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Callie K. Having Flexibility in Recovery

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by happyMcWow, Oct 31, 2017.

  1. happyMcWow

    happyMcWow New Member

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    Question
    Hi,
    I’m following the SEP and I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2006. Now, since learning about TMS, I’ve been doing more and thinking psychological. My question is about muscle tightness and soreness that I’ve been experiencing since increasing my physical activity.
    Should I just push through, or am I ‘allowed’ to stretch since it appears to be the affect of my muscles being used more or am I wrong and it’s also a manifestation of TMS?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2017
  2. Callie Klebanoff MSW

    Callie Klebanoff MSW TMS Therapist

    Answer


    Thank you for your question. It is very common when people begin TMS work there are concerns about what activities and behaviors “go against the rules” of TMS recovery. I want to start from the beginning, it sounds like since you have increased your physical activity you have been experiencing some muscle tightness and soreness. First off, this is completely normal. Often when we start to engage in activities or behaviors that our brain has previously perceived as dangerous there can be fear in doing those activities, and as such, we experience pain-related symptoms because fear is the fuel for pain. Your body is engaging in activities and pushing itself harder than it has in a long time, even if you didn’t have Fibromyalsia/TMS it is not a surprise your body would be sore and tight! However, for people who have TMS the normal sensations of tightness and soreness are amplified and feels significantly more painful.

    To your main question- it sounds like you have some uncertainty attached to whether stretching is “allowed.” This question comes up in all different shapes and sizes in treatment: “Am I allowed to take an Advil” or “is it okay if I go get a massage,” or “is it okay to see an acupuncturist if it relaxes me?” Our brain can interpret the uncertainty of the question of whether we are doing everything “right,” as a potential threat. And when our brain senses a threat we have pain. This anxiety can lead to a variety of sensations including muscle tension, tightness and inflammation. Often people with TMS feel a pressure to do things perfectly, and this doesn’t stop at their TMS treatment. It is important to strike balance between being mindful of doing all the right things and not putting pressure on yourself to do everything perfectly. That pressure and uncertainty of whether something is right or wrong is probably doing more damage to your brain than the action itself.

    This being said, my rule of thumb in treatment is do what feels good! If it feels good to stretch or get a massage then do it as long as you can be kind to yourself and neutralize the fear that what you are doing is “wrong.” Getting a massage or stretching can feel good and relieve stress- TMS is fueled by stress. If stretching helps to loosen your muscles then stretch! We all need to stretch sometimes!

    My only caution is engaging in behaviors that send a message to your brain that there is actually a physical problem (i.e going to a chiropractor, physical therapist or getting cortisone injections). This may differ for individuals depending on what the activity in question means to them, what they believe it accomplishes, and the orientation of their practitioner providing the treatment (i.e. they are versed in mind/body issues). While psychogenic pain can cause physical symptoms, the cure is not in physical remedies and some physical remedies can actually send a signal to your brain to associate the physical sensation of pain as a physical problem. This being said, let’s say you do one of the aforementioned things- it is not the end of the world. You are probably just doing this because you’re scared that if you don’t the pain is going to get worse. Sometimes when the pain is really bad it is impossible not to be afraid so give yourself a break in these moments. A good day is a day when you are able to respond to your symptoms free of fear- this is what leads to recovery. But if there is a day when you are scared and fearful and you go to the chiropractor or take a pain med don’t turn on yourself- all it has to be is a bad day, not a failure. Be kind to yourself and try again to respond without fear.


    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.

    The general advice and information provided in this format is for informational purposes only and cannot serve as a way to screen for, identify, or diagnose depression, anxiety, or other psychological conditions. If you feel you may be suffering from any of these conditions please contact a licensed mental health practitioner for an in-person consultation.

    Questions may be edited for brevity and/or readability.

     
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