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Can anyone offer support re: sitting?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Free of Fear, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. Free of Fear

    Free of Fear Well known member

    Hi everyone, just reaching out for some support.

    I've been doing TMS recovery for just over a month now and seeing fantastic progress. I'm rarely pain-free, but it is lower, and I've expanded my functioning an incredible amount, and am reclaiming my life. Everyone in my life has commented on the change in me.

    There's an area where I'm not seeing change though: sitting. I haven't talked about it (not wanting to feed it) but after a bad experience tonight I feel it could help to reach out for support.

    Pain and spasms almost always increase when I sit. I believe it has to do with conditioning, plus a lot of pressure I've put on the act of sitting - I really want to return to work, but my work involves a ton of sitting, and even if the pain is TMS, runaway pain is runaway pain. (My job requires me to be mentally present with my customers, so I believe I need to have relative control over the pain before returning.) It's like, if TMS were a character, it knows that sitting is the last big obstacle to my living a normal life again, and getting back on track professionally, so it's not letting go. So much else has changed - I hiked for an hour and a half the other day, I danced at a wedding over the weekend, lifted several coolers of drinks, and even did a few handstands and cartwheels today. I believe in my body! So, it is so darn frustrating, and feels defeating, when I go to a book group tonight and I'm squirming in my seat for the whole hour and a half, muscles starting to spasm, and the pain doesn't let up.

    I'm trying not to obsess over it, but it really does feel like the last obstacle to my returning to normal life again, so it's important to me. And after tonight, I'm just f***ing sick of it. Sitting is so basic, yet it seems like even a few days of sitting at work would seriously kick my butt. So frustrated.

    So I'm going to keep working the program, of course, and shift my energy with affirmations and visualizing to the act of sitting.

    Any thoughts, experiences, strategies, or support would be greatly appreciated!
  2. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Blimey! - That's wonderful! :) :) :)

    This, of course, might be considered pandering to the TMS, but could you possibly have an adjustable 'standing desk' at work? - That is, if you don't have to sit down at the same level as/with your customers. (If you were in my country the law makes it that employers have to make 'reasonable adjustments' to help people to return to work, which includes providing any equipment that they need - I don't know, but perhaps there are some regulations like that in force where you are.) Anyway, I was thinking that with an adjustable standing desk you could alternate between sitting and standing and you could therefore also gradually increase the amount of sitting you do - which would still challenge the TMS pain. You can get standing desks that just go on top of an ordinary desk and they can 'scissor' up and down to the height you need or there are standing desks where the entire desk can go up and down.

    My other thought is a kneeling desk chair - if that wouldn't put your back into spasm; perhaps you could try one out in a store or something. Here's one that you can kneel on or lean against whilst standing at a desk https://www.ergopro.com/Stance-Move-3-Position-Chair-p/ch-hp-5000.htm (Kneeling Chair | Sit, stand or kneel at your desk) but if you google them you'll see that there are lots of other versions, e.g. some with backs on them and arms and some without...Some kneeling chairs can rock forwards and backwards too, which would make sitting a more dynamic experience and possibly stave off muscle spasming.

    Not that I'm recommending this, but you were asking me about Steve O's book a little while back...and, interestingly, in it he talks about the last thing he had to deal with was being unable to sit without severe pain...However, as with all the running and golfing he did, he took yet another 'boot camp' approach and one night decided to sit down and not get up no matter the intensity of the pain - not until the pain had subsided. While he sat there on his home office chair he got his wife to hit him on the legs at the point of the pain becoming intense - the idea being to break the focus by creating an alternative distracting pain. He got her to do it again but harder this time and then after about half an hour of so his sitting pain went away (and he says that it has never returned and he can now sit how he likes). While he was in pain he says that he cried because it was so excruciating and when the pain subsided he then cried tears of relief/joy. He likens the experience/method he used to that of 'bronco busters' taming wild horses. (I can't image doing this would ever get me back to being able to sit again as, when my muscles spasm in my back and sacroiliac regions they skew my pelvis and then set like concrete keeping my pelvis painfully torqued, but then I guess everyone's different...Maybe I need a 'horse whisperer' to work on me, rather than a 'bronco buster'!)
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018
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  3. hecate105

    hecate105 Well known member

    Another alternative is to find a different sort of job which does not involve lots of sitting.... A friend of mine went from law to gardening - to reduce stress (reduced her wage as well, but hey!) My sister went from housekeeping to teaching street dance to follow her dreams...
    Is there something else you want/yearn to do? Perhaps its your bodies way of making you rethink how you are living your life...? I gave up living in my house so i could have the freedom from work that renting it brings... My husband wasn't overly pleased with the idea... But now he loves it!!
  4. Free of Fear

    Free of Fear Well known member

    Thank you both!

