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Alighting the Pain Train

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Michael Reinvented, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. Michael Reinvented

    Michael Reinvented Peer Supporter

    Dear TMS Community,

    I have been re-reading (last time 2 yrs ago) Dr Herbert Benson's 38 times reprinted, "The Relaxation Response".

    I believe I have found an "aha" moment well worth sharing. I am particularly keen to hear from the Elders of this fine Online Community.

    I have been scratching my head, wondering just what it takes to find a day when the symptoms FINALLY settle, since doing the SEP 8 weeks ago and now almost completing Dr Schubiner's Program.

    An adopted mentor of mine (I'm sure you're cool with this) Morcomm, recently wrote of how his "relaxing" about exercise and TMS recovery in general, has exponentially improved his mobility. This makes so much sense in light of Benson's repetitive message JUST RELAX AND HEAL." 60-90% of all physical pain and disease is stress induced". (Sorry Morcomm it took you and a legend to hammer the message home)!. o_O

    The great conundrum of a being experiencing near round the clock pain symptoms is that the body is naturally tense from this cycle, so relaxing does not come easy. :mad:

    I can see now that the 2 Progams and journaling up some pretty necessary and unpleasant rage have rebuilt my mental foundations 100%. In spite of this, I can't move more easily because I have been trying too hard physically, and not allowing the cycle of tension to be broken. I have been rationalising the (increasingly) painful movement as the so called "extinction burst", but this is also a (not for all but certainly me) a "tension trap".

    Anyone see some commonality here?

    In any case, my conscious mind has just been given a valuable reinforcement in typing this post. Healing time is round the looooong bend.

  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is where I see accepting the diagnosis come into play. If you understand that you do not have to physically condition, then you no longer need to worry about the symptoms. One of the reasons that I focused on my symptoms so much and became so stressed out about them is because I thought I had a major physical problem. I felt like I was damaged and I focused a lot on what I could and could not do.

    It seems like when I accepted the diagnosis, I was able to tune down the thoughts of what activities I can do. I didn't have to worry about the physical side of things, because I understand that I didn't have a physical problem. Sure, at the beginning my symptoms were still there, but they didn't stress me out as much, because I knew what was going on.

    This goes hand-in-hand with the Outcome Independence idea that Alan Gordon wrote about. When you no longer worry and obsess about the outcome, i.e. being pain free, you become more relaxed and the symptoms do tend to fade away. The goal is not to be pain free, but to understand the cause of the symptoms.

    Does this makes sense? I guess the main question is how do you get to a point where you can relax and achieve Outcome Independence?
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Michael, I found a new turning point when Alan Gordon wrote that post about Outcome Independence. It seems that we can't stop referencing that post!

    I had a very stressful and emotional summer and I developed some bad pain in my right forearm that didn't make sense. I fell into the old trap of worrying about it, anticipating it, icing it, exercising it, etc, but it kept getting worse until I read that post and started putting that into practice. Every time I noticed my arm, I immediately said to myself "it doesn't matter, there's nothing wrong with your arm, don't measure today's pain with yesterday, this will go away if you don't care about it". Saying this kind of thing clearly, out loud or to yourself as if you're saying it out loud, is really important, whether you truly believe it or not, because it STOPS the negative inner dialogue. Anything you can do to stop that dialogue is is going to help.

    See if you can invoke the Relaxation Response in lieu of the pain, then let go of it with this inner dialogue that allows you to not care about either the pain or the relaxation.

    The turnaround for me was noticeable - the pain stopped getting worse, and a week later I suddenly realized it was probably 25% better. It's been barely noticeable for a month (only when I lift things a certain way - and that's probably due to lingering anticipation, because it doesn't last beyond the activity).

  4. tarala

    tarala Well known member

    Hi Michael,

    The Outcome Independence concept is really working for me, and I've had sciatic pain for 20 years. I've made my new benchmark whether or not each week I do a bit more physically than the week before, and how in touch I am with the psychological causes behind the pain, and not what the pain is doing. The pain is definitely receding, although it usually flares up with each new increase before settling back again.

    I have found through this that a great deal of my suffering was thinking induced, eg "what if it gets worse," or "I can't do things I want to do," rather than the pain itself. For the pain itself, I use Steve's idea of "lean into the pain." It is amazing how effective letting go of resistance to what is can be.
    Forest likes this.
  5. Michael Reinvented

    Michael Reinvented Peer Supporter

    Thanks Jan & Terry.

    I admit impatience... expecting that after 8 weeks a bit more movement. I will embrace your suggestions.
  6. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Seems like my TMS symptoms, at least for me, began to go down when I no longer paid attention to them to monitor whether they were going away or at what stage of remission they were in.

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