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Daniel L. Frustration with pain

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by Guest, Sep 18, 2014.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

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    Question
    I'm really starting to lose it. I've had chronic back pain, which I now realize to be TMS for about 2 years now. I've understood TMS before now through reading the books, but now I've really been trying to apply it.

    I've been working out again and I really like working out, but the pain that I feel during certain moves is so unbelievably frustrating. I immediately just think, mid workout "screw this, it isn't worth it. I can't do this stretch" or whatever. I try and convince myself that the pain isn't real and that there's nothing wrong with my back, but the farther that I stretch, lift, etc, the more excruciating the pain becomes.

    I think that everyone with chronic pain comes to a point when they would give anything for the pain to stop, I'm at that point. I just want to move on with my life.
     
  2. Daniel G Lyman LCSW

    Daniel G Lyman LCSW TMS Therapist

    Answer
    First of all, I never tell my clients that their pain isn’t real, so I’d encourage you to stop doing the same. If you’re feeling pain, then the pain is real! It just might not be a structurally caused issue (have you been checked out by a doctor? How confident are you that this pain is TMS?).

    Secondly, you’re at the point where doing certain exercises/activities is strongly linked with the pain. You know the pain is TMS, but when you try and convince yourself of that in the moment, it doesn’t help – the pain still shows up! As you probably already know, this is a concept that we define as “conditioned response.” You are conditioned to believe that the pain will follow after certain movements. Good news – you’re right! The pain most certainly WILL come when you do those moves – for now.

    Here’s the trick – in order for that pain to go away, you have teach yourself not to care that the pain shows up. So I’d encourage you just to accept that the next time you do that exercise, your pain will show up. It’s nearly 100% reliable.

    So here’s what you do: Go into the exercise knowing that your pain will show up. But, do the exercise anyway. Repeat. Then, (and here’s the tricky part) be proud of yourself for doing it! You just pushed yourself in a way that is not only psychologically hard, but also physically painful! You’re demonstrating to your pain that you’re not afraid of it. In fact, when you push through it, it’s a cause for celebration.

    If you truly know your pain to be TMS, then the only power it has over you is your fear of the pain itself. Doing this exercise and teaching yourself not to care, but instead celebrate your accomplishment will being the process of eliminating the fear. I know it’s tough, but it’s possible. Just have patience, and confidence in that you can do it. Read some of the success stories here on the wiki when you start to doubt.


    Any advice or information provided here does not and is not intended to be and should not be taken to constitute specific professional or psychological advice given to any group or individual. This general advice is provided with the guidance that any person who believes that they may be suffering from any medical, psychological, or mindbody condition should seek professional advice from a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions. No general advice provided here should be taken to replace or in any way contradict advice provided by a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions.

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    Durga and blake like this.
  3. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    Good stuff, Daniel, thank you! You said, "You’re demonstrating to your pain that you’re not afraid of it. In fact, when you push through it, it’s a cause for celebration." This reminds me of Kanhamen's notion that we all have an experiencing self and a remembering self. If I understand him correctly, ending the experience with a good feeling means we are much more likely to remember the entire experience positively. What a great way to build motivation for next time!

    We could also add a celebratory "Yay for me!" at the height of the experience. That might enhance the good memory even more.
     
    Durga, Ellen and blake like this.
  4. blake

    blake Well known member

    Hello guest,

    Nothing fun about pain. It can definitely be frustrating at times.

    I've tried many different tms techniques, as I think most people do. Sometimes, it can take a while to figure out what will work for us, since we are all so different.

    Right now, what is helping me - in addition to journaling and this forum - is Alan Gordon's article on outcome independence on( tmswiki). I read it at least two to three times a week. Might sound strange, but it is really helping me keep going about my business without paying much attention to the pain. It also keeps me feeling positive and clear on my purpose; pain can certainly derail our best intentions and reminding myself of the basics is one way I can stay focused.

    Best of luck to you,
    Blake
     
    Ellen likes this.

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