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Day 29 Exercise = trauma?

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Layne, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. Layne

    Layne Well known member

    When I read the first sentence for Day 29 of the program I immediately thought "Great. There's only a third of the program left and I still have such a long way to go. I might as well give up after this. If this didn't work, I don't know what will. How much more time should I expect this to take?" And so on... And then a few sentences later the intro addressed this very same concern! Man, I love this life :)

    I have noticed that on days that I work out (especially and maybe exclusively) at the gym I have trouble sleeping no matter what time I work out. Is it possible that exercising is activating trauma? Perhaps I relate the sensations that occur in my body during exercise (rapid breathing, raised heart rate, etc...) to trauma?
  2. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    A lot of people are not pain free in 29 days so be nice to yoruself! It took me months but I'm still pain free.
    Layne likes this.
  3. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    Layne, don't give up! Everyone recovers in his or her own time. Think of this as a good time to develop patience. Have you read Ace's Keys on tmshelp? If not, I recommend them! I also highly recommend breathing exercises for sleep. I've been using Andrew Weil's cd's to practice breathing for a few minutes each night before bed. I've been sleeping deeply without any other aids lately.
    Layne likes this.
  4. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think I read somewhere in one of Dr Sarno's TMS books that the psyche regards physical trauma and psychological trauma as part and parcel of the same thing. IOWs: The unconscious mind looks at physical stress and psychological stress as symbolic equivalents. It isn't that the physical exercise you're doing is actually hurting you physically, it's just one more thing contributing to your reservoir of inner rage.
  5. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    I started reading Sarno in August. I found the Wiki and started Nov. 1. I am not completely pain free but continue to make progress. You will too. Keep working the program. Sandy
  6. RikR

    RikR Well known member

    A major part of my breakdown 6 years ago was excessive exercise - I have been a life long athlete but when my body said no!....I said no way we are going to do it.

    Well if you are a Nike ad JUST DO IT might work but exercise is stress and if your stress cup is full it can put you over the edge.
  7. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, RikR, my relapse in 2008 occurred at the same time I was trying to run 8 miles a day and doing 30 mile bike rides on my off days and also trying to climb and boulder in the climbing gym everyday at the same time I was trying to write and publish a new book at the same time I was trying to get a trophy ballet dancer GF. Complete system overload! Then, one day I was running, tripped over a root, and fell on my left side - the same side I'd had a so-called herniated disk a little while after the death of my mother. Nothing at all at the time. But it must have served as a psychological trigger because within 6 weeks my left hip was tingling and hurting so back I couldn't weight it. Talk about the Body Saying No! It's strange though because at the time I thought this situation was normal for an over-achieving Super Hero like me. Don't get me wrong: I'd like to get back to running 8 miles a day, but without that all-consuming obsessive strange energy driving me like a madman day after day. So to return to the question at issue: Yes, exercise can function as stress but the real problem begins and ends in your head.
  8. Layne

    Layne Well known member

    Thank you. So, how do I overcome the anger toward exercise? Using the same principles I've been learning? I actually had a really big breakthrough regarding the fatigue and it would be really nice to be able to work out without fear of contributing to an already over-flowing cup...
  9. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Layne, I don't think it's so much that you're angry at exercise; exercise for you sounds more like a way of expressing and/or relieving your anger. I'm sure no psychotherapist, but perhaps you ought to find another way of approaching exercise? If TMS pain is programmed, and what you're trying to do is deprogram your undesired pain reactions to that programming, maybe you ought to mix up your exercise routine and not perform it in such a structured way? If you always follow a certain sequence of exercises, why not break the sequence up or even do different things? There are those TRX (?) hanging exercises for example. It could be as simple as riding a bike instead of running, or swimming instead of lifting weights. TMS, it seems to me, is based on Obsessive-Compulsive behavior patterns, so the best way of deprogramming your pain response is challenging those patterns and resequencing them. I noticed tonight at the gym that after I did leg presses on the Cybex machine, all the pain in my left thigh and knee completely disappeared. But then when I rode the stationary bike later on, the sciatic pain came back in my left leg. I wondered why? Then, I remembered that when I was really hurting, the only thing I could do was ride the stationary, which is way easy. I'll wager that I've been conditioned to feel sciatic pain in my leg whenever I get on the stationary because I associate it with the time when I was first hurting in the left leg in 2008. It hurts way less, incidentally, when I'm out on my road bike, which is after all a much more rigorous workout than the stationary bike. For that matter, so is the leg press machine. So, to avoid having pain after exercise, it might be good to break up your routine as well as the exercises you chose to do.
  10. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    I, also, love to exercise and I love to run. However, with this sciatic pain I cannot run. I try to increase my walking but that is even hard. I find that with the
    reprogramming I do some visualization of me doing the exercise without pain then I walk. That has been helpful.

