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


Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Polly, Jul 14, 2022.

  1. Polly

    Polly New Member

    Please would someone be able to explain what deconditioning is regarding pain. I keep reading about it but don't understand it / how to apply? many thanks
  2. cain aven

    cain aven Peer Supporter

    https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/day-18-conditioned-responses.16609/ (New Program - Day 18: Conditioned Responses)

    I'd start from the beginning, but this breaks down the concept. Essentially, it is training the brain to not overreact / succumb to fear when pain manifests. To decondition the old responses and create new, healthier ones.

    For example, I started getting floaters last fall after visiting my parents and experiencing intense feelings regarding my father's deteriorating health & my own stress-battered health. Boom, they started to pop in intensely as I drove home, even though I'd had them for years and almost never perceived them before. I then experienced months of gradual fear that these would never go away, only get worse, along with gradual light sensitivity, to the point I didn't want to go outside and fearfully scrambled for sunglasses when I did, and was constantly evaluating these specks--only two or three, mind you!--when they would pop in (turning my eyes from left to center almost always, but not always, drew them to the forefront). Over the course of this summer, I've been working on my various issues with TMS protocols (including the program above and this one: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/key-to-healing.3577/ (Key to healing). -- and I've reached the point where I've deconditioned that initial fear response to a somewhat acceptable point. Today I took my son to the bus stop for his camp, and I intentionally didn't wear sunglasses; when the floaters popped in I just went "oh, there you are!" and started my personal calming mantra, thanked them at one point for inspiring me to sleep better and quit smoking--and on the walk back, I didn't see the floaters at all. They were somewhere 'there', but my brain had stopped processing them as a distraction signal. Whereas before, in my initial fear-conditioned state, I might have seen them a dozen or more times. And might still--yesterday I was out for a couple hours and saw them a lot--but after enough practice they don't bother me anywhere as much as they did before.

    Edit: As I'm in the middle of doing this right now, I figured I'd give you another example. I started developing elevated tone in my ears -- perhaps tinnitus, though it might be just a symptom of congested sinuses based on the week-old cold I'm still suffering-- or a combination of the two (physical irritant now perpetuated by the brain/anxiety). The symptoms started 3 days ago and the monkey-mind started its frantic dance, but now that I've gone through this (and recognize my tendencies/patterns towards health anxiety), I immediately began to work on 'adapting' the initial reaction / conditioning process.
    1) I posted in the forum about it (clearing my head by writing it down).
    2) I'm noticed that when I sit in a particular place in my house, the sensations intensify. This particular place is my couch, and is important to me as that is where I read books to my 5 year old son for around a hour every day. Experiencing discomforting sensations in that particular place--felt devastating, at first.
    3) But I recognized what was happening, and now I'm currently sitting in that place, typing this. At first the tone elevation symptom began; I breathed, recited some relaxing mantras, acknowledged that I was experiencing all this, decided to type it out (here) -- and over that process, the tone decreased back to its normal point.
    4) Essentially - I found an area / situation that elevated the stress-based response, and 'leaned into it' like Alan put it--acknowledging, but also recognizing the deeper characteristics. This is overcoming the fear of engaging in something. Please note a faint irritating tone in the ear is much less significant than ongoing chronic pain (boy, I know about that one!) - I'm just illustrating how this might work for a particular issue.

    Edit 2: To give another example (because the above might make it sound 'easy'): I had burning nerve pain in my hands and feet for 6 years. For the first two years I was a wreck, trying to get through every day while scouring the net for 'answers', visiting doctors, etc. Neurologist flat out told me it was stress. I found AnxietyCentre.com which has similar protocols to TMS, but by that point I'd suffered for 2 years and my brain had manifested all kinds of crazy thoughts and patterns, and I didn't 100% "believe" my brain was manufacturing the pain, rather than something being 'wrong' with me despite multiple blood tests etc. etc. It took another 3 years for the sensations to start to abate, which in itself finally convinced me that it was all in my head (and thus I could start to truly decondition myself from that old fear and those many, many patterns). Took another 1.5 years to get to the point I am at now -- for most of those 6 years, I refused to type on a laptop because the heat rising from the keyboard would irritate my hands something awful. While I still prefer to type on a keyboard for comfort, all the stuff I wrote today was done on the laptop, because 1) I didn't feel like digging it out, 2) I don't notice the symptoms, until 3) I finished typing, and did notice--after I wrote it all down--then just shrugged and went to go mow my lawn, and the faint irritating pain I was experiencing immediately went away. So--sometimes it can take a long, long time, if it is engrained. Once you recognize what is going on, it's easier to adapt / counter the fear response conditioning.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2022
    JanAtheCPA likes this.

Share This Page