1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this link: http://go.tmswiki.org/newprogram
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Effective pain management tool

Discussion in 'Success Stories Subforum' started by swandive, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. swandive

    swandive New Member

    Day 34 of the program reintroduces this idea: "In most cases, at least the purpose of the pain is to preoccupy or distract you from painful unconscious emotions, then anything that leads to preoccupation will serve as a reinforcer." The implications of this concept have bothered me since the beginning of the TMS program--that we should not pay attention to the physical pain and reinforce this unhealthy cycle. It all felt a little "Don't think of a pink elephant" to me. It turns out my learning curve has a rather modest slope, but on the afternoon proceeding the Day 34 reading, I finally understood. After a stressful work meeting my already painful shoulder and elbow started throbbing so strongly that I eventually could not think of anything else and left work to walk at the state park for 20 minutes. Every time it throbbed on the walk (i.e. every damn heartbeat/second/breath...), I thought, ouch. wait, don't pay attention to it. ouch. dammit! don't pay attention to it. ouch. operant conditioning: U R DOING IT WRONG. beep boop beep boop FAIL. Finally my learning curve slope inched above zero when I realized that every time I felt physical pain I should avoid positive reinforcement, not through avoiding thinking about the pain, but instead by refocusing on the emotional pain--i.e. turn inward to the fear/shame/anger or as I like to call it, "Fshango Unchained." These parasites are always reliably present in the stomach, heart, throat area. For the rest of the walk I did that, sometimes coughing aloud from the overwhelming squeezing pressure on my trachea from the fear/anxiety. And no, the emotional pain did not fade away, as the annoying guided mindful meditation voices tell us may happen, but, BUT, the physical pain did. Another day that week I woke up with a Normal Person headache (i.e. not the kind requiring the precious, stingily-insured, and $25/pill out-of-pocket generic Imitrexes), and tried the same technique. Usually I would just pop an Excedrin right away, but instead I decided to walk the dog first and to focus on the uncomfortable and decidedly unfading emotional pain. When I arrived at work two hours later I realized I never took an Excedrin! I thought I should pay this epiphany forward to anyone else confused by the basics of TMS, so here it is: my free version of TMS for dummies. (P.S. Both of the pain examples above were fairly minor--distracting throbbing rather than all-consuming pain. As a result I cannot anecdotally share this as a success story in those cases, but hopefully this strategy can help prevent escalation to that state...)
     
  2. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is Awesome swandive and it is a success story, all success is success. You did well with your understanding and to write about it -- explaining in detail as you have has been most beneficial , with your permission I would love to put this in the success stories. That's what it is. Congratulations my friend.
     
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  3. swandive

    swandive New Member

    Absolutely!! If this can help anyone else I would be ecstatic. As always, thanks for the support Herbie!
     
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  4. nowtimecoach

    nowtimecoach Well known member

    BRILLIANT label!! I am totally going to use this swandive. Fshango Unchained. Absolutely love love love this!! And will totally use it. Thanks for posting about it. I get caught up in the same quagmire as you described but having these two words as a trigger to go psychological will be very helpful for me!
     
  5. swandive

    swandive New Member

    Wonderful! I hope it works well. I did get a migraine this week and I tried the technique and it didn't work--so I think it may be a strategy of differentiating tension-triggered from structurally-triggered pain. Although the fact that I was attending to my emotions probably helped to prevent the fear of the pain from heightening the migraine to a much less manageable level. Good luck!
     

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