    I *do* want to continue with my current profession. It is my dream career, and I put a ton of energy into getting into the field. That said, I do have some stress and resentment about the low wages common to the field for the first many years. -- I do appreciate you reminding me though that it is always a choice to continue on a certain path, and that I'm not trapped. It's about what I *want* for my life.

    BloodMoon, that is a good story for me to hear. I read his post on sitting, and apparently several other people have done well with the boot camp approach to sitting too. I might try it soon just for the heck of it, at the very least to prove to myself that the pain has a cap - my main fear at this point is that returning to work will put me in positions where the pain will get out of control again. That's quite a displacement though, so it's not about the positions but TMS.
    Steve also said in his post that he would recommend not doing the boot camp approach for sitting, since it can function as TMS'ing still, obsessed with the symptoms, as opposed to just living life in a joyous and relaxed way.
  5. AnonymousNick

    AnonymousNick Peer Supporter

    I have trouble with sitting as well. I think the problem is that when you're active, you are more distracted. Sitting is passive but also does put some pressure on the back. A strong beer usually fixes it for me, but I doubt you want to be drinking at work. :) It might be that this particular problem has the least emotional component and is all conditioning. I used to think it was the stress and insanity of the internet that was bugging me when seated, but it gets me when I'm just sitting in an (otherwise) comfy chair watching TV or in the car in a seat that had always been really comfortable before. At this point, I feel like I could be in discomfort seated with scantily clad ladies fanning me and feeding me grapes honestly....

    There's something about that particular pressure on the tailbone that just seems to kick up all kinds of TMS. I get bloated, nervy and anxious. Neck gets tight and I fear migraines and I freak out about spots and flashes in my vision, as well as just that basic pain in the tailbone. It's like sitting pushes the TMS "button".
  6. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    So, the main issue isn't about how to tackle sitting at work so that you can cope with the pain while it's still happening to you, but nevertheless still be 'challenging' the pain?...
    Maybe the sitting pain is still there at the moment because of your fear of being put into 'positions' (= 'situations'?) at work that as an 'empath' (for want of a better word) you might get sucked into emotionally, which could (re-)trigger TMS pain and/or make any remaining pain, e.g. with sitting, stay with you or get worse?...
    If so, maybe this might be solved with some forward planning as to what things you can and would like to do to help you cope with difficult situations at work...Looking back at my very difficult and stressful job - if I knew then what I know now - I would have, for example: journaled every evening after work, set a timer to remind myself to do some regular deep breathing whilst at work, always gone for a walk outside during my lunch break and done some qigong in the privacy of the stalls/cubicles in the toilets - to serve as refuge and breather from the sometimes craziness of it all.

    (Please just ignore the above if I've got the wrong end of the stick about things.)

    I was reading ACE1's posts on another TMS forum and one of the things he said about his success story - which I thought I'd share in case it might be of any help - was: "Sometimes I would imagine the pain as a form of anger and tried to feel it that way, and by just doing that it would go away."
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
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  7. westb

    westb Well known member

    That quotation by ACE1 is very good, and it's one I need to use today ......
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  8. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    I do hope it helps, @westb.
  9. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    It's the same for me as I too suffer with tailbone pain - so I greatly sympathise. It's not everyone's thing I know, but I've been doing yoga nidra meditation for a little while now, which features concentrating on various parts of the body to include each of the chakra points - the tailbone and its surrounding area being one of them - and my coccyx pain has become intermittently less intense of late...and quite oddly particularly lessens quite regularly in intensity in the latter hours of the day leading up to going to bed to sleep for the night, the reason for which I'm still trying to work out...maybe it could be due the increase in melatonin levels at that time of day. Anyway, if nothing else, the fact that I'm meditating is wonderfully calming and seemingly a good adjunct to the TMS work I'm doing, whether it's anything to do with 'chakras' or not.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
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  10. Free of Fear

    Free of Fear Well known member

    BloodMoon, sorry for my slow reply, especially given the time you put into responding to help me. I've been out doing a lot of sitting, actually! You nailed it, re: being put in painful positions. It was a good slip of the tongue on my part, since the painful positions aren't physical but emotional.
    I did some journaling (no more than 20 minutes over two days) and came across some of the psychological factors around sitting being dangerous (sounds ridiculous, but I found the connection). I've already sat for 4 hours today, and sat for maybe 7 hours a few days ago. It's great - I really feel ready to get back to work.

    I also love the idea of responding to pain as anger. It's jumping straight to the psychological.

    Thanks everyone!
    hecate105, MindBodyPT and BloodMoon like this.
  11. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is all fantastic news, @Free of Fear :) :). I'm so glad that you managed to find the connection.
    Free of Fear likes this.

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