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Body stiffness increasing, getting frustrated.

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by James59, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. James59

    James59 Well known member

    Since I discovered TMS theory, I've tried to put what I've learned into practice as best I can. But my physical distractions are getting worse and worse. My body tension is so great now I have difficulty performing even simple tasks, particularly those that require manual dexterity. Ironically, doing things like jumping jacks and push-ups aren't too difficult, but simple walking is. Everyday tasks like brushing my teeth, washing and drying my hands, making a sandwich, etc, make my whole body hurt.

    I do notice some exceptions, which confirms the TMS. For example, when I dry my hands I usually have great difficulty manipulating the towel. But if I get up to use the bathroom after a couple hours of sleep, I can can usually manipulate the towel normally.

    When I'm most conscious of the pain and stiffness I try to recognize that it's just a trick, or focus on some emotional issue, but that's really hard to do when my attention is on the immediate task I need to get through. It's too much to handle the task, the pain, and my mental/emotional stuff all at once, so my consideration of the latter usually gets dropped. Then I feel guilty that I'm not focusing on dealing with TMS directly enough, and that's what's keeping me from getting better.

    Not sure where to go from here.
  2. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Thanks for your post James. I'm by no means an expert on TMS but I've seen some real progress with my RSI symptoms since I've been here. You talk about your body tension being high. It was a light bulb moment for me when I read a quote from Dr. Sarno which said "In the long run, fear and preoccupation with physical restrictions are more effective as a psychological defense than pain."

    One thing that has helped me is mindfulness meditation. Calming down, accepting-not fighting the pain, having compassion for myself, all help reduce the physical discomfort.
    I realized that the level of fear and anxiety I was holding onto, made my symptoms noticeably worse. I do know that repressed emotions have caused much of this for me, but current fear, emotional discomfort, obsessing etc. work just as well! Also seeing how much muscle tension I was holding in my hands and arms had to be contributing.

    It sounds like you're are conditioned to think that when you do simple actions there will be pain or stiffness. I can relate to that. I would rest or sleep and my hands would feel worse. I also notice that when I'm doing something and forget about my TMS, the symptoms go away.

    The fact that you are able to use the towel normally at times and not at others, being able to do jumping jacks but not walk, sound like TMS. The structured education program here is another tool which has helped me. You might want to check that out.

    This is a great place to get support and talk about what's going on. I hope you'll keep doing that.

    Hang in there. It will get better.

    All the best
  3. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    For walking, I would like to offer this experiment: Walk backwards. Make sure you have a clear space. A hallway is good, or diagonally across a room that feels safe. As a yoga instructor, I have worked with quite a few students who have pain walking. When they walked backwards, they did not experience pain. Walking backwards broke the patterned responses. Since we do not have 'patterns' set in backwards walking, it was a new territory. The walking backwards can 'reset' the brain. One woman would walk backwards a few steps every time she felt pain. The pain would stop, then she'd go forward. If it hurt, she'd take a few steps back. After a while, simply thinking about walking backwards was enough to diminish the pain. After a while .. she could walk fine. This was after years and years of Rolfing and Chiropractors and physical therapies.

    Our pathways get embedded into deep grooves. Habits. Patterns. Changing them distracts the brain. Brush your teeth over the kitchen sink. I tried that and was so distracted by the change in location that nothing hurt at all.

    Take the hand towel and dry your hands behind your back (this is tricky, but can invoke a humorous response in the clumsy attempt). Or dry your hands above your head. Anything that is different.

    When your body/brain can break away from its usual responses, it begins to learn that it is safe. For me, that is one of the key components. I need to feel safe.

    Don't give up ... ever. You WILL find the right combinations that work for you.

    with grace and gratitude,
  4. James59

    James59 Well known member

    Lily, over the last couple days I've tried your suggestions. Walking backwards does seem to break the discomfort for a short time. I've tried different ways of drying my hands with mixed results. Behind my back doesn't work. Elevating my hands makes cold water drip down my sleeves! Bending down to dry my hands helped once, but not the next time I tried it. Still, experimenting is kinda interesting.
  5. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    *Bursts out laughing* Oh oh, I forgot that aspect! I hate water dripping down my arms. Still, if it distracted you, that is something. I am glad you are trying. That is all you can ask of yourself. Just ... try. Experiment. Play! Make it a game. How many ways can you .... (fill in). Go stand in another room as you dry your hands. Sing. Bellow. Make funny sounds. Look at yourself in the mirror as you dry and make faces at yourself. Any distraction. Any disruption of established patterns.

    Walt laughs at things. I don't laugh very often (tho I did at the water down the arm comment!). While I don't laugh much, I do tend to experiment in goofy ways. People say I am graceful, but they don't see me in my own environment. My husband gets a great of amusement at my expense.

    Life is about exploration, really.

    with grace and gratitude,
    James59 likes this.
  6. Ruth_L

    Ruth_L Peer Supporter

    Hi James,

    I completely understand what you're going through. I had that intensely in the morning, every morning. I am in TMS-recovery now but not out of the woods. One interesting thing I've been doing is deep inner work, which I did last night, it's in the SEP (Structured) forum, and today at least for a bit, I did not have pain in my feet! Miraculous! In fact, I think I've been getting better and better.

    The forums that say Alan Gordon & Structured on them are really helpful. I now have a day-by-day diary there & though it was painful to do it last night (the deep work), I felt I needed to as something came up, which I wrote about. And even though I woke up today and it hurt a lot, I am now pain-free at the moment. Something to feel joyful about!

    GL to you

    James59 and Eric "Herbie" Watson like this.
  7. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Your doing well with your will james59. Now I have a question? Are you working on your reactions to your pain such as not reacting to it. Try to not react in a judgmental way -- like you might think you should be further by now so your trying harder to heal. Stop trying to heal and make sure you do all the 12 daily reminders ok. Ignoring the pain is what Sarno describes and id say at this time in your recovery ignoring the pain would be more ignoring the effects of the pain to your reactions you have toward it.

    Start everyday with a journal that tells of all your frustrations with the pain if you'd like but when you do then write your goals and thoughts of achievement that you have made so far. Then close the journal and do not react harshly or over stimulated to the pain. The more you think of the body the more the pain will linger. It good to watch your reactions and you know why your having them cause your mad at the pain so go ahead and stop the reactions to the pain and you should eventually while reconditioning turn out well.

    Good Advise by Lily Rose and Msunn. Add the three together and make magic happen.

    Last edited: Dec 14, 2013
    James59 and Ruth_L like this.
  8. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    I love this post Ruth_L - Your doing super, keep up the good work. It sure is paying off.
    Ruth_L likes this.
  9. James59

    James59 Well known member

    I made an interesting discovery over the past couple of nights. Often my legs will sort of lock up when I'm standing and attempting to turn. I started experimenting with first visualizing myself turning one way, but then actually turning in the opposite direction. When I did that I could turn pretty much freely. If I tried visualizing myself turning in the direction I actually turned, then my legs would lock up again. It's kinda funny, and a little freaky at the same time.

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