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Cold Weather or TMS

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Emre, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. Emre

    Emre Peer Supporter

    Hi everyone
    I cant tell if its really cold weather or conditioning that gives me pain both trapezius and upper back?
    Anytime cold weather 'hits' me, i get a crunchy and painfull upper back. Is it the veins contracting due to cold and depvrive me from oxygen ir is it me pulling my shoulders due to cold or is it the belief that cold weather is bad for the back?
    Thank you
  2. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Emre,
    I put my money on that it is a primarily a conditioned response. It is as if your mind (the child) is protesting. 'why the hell do I have to endure this uncomfortable situation'. The superego is afraid that the cold will create problems, et voila, they actually are created. Fear will make everything worse. Also the soothe factor is mostly absent when it is cold and grey. The last couple of weeks I've experienced some symptoms that had been gone since last winter, as many others did too. You are simply in a worse mood than when it is sunny and warm outside.
    It is natural to pull up your shoulders and tug in your head, like penguins bend their head to their chest to loose less heat in an icy storm. The muscles that are used most have the biggest potential to create problems, in this case the area you described. The problems will also linger when you 'have' TMS, whereas in others any discomfort from tugging isn't created, and if it is it rapidly disappears. If you follow Sarno's theory, it is indeed the little lack of oxygen to the area that is to blame. But the trapezius and other upper back muscles are famous anyway for getting spasms and becoming painful in stressed people.

    I personally had a conditioned response from cold. Whenever I went outside my legs started to get weak. It still happens sometimes, but the fact that the weakness wasn't consistent helped me believe it is a conditioned response. When I am relaxed and mellow, no weakness. When I am already stressed and moody, the weakness returns.

    take care and take your time
    hecate105 and Ellen like this.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is a rough winter (I'm in the Chicago area) with lots of snow and cold. More than usual.
    Everyone I know is tired of it already, but it has a couple of more months to run.
    They all say they're depressed. Or they ache.

    Cold and gray skies can pull our spirits down, but we can't let them become conditioned responses so
    we expect pain. We have to play the mind game on our spirits... think sunshine, think happy,
    maybe even remember when we were kids and loved to play in the snow.

    And unless you live at either of the poles, winter doesn't last forever. It may just seem that way.
    Lainey and hecate105 like this.
  4. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Seasonal and climatic conditioning, I'll warrant. In junior and high school, I always used to get a cold c. October when the warm weather of summer ended (nostalgia for less stressful times?), at Christmas when the relatives gathered and their was bound to be "family trouble", and again in the spring while I was waiting for school to end and summer to begin again. Cold weather forces your whole system to adapt to "change" and "change" always implies stress.
    Emre likes this.
  5. Emre

    Emre Peer Supporter

    How gentle, delicate, sensitive, fragile creatures we are TMS'ers:))
    hecate105 likes this.
  6. Emre

    Emre Peer Supporter

    Thank you BruceMC,
    How do you break those conditionings related to cold weather then?
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    To break the conditionings related to cold weather:

    Don't look out the window.
    Put lights on in the room you' re in.
    Don't check the weather on tv or online.
    Think spring (the part where it gets warm and sunny).
    Laugh the winter blahs away.

    Watch golf on tv (see the green grass and players in short sleeve shirts)
    Watch movies filmed in warm, sunny months.
    Don't think Christmas but think the 4th of July.

    Wear Speedo briefs instead of jockey shorts.
    Emre likes this.
  8. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, Emre, I see that Steve Ozanich devotes a whole chapter of his TMS recovery autobiography, The Great Pain Deception (2011) to what are called "Highly Sensitive People -- HSPs" and TMSers are, by definition, highly sensitive to the emotional valance of their psychological and physical environments. One of Steve's primary sources in Elaine N. Aron book, The Highly Sensitive Person (1997). It does seem like using creative visualization following relaxation breathing exercises might be a good way of deprogramming your seasonal and climatic responses to cold and other weather changes. But that's a good way of deprogramming your TMS too.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
    hecate105 and Emre like this.
  9. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Emre, Good to have you here! I've been really firing off different aches and pains and I clearly see the link between my emotions/conditioned responses and the weather. I am very resentful of living back in a cold climate (we have our house on the market so we can move south) so I have my work cut out for me.

