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Giving Up Stuff that Helps?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by MsMetaP, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. MsMetaP

    MsMetaP Peer Supporter

    I'd like to know how people give up things that "seemed" to help. In my quest for relief for the sciatica, my neighbor recommended her chiropractor. I had never gone to one, and thought most were quacks, but I was at the stage of "I'll try anything" when she suggested it. Lucky for me she didn't suggest something more weird than that!

    Anyway, I went to this guy and he put me on a course of spinal decompression which actually helped. I know it was probably the placebo effect, but it was the first relief I had in over a year. Anyway...long story short, my insurance won't pay for the decompression, so I couldn't keep going. So I purchased this thing that stretches the spine and it "seemed" to help like the chiropractor's machine did.

    Now...I KNOW that according to Sarno, I must give this up and I'm having a hard time of it. So far, I have not used it since finishing the first Sarno book, on 4/16, but it's so tempting. I had a lot of pain this morning and almost gave in.

    I know it's easy to give up stuff that doesn't work. But how did you all give up things that did seem to offer relief?
    Endless luke likes this.
  2. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    I think you can drop the spinal stretcher--it sounds like the kind of thing that is enforcing the idea that there is something physically wrong with you.

    Letting go of treatments was a concern of mine too. I'm a holistic health practitioner so I had been treating my chronic headaches with a lot of holistic modalities, some of which I was using for headaches plus just overall wellness (ex: vitamin supplements that I also take because I don't eat a lot of meat; aromatherapy that I also just use as perfume, etc.).

    I asked my TMS doctor about this and he recommended giving up anything that reinforced the idea that there was something structurally wrong. For me this was physical therapy exercises, a pillow that was about as soft as a rock, massage that was specifically for the muscles that were supposedly responsible for my headaches, etc. My doctor said it was OK to use other things that were more general, like massage for relaxation, the vitamins, etc.

    I'm in the process of getting rid of all the gadgets I accumulated over the years that I thought would help me--I can't believe how much crap I have!!
    Endless luke and MsMetaP like this.
  3. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Although what Veronica says makes total sense to me, (and I believe is the way to go) I think that once or twice with the old spinal stretcher can't hurt. Yes, we're to think "psychologically" not "physically". But I have found that I'm naturally giving up the few aides I have left. For instance I used to use a heating pad on my lower back at night but no longer need it. I do however use it to relive the pain that moved into my neck. I find it comforting at the end of the day.

    I think it may depend also on your anxiety levels. I have a lot of anxiety and to simply "dump" all my aides didn't feel right at first. But when I notice I no longer need things, I drop them off with confidence. For instance, I no longer wear the SI belts (I have a bunch) to work outdoors or go hiking. Those I feel confident about. Plus they were terribly uncomfortable.

    I accept this diagnosis, but every once in awhile, it's comforting to have that heat still on the parts of my body that ache at night. I will eventually get rid of my heating pad. I know that one night I'll simply want it anymore.


    Gotta run - husband's back is "out" and he is calling me. Wonder what brought this on????
    MsMetaP and veronica73 like this.
  4. MsMetaP

    MsMetaP Peer Supporter

    Hmmm....I like both answers. And I guess, since I don't take pain meds at all, that the spinal stretch won't hurt in a pinch (pun intended?). Thanks BG and Veronica.
  5. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    You might find after a while you just don't feel the need to use it. I used to use this back massager/theracane and just decided to stop and see what happened (nothing happened). It has been hanging on my closet door unused for months so now seems like a good time to toss it--or keep it for times when I can't reach things high up in my closet!
  6. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    One problem with back traction that I've heard about is that it just plain can't do what you think it's doing. There's no way you can apply enough torque with one of those things to "pull your vertebrae" apart so they don't press on an adjacent nerves. Sure, sometimes when heat is applied to the region and a patient is put on a traction bed, back pain symptoms do decrease, but there's no real bio-mechanical reason for that occurring. In other words, the whole hot compress back traction procedure functions as an elaborate placebo. I guess the only real way of addressing the root cause of the back spasms and resulting sciatica is to do what Dr Sarno advises: Stop the spasms at the source by changing the biochemistry of your brain so that it stops sending signals to your back muscles to contract. Yesterday, after taking a long vigorous bike ride the day before, my sciatica did act up so much that I tried some piriformis muscle stretches on a chair in the gym to stop the spasms. They did work a bit I must say, but that can't do anything about reprogramming the brain so it doesn't signal the piriformis muscle to contract in the first place. It really does seem as though you have to eliminate all physical props from your therapeutic arsenal and get back to where the problem originates in your own psychology. To move from the less known to the unknown, I speculate that riding the bike harder and faster than I'd done in over three years probably challenged the way my nerve pathways have been programmed, so they fought back a bit. Again, like Dr. Sarno says, you just have wait a while for the pain to subside and go back there and challenge your programming again. No doubt it will hurt more in the short run, but in the long run you'll only get better and better. Just takes some courage, right?
  7. Endless luke

