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Am I on the right path?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by livlive, May 19, 2017.

  1. livlive

    livlive Peer Supporter

    Hi all,

    I had a 7-level fusion 3 years ago for scoliosis and a recent surgery in the beginning of March to remove some of the hardware (screws, hook, crossbar) that was causing me pain.

    I’m very happy and lucky the second surgery was successful. I did however develop secondary pain over the years which I later came to attribute to TMS. Since my pain didn’t really move around and is so dependent on movement and positioning it took me a while to accept it was TMS. But I fit the profile in so many other ways (anxious, sensitive, etc) that now I know for sure. And the pain that I still have seems to be so common with TMS! Piriformis, glute, hip, etc.

    Since this second surgery, I have been able to start exercising again and slowly building back my strength and mobility. I can bend and pick up things off the floor without thinking too much about it (which is so great!)

    I do, however, have a ton of current stress in my life (best friend has become paralyzed, dad has dementia, new stressful position at work). I just keep journaling and meditating and trying to calm down my system the best I can.

    Well, long-winded intro, but the reason I’m posting is I’m slowly and steadily seeing improvement in exercise. I used to go to the gym and it would flare me up so I couldn’t do anything for days. Now, I bounce back and return to the gym and am steadily getting stronger. But sitting in comfy chairs is still hard! Stiff shoes—I feel like there are like 2 pairs of shoes I can wear without pain -- I really need to break some new ones in fast! And I am aware of pain most of the days. Very rarely not in pain. But I don’t really take meds often whereas before I felt like I was consciously trying to wait till later in the day to take meds.

    I wonder if people who had long recovery journeys could help me understand. Is the way I’m sort of ignoring the pain and going about my day the way to go? Or should I be really thinking about the pain a bit more—talking to it, etc as I notice it. I feel like I’ve tried that and it didn’t really help so far.

    Certain things in my life I know I unconsciously frame in terms of the pain, though so I’m trying hard to find out how to strike balance between ignoring pain and staying aware of the fact it’s running in the background and how it might affect me...
  2. healingfromchronicpain

    healingfromchronicpain Well known member

    I struggle with the same question!! ... I had 2-level fusion in 2005 then developed myofascial pain (TMS) that wasn't diagnosed until 9 months later. And I didn't figure out about the mindbody connection until 2 years into my pain.

    Once I understood it was my mind at work, I had success in 2009 when I just stopped trying. For 6 weeks I was so much better and thought, "this is really it!" But then the pain crept back. So I tried everything again, including talking to myself, addressing emotions, etc. But I just haven't been able to get there again.

    I'm interested in hearing other people's responses. Thanks for posting this. (If you're interested, more details of my story are on my website: www.healingfromchronicpain.com). I describe my journey and everything I've tried, but unfortunately I still have the same question as you.

    Good luck to all of us!!
  3. jaumeb

    jaumeb Peer Supporter

    The less you think about the pain the better.
    livlive likes this.
  4. healingfromchronicpain

    healingfromchronicpain Well known member

    But what about thinking about the emotions?
    jaumeb likes this.
  5. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    (best friend has become paralyzed, dad has dementia, new stressful position at work)

    I did NOT have a long recovery journey... the recovery was short and to the point... I had a very long journey through the medical mythology madness. I do however have a Mom with Dementia who I am primarily responsible for, work for myself and have lost a lot of friends to drugs and alcohol over the last couple years.... It is not my emotions that are likely to cause symptoms.... it is the 'cover-up' of the emotions so I can 'function' that is the TMS foundry.

    Emotions come and go (i believe the word is from Latin 'to move')... it seems like the best cure/prevention for TMS is pondering the things that Are Not precipitating an emotion and speculating, meditating on our lack of emotional response...

    As far as the hardware... I gave a copy of HBP to the wife of one of my bros whose spine was shattered and pinned in many places. She had gone through years of more operations to repair...something? She was one of the fastest 'book' cures I ever saw.
  6. livlive

    livlive Peer Supporter

    Thanks for sharing your story Healing from Chronic Pain. I will definitely check out your website. I really feel for you that you have been looking into this for so many years. It must have been really challenging to hang in there. I hope there is a different approach that "clicks" for you after continuing to hear others recovery stories.
  7. livlive

    livlive Peer Supporter

    Hey Baseball65, thanks for your thoughts. That's really great that you were able to have such a fast recovery. I'm sure it's not easy being the primary caregiver for your mom, either.

    Yeah, I don't really feel like I'm covering up any emotions at this point. Even with the stresses going on. I feel anger, sadness, etc, but mostly I feel anxiety which makes me tense up. I journal daily and meditate which helps. I see a therapist. And despite having a lot of anxiety lately, I do feel like since I've had some hardware removed, every week I make progress. The gym is getting easier and I'm getting stronger.

    I guess what I was trying to get at with my first long-winded post is that I've read some different theories on whether it's better to go at the pain when it starts up and say "no thanks" or to just ignore it and let it run in the background. I usually just ignore it and go about my day, but I wasn't sure if that's always the best approach or I should be more forcefully thinking about it. Because for me, it's less about repressed emotions right now and more about conditioned responses like what Alan Gordon discusses. But it sounds like maybe in the end different things work for different people.

    jaumeb likes this.
  8. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    But it sounds like maybe in the end different things work for different people.

    Yeah...since we're dealing with the dark nether reaches of the unconscious there might be no 'way'... but I have 'coasted' leaving little pieces undealt with...and eventually got tired of them and had a look. Conditioning and repressed stuff... Remember, just because you are feeling some emotion does NOT mean there aren't other aspects of the same issue that are buried because they are too scary. My wife use to be at the root of a lot of my anxiety/anger, but it wasn't until she was gone that I realized how much low-level resentment was there simmering.... I recovered in 99, but I wasn't divorced until '11... That means there can be healing without direct action. It's the process that relieves the symptoms, not some magical 'right' thing to do.... at least so far;)

    always learning new stuff
    livlive likes this.
  9. livlive

    livlive Peer Supporter

    Thank you again for replying baseball 65. I am really thinking about your words and taking it to heart. Trying to be patient and keep at it and taking it one day at a time! Sometimes I do feel like my body is trying to tell me a huge life change is needed. Or maybe not so much a change but a change in perspective. I am trying to empower myself rather than think of myself as a "victim" (of circumstances, etc.).sometimes I beat myself up that I can't be someone who is unfazed, unrattled. But then I realize that's just another layer of feeling sorry for myself...I know I have strength I just need to tap into it more.
  10. Betsy4ever

    Betsy4ever New Member

    Once you realize its related to TMS is easy to address these emotions. You are certainly on the right track and i will you success ahead.
    livlive likes this.
  11. livlive

    livlive Peer Supporter

    Thanks so much, Betsy4ever! Best wishes to you as well.

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