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Dull Head/Neck Pain

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by GTfan, Mar 21, 2023.

  1. GTfan

    GTfan Well known member

    Hello guys:

    Well I wanted to see if anyone had experienced this before. I just got home from my brother's bachelor party in Fort Lauderdale. Around Friday night, we were out at a bar playing some pool and drinking. I started to feel a dull ache in the back of my head (where the spine meets the head).

    I woke up the next day pretty hungover, but the dull ache in my head/neck area has still been lingering now for 3 days. Its a weird feeling. Its almost like I feel pressure in my head (and mental fogginess) and a dull ache in the back of my head. Sometimes the pain reverberates down to my shoulders. I tried to get a massage while in Florida, but I think it actually made it worse, and now I feel actually sore in my upper back lol.

    I'm hoping that this is just a TMS/Alcohol related symptom that will clear up after a few days of no drinking and getting back to my exercise routine and what not. Of course the anxiety part of my brain goes to the worst places. Several years ago my brother was dealing with migraines for a week and ended up getting diagnosed with viral meningitis, so my mind tends to start panicking about the possibility of that (even though the chances of that are something like 1 in 170,000 lol). I don't have a fever or anything, and my brother said when he had it his headaches got so bad that he couldn't even look at any lights or hold his head up. So I'd say I'm good there.

    I will say that after about 2 days on the bachelor party and feelin hungover after Friday night, I was pretty much over it and ready to go home. I can't really do 4 days of partying any more. I started missing my girlfriend and the hangover had my energy sapped by Day 3. So maybe that's part of the TMS root cause, but I'm not sure why I still have a headache now that I am home again.

    I think I'm probably over the partying since I just feel like shit for days if I go out drinking all night any more. I feel so much better when I'm sticking to my running/weight lifting routine and keeping alcohol consumption to a few drinks here and there.

    But anyways, I still have this headache/head pressure/brain fog thing going on. Can anyone help assure me that I don't have meningitis and that I won't be in the hospital dying in a few days?? Lol
  2. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Have you asked yourself what emotions this trip has brought on? Asked why you might need symptoms? That’s always a great place to start.
  3. GTfan

    GTfan Well known member

    Yeah something I need to try to dive into. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I am at a crossroads in my life right now. I'm 33 years old. I've been dating my girlfriend for almost a year and a half (longest relationship I've ever had). I'm also training for my first marathon at the end of April.

    I think I am transitioning from the the "party" days of going out and partying until 3 am, going to strip clubs, doing drugs, binge drinking, chasing girls, etc. I know that none of that stuff is productive to a good and successful life now (especially for the goals I have in my life now). If I go on a 3-4 day party weekend of drinking then I usually just feel like I am in somewhat of a "dark" place for a few days after, and I definitely feel like being counterproductive towards my marathon goal. I guess that is part of the crash from my body getting back to equilibrium, but also I think the alcohol can fog the brain and make anxiety and TMS symptoms more prevalent.

    For the most part, I think I did ok on this trip. I was basically the "dad" of the trip, being the more responsible one checking that my brother and his friends didn't get arrested and made it home ok lol. But also, I don't necessarily feel good about drinking for 3 days straight and putting my body through lack of sleep and what not. We also ended up at a strip club (that I didn't really want to go to after my experience in New Orleans), but I didn't so much as touch a girl in there, just drank and had a good time. There was a girl who didn't work there who was flirting with me and trying to get me to dance with her, but I kept telling her over and over that I had a girlfriend lol.

    I don't know, I just never would want to have the kind of relationship where I am doing things behind my girlfriends back or keeping things from her, because we are so honest and open with each other and are basically best friends. I see these other guys who want to go to strip clubs, do things with the girls, make out with other girls at the bar, etc. and then tell the group "alright nobody go blabbing to their girls about this, this stays here". And I just don't want to myself to go down that path with my relationship.

    But also if I take this to the next level, I wonder if the childlike "Id" part of my brain never wants the part to end. I'm sure the "Id" might be upset that I'm settling down a little and changing my goals in life. The "Id" wants to party and chase girls and take whatever short term satisfaction it can get that is right in front of me. I'm sure the animal part of my brain is enraged that I can't just go out and party as hard as I want and be the "lady's man" with a different girl every night.

    The last few weeks I have been in a repetitive cycle of going out for an event with friends (Mardi Gras, St. Patricks Day, Bachelor Party), drinking too much, then feeling like shit (depressed, hangover, TMS symptoms) for days after the party. This is a cycle as old as time for me, although I have been doing 100x times better since I met my girlfriend. I think a lot of my alcohol use in my 20s was from social anxiety and fear of being alone.

    I think the best thing for me to do at this point since I don't really have anything big planned in the near future is to limit my drinking to only a beer or two here and there and just start putting all my focus on my marathon training and making my body the best it can be while also putting some quality time into my relationship. I think in the long run, I might need to find something to put in the place of the urge to "party" with my friends. I think extreme marathon running and maybe ultra marathon running (30-100 mile races) may be the answer. I love doing extreme things, I'm a work hard play hard kind of guy when it comes to doing anything ha.