    I've found Walt's advice to be most helpful. Lately, I've just been keeping my focus indoors (ever sprucing up the house to sell!) while the snow and arctic winds blow. :)
    Emre likes this.
  10. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    Cold weather doesn't cause pain, it's a conditioned response. My pain used to skyrocket in cold weather, but no more.
    MWsunin12 likes this.
  11. Emre

    Emre Peer Supporter

    Ok then please tell me
    How to decondition??
    Not looking to cold weather or thinking that its hot outside or thinking cold weather dont cause pain, dont help me:((
  12. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Deconditioning a response involves, first and foremost, believing your symptoms are benign and are caused by repressed emotions. Any doubts that the weather or an activity will cause your pain will feed the pain cycle. Thinking about warm weather or turning on the lights are only a placebo. The key is to think psychologically and find ways to reduce your fear of your symptoms.
    hecate105 and North Star like this.
  13. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    What we think is how we feel.
    And the thing about winter is, it will go away in the spring.
    North Star likes this.
  14. Emre

    Emre Peer Supporter

    So there is absolutaly no way that cold weather can cause ANY pain on muscles because cold contracts our veins, and cause oxygen deprivation? Hmm i have to digest that!

  15. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I've slept out overnight in the rain and snow on a number of occasions and when I woke up, Emre, I was very stiff and sore. However, after shouldering my pack and walking uphill a few hundred yards, all the pain and stiffness disappeared. That seems like a normal response to freezing you a__ off! Once your metabolism is back to normal the effects wear off rather quickly. But what we're talking about here is where the emotional or symbolic value your psyche attaches to cold weather causes you to have aches and pains. You know like the old saw says, "When the weather changes, my arthritis acts up"? That's more like a psychologically conditioned response initiated by the sound of rain on the roof and gray skies and the "th0ught" of colder temperatures. Sort of like those allergy sufferers who start sneezing when you show them a picture of ragweed! No pollen, no dander, just a picture and its associations in the mind rev up the autoimmune system and initiate an allergic response.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
  16. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Bruce, I saw first hand how violent a trigger just seeing something can be. I have a family member who, at a mere glance of some lilacs I had in the house…started violently sneezing. It blew my mind.
  17. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Emre,

    Just to add: conditioning is a learned response and takes some time to become established. Therefore, it stands to reason that de-conditioning (or unlearning) will take a little time too. I encourage you to hang in there with the strategies and give them some time to work.

    I've been working on de-conditioning my pain response to changes in the barometric pressure. I used to be laid up with all over pain (fibromyalgia) and migraines for days when weather fronts moved through. Now, I still get some increase in pain and insomnia, but no migraines. Then, I use my TMS techniques and the symptoms are gone or lessened dramatically in hours instead of days. I intend to keep at it until I have no awareness of weather changes--except by the more conventional means of looking outside the window;)

    Good luck to you....
    Emre likes this.
  18. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Here in the Chicago area everyone I know is depressed from the long, cold, snowy winter.
    But compared to the East we shouldn't complain. I do have some icicles hanging from my gutters
    that are six feet long, but when I can I knock them down. It looks like a Doctor Zhivago winter,
    but hooray, the forecast for next week is in the 40s and then could reach 50.
    Winter won't be over, and we can get blizzards in spring, but we can handle anything that comes.

    Hope you all can, too.

    Just think sunny thoughts.
    North Star likes this.
  19. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    If we have conditioned responses from the weather, the seasons and pictures of allergic plants, it makes you wonder, doesn't it, just how thoroughly we are conditioned by our environments and habits? Back here in my parents' old house, I noticed the other day that my eyes were scanning a place on the wall to check the time where an old cuckoo clock used to hang when I was 19 y.o. in junior college! If 90% of the activities in our brains take place beneath the conscious level, it must be that we're reacting like conditioned robots to so many things around us that we aren't even aware of. Spooky!
    hecate105, Emre and North Star like this.
  20. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member

    Love this about the wiki :
    When i wonder if something could be related to pains : there always a topic here providing some insights
    Cold weather :
    Noticed that my upperback tigtness , pain is
    back and once again its winter
    There must be my clue
    i do ‘hate’ winter
    Try to make the best of it
    but gets worse as i get older
    Anyone some thoughts on this ?
    Lainey likes this.

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