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Chapter 8 of The Great Pain Deception

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Forest, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hello, everyone...

    Steve Ozanich's The Great Pain Deception is a great read, and I take notes for my own use as I read in order to get as much as I can from it. Since the book group is doing the chapter today, I thought I'd share my notes with the group. They are, of course, just my personal thoughts. I added some discussion questions at the end. Feel free to comment!

    On my second reading of this chapter I see it playing more off of Ch. 7’s discussion of the Placebo and Nocebo effect, which, I believe, is Steve’s main goal with this chapter. More specifically, Steve uses Jungian Psychological concepts, archetypes, collective unconscious, to demonstrate how physicians can influence our placebo/nocebo reaction so much. These concepts have a profound impact on how seeing physicians and receiving PT treatments (massage, physical therapy, orthopedics) will keep us in pain. It is our belief, implanted by physicians unaware of TMS, that makes us susceptible to developing chronic conditions, and why TMS moves around.

    Notes from earlier read through
    The main goal of this chapter is to show the role placebos and the power of suggestion play in medicine. He begins by discussing archetypes and collective unconscious. There are two main archetypes in play the Healer, which places doctors in authority positions, and the fool, which is accepting that certain activities can create chronic pain. He tries to show that authority figures, especially doctors, influence if we have pain or not. He criticizes doctors for only looking at what they expect to see, and can’t think of new ideas. The Fool Archetype may be the reason that if a co-worker has back pain, you will develop back pain.

    Goodism and Timing are critical in accepting a belief and “periods of isolation, tension, and stress are open wounds awaiting the emergence of the next suggestion. He provides an example from Amir’s book, where Fred started having back pain when he sneezed because his coworker commented one day that sneezing must really hurt. He suggests that it was Fred’s need to be good and do what is right that led him to having pain when he sneezed. He goes on to argue that we have pain because we want to avoid conflict and be part of the collective pack.

    In the next section he begins discussion placebos and argues that “if belief can improve and even heal, it’s logical to assume that the mind can even create the disorder.”

    “normally believe what the physician tells them, especially if it allows them to opt out of things they don’t want to do—avoid places they don’t want to be. Even if the physician is wrong, most people will believe him or her because of their position of influence. If your doctor doesn’t believe Dr. Sarno, and you believe in your doctor, then that’s it—your healing has been negated.”

    When a physician tells the patient he has bad knees or feet, or back or neck, he believes the healer at a deeper level of consciousness—filling the patient’s dry river bed, helping to form his personal unconscious.

    How do people interpret Steve’s idea of the dry river bed. He mentions that it has something to do with archetypes, but only says that filling it sort of creates a person’s unconscious.

    “A good person tries to avoid conflict, and will often do so by accommodating others’ realities at the expense of self. We live in a society that celebrates individual achievement; but regarding our health, we allow ourselves to be pulled into the collective pack.”

    Steve believe we get symptoms because we see them in other people. It is an epidemic. We get chronic conditions “if the individual can be persuaded to focus on them—to fear them.”

    He discusses quite a bit the role of placebos in medicine and the power of suggestion

    “This is why identifying a sense of purpose in life, and refusing to feel like a victim, eases pain. Find a way to turn your obsession toward an activity that you love and focus on it, and the pain will slowly leave, as this new, more productive obsession becomes the competing stimulus.”

    Steve believes we get symptoms because we see them in other people. Have you ever had a symptom someone close to you has had? Is there a sort of contagion connected to TMS?

    I tend to think, and Steve writes about this, that a lot of the standard medical approaches people receive, especially surgery for pain, is just a placebo. They may relieve symptoms temporarily, but after a while it will come back in the same location or a new one. Have any of you ever experienced a placebo? Can TMS have a placebo effect?

