1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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Day 1

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Carole Mayer, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Carole Mayer

    Carole Mayer New Member

    I am grateful for this forum to work on healing my pain. With scoliosis, spondylolisthesis and degenerative arthritis, I have been given the expectation of chronic pain by traditional medicine. I know my personality and stress can cripple me and need to translate that into becoming pain free. Wish me luck.
  2. Lala

    Lala Well known member

    Best of luck Carole, you have come to the right place! We are here for you!
    Carole Mayer likes this.
  3. CMA

    CMA Peer Supporter

    Wish you much good luck Carole..I am sure you will heal and be pain free
    Carole Mayer likes this.
  4. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Best Wishes Carole, you'll find lots of compassion and support here!
  5. Carole Mayer

    Carole Mayer New Member

    Thanks, friends. I think my biggest issue is needing to be in control. As soon as something goes wrong, I feel pain kick in. A very stressful day at work can almost cripple me. It seems so obvious. Now I have to prove it to myself.
  6. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    You will prove it to yourself Carole, I have no doubt. When you feel the pain kick in, ask yourself a lot of questions. Key for me lately seems to be figuring out which of my personality traits (often more than one) has been triggered by whatever is going on. Often I find that situations where I feel I'm fighting for control or loosing control are challenging to me. My main triggers in those situations are my perfectionist and fear prone tendencies. The perfectionist gets angry because anything less than full control is simply unacceptable, and the fear prone reacts with fear and anxiety running off with the "what if" thoughts in high gear. Those "what if"s have a very powerful effect on me so I try to stay on high alert for them and consciously counteract them and prove them false to myself when they come. Knowledge is even more powerful than the emotions and "what if" thoughts. Until I started the SEP I asked myself "why" a million times but truth be told, it was always more of a rhetorical, self-pitying sort of "why...generally followed by me". One of the things I learned, thanks to the wonderful people here who started asking me non-rhetorical "why" questions, is that WHY needs an answer. If you feel the pain kick in you need to ask yourself WHY and not let up until you actually have a real, fact based answer. It's not just "how it is", there is a reason for it - WHY is the means to the end of the pain! Happy Healing!
  7. Carole Mayer

    Carole Mayer New Member

    Thanks, Leslie. I have so many traits that contribute to my pain, it's almost funny. I have been talking to myself about it all the time. Trying to acknowledge that I'm human and filled with rage, anger, fear, disappointment, sadness... You name it. And telling myself I don't need to hide those feelings and make myself suffer physically from them. A little bit of Buddhist awareness training is really helpful. Staying in the moment with whatever your feelings are, and owning them, not trying to change anything, just being aware of them. Accepting myself for what I am, which I suppose is the hardest thing to do. just me, in all my imperfect pain and glory! ;) I had been going to physical therapy which was helping me. I think I'm ready to stop and move on with this work now. To you and whoever else is out there, thanks for listening, and good luck in your own journey.
    Leslie likes this.
  8. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    Hi Carole,
    I have scoliosis too with disc degeneration plus a long list of other stuff. I am almost completely pain free. You can do this too. Welcome...
  9. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    I am going to start the Education Program also. Let's compare notes.
    I wish you the very best and you will do GREAT.
  10. Carole Mayer