    Endless luke Well known member

    I did this but it took me a few tries to get rid of everything. The first time through I got rid of some major items including these calf muscle stretchers that I wore every night and one item that held my shoulder down. Yet it took me a long time to get rid of these earth shoes (negative heel) which I used to wear. Eventually I decided that having my belief at 70% was something holding me back so I started writing in my journal that "I have TMS" and repeated it many times. That allowed me to get rid of the earth shoes.

    I won't say that throwing the items away feels great because it's scary throwing away something that you think you depend on but there is a sense of relief that you won't be torturing yourself with some elaborate device any more.
  8. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Part of the reason we develop TMS is because we have a fear of the unknown. We are afraid of what will happen if we express our anger, rage, sadness or frustration. The same psychological elements are behind our difficulty in letting go of our aid, gadgets and devices. I have a drawer full of these things. I kind of want to sell them on ebay or craigslist, but I always feel bad because they are forcing someone else to think they are damaged. I struggled at first to stop using these devices, because, as with my emotions, I feared what would happen if I didn't. Mostly I feared that I would cause permanent damage. What really helped me was reminding myself that, even though I had these devices for so long they really did not lessen my symptoms any. Once I stopped using them, I was finally able to stop thinking of myself as damaged.
    Endless luke likes this.
  9. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    It seems as though the US population is so propagandized about the virtue of knee, wrist and back braces that you even hear about 27 year olds wanting to get one at the first sign of knee pain and/or injury. Instead of strengthening the muscles, they instantly want to reach for a mechanical device to aid in their "healing". Talk about an entire population conditioned to believe in the intrinsic weakness of their bodies. I watched a YouTube video last night on the rise of the Roman Empire during the 1st century BC. Those Roman legionnaires marched 50 miles a day carrying 60 lbs of personal equipment and heavy armor and still met and defeated 100,000 Germans on the Po River plane. Not one of them complained about knee or back problems. In fact, they only got stronger and nastier with each battle. Sure seems like a need for orthopedic devices has been artificially instilled in our population by the media and word-of-mouth from fellow sufferers. Rummaging through the drawers in my bedroom the other day, I came across a wrist and a big knee wrap and thought to myself: "How in the world could those things do anything whatsoever to help me get over the pain in my wrist and leg?" Utterly useless.
    Lily Rose and Endless luke like this.
  10. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    I've thrown out nearly all of this stuff. Like you said Forest, I don't want to be enabling anyone else by selling/donating that stuff. The only thing I kept intentionally was my orthotics...I felt bad throwing them out since I spend $600 on them. I never wear them though.
    Endless luke likes this.
  11. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I've still got my orthotics, Veronica. Used to use them in my running shoes. But now that I look back on it, I remember running major mileage with a pair of old Korean tennis shoes I picked up at Shoes-R-Us years ago. Those pair worked just as well as all those newfangled Nikes for trail running. Sturdy rough out leather with fine grained solid rubber soles. Loved 'em to death (that is, until the disintegrated). Then, I bought another pair. Sounds like the marketeers have borrowed the Big Lie from Dr. Goebbels and raised the volume a couple hundred decibels until the consumer audience believes it because it been repeated so often it's become dogma.
    veronica73 likes this.
  12. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    We are not fragile pieces of porcelain. Our bodies are strong--yes even our backs.

    My opinion is as long as you are using such devices, you are indeed reinforcing the "physical" side to your brain. It may be comforting in the moment, but really, it is likely prologing the time it takes you to recover fully. I remember how I liked one thing the physical therapist did--some electrical thingie--as it helped with the pain for a little while--a very little while. Since the pain came back, I knew that device was NOT the answer to my pain. Fortunately I took what Dr. Sarno said seriously and dropped p/t and worked on my emotional healing. The physical healing followed.

    I would suggest continuing to read the book you started. Then read it again so the information sinks in. It takes time for this to happen.

    Best wishes !
  13. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Just want to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day and hope
    everyone will be pain free tomorrow!

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