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A resumption of regular activity/exercise

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Max, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. Max

    Max Peer Supporter

    Personally I find this aspect of recovery quite challenging.As someone who was very fit and active prior to TMS I quite simply try to hard to get back to where I was.Push too much every day, instead of taking a more gradual course to getting back to where I was. Dr Sarno mentions that a key to recovery is to resume normal activities as soon as the pain subsides sufficiently to allow it.There is no doubt that is very important and I wholeheartedly agree.Not so easy to put into practice though, as obviously when you try too hard you get the inevitable setbacks.I am learning though to gradually resume, and take a more gentle approach and know I will get there. On the flip side of this are the people who are having difficulty resuming activity, conditioned through fear or whatever.Fear is another key barrier in resumption of activity,and one to be defeated for sure. I guess the way to break through it is to get the pitch somewhere between doing nothing/too little and doing everything/too much.This is obviously an individual and personal matter for each one of us.I would be interested to know how others have dealt with this one?
  2. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member

    When I first recovered from chronic pain, I didn't find this challenging at all. It was like I had a brand new body all of a sudden and most things that I started doing again came without any pain or issues. I had a very high level of belief in the PPD/TMS diagnosis. However, that was back in 2007. Since then, I've had some relapses that then did present some challenges. In all of these relapses, I find that doubt and fear are my biggest roadblocks.

    I am in fact, in the middle of a relapse now. I have this Achilles tendon pain that I've had for around 3 weeks now. It happened right after a very hard run workout. My mind bounces back and forth from thinking it's a real physical injury to thinking that it must be a PPD/TMS symptom. Sometimes I will run through it sometimes I take a day off. When I run, I usually don't feel the pain. When I'm walking, I feel it. I visualize an inflamed tendon one minute, and I visualize a healthy, strong tendon the next. I vacillate between positive and negative thoughts. It really can be a challenge mentally so I understand where you're coming from.

    What I'm doing now is stepping up my journaling a little more than normal and I'm practicing mindfulness meditation and sitting with my feelings. I"m using affirmations to reinforce a PPD/TMS diganosis. I also am taking it a little easier and running just a little bit less than usual with less intensity, but still running. It doesn't hurt while I run so I feel that it's ok. I do ice afterward to reduce inflammation. And I am taking ibuprofen to reduce inflammation. I'm sort of throwing everything I know of at this issue, treating from a physical and mental perspective with the intention of resolving it while also continuing my physical activities to some degree. And while my running intensity has been reduced purposefully, I have not reduced my frequency or intensity of my bike rides (which are very intense 1 hour sessions).

    I don't know if it helps for me to share this information, but this hits on one of my current struggles so I felt compelled to post a response.

  3. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    I try and psyche myself up to get out there without the use of pain medication. I have a really bad memory though of trying this when my SI joint was out of alignment. Trying it then was impossible. I am doing my best, but I can't break the fear barrier right now. So I am trying to get into shape - in any way that's possible, and then I will tackle the fear again. I tell myself at night that the next day is THE day. Yet, to date, it has happened yet.

    However. (I mentioned this in another post) Today was so beautiful. I got out onto the beach at dawn, it was 32 degrees, but I was dressed warmly. I had my best buddy with me (4 legged) and we set out having the entire beach to ourselves. Heaven for sure.

    And what do I do (besides scour the beach for agates?) I start beating myself up for all the things I've not done in the past couple weeks. There is a lot of stress in my life at the moment. And I realize not only that I can't do it all - I can't seem to get going on any of it. I feel like Fred Flintstone, trying to get his car going with his feet. Only my car isn't moving.

    Once I feel back in the swing of the new tasks I'm undertaking, and once my body remembers how to walk the beach each day, I think I'll be ready to try then. Until that time, I'm giving myself a break and trying to feel and see the beauty around me. The fresh air, the eagles finding breakfast, and the many agates that have recently washed ashore. If I could stay in that moment, I think I could get further along than I am right now.

    At least I'm working on walking each day. For me the endorphins really help with the rest.

    Hope that sort of answered your question Max

  4. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    My biggest TMS symptom was headaches. The "activities" I thought brought them on were things I had to do like sitting, typing, etc. I actually had been told by doctors that exercise would help the headaches, so trusting them I kept moving, which I guess was good.