    I, also, been pushing against the pain and just walk whether I have pain or not. I know the Steve's O and Fred Amir's book that is what they
    did and they were successful. I am so thankful I do not have to sit down every 5 minutes while I am walking anywhere. I really am missing
    working out. Any suggestions? I am thinking of just resigning for my gym and start out slowly and just being there might reprogram me.
    I am thinking of starting on the treadmill because that will probably be the easiest.

    Any suggestions from anyone I would greatly appreciate it because I so miss exercising.
  11. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    For me, there was no instant TMS "book cure". I've just kept plugging away at the walking and the weights and the road bike. At any given moment, I'm dissatisfied with my progress and pain levels. However, when I look back over the past 3 year period, my improvement has been steady and constant. I think it is again like Dr Sarno says, if you keep going back to exercising again and again and again, improvement will occur. Sorry, it just hasn't been easy for me. But three years ago I limped to the gym and limped down hill when I took hikes on the game preserve. Now, I don't limp from the car to the gym and I don't limp when I walk down hill outdoors. There's not as much pain and my strength-level has improved 1000%. You just can't get caught up in the moment and not see the big picture. What you say you're doing, G.R., is just about what you need to do. Running for me is going to be the last barrier.
  12. Layne

    Layne Well known member

    What you said about Obsessive Compulsive behavior patterns really resonated with me. I have been thinking about my Obsessive patterns lately and how they are a source of TMS. Honestly, I don't ever do any day at the gym the same way. I am always switching up cardio and my routine to keep my body guessing... I think it's more fundamental - like changing my perception about exercise in general or going in with a different mindset. Hmmm that gives me lots to explore. I actually had to stop doing yoga for the most part because I noticed that I was getting especially anxious, and it was because I was really competitive with myself and the teacher, who was a close friend.
  13. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    Mor Comm,
    Thank you for the encouragement; it really helped.

    Do you know which book that Sarno said that about if you go back to exercise over and over it will improve. That sounds wonderful!!!

    Mor Comm, did you also journal and do positive affirmations? May I ask what you did do that you felt really helped you.
    It helps me hearing what everyone did or is doing; it so encourages me.
  14. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    G.R., I've read all of Dr. Sarno's books. His advice about getting back to exercising and sticking with it is in the Resume Physical Activity section of the chapter entitled "The Treatment of TMS" in Healing Back Pain, p. 79-81.

    "Every patient has to work through his or her fear and return to full normal physical activity. One must do this not simply for the sake of becoming a normal human being again (though that is a good enough reason physically and psychologically by itself) but to liberate oneself from the fear of physical activity, which is often more effective than pain in keeping one's mind focused on the body. That is the purpose of TMS, to keep the mind from attending to emotional things."

    On the next page Dr. Sarno observes:

    ". . . that the advice to resume normal physical activity, including the most vigorous, has been given to a very large number of patients over the past seventeen years. I cannot recall one person who has subsequently said that this advice caused him or her to have further back trouble."
  15. RikR

    RikR Well known member

    I have been a competitive athlete and an adventure athlete all my life. I know my body and I have run, cycled and climbed through pain many times.

    What I have now there is no pushing through and I am not afraid to exercise or endure pain. My feet are so painful that going the half block to the mail box is excruciating and when I try to go further it results in severely increased pain all day and possibly not sleeping at night.

