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

Fear and TMS equivalents

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Deepster, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. Deepster

    Deepster Peer Supporter


    I'm going to start with some specifics and end with a general question about overcoming fear to heal TMS.

    I have had a variety of TMS symptoms and TMS equivalents (and still have some). Many of them are what I think of as "classic" TMS (RSI-type symptoms, neck and shoulder stiffness and pain, knee pain, etc.) In the case of these symptoms, I could very easily relate to an element of fear that surrounded each symptom (e.g. "Will my knee hurt if I bend down in this way?"). Overcoming this fear has had a dramatic effect on my symptoms. For example, my knee used to hurt after doing a single shallow squat. Now I can do 50 deep squats in a row with weights on my back!

    One of my TMS equivalents in acid reflux. The way it manifests for me is that I might wake up in the middle of the night and experience some reflux. I'll often have a snack to settle the heartburn and then go back to bed a little while later. I've gotten to the point where I don't really worry about it too much---it's a nuisance being woken up in the night, but it doesn't stop me from living my life.

    So here's my question. One of the tools in healing TMS is to work with the fear that your symptoms instill in you around the activities you enjoy doing. (In short, "just do it!") But what if you have a symptom that doesn't instill you with any such fear? What are some other approaches that one could take?
  2. Solange

    Solange Well known member

    Hi there Deepster. Last year I had a very painful left heel when I walked, this came out of the blue and I'd never been troubled by my feet before.
    Now strange to tell, since I am the world's worst worrier, it simply didn't bother me because I didn't believe in it. Unlike other symptoms which I have to struggle to ignore, I just found it really easy to dismiss this as just another attempt of TMS to get my attention. It hurt to walk but I didn't care about it and just kept telling my mind it would have to do better than that to distract me. It hung around for about ten days then just disappeared. So, for me, treating the symptom with slight contempt and not giving in to it in any way was what worked. I also use this approach on migraines and have been pretty successful. Hope this helps.
    tigerlilly likes this.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Deepster, Solange has given you excellent advice with her example about her heel pain going away by ignoring it.

    In Healing Back Pain, Dr. Sarno gives another example of not letting ourselves be conditioned to feel or think we feel pain if we do
    something physical and it relates to your bending over question.

    "A woman who could bend over and could touch her palms to the floor without pain told me she always felt pain
    when she put her shoes on. Many of these conditioned responses stem from the fear that people develop
    when they have back pain, especially in the low back. They have been told and they have read that the back is fragile,
    vulnerable and easily injured, so if they try to do something vigorous, like jog or swim or vacuum the floor,
    their backs begin to hurt. They have learned to associate activity with pain; they expect it, so it happens.
    This is conditioning.

    "The specific posture or activity that brings on the pain is not important per se. What is essential is to know that
    it has been programmed in as a part of the TMS and is, therefore, of psychological rather than physical significance."

    So don't associate being in bed asleep with getting heartburn. Try deep breathing, relax, and tell yourself it's just your
    unconscious wanting you to find repressed emotions that cause the symptom. But don't lie awake thinking about
    the repressed emotions. Do that sometime during the day when you have 20 minutes to journal about them.

    Hope this helps. You sound like you know how to handle TMS and are doing really well.
  4. Deepster

    Deepster Peer Supporter

    Thanks Walt and Solange!

Share This Page