    Carole Mayer New Member

    Thanks, Sandy Rae and GR. After many years of pain that has culminated in a lot of fear, a number of spinal epidural shots, and the consideration of surgery, i need all the encouargement I can get... A couple of days ago, I thought I would try walking to work in the morning... It's about a mile and a half, and I was talking myself into a happy walk, without pain. After about 5 minutes, it kicked in, and well, it could be all the stress I have (and I have put on myself) about work, but I couldn't finish, so I took my pain and disappointment and hopped on the subway halfway through. my pain begins when I stand and walk. It is allevaiated by sitting, except when it's so bad that the pain pulses sometime into the night, and makes it hard to get comfortable.
    So I have to big issues in my first week... one, I just realized, is more pressure i've put on myself... after reading a number of accounts where people have read the book, or heard a lecture and their pain is gone, I wanted my pain to magically disappear, too. But, as you are reading, that's not happening. Admittedly, I walked a lot more than usual the past two days, but I guess I EXPECTED to feel better. I know my expectations can kill me... : ) So there is the lack of instantaneous magic. But realistically, if the subconscious emotions have created physical reactions in the body that cause pain, and you have had serious pain for YEARS, shouldn't it take a bit of untangling time to really lose the pain? That makes more sense to me.
    And here is my next big issue. Sarno's books basically say stop doing anything you thought you should do for your back...
    I just took a heating pad off. It was soothing. I have gone to a great physical therapist for the past 2 months and have built some core strength I never had. with a 70 degree curve from scoliosis, i have spent all of my life trying to "straighten up" and this PT has helped me feel a little straighter and stronger. Why should I stop doing exercises that help me feel better, and feel stronger? If i have the understanding that stretching and exercise and heat increases blood flow that my subconscious mind is messing with, won't that help? I still have a physical body that needs to be maintained, no matter where I think the pain originates.
    Anyway, I am feeling a bit down today, (and aching) but I know in my heart I am capable of causing my pain with my thoughts. I am aware of it happening directly sometimes. I am contemplating doing an errand that requires a 10-block walk there and back, and I'm feeling apprehensive about my back. Well, I just had to get this out. That's part of the work, right? If you are reading this, thanks for your interest in my story. To be continued...
  11. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    I am so happy you wrote exactly what is going on. I totally understand because I have something similiar.
    I am so thankful it is getting better. I been working at it very diligently. It definitely has taken time for me
    to get it better. One good thing that helped me was keeping a record of my success and building on that.
    So, when I get a bad day of pain or I get discouraged that I cannot walk as much as I like I start remembering
    the success I have had. That truly helps because sometimes we forget where we started from.

    I have really had to overcome discouragement because I would have two days feeling great and then the pain
    would intensify. I can get pretty discouraged. This does not mean whatsoever you are not improving or healing.

    One thing that has really helped me is I try to kick fear out. I try to be very aggressive with fear. I say affirmations
    to myself like I am peaceful, I am safe and secure, When I walk my steps will not be hampered and when I run
    I will not stumble. That often helps. At first fear tried to get the better of me, but I would set small goals
    I could accomplish and push against the pain. For example, I would walk up a half a block and that would all I could do.
    I am a runner so that was very difficult. I am up to five blocks now and going strong. But it took time for me
    work up to that. Being a walker and runner, I still need to exercise patience and love toward myself because
    sometimes I cannot do the five blocks. And that is perfectly fine.

    Before I started walking or made any physical goals, I would spend a lot of time visualizing myself doing the exercise
    without pain and with great excitement. At work I have to climb three steep flights of steps then walk about
    four and half blocks carry my computer and other work related material. I use to fear this terribly. I was not
    sure how I was going to do it. I just kept visualizing it and visualizing me doing it with ease. Then when I did
    it, I broke it down into small goals. For example, just go up the three flights of steps expecting no pain then
    set a goal of going up the flight of steps and down the flight of steps without pain. I would visualize and then
    actually physically do it. I was amazed at how this worked.

    I believe what I was doing was reconditioning my brain to believe I could do it. And the fear of doing it
    has entirely left. I sometimes have some pain when I get to the elevator but I do not stress over it. I kind
    of ignore it now. I am trying not to make a big deal of the symptoms and that seems to work even when
    I have intense pain.

    Maybe, making smaller, attainable goals would work for you; something that you feel you could accomplish.

    I know I was using a heating pad and Bengay in the beginning. I found the more I gave the pain attention to the pain
    the more the intensity. I am not using them now. Dr. Sarno suggests giving up these crutches but I
    would go at your own pace. It took me a while to give up the Bengay.

    I do stretching just because I know it is good for me. I think if you do your exercises because you
    know they are good for you that is fine. But I would constantly tell yourself there is nothing wrong
    with me physically. I believe what we are doing is trying to convince the brain that there is nothing
    physically causing this pain by constantly saying that. I know this is going to sound ridiculous but try
    to have fun through the healing process. That is a challenge.

