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Conditioned Symptoms - Triggers

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Jennifer_K, Jun 18, 2017.

  1. Jennifer_K

    Jennifer_K Peer Supporter

    One of my triggers is sitting. I see a moderate rise in pain while sitting, but nothing I can't handle. The fear/anxiety for me is that the sitting causes worse pain after the fact, like the next day. For example, yesterday hubs and I went to a friends house 30 miles away. I made myself sit the entire trip there and back (I normally lay the seat down). During the drive, there was no significant increase in pain - although there was a change - however, after we get home, my mind starts spinning with worry and last night I had trouble sleeping over the fear that this drive would somehow make the pain worse today.

    I realize that the stress I'm feeling may very well intensify symptoms, but sincerely doubt it's the sitting itself. I tend to be a very "phobic" type person in general. I desperately want to conquer this phobic-like reaction to sitting. I'm angry and frustrated with myself for being so fearful! This trigger also causes me to be less social, since I avoid things like lunches, dinners, movies, travel, etc.

    So, here is my plan. I am going to start sitting each day in a regular chair for a set amount of time while busying myself with an activity (like a puzzle). I will set a timer and each day increase the sitting time by a few minutes. I may also do a short meditation before and after each sitting session, to relax my mind.

    Has anyone tried this type of approach and had success? How did you successfully conquer your triggers? Any other thoughts or suggestions are welcome.

  2. Dfw

    Dfw Peer Supporter

    Interesting. You are absolutely right about sitting down and sedentary lifestyle creating pain in large numbers. A new study has come out proving that.

    ALTHOUGH , in your case where it's short periods, the concern is certainly overblown. I have a Fitbit, which reminds me every hour to get up and move. I have it set at 250 steps an hour minimum and 10,000 a day. Have to admit I miss it several times a week, but it's there as a reminder. So I allow myself sitting time as long as I get up each hour and move.

    The solution you have proposed is exactly how I conquered my flying phobia after a massive panic attack on a 3 hour flight. (I now take 9-12 hour flights regularly).

    Exposure therapy is great, I started taking 30 minutes flights and gradually worked my way up over a period of one year. So your idea of sitting for longer and longer periods as time progresses is an excellent idea, which has been proven to be very successful. Dont limit yourself with a timer, you HAVE to experience some degree of discomfort, not a lot, but some. That allows you to face your fear head on while at the same time increasing time spent with your fears.

    Good luck, I know you will be successful with this method!!
    Jennifer_K likes this.
  3. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    I like your plan Jennifer, that's what worked for me and that's what I teach.

    Just remember what I mentioned in another post: you must be exited and enthusiastic about your recovery to see better results.

    Take care,
    Celayne and Jennifer_K like this.
  4. Jennifer_K

    Jennifer_K Peer Supporter

    Thank you, Fred! I really appreciate all of the suggestions and comments you have given me so far! :)

    I am definitely putting in an effort to feel enthusiasm and positivity towards my recovery. I have begun to say affirmations to myself first thing in the morning, as soon as I wake up!

    I say:

    Today, I won't allow any physical sensation or uncomfortable situation steal my joy and excitement about life!
    Lighten up! Laugh! Find the silliness!
    Wear the world like a loose garment!

    I'm also repeating them to myself throughout the day.

    Again, appreciate your help! :)
    Kerrj74 likes this.
  5. Jennifer_K

    Jennifer_K Peer Supporter

    Just wanted to update:

    Day 1: Sat in regular chair for 10 min while working on a puzzle.
    Day 2: Sat for 11 min ... puzzle.

    Also rewarded myself with favorite ice cream after sitting - Ben and Jerry's Cinnamon Bun. :D[​IMG]
    Lizzy and Kerrj74 like this.
  6. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    Now that's what I call enthusiasm. Good job!
    Jennifer_K likes this.
  7. EricFeelsThisWay

    EricFeelsThisWay Peer Supporter

    I get pain flair-ups when I sit (or stay in the same place for too long). Interestingly enough, I can be engaged in an activity like writing or chopping vegetables or wrapping a present or WHATEVER, and I don't have any pain UNTIL my conscious awareness turns to my memory that sometimes my pain flairs up when I'm seated. SO, the pain is most certainly caused by the brain telling itself that it is expecting the pain.
    Jennifer_K likes this.
  8. Jennifer_K

    Jennifer_K Peer Supporter

    Eric, yeah I'm very similar - stationary and idle in any position that gives me too much time in my head can trigger it for me. Give me an activity and I'm doing better.
  9. Jennifer_K

    Jennifer_K Peer Supporter


    I'm not really timing my sitting anymore. I am sitting a lot! With no pain at all. I still seem to be conditioned toward comfy chairs, but this is still progress, as I would not sit for longer than 10 min before, and the other day I went and got my hair done and sat for over 40 min.

    I have had no pelvic pain for the past 2 days. I have had some foot and knee pain, but I know this is symptom substitution.
  10. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    Good progress Jennifer.

    You are on the right track. Just keep moving forward.
  11. Jennifer_K

    Jennifer_K Peer Supporter


    I am sitting all the time with no reservations and no pain! :)

    For months, I was unable to be in a car for longer than 20 mins, but this past weekend we drove over an hour to a friend's birthday party. Feels great to have conquered the fear of sitting! I have had great results with pelvic pain all around -- I have been pain free for over a week now. Before this, I was pain-free for two weeks. What happened was that my mom was diagnosed with skin cancer, and the pain came back. Then after the results of her scan (no spreading) the pain left again after about 3-4 days. This completely solidified for me the connection between pain and stress. There's no doubts for me anymore it is TMS and completely harmless. I had a very stressful day about 3-4 days ago and told myself, "The TMS may act up again, but I know it's because of this stress, and I will be okay." The pain came back for a few hours, very mild, but went away again.

    I am having symptom substitution with my feet. But I'm just not changing anything or worrying about it. Still meditating every day and doing the new 21 day program as well.

    Grateful to the people of this forum for sharing their experience, knowledge, and for all the support!
    Vouthon and Ellen like this.
  12. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    Sorry about your mom's diagnosis. You did bounce back quickly from the TMS and that will get easier as you fight back and win and create the reference in your subconscious that you are STRONGER than TMS.

    Regarding your mom, just as with treatments for back pain, there is the conventional medical-insdustrial complex approach and there are alternative and, in many cases, better ones. Here are some useful websites:


    Take care,
  13. MicheleRenee

    MicheleRenee Peer Supporter

    yay congrats! post your success story some day!
  14. Ewok

    Ewok Peer Supporter

    Wow, it's great to hear about your progress, that's fantastic! I'm sorry to hear about your mother.

    Apart from your sitting goals, what else did you do to make progress? There seem to be so many different things people do to heal, it's always interesting to hear what works. :)

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