    My other TMS symptom was issues with my left foot which has pronation, and i have pretty flat feet. I never even thought the foot issue was emotionally based (I suspected it with headaches before hearing about Dr. Sarno). My TMS doctor thinks that the foot issues are also TMS. Since then I've been able to go back to things I was told I should never do: walking barefoot, doing yoga barefoot, bellydancing barefoot, going without orthotics. My doctor had mentioned that when I first started doing these things there might be pain because my brain is still in TMS mode but to not worry about that. I actually haven't had any foot issues since beginning my TMS journey in January. The headaches are better, still coming up occasionally but I no longer associate them much with sitting, typing, etc. and think of them now as being emotionally based.
    Beach-Girl likes this.
  5. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    that is fabulous news Veronica! I had to graduately increase my activity with typing and working on computers. I think for the most part I became conditioned to have pain after a certain amount of time. I remember that when I had symptoms all that I would think about when working on computers was when will my arms start to hurt. It is really hard to retrain oursleves in what we think about during these activities. I found that when I focused on my symptoms, then they were more likely to be present. One of the biggest parts of accepting the diagnosis 100% is that it helps us no longer think that physical activity is bad for us. The way I dealt with both the fear and accepting the diagnosis was simply reading a bunch of success stories.

    What Sarno said about Education being the Penicillin for TMS is dead on. The more knowledge I gained about TMS and other people's recoveries really helped me not obsess over my symptoms whenever I started being active again. Of course, I would increase activity gradually and only do what you are comfortable with. It's important to know that we may need to build up our endurance again. It's probably not a good idea to go run a marathon if you have been sidelined from severe Sciatica for a long time. In my own case, I found that the more active I was, the more confidence I had in the approach. The idea that I can actually be active and not have my symptoms worsen was huge, and gave me the confidence to keep pushing myself.
    Beach-Girl likes this.
  6. Jesse MacKinnon

    Jesse MacKinnon Peer Supporter

    Interesting you mention this now. This is what I'm going through now. Jogging really intensified my symptoms so I stopped and gained 35 #s. After learning all I could re" TMS I began to challenge my pain by jogging. Now I'm in terrible pain. It's add- the pain takes 2-3 days after the activity. I sure don't want to give up jogging but I can' live like this!
  7. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    We mentioned swimming right? I think you said you couldn't do that comfortably. And are you getting ever-so-slightly depressed? I hope not. You've really come a long way. And I know you can beat this Jesse. It takes time. You probably read like I did the many people who read the book and *poof* the symptoms were gone.I was discouraged too that I didn't have that great feeling of being 21 after I read three of Dr. Sarno's books.

    But for the majority of people it can take a long time. And I know the feeling of being over weight. It adds to self image and all of that. But this too is temporary. Like OUR TMS symptoms (I'm with ya Jesse, we're kicking this together) you can and will lose weight. I hope you'll continue with one of the programs suggested above. I went right into another one and now have two books that aren't related to TMS, but are supposed to help. I'm ready for any and all things that will help me get to no pain.

    Hang in there Jesse. You will succeed. Remember, if I haven't said it here, I know I've said it somewhere: "nothing worth having that means a lot to us is ever easy." You are at a cross-roads. I can feel it. And if it takes coming back here, everyday to post how you feel for awhile? Well then do that. Maybe with some posts simply on how you feel will help you choose your next move.

  8. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member

    This is going to be a long post to this thread.... but I think it's worth it.

    I thought I would post an update in this thread on how I ultimately overcame this Achilles pain / PPD relapse. This is, of course, my own personal experience and others may ultimately get over such things differently, but I want to post this a "real person's" experience. Sometimes I don't believe it myself... how this all works.

    Going back to my earlier post... when I posted the above on March 23rd, it had already been 19 days since I woke up on a Sunday morning and felt the pain when I took my first steps out of bed. At first, I didn't think much of it. I do get pains once in a while in my body parts. I am a recreational triathlete and workout 5 days a week in my "off season" and I work out very, very hard. So some pain is normal. I didn't take the day off from my workouts, but I did an easy run instead of the hard one that was scheduled.

    From that point on, the pain never completely went away. Some days were better than others. The pain would range from a zero to a 3 or 4 on the 10 scale. I took some ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and I applied ice and sometimes elevated the foot at night. It never completely went away. When I squeezed the tendon at the insertion point of the heel, it was sore. I kept trying to tell myself that it was PPD/TMS, but my thoughts vascillated between that and a probable overuse injury.

    I was at the end of week 9 of my outseason plan, a point at which intensity (speed, pace, power) are all intensified. One of my teammates had suffered an achilles strain some weeks earlier and he was totally off of running for 5 or 6 weeks, so his situation was on my mind. I really didn't want to stop my training and lose all the fitness gained over those 9 weeks of the training plan so I continued on and practiced the "Resume Normal Activity" directive. I even ran in a 12K race on 3/18 and got a PR.