    I love spending time with my friends, cutting up and having a good time. I think the challenge for me moving forward into this next transition in my life is just learning to be able to have fun with my friends with out binge drinking and doing things counter productive to my mind, body, and spirit. While also, I will need to recognize when the Id is enraged and find ways to throw him a bone here and there without sabotaging my life ha.
  4. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think you are on the right track. The “id” or subconscious brain and your conscious brain cause stress about so many things.
    You have done a great job thinking about your potential stressors or conflicts, but you have not mentioned the emotions they bring up. It is important to recognize the emotion because that’s what tms distracts you from. You have a lot of potential in what you’ve written, and mention this cycle of behavior which invariably gets you into a “dark” place. This cycle, your personality and emotions here are probably a lot of the genesis combing it with your ideas of what you “should” be doing relationship wise, career wise, “grown up” life wise - it is important to sort out what you truly want, not what you think is expected by society of you or what you “should” do. In essence, be true to you without putting heaps of pressure on yourself to figure it all out now but by realizing that is life, that is living, is finding out this stuff as you go along.
    Eg. If partying doesn’t relax you, find out what does. perhaps part of your identity has been made to be party guy, but that’s an act. Really you are more of a bowling guy, a gardener, a surfer, skier.. anything! Maybe you relax more with tea or wine than beer. Recognizing the persona we created from our true nature is helpful. It doesn’t mean you have to change any of it. Just recognize and honor it for what it is.
    GTfan likes this.
  5. GTfan

    GTfan Well known member

    Very good points! There is definitely some aspect to people pleasing there too. I planned this trip and I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the "fun" guy and have all the fun stuff planned out for everyone to do. I think you hit the nail on the head with recognizing that I should take the time to reflect on what I really want to do in my life and what truly makes me happy.

    The id doesn't always have to be the bad guy here...
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Great exchange - great questions and thoughts from @Cactusflower, and especially her assessment that you're happy to beat yourself up and "should" all over yourself, while not addressing the vulnerable, and much deeper, emotions. Not consciously, of course - your TMS brain is all over this - distracting you with self-criticism and symptoms.

    Our minds are really complex, and they make really strange connections - think about the weird things that our brains come up with during dreaming in order to process experiences and emotions, right? So with that in mind, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that maybe there isn't a huge mystery here. You consciously remembered your brother's meningitis scare and rejected it as irrational - but you're not seeing that there may be a reason for "why this particular symptom at this particular time?" because your brain doesn't want you to see it. What connection is your unconscious brain making? I'm thinking about how the batchelor party and the meningitis are two significant life events affecting someone who is emotionally important to you. And even though, rationally, they could not be more different from each other (one being life-threatening and the other being life-changing) let's not forget that our fearful brains are NOT rational, and recognize the fact that both of these events legitimately bring up the threat of possible abandonment - a basic fear that is almost always instantly and deeply repressed by our survival brains. Current threat of abandonment brings up previous threat of abandonment, brings up even worse fear (with hints of mortality) and bam! Shut that down, and where's the nearest physical symptom? Oh look, we've got weird neck pain associated with that other event, that will work! Just trying to protect you, buddy!

    I don't know - just some thoughts. Having been there and done that myself.
    GTfan likes this.
  7. GTfan

    GTfan Well known member

    All really good points. The subconscious brain is indeed very irrational. The two events definitely seem to be connected in that way. Anyway, it seems like the headaches have subsided now that I've been home for a few days.

    I do think it's interesting that certain symptoms (aka distractions) pop up in certain emotional situations. I've been able to clearly link sexual emotions to groin/manhood issues.

    The head/neck pain was a first. Recently I had another first with stomach fluttering too which I never really got to the bottom of.

    It is a blessing and a curse to have the knowledge of the TMS process lol. I feel like my brain is getting more and more creative nowadays coming up with more of these "firsts".
  8. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think that this happens much more often than we think. I had years and years of short-lived incidents like this that I never thought about after they passed - mysterious bouts of dizziness or gut issues unaccompanied by obvious signs of illness, and, of course, tension headaches and mild but odd body aches. That was before 2011, and while it would have been great to have TMS knowledge long before then, I still functioned normally. It seems that approaching 60 was the instigator for my lifelong anxiety and mild TMS symptoms to come together in a physical and mental crisis, which is when I fortunately found Dr. Sarno and the forum. My self-awareness now is more acute, allowing me to stop, apply mindfulness (which slips, regularly and perhaps inevitably) and do some breathing. If that doesn't bring relief by the next day, I'll grab a pen and a random piece of paper and start writing down whatever comes to mind, without thinking, editing, or judging. Just by consciously holding on to thoughts and writing them down as they pass by, I'll usually recognize the thing that triggered the episode, which is often pretty minor - sometimes it's an interaction, or maybe some kind of news or information I came across which triggered a gut reaction that I'd repressed instead of processing.

    This gets easier and faster with time and practice.

    Ah, well now you're triggering my innate existential response. I remember thinking very early on in my life that human awareness in general, especially our awareness of mortality and our pretty desperate search for meaning, is far from a blessing. I guess I was quite the cynic at a very young age. Most religions seem to acknowledge that life is suffering, which is somehow comforting (while not engendering any desire whatsoever to adhere to one). Ultimately, I believe, the key to living well in spite of inherent suffering is how we choose to face, accept and respond to the truth about reality.
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