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Call-in Tuesday, Nov. 19, Ozanich Chapter 15, "Conditioning"

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021), Nov 13, 2013.

  1. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Call-in Tuesday Nov. 19, Steve Ozanich Book Chapter 15 “Conditioning: The First Cut Is the Deepest.”

    Many people have posted on forums saying they are in pain when they sit down at the computer. Some say the pain starts immediately, while others say it starts after 15 minutes or more. Some stand up when they work on the computer, to avoid back pain.

    Steve quotes Dr. Sarno as saying the pain has nothing to do with sitting. The sufferer has conditioned their mind that it is.

    “The process of conditioning, or programming, seems to be very important in determining when the person with TMS will have pain,” says Dr. Sarno. What happens is, “The brain makes the association between sitting and the presence of pain and that person is now programmed to expect pain while sitting. They have learned to associate activity to pain. They expect it, so it happens. That is conditioning.”

    Steve says sitting = pain happened to him in his own healing from back pain. He says that whenever he would sit down, the blood would withdraw and the pain would begin on his back.
    He began to notice that he would be in a high-tension state when he sat down. He began to
    realize that he had become conditioned to expect pain when he sat, and the pain came on every time he sat.

    “Once it’s understood that sitting can never cause pain, the brain’s conditioned response begins reversing strategy until the tactic no longer works as a distractionary technique.”

    Some people have a conditioned response to taking medication. They believe the medication works to reduce or stop their pain. But did that happen because the person lay down to rest after taking the medication and resting reduced or stopped their pain? Perhaps the person simply believed their doctor when he/she told them the medication would help them. Was their belief in the doctor a placebo?

    Steve says he has seen the same conditioning work with the use of chondroitin and glucosamine, which have been touted by pharmaceutical companies as being able to prevent back and other body aches.

    I’ve been taking chondroitin and glucosamine gel caps daily for years, having believed
    commercials on television and advertisements in magazines. But no clinical proof has ever been shown that they actually are pain relievers. Yet, if we believe they will help us, we are conditioning ourselves that they work for us, while they may just be more placebos at work.

    Some people may have felt pain in their back when they bend down to tie their shoe laces. All it takes is that one painful bend to condition themselves, associating the bending to tie their shoes with pain. Steve calls this “pain’s thumbprint on the brain.”

    The brain remembers the pain. The brain created the pain defensively from the signals it first received, and memory is born. Now you begin to expect pain because of memory.

    Dr. Sarno recalls a woman who cold bend over and touch the palms of her hands to the floor without pain, but always felt pain when she put her shoes on.

    Conditioned response can take many forms and are infinite in number. They are similar to triggers, Steve says. A trigger can be an event, place, or substance that precedes a symptom or set of symptoms.

    I just talked last night with Anna, a friend who is in her 50s and has bad back pain for years.
    She makes her living cleaning other people’s houses, but isn’t built for such strenuous labor. She’s small and thin. I hadn’t talked to her in months so I asked how she felt, and she said “I feel wonderful. No more back pain!”

    I asked why that miracle happened and she said she had gotten used to feeling back pain soon as she began vacuuming or dusting a house and mopping floors, requiring a lot of bending over. But she did the work while being angry about her marriage and low finances.

    Then Anna began to do something about those and other stresses. It involved new thinking.
    She finally forgave her husband Fred for his bad financial mistakes (they lost the restaurant they worked so hard for), and she decided against divorcing him for leaving her with a lot of bills including the mortgage on the beautiful new house they had built. She had gotten rid of a lot of anger and financial frustration and had decided to put all her stresses behind her and go on from there. She had made peace with her husband and herself and her life.

    I then told Anna about TMS and repressed emotions and she agreed that by facing them, her back pain was no more, and she felt positive and confident about today and tomorrow. Now she was conditioning her mind into staying pain free. The work cleaning houses was still hard, but she lightened it by lightening the conditioned reflexes of anger and frustration that she had carried to her work days.

    To some, the glass is always half empty. To me, it is half full.

    Steve quotes Dr. Deepak Chopra saying that the body renews itself about once a year through cell replacement, as cells continually die off and are replaced by new ones. Thus, the body is essentially a new one about every year or so. People are told this but then ask why they still have their arthritis and clogged arteries.

    Dr. Chopra says that conditioning patterns, the cycle of pain, and other mind body symptoms are the result of the same circle of patterned information. “Through conditioning, we generate the same impulses of information and ideas, but also the same behaviors, the same dietary habits, the same sensory experience of the world.”

    Steve says, “The problem is, people aren’t viewing or reviewing their lives, and so they never change. They continue on their on their same conditioned paths, resulting in the same symptoms. The surgery, injections, drugs, and therapy allow them to continue on their same conditioned paths.”