    How do commercials for Fibromyalgia drugs or Shingles Shots affect the number of people who get those conditions?
    Jilly likes this.
  2. deborah a burns

    deborah a burns Peer Supporter

  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Deborah,

    Did you mean to leave a comment on my post? I'd love to read your thoughts, but I can't see them at the moment! :)
  4. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    It's so funny that you say this, because I have been wondering about something similar. Back in June, after I'd had my first symptoms but way before my foot pain really exploded, I interviewed the woman who was supposed to be my student teacher in the fall. I noticed that she had a slight limp, and asked her if she'd hurt her foot or if it was a permanent thing. She told me it was a permanent thing. I remember thinking that that would suck, to have a permanent problem walking. I've always loved walking and running. I wonder if my subconscious picked up on this and used it to figure out what part of my body to attack.
    Jilly likes this.
  5. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    These questions of yours, Forest, intrigued me too because I instantly recalled a few anecdotal bits of evidence that seem to confirm what Steve believes about how seeing TMS symptoms in other people can generate similar symptoms in ourselves. I can remember a number of examples of this just before I had my major back attack six months after my mother's death in January 2001. Not long before that I had told my mother about one of my late father's friends, Big John, who had been on disability with chronic back pain for several years before he finally retired. My mother then asked me if I'd ever had any back pain myself, to which I replied, definitely not. Around this same time a Serbian ex-Special Forces guy used to do some painting and asbestos removal around the house. He once described to me how he would be struck down with back spasms while playing soccer, just laid out flat on the ground in mid-stride. Not long after my mother died (but before I had my first major back attack), a handyman came by to help install an air conditioner under the eves up on the roof, which required a lot of heavy lifting, too much for me alone. Well, the handyman had a limp, and when I asked about it, he said that it was caused by his back "going out" while moving heavy pianos off of a truck and it never healed completely. So, I had heard about three examples of back pain in a small space of time just before my TMS symptoms developed. It sounds as though while you're going through a big crisis - like a death in the family, a divorce, a financial setback etc. etc. etc. - you can become unconsciously extremely susceptible to suggestions about exactly what sort of MB symptoms you are going to have. It's like your unconscious mind has gone into hyper-drive and is trying to make sense out of hints and repetitive symbolic patterns in your immediate environment. Makes you wonder, doesn't it, whether this extremely active state of mind occurs in parallel with the fright-flight-freeze response associated by Peter Levine with trauma? It's certainly been said enough times, but the unconscious does seem to live by another set of rules of its own creation. It sure doesn't behave rationally.
  6. Jilly

    Jilly Well known member

    What do you mean , Forest... placebo effect for healing or placebo effect in term of it's contagion ? I think the subconscious takes in a ton of material and we consciously only process relevant in tiny bits. The rest is up for grabs as our id and ego and super ego see fit to throw it into the mix at that subconscious level for the soup de jour. This to me really is where it's at...in the moment....being mindful, using the skills and tools frame by frame.

    " The eyes see all, but the mind shows us what we want to see " ~ Shankaracharya (788 CE- 820 CE)

    Reminds me of being careful what you pat attention to and focus on. I once heard through LOA (Law of Attraction) Life is like a big giant buffet, you get to pick and choose, being careful not to focus too long on the items you don't like or want, because they will end up on your plate someway or another just by shear attention to them. Negative focus is the same as positive focus. Worrying about, I don't want this or that, is paying attention to it.
  7. Jilly

    Jilly Well known member

    Hi Gail, :)
    Dr. Sarno in Divided Mind talks about In Vogue diseases and the latest one is, problems with the feet. GPD ~Steve Ozanich p. 115 says, "There is a hierarchy of order to the universe-hidden in dimensions. The body follows energy directed from the mind, and the mind follows orders from the spirit" . Dr. Mark Sopher is quoted in GPD p. 147 ""About 20 years ago foot pain was NOT a common complaint, now it is in vogue and everywhere you turn...There is no doubt in my mind that the overwhelming majority of foot pain attributed to plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, neuromas, or other physical causes is TMS.

