fibromyalgia is ONE manifestation of TMS. a chronic pain syndrome that manifests in many other common ailments and symptoms. It is also a way of saying that the etiology of fibromyalgia is psychosomatic and neurochemical, because that is also the etiology of TMS.
“Psychosomatic” is a loaded term. It is misinterpreted almost immediately as being a declaration that the pain is an illusion or that it’s psychological. If I thought fibromyalgia–something I have suffered with for decades–was psychological, I’d call it that: psychological. But I (and John Sarno) call it psychosomatic. The somatic part of that means it is real pain, real body trauma. But the psycho- part means it is, in essence, non-pathological. There isn’t an environmental toxin or a bacterial agent or a virus or whatnot causing it.
That realization saved my life. I spent $10,000 in one year around 1994 going to a rotating circus of doctors, from chiropractors to osteopaths to MDs to fibromyalgia specialists to TMJ dentists trying to deal with crushing pain. Looking for the pathological or structural explanation. Nothing helped, and I mean nothing–at all. The thing that has kept me sane, and functioning, and succeeding at a busy job through decades of chronic pain is knowledge. Knowledge began with abandoning the medical approach and turning to books.
The books showed me the real agent causing my pain. Both fortunately and unfortunately that agent turned out to be me.