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

Alan Gordon How can I prevent a conditioned response?

Discussion in 'Mindbody Blogs (was Practitioner's Corner)' started by yb44, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I asked Alan Gordon, LCSW the following question:

    Forest and veronica73 like this.
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is a terrific response by Alan Gordon. Conditioned responses are really, one of the most difficult things for TMSers to overcome, and I loved how Alan described it as It isn’t the sitting that’s causing my back pain, it’s the belief that sitting is causing my back pain that’s causing my back pain. It comes down to how we view our symtoms, where our focus is, and understanding the TMS/PPD process. This was defiently the case with me and typing. I used to think that typing caused my wrists and arms to hurt, but this was just a conditioned response. By utitlizing similar thougts as the one's Alan mentioned I was able to break this conditioned response.

    This really is the whole trick to recovery, and where education plays such a big role. Once we understand what is going one we can begin to take away that fear of our symptoms and start to turn our focus on something else.
  3. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Having had panic disorder too, I can really relate to this. As far as pain goes, in addition to wanting to blame it on something physical like sitting in a certain chair, I also have found that certain thoughts/feelings can trigger the pain (having too much to do = I might get a headache and have to stop what I'm doing = letting other people down = pain). Now I'm trying to just let myself have those thoughts or feelings and realize that does not mean I have to go into physical pain.
    Livvygurl likes this.
  4. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    definitely familiar with the conditioned response. the more you have TMS i think the more you find things you "think" are causing you more pain. the more i read about the eye problem the more little things would pop up that i would fear. social anxiety became a big one whenever im in social situations my pain goes up. as i was doing vision therapy i thought certain exercises were causing me more pain and then i started associating those exercises with increased levels. it gets to the point where you first had pain only at certain times or by doing certain activites but then it turns into most of the things you do cause you pain now. i think it all relates to that conditioned response that you "expect the pain to occur when you do this, so it does. its not happening because of the activity but by your expectation of it."

    it was a stressful weekend for sure socially and i noticed the symptoms increase substantially even though i wasn't doing anything with my eyes. somehow stress got linked between my eyestrain levels and things i associate with increasing stress level.
  5. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    this truly explains why i had pain even when i hadn't used the computer for 3 days. this whole weekend i didn't use the computer at all but still had the same eyestrain/pulling feeling because of the conditioned response i associated with social anxiety. i had a vacation where i was outdoors doing no nearpoint activities for 3 days straight and i had the same pain sensations. i remember being on the lake and all i could think about was that the wind was going to make my eyes hurt more. there was beautiful scenery all around but i couldn't stop worrying about the damn wind. this started when i read an article a couple years ago that mentioned issues with the wind and the eyes. as i said in the post above the more you read and associate with increasing symptoms, the more it happens which is why google is so bad for people with TMS.

    this is one of the hardest things to do i think. you have to be willing to accept that you don't care if you have pain or not which is something i really really struggle with which im sure a ton of you do as well. my thoughts are always black and white which i think perpetuates the pain "if I have any pain at all, its not good enough." i need to switch my thinking to "i dont care if i have pain or not" because that truly gets rid of the fear and attention that fuels the pain. i found this out the hard way in the past as well. the more i tried to get rid of the pain, the more i worried about it, the worse it seemed to get. when i just decided screw it i dont care if its there anymore the pain in my arm went away on its own.
  6. quasar731

    quasar731 Well known member

    Forest, I am going to throw a spanner in the works here. Sometimes when I am with a friend the pain does not exist but sometimes it does. I don't go out with my friends thinking oh gosh! sitting will hurt. It just happens or not. There is not 'clear' pattern. Today the symptoms were hideous as I sat with a friend at lunch time. The same happened yesterday when I sat with a friend for lunch too.

    I was with my therapist last Tuesday and oh boy! I was twisting with symptoms to the point that she was more anxious about me than I was about myself. I was wriggling on the chair to get some relief from the sitting position. As you can see I am not having the most brilliant week!:( I feel like quitting everything. I feel like I am not in the right place. I want to pack my bags and leave this state. I had it of my injuries and the surgery accompanying it. There have been days that are like nightmares from which I cannot wake up.

    On Saturday I am going out with another friend. This is an ex-peer from university. We always have a high just talking about themes we have in common from our interests in science. Generally I do not have pain when I am talking to her. So I will observe myself.

    I am also going away from 28 June until 22 July to stay with my daughter in the Sunshine Coast in QLD. Hopefully her beautiful place and a change of environments may help[. I will make the point to observe symptoms when I am in her place. If I do not have the symptoms that I have here at home, I will have to consider that I am associating the place where we live with the injuries that I have and if this is the case it will be a conundrum indeed!

    All will pass, I just had a tough week.

    Thank you!
  7. Susan

    Susan Peer Supporter

    Great information on conditioned responses. I was researching this concrete yesterday and did not get the concrete type of suggestion provided. I am resisting joining my husband and watching some tv with him because of the possibility thay sitting will be uncomfortable. Now I have a strategy to use if sitting becomes uncomfortable. I have a note card with the key statements you make and I will take it with me when I decide it is time to sit. Thanks!
  8. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    im posting this from another thread i just posted in too that has to do with the conditioned response that i think applies here as well:

    something interesting i noticed today is that the glasses that were prescribed to me have a conditioning effect too i believe. they are very low power glasses (+.37 sphere) so they shouldn't make my eye strain any worse. however when i was going through vision therapy i started thinking maybe the glasses were causing more harm than good even though the doctor repeatedly said they would help me. so i started worrying about them and now when i put them on in the back of my mind im questioning "are these helping or hurting me?" which of course i know is conditioned. another example of conditioning i need to break. the reason i bring this up is because i was still on the RSS feed for the vision therapy center and i saw this article about the doctor i went to see prescribing the same type of glasses for himself as he did for me for computer eye strain. of course when he used his glasses though it got rid of his fatigue completely which further proves the psychological issue going on with me. the link is here:


    During the vision therapy i was getting scared because i wasn't getting results, was putting a lot of money into it, so i think i conditioned myself to start worrying about the treatments i was being prescribed too which essentially prevents something from helping at all if you constantly have the thought in your head that "this isn't going to work". if you think that initially theres a good chance it wont
  9. KathyJ

    KathyJ New Member

    Hi, I'm a new member. I related to your post from a long time ago so wanted to reply to it. I have a lot of trouble sitting, and it spreads over to a problem with driving. These are very conditioned responses for me . Sounds like you went through something similar. How are you doing now? Can you tell me how you got through the conditioned response of pain with sitting? Thank you so much for any offerings you may have

Share This Page