    I try to catch every thought that says you better not do this or let your daughter bring your computer
    up to the second floor. I stop those thoughts and say no I can do it. Once I did this, whether I had pain
    or not, I definitely improved.

    Right now I have pain but I am going to take a short walk maybe only a half a block just to show my
    subconscious who is in control. I really do not want to walk but I know it is important to put action
    to my reading with small steps.

    This is what has worked for me but everyone is uniquely made and healing may be a little different for you.
    It took me time to find what worked for me. And sometimes nothing seems to work; I just let that go when nothing
    seems to work and build on the positive.

    Hope this helps. Be loving to yourself. You are going to do FANTASTIC; just you wait and see.
  12. Carole Mayer

    Carole Mayer New Member

    wow, GR, yes, it helps to hear your story, and your struggle. Part of our suffering is thinking we are alone in it, but we are not. Thanks so much for taking the time to share. I am talking to myself a lot, too, trying to recognize my emotions and triggers, acknowledge them and let them go. today is new day to work through it all. I was having trouble sitting down and "journaling" yesterday. I woke at 3am and couldn't go back to sleep. Then I started doing the work in my head, remembering a very traumatic day in my life, at the end of which I felt more completely abandoned than ever before. It is so personal, i don't feel like I can put it up here. But suffice it to say, I uncovered this strong idea of abandonment and how it makes me feel. A perfectionist will usually feel like they are the ones holding the bag, left alone to handle things, both monumental and everyday things. But we are the ones making ourselves "hold the bag" most times. Something to think about.
    Hope you can get up those steps, carry your own computer and feel joy today.
  13. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    I really like that, that the perfectionist feels like they are the ones always holding the bag. I definitely feel that way but I am
    changing and want to change. I know that causes lots of tension and stress. I am going to be very mindful of that.

    Yes, I am on my way to work. I am psyching myself up about the walking and going up the steps. I cannot believe I am really
    getting excited. What a change from being fearful!!!!!!

    Enjoy your day,
  14. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    I can't tell you how much paraphernalia I have. I have spent a fortune on books and doodads to try to find any way to alleviate my pain. I have every book on Pelvic Pain plus the Trigger Point Therapy workbook, the foam roller, a rolling pin, kitchen plunger, heating pad, jump rope, rubber balls, etc. I could open my own sex shop. I don't use any of that stuff anymore. Initially it helped me temporarily feel better but the pain is not physical it is psychological.

    Physical Therapists have good intentions to try to help relieve pain but they also can be very damaging to the mind. They may tell you to restrict this and restrict that, don't bend that way, bend this way. I have had this stuff get stuck in my mind preventing me from doing thinks physically I was perfectly capable of doing. We hold them up as experts and follow what they tell us to do.

    A few days ago I had a massage by a wonderful young man. He spent the hour trying to find what was wrong with me so he could give me physical relief (I kept telling him I was fine). He commented "your scapula really protrude. Don't they cause you pain?" e-gads If I didn't know what I know now I would be worry about my scapula and when they are going to start hurting.
  15. Carole Mayer

    Carole Mayer New Member

    Actually, my PT person was very freeing, not restricting. Building some good core strength, she said there's no reason I couldn't start to play golf again, which I had given up a year ago. I guess they come in all stripes. And my new physiatrist encouraged me NOT to jump into surgery, and told me an inspiring story of a women with worse pain than mine, who is now pain free after building her muscles as a part time body-builder. This was all encouraging to me. My own pain is what holds me back. I can swing golf clubs for hours with no pain, then feel like I got hit by a truck for days later... I'm trying to work through this, but it can be depressing to revisit all the bad things in your life day after day...
  16. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    Carole, yes, I found this a difficult aspect of the program. Now that I'm in my fifth week I don't journal every single day, at least not so intensely. Maybe once or twice a week I decide to really get down in it. Otherwise it's just too draining, and actually adds to the stress instead of relieving it.

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