    As a result, we retain last year’s negative conditioned Reponses to pain. The cells in bodies have been changed, but our mindsets have remained last year’s and the years before that when we felt pain sitting down or tying our shoes.

    We actually begin a new physical life each year, so we should recondition our minds to get rid of last year’s pain conditioning. Dr. Chopra says.

    Steve ends his chapter with a discussion of pain clinics, saying “Show me a chronic pain sufferer who has been helped by a pain clinic, and I will show you a person who is under the influence of a placebo. Treating the pain is not an option for healing in the long term.”

    Pain clinics, says Dr. Marc Sopher, are part of the problem. “They perpetuate the belief in infirmity. Most of the patients I see who have been to pain clinics are forever lost. They have been so completely conditioned to believe they have a physical/structural problem that they cannot open their minds.”

    How do we change awareness of the conditioning we impose upon ourselves? Steve says, “It happens only through a deeper understanding, by breaking associations. Nothing can grow until something first dies and new soil is broken. Break the daily patterns. Change your life!”

    Anna changed her life. She got rid of old conditioned reflexes that caused her pain.
    I waited until now to tell you that she is from Croatia and her husband from Serbia. They fled to Germany when their countries were at war, of they and their two children would have been killed by either faction. A modern-day Romeo and Juliet. They fled to Germany and when their visa expired after a few years, they came to the United States.

    I met them when they had just arrived in Chicago and came to my garage sale in a suburb. I asked them about their accents and they told me their exodus story. They needed work here and I helped them both. Fred became a carpenter working for a construction friend of mine and Anna began cleaning houses starting with my friends'. In Germany, she had been the secretary to the president of an import-export business, but her command of English was not good enough to get her a white-collar job so she started her own house-cleaning business. A big come-down for her, and for her husband who had been a chef in Germany.

    They had a lot of reasons to be angry and frustrated at how life had treated them, and their dream of owning a restaurant in America was short-lived and the bad economy put them in debt. Fred is now driving a truck cross-country and Anna will continue cleaning houses. He has not yet put the hard knocks of life behind him, as she has. We both hope he will learn from her lesson. Bad conditioning can cause pain and mental anguish. Good conditioning can give us a whole new outlook on life, free of pain.

    We hope you will join the call-in Tuesday and share your experiences and thoughts on how conditioning can cause us pain, or make us pain-free.
  2. Becca

    Becca Well known member

    Here is the recording of Tuesday's discussion. If you weren't able to join the live call, I encourage you all to listen to the recording and join the discussion about this important topic of conditioning by posting about it here on the forum!

    As always, you can listen to the recording using the audio player below, or you can download the recording as an mp3 file (like a song!) by right-clicking on this link (or the link below the audio player) and choosing to save it to your computer. Happy listening :)

    Click here to download the mp3 audio
    Next week's discussion will be on the Type T personality and goodism (chapters 16 & 17 of The Great Pain Deception). Check out Walt's thread for more info.​
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  3. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Very important discussion on why we do the things we don't want to do at times because its conditioned and how to re-condition. It was a full hour or more of some great things to know about how this occurs and why it important to get rid of in order to heal all the way up. See, we have to be aware of what were doing in order to reprogram so the knowledge can heal us- if were not aware of conditioning then we are unaware of a vital tool in running our own brains for a change.

    I want to thank all the callers and there abundance in knowing when they have had conditionings in the past and what techniques they used to overcome this learning system that's automatic. Conditioning is so we can learn and adapt to lifes circumstances but with tms pain we have un-knowingly stored away some not so good conditionings that we can learn to overcome.

    A very good show. Don't anybody cut yourself short and not listen to this Audio- its worth its weight in gold.
  4. Abbo

    Abbo Well known member

    Hi Walt and Herbie, please can you help me? Following a pelvic injury 2 yrs ago I have not been able to sit for longer than it takes to eat a meal. If I now try to sit for longer I have a dreadful burning in the back of my thighs and buttocks. I know I have been saying for the past two years that "I cannot sit" and now I am not sure if the burning I have (which can last for days after) is a conditioned response or if it is to do with the nerve pathways (Dr Schubiner). I really have no way of knowing, I say affirmatives, I relax when I sit and I am now trying to sit several times a day for short periods, but I do know that all the time I am sitting I am worrying if the burning will return. Any suggestions would be gratefully received.
  5. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Really, they are pretty much the same. The words we associate with Dr. Schubiner are "learning/unlearning" and "nerve pathways." In this case, deconditioning is a form of learning that you unlearn by exposure and by letting your unconscious know that you are not afraid of the pain. Likewise, conditioning is, by definition, a form of learned nerve pathway. Dr. Sarno and Dr. Schubiner might still disagree on whether the the actual pain generator is reduced blood flow or nerve sensitization, but that really doesn't matter for someone trying to heal (also, Dr. Sarno "highly recommended" Dr. Schechter's new book, which uses Dr. Schubiner's learned nerve pathway explanation for TMS, so he might not be so against the model. He's always understood that there is mystery in the mechanisms of TMS). When it comes to conditioned responses, though, that is always a learned nerve pathway.