    Below is a chart showing my weekly workout volume (or time, in minutes). Yellow is running, Green is bike. The Red was time out on the slopes in Tahoe :). Anyway, you can see how starting 1/1, I hit the workouts consistently, week after week after week. Then "injury" on 3/4, but my workouts stay consistent. Three weeks go by and no improvement. I've been somewhat doubting the PPD/TMS diagnosis, especially in light of the fact that I increased my workouts and also (didn't mention this before) but I changed my workout level from "intermediate" to "advanced". This means tougher, longer workouts. Since getting injured, I'm also using ice, I'm stretching, I'm using ibuprofen, I'm taking it easy here and there on the runs, I'm even starting to do eccentric calf raises. I'm honestly, not treating this like it's TMS/PPD because in the back (and sometimes front) of my mind I still think there's a possibility that this could be an overuse injury.


    So after 3 weeks of running through the pain, I decide I'd better take a break from running. So I stopped. Well, not entirely. I did a 30 minutes light run and still felt pain during that so I decide to go cold turkey. I went 12 days with no running. For me, this is a long time. I run 3 or 4 days per week all the time so 12 days straight is very long for me.

    At that point in time, I made the firm decision to cancel competing in a Half Marathon race on 4/28/12. I didn't think I would be well and I didn't want to risk making it worse.

    My breakthrough came last Friday. I was heading home from work when I decided to read some of Monte Heuftle's posts. He has helped me in the past with some pain so I sometimes refresh my memory by reading his book. Anyway, on one of his website updates he stated that "if you are a TMS person then 99.999999% of all other pains are TMS." Something about that statement clicked for me.

    On Saturday morning, I did my usual bike workout. Very intense. Then on Sunday, I woke up with some pain in my heel. I was a little depressed about it.

    I decided to re-listen to the mp3 I have of Monte reading the Master Practice. I tell you what... I got excited again that this was really TMS. I decided right then and there to stop all treatments.

    Then, Monday rolled around. I decided to go for a short 20 minute run. My heel never hurt so bad! I mean, any normal person would have stopped! On a pain scale, I'd say it was about a 5 out of 10. But I pressed on. I finished it. Frankly, all previous runs since being injured were probably in the 1 to 2 out of 10 range. So this pain level was very unusual. Was this the extinction burst? I thought it probably was. That's what I told myself to justify the craziness if continuing to run through the pain.

    Anyway, I was not deterred. I didn't ice it or stretch it or do anything after that run. The next day (Tuesday), I woke up and rather than lightly trod around with my heel, I purposely stomped around. I was mad at my heel. I said (in my mind of course), "Pain, you are not real" and I walked hard and fast all day long. I ran up stairs. I ran down stairs. At night after work, I did a very intense bike ride. 40 minutes of torture. I felt a sensation in the heel, but not 5 out of ten. Mostly a 1 or 2. I went to bed with no ice, no stretching.

    On Wednesday (yesterday), I decided to take it to the max. I said that if this is PPD/TMS, I should be able to go out and run 13 miles with no problem. So I found the time in my day and went out and pumped out 13 miles! Guess what.... I'm fine. Some pain while running but not 5 out of 10. More like 1 out of 10.... more like a "sensation" than pain. And today? I'm feeling pretty darn AWESOME! I'm feeling good and I've decided to compete in that Half Marathon on the 28th.

    I still find it hard to believe how this all works you guys, but it's just amazing.

    Forest likes this.
  9. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Enrique, first of all you're amazing! Second, your post got me thinking how so many things we think are "structural" are really TMS--I like how you said Monte mentions 99% of pain in TMS people is more TMS...99% sounds high but I bet it's right up there.
    Good luck with the half marathon this month.
    Enrique likes this.
  10. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Enrique this is so great to hear! Congrats.

    Having a new symptom pop up like this can always be a little difficult, but your attitude was right on point. What is so great is that you didn't let it stop you living your life. Sometimes just re-reading a TMS book can really help us keep going.

    I also really love Monte's quote. It is really a great way to look at our symptoms, especially the new ones that pop up along the way. I have had a couple symptoms pop up along the way, and they always seem to go away once I say it's just TMS and there is nothing to really worry about. It is so great to hear that you are doing better and good luck in the half marathon!

    Enrique likes this.
  11. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member

    Thanks for the compliment. Although, I don't think I'm amazing. We all have the same powerful and complex mind that works in this strange way to protect and distract from uncomfortable emotions. We just need to unlock that power and use it to our advantage!

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