reposted from the Symptoms subforum since General seems more appropriate. im new sorry
Hi, I’ve been dealing with what I believe to be EM and Raynauds for a few years now. The EM has been particularly bad this spring, so here I am. I believe i’m also prone to psychosomatic pain issues, if anyone here is familiar with Dr. Sarno’s work - tension myositis syndrome (TMS). I dealt with neck pain for a decade, Raynauds first presented in 2018 along with a number of other stress related issues such as alopecia, joint pains, skin rash. The EM became apparent to me in Aug 2020, and thats when I learned what EM was via internet. My symptoms were only in my hands - hot red veiny flare ups on hot summer days, never burning/electric pain like many describe here. Up until this week my feet were never affected, and it never bothered me during sleep.
In Nov 2020 i had an extreme neck pain flare up, leaving me pretty much disabled for about 4 months. During that winter the Raynauds was very aggressive, i remember every finger on both hands going numb and white after taking a walk on a cold day. The alopecia spread and claimed half my beard. I was complete mess. In March 2021 I read Dr. Sarno’s book The Mindbody Prescription. In a nutshell, Dr. Sarno lays out the case that the subconscious mind attempts to distract the conscious mind from subconscious rage, by manifesting physical symptoms. He zeroed in on back pain in particular, describing the mechanism by which the mind affects this pain as bloodflow/oxygen deprivation to muscle tissue (there was some clinical evidence to suggest this). He suspected many other disorders as being TMS-adjacent, such as Raynauds, joint pains, eczema, fibromyalgia, etc. I typically don’t go for alternative medicine type stuff, but I can’t deny that my neck pain immediately resolved within a few weeks of reading this book. My alopecia stopped spreading and my beard has fully regrown. Summer 2021 my EM symptoms were mild or nonexistent, I considered all these weird disorders behind me. Occasionally the TMS would pop back up in other parts of the body - I had foot pain, hip pain, knee pain, eczema (Sarno describes this process of TMS shifting to another body part after resolving in one area). But all I’d have to do is recognize that its likely psychosomatic, its purpose is to distract me from uncomfortable subconscious thoughts, and the pain quickly goes away.
Since Dr. Sarno specifically singles out Raynauds as a possible psychosomatic disorder, I wonder if EM could be too, considering they are “inverses” of each other, and the mechanisms by which they operate are similar in nature - constricting of blood vessels. This last winter I think I only had 1 mild Raynauds flare up, a massive improvement over the previous winter. However, when temps began to rise in March this year, the EM hit me with a vengeance. My hands are almost always red, still no burning pain, but the body temp threshold that induces the full blown flare up seems to have dropped a few degrees. Even on a mild spring day my hands are hot swollen veiny red. Beginning just this week i am beginning to feel symptoms in my feet - redness and warmth. It has also started bothering me at night during sleep (I took antibiotics last week, this could just be a reaction).
Last important note - I had started using minoxidil in spring 2020. By the end of the summer was when I began noticing the flares. I paused the minoxidil. When, in summer 2021, the EM seemed to have receded, and in my assumption that the 2020 EM flare ups were associated with the other slew of psychosomatic issues I had experienced concomitantly, I started using minoxidil again. There are a few other posts on this forum linking minoxidil to EM, so this is another thing im taking into consideration. It may be psychosomatic, it may be induced by minoxidil, it may be a combination of both.
Thanks for reading my manifesto.