    In fact, when a doctor or therapist first starts studying learning in the brain, they start with conditioned responses. The learned nerve pathways in conditioned responses are formed by something called "Hebb's law," which says that "nerve that fire together also wire together." Because the nerves "wire together," we get our conditioned responses, where when we do a certain activity, we get a certain symptom. Basically, the nerves related to the activity get "wired together" with the nerves related to the symptoms.

    In terms of worrying about the burning returning when you sit, that is completely normal and is part of the process. It's completely natural to worry. If you've ruled out anything dangerous (cancer, etc.) I would suggest taking a mindful approach to it. When they worry comes, accept that it is natural to worry but remember that you aren't your worry. Gently move your attention back to living your life. TMS wants you to think about your symptoms, so it will continuously bring your mind back to the worry and may do so for weeks or even months. That's fine. Just bring your mind back to the present and away from your symptoms and TMS. This can require a huge amount of patience, but it is how you "unlearn" the learned conditioned response.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2016
  6. Abbo

    Abbo Well known member

    Forest, many thanks once more for "coming to my rescue". I fully understand now that learned nerve pathways and conditioned responses mean the same thing. It is a relief to have that cleared up. I have read the thread through very carefully and listened to the audio recording and I will try to do as someone suggested "concentrate on a part of my body that doesn't hurt ". I know this journey is a long rocky road but I will continue and I will get there. I cannot find words to express my gratitude for this wonderful, supportive site.
  7. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Oh, my pleasure. I'm glad to hear that you find the site helpful. I'd love to hear what others have to say, as it's a great topic and there are so many wonderful perspectives here.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  8. Abbo

    Abbo Well known member

    Hi Forest, would you believe that since I last heard from you I have started to defy TMS by sitting down in a very relaxed way and low and behold yesterday I started having "big time" dizzy spells on bending and when lying down. Is this yet another TMS strategy? I am thinking because I am showing my brain I will not be intimidated any more " I Will Sit Down so do your worst!"Once again I value your opinion and advice. Thank you
  9. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Abbo,

    Dizziness can definitely be a TMS symptom - it sounds like you are interpreting it exactly correctly. It's very common for new symptoms to pop up when someone starts to make progress.

    It is a classic symptom imperative. Your unconscious is recognizing that it can no longer keep you distracted with your old symptoms, so it tries to pull a new trick out of it's toolbox. That's great news because it means that you are making progress. Your TMS feels vulnerable.

    There's a tiny chance that there could be a medical reason for the dizziness popping up at this time, but that seems unlikely to me. What I would do is to float through the dizziness just like you float through sitting. Just like you told your unconscious that you won't be intimidated, show this symptom imperative the same thing. It may throw it's worst at you, but let it know that you can see through it's deceptions and know that it is harmless. It will come and it will go, but it can't fundamentally hurt you.

    You may have heard of Dr. Claire Weekes' book, Hope and Help For Your Nerves (definitely worth a read when you have a chance). In the Wikipedia article about is the following text: Claire Weekes described her own battle with nervous illness in her final book where she explained how she began suffering when she was 26 years old as she was misdiagnosed with TB for which she became introverted and worried. Her suffering lasted two years, and gave her valuable insight into nervous illness. Dr. Robert L. Dupont describes in his book "The Anxiety Cure" that in 1983, he asked her if she'd ever had panic disorder. She replied "Yes, I have had what you call panic attacks. In fact, I still have them. Sometimes they wake me at night." Dr. Dupont responded by saying "He was sorry to hear that." He described Claire Weekes as looking at him in shock, for which she responded "Save your sympathy for someone else. I don't need it or want it. What you call a panic attack is merely a few normal chemicals that are temporarily out of place in my brain. It is of no significance whatsoever to me!"

    It's the same way with dizziness or any other symptom imperative. The less we let those symptoms get to us, the less power they have over us and the sooner we can get to the process of deconditioning and living our lives.
  10. Abbo

    Abbo Well known member

    Hi again Forest, thank you for confirming that for me. I even laughed at it today, the first time I have ever laughed at any symptom. I am learning so much I even say things like " ok I know your game , just bring it on, I am ready for you BUT I will win because I am stronger than you!" I am even begining to enjoy this challenge. Once more a big thank you.
  11. Abbo

    Abbo Well known member

    Yes I have read Eric's summary of Claire Weekes, I have her books and I have listened to her audios. I love the f"floating". At first i found it difficult as it was so alien to me (I have always rushed about and acted quickly) however, I am now getting used to the feeling and loving it! I know it is helping me a great deal and it is so lovely to be able to give up fighting the tension, fear and anxiety.

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