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Graded exposure vs just do it

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Bk1959, Feb 20, 2023.

  1. Bk1959

    Bk1959 New Member

    I have been reading about different approaches to reincorporation of activity. Several people on this forum have talked about just adding in exercise and activities they had previously stopped, no matter the pain. Other things I read talk about using graded exposure and going slowly. IE walking for 5 minutes, then 6, etc.

    Previously I had been walking 5+ miles per day, 4 days average at the gym, and running a couple miles a few times per week. Once I had stopped most of this, things got worse, as would be expected. Once I discovered TMS, I have been not as afraid to add activities. I walk the dog every day, 1-2 miles. This is definitely not something I would add in slowly. I need to walk the dog.

    I have added a few easy workouts, trying to walk more, would like to start running again, but, although I don’t think I am getting worse, do not feel as though anything is improving. I have pain 24/7. Mostly manageable, but 10 minutes into a walk everything gets worse. Sometimes I am talking with friends during the walk not focusing on the pain, sometimes I do some somatic tracking during the walk.

    Have been working with the curable app, along with several Sarno books and the SEP on this site.

    Wondering about anyone’s thoughts or experiences with graded exposure or just jumping right in. I know everyone’s experience is different. Just trying to get a sense.

  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I just read someone's new post from today explaining how he used a personal trainer to regain confidence. I'm probably decades older than either of you, but in fact that's what I did at age 60, and it was the best thing I ever did. She pushed me to do things I'd never done before, and I loved it. There were days when the thought of going to the gym was horrifying but I dragged myself up and out anyway because I'd made the commitment to be there, and every time I felt amazing afterwards. I highly recommend it!
    Ellen and Bonnard like this.
  3. Bk1959

    Bk1959 New Member

    Thanks Jan. I too am working with a trainer (picked up on some other posts by you that I’ve read). This is working ok. I don’t necessarily feel better when I leave, but also don’t feel worse. I do feel as though a I am stronger and maybe can stretch a few muscles I have been unable to stretch previously.

    I decided to go for a mini run yesterday (1/2 hour run-walk). Started to get some increase in pain about 1/2 way through but finished the run. By the end of the day, I was in a significant amount of pain. I realize I am not necessarily hurting anything, but wondering if I am telling my brain “every time you run it will hurt”, or “don’t worry, even if it hurts, you can still run”.

    Same thing happens when I walk the dog. By the time I get back to the car I there is significant pain. Sometimes it subsides after a bit, sometimes it just gets worse through the day. Just not sure if I am reinforcing the walk/pain cycle and not able to find many exceptions.

  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    You might be overthinking. What would happen if you let go of the need to record and analyze all these details and instead spend some time visualizing how you are in a struggle between you and your unconscious fearful brain? After all, the whole purpose of the TMS brain mechanism is to keep us in fear - alert and on edge and worried about surviving. Our brains are extremely resistant to giving this up, for whatever reasons that are probably unique to you. Instead of analyzing your exercise details, you could spend your time and energy to find those reasons (what is lurking in your subconscious that your brain feels it needs to repress? It might not even be very significant if uncovered). And, even though this is a struggle, perhaps even a battle, can you forgive your brain for trying to protect you? And have compassion for yourself while you're at it?

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