    Any ache or new pain I have that gets my attention, I quickly remember the above citations... soothe myself...remind myself its the subconscious at work trying to distract me and for a long time ... the distraction was very powerful and effective. I used to have knee pains (tracking issues) grinding knees, bone spurs on the heels, hip pain, migraines...you name it...all are in gone ! (I almost said remission, noway will I leave them a possibility to venture back !)
    ~ Now what I have left is the trickiest for me, because it is back pain and I learned it from my mother. I am unlearning it and setting up new nerve pathways and I am making HUGE strides and successes. Soon I will say, I never suffered back pain.
  8. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think there is really something to this, and compare it to research on whiplash. One study in particular (The best approach to the problem of whiplash? One ticket to Lithuania, please) shows how the expectations of having an injury can influence if a person experiences pain or not. Due to a variety of factors (mostly that people don’t carry personal-injury insurance) Lithuanians have little awareness of the potential consequences of whiplash injuries. In this study 202 people, who experienced car accidents, were interviewed and not one person reported any neck pain or other whiplash symptoms. The study found that because Lithuanians do not expect whiplash to occur in car accidents, it never does.

    This study has always been at the heart of my own interpretation of TMS and how I read this chapter. Our culture and collective unconscious shapes how we react to pain conditions and which symptoms we are susceptible to. It is our expectation, worry, and fear of having a symptom that can lead to us developing that symptom. As Gail mentioned, it is the thought that having foot pain will prevent us from doing what we love that, in part, leads to us developing foot pain over another condition.

    A similar idea comes up often in Sarno’s books when he describes how ulcers used to be “in vogue” during the 70s but faded away once people knew they were caused by stress. Our unconscious sees other people having certain symptoms, missing work, or unable to do certain things, and sure enough when we are really stressed out, all of a sudden our backs hurt.

    To some degree I was playing devil’s advocate with this question, but Steve actually has two paragraphs that touch upon what I was thinking. At the start of Chapter 7 he writes:

    "The placebo was a powerful tool by which the individual could mobilize his own internal healing resources. He could transform his own power of will (hope) into physiological healing. Nature has given the body what it needs to heal; the body is its own apothecary. But the patient needs to tap into these inner healing forces - and the mechanism is always belief. Sadly, people have lost faith in their own healing powers - clinging to healers as guiding compasses"​

    He continues to write

    "With the placebo it’s the belief in the drug - or act - that ratifies the body’s constitution to free itself. The belief rallies the will to change, which in turn transforms the body. If anything can be taken away from Anatomy of an Illness, it’s the notion that we are as strong as we believe ourselves to be - no more and no less. The placebo effect pulls people toward their higher potential - but not as high as truth itself. With TMS healing, the actual truth activates those very same healing mechanisms, but TMS healing has been shown to be more permanent. The truth wins out in the end. But this doesn’t understate the necessity of the placebo. Who cares how it goes away if it is so painful that it devastates life?"​

    Healing from TMS involves believing that you can heal yourself, because you understand the truth that you do not suffer from a physical problem, but a psychological one. We use the placebo as a way to mobilize our own healing. The idea here is that you are gaining confidence in yourself and no longer viewing yourself as fragile or broken, but as strong and healthy. If you have doubt, and think that you can’t heal or that you have a permanent chronic problem, then you will not be able to make progress. The way you view your symptoms affects the progress you will make. In my own recovery, I found that the more confidence I had in myself, and the more I believed this approach would work for me, the more progress I made.
    Jilly, veronica73 and MorComm like this.
  9. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Not to get away from, but to return to, the concept of the 'placebo effect', I've noticed while exercising if I use creative visualizations to imagine my body working in balanced harmony, my TMS symptoms seem to subside the more vividly I imagine my body working like a well-oil machine. Not the isolated and fragmented TMS pain parts, but the whole body working together as one. Poetry and pretty words aside, it does seem as though you can imagine yourself symptom-free and reality will eventually catch up with your positive healthy self image. Intriguing that exercising - biking, running, hiking and climbing - have always been part of my positive self-image outside of my parents' heavy-handed attempts to control and manipulate me, and then, shortly after my mother's death during a period of financial stress, my herniated disk appeared like a grim prophecy attacking the very things that had separated me from my parents' will and sustained my self-esteem as a separate individual. You can see from this just how much self-image and guilt - together with the placebo effect - play powerful parts in the generation of TMS symptoms.
    Jilly likes this.
  10. deborah a burns

    deborah a burns Peer Supporter

    It's hard to know I could've

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