Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) is described by John Sarno, M.D. in several of his books (Resources). Tension Myositis Syndrome is a painful condition wherein repressed emotions (stress) are the cause of the painful symptoms. While pain is the most common complaint, other complaints can include numbness, tingling, and weakness in the affected area. In TMS, there is not a physical/structural cause of the pain even though the TMS sufferer may have been told otherwise. TMS sufferers can also complain of other symptoms affecting many different body systems.

The treatment of TMS is to a large extent based on the TMS sufferer receiving correct information about their condition, which enables them to begin their recovery process based on that information. Prior to that information being given, the TMS sufferer had typically been given incorrect information which inevitably led to incorrect choices such as activity limitation. This information could also have been the cause of fear, which further limited activity. In TMS treatment, the new information is given, which leads to recovery pathways that replace prior detrimental ones. In some TMS sufferers, this new information is the cure.

It has been said that there is positive stress and negative stress. The stress response is actually a response that can get the body ready for some vigorous and possibly protective action. Running away from a dangerous situation is more effective due to the stress response. However, when the stress response is repeatedly triggered through the day by danger, more imagined than real, the response become detrimental. The result is distress and disease. One possible result of this distress is Tension Myositis Syndrome. Distress is a factor in all disease.

Since stress/repressed emotions are at the root of TMS and many illnesses, TMS and all illness recovery should encompass some attempt to deal with the stress. Many TMS suffers can recover a great deal of function and experience pain relief just by receiving and understanding the new information. However without addressing the stress, the cure in my mind is incomplete. When the stress is not addressed, the TMS sufferer is susceptible to recurrences of the condition. Also, I have concern that the stress could create illness other than TMS, which could potentially be far more serious than the original condition, possibly even life threatening.