    Before July I could easily hike 10 miles in the morning and cycle another 30+ in the afternoon. Now with severe hand and shoulder pain I have lost the ability to do other things love like archery, rowing and canoe/kayaking.

    If what I have is TMS (what else) then to tell me and probably other TMS people that they are simply afraid to exercise is a cruelty and lacks understanding of physiology.

    Sarno never said to buck up and just go exercise – he said to wait until you were pain free or almost so then start being active.
  16. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    Before I found Sarno I started walking. My physical therapist preferred I not walk but I told her I just had to do it. I was just driven to do it. I knew I felt better, much better. I followed her instructions i.e. shorten my stride, walk slow, walk on the grass, stretch, warm up.

    Now I walk 4-6 miles each day. Regularly I feel many of the same symptoms before walking i.e. very tight inner thighs, IT band tightness, shin splints, foot pain. None of this bothers me after I start walking. It is gone afterwards except for some tightness on the back of my thighs. Sandy
  17. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    That's absolutely true, Rik. I tried and tried for a long time to just go out and bike and hike and the pain never went away in relation to how much I pushed myself. But my TMS pain has been slowly and steadily receding now for 3 years, and it was not in response to some hard man exercise program. It just seems to go down on its own schedule irrespective of how much I work out. However, since I joined this group last March and did the SEP followed by Schubiner's Unlearn Your Pain workbook, I have noticed that my TMS pain has been going down more quickly. IOWs: TMS seems to operate on its own internal schedule quite apart from any external stress you put on your body with exercises. Six months ago if I went for a 3 mile hike, I'd hurt the whole time, was very inflexible, and continued to hurt on into the next day. Three months ago if I went on a 3 mile hike, it hurt, but my leg was more flexible, and afterwards I would hurt for an hour. Now if I go on a 3 mile hike, I'm way more flexible, hurt a whole lot less, move much more rapidly, and although I hurt a bit on the way back to the car, recover rapidly so that I don't feel any pain that evening. For me at least, it's been that dang slow. But now, instead of banging away, trying to ride the bike 10 miles followed by a hike and weights at the gym, I have just slowed up a whole lot. For example, two days ago I didn't do anything all day but chill out and mess around painting models in the garage. I also am beginning to feel much more relaxed. I don't seem to be forcing myself to do this, do that, do this, do that, run here, run there, get this done, blah blah blah. Whatever route to recovery you follow, that seems to be the common denominator: chilling out inside your brain. If ISTDP allows you to do that, great. If existential psychotherapy works for you, do that. If Monte's methods feel right, by all mean do that. Whatever way you accomplish it, your mind just needs to stop perpetuating and reenacting those emotionally repressive psychological behavior patterns that you've adopted for whatever reasons in your childhood or even later on. 3 years ago I remember asking a very smart endurance athlete doctor, how soon it would be until my pain went away? He sort of was evasive and told me he didn't know at what rate I would heal at my current age. But he also added: "Just chill out!" I must admit I really didn't understand what he meant until now that I'm actually calming down, letting things happen, and not trying to force the issue.

    I should probably add that I really started getting better right from the time I first read Dr Sarno 3 or 4 years ago. But it was dang slow and almost unnoticeable to me at first. I guess some people get it right away (book cures), and some people like me need to do more fundamental brain work by whatever method seems best for us. All I can add, based on my own experience of course, is that my TMS pain started to recede when I started to really calm down inside. You'll notice it for sure when it starts "happening". Oh, yes, one more thing I'm doing now that I never did before: doing guided meditations each and every day. Seems to really help disengaging from my obsessive, repressive mental habits. I would recommend doing the meditation exercises included with Dr Shubiner's book as you work your way through the written exercises. Then, after your done with the book, going through the sequence of meditations on a regular basis. Seems to reinforce what you've learned at the same time they keep you relaxed. But I do a bunch of other meditations too. Whatever helps you, "Hang Loose", as the title of that new Alabama Shakes' single emphasizes.
    veronica73 and G.R. like this.
  18. hecate105

    hecate105 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Layne, do you think you might be excessively competitive? Cos that might be something to work on...I'm the other way - if I don't think i'd be good at it - I don't bother. I'm working on that...

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