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Ignoring the pain

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by JohnL, May 15, 2012.

  1. JohnL

    JohnL New Member

    I have chronic piriformis and leg pain (24/7) as well as occasional intense shoulder and knee pain.

    My question is this: In the past when I have ignored my shoulder and knee pain and continued physical activities the pain would escalate to the point where, in the case of shoulder pain, I just could not lift my arm for over a year or, in the case of knee pain, I could not walk without limping for many months. However, at the slightest onset of pain, if I "respected" the pain and limited my physical activities to avoid the pain then it would gradually subside in a few days to the point where I would be pain free.
    I've read that to conquer TMS you must ignore the pain when it tries to distract you. How can I do this when it essentially disables me and my experience has proven the opposite?
    Thanks for any help you can offer.
  2. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member

    Hi John,

    That's a very interesting question and I look forward to other people's responses. I know that sometimes I get a really bad neck or back pain and I just absolutely can't even bend my back or neck the slightest bit without very bad pain. I do take some time off and let it subside before I tackle physical activities again. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Sometimes there really might be an injury or a muscle strain and like any real injury it heals in a short amount of time and then you're back in business. In January, I went snowboarding and on one of the last runs after 2 days on the mountain I was going down a challenging run when I felt a twinge in my back as I was carving a hard turn. Almost immediately, I felt pain and stiffness and I knew I did something. I was in pain for a few days, moving around like I was 90 yrs old, but I was back to normal in a week. I could be wrong, but I don't think that was TMS. Maybe it was, but it resolved on it's own and I was back in business in just a few days.

    However, I wanted to say something about this statement you wrote and perhaps this will give you some insight into your question about ignoring pain and the pain continuing for abnormal amounts of time (months or years) which I do think is TMS (i.e. chronic pain)
    The statement is incorrect and I think it's important to make a distinction because it's the difference between being stuck in pain and getting un-stuck. Ignoring the pain doesn't help. (Disclaimer: What follows is pretty much what I have learned from Monte Hueftle's "Master Practice") Pain ought to be viewed as a SIGNAL. A signal to think psychological. What does this mean? It means to accept the pain as a signal to become aware of thoughts, feelings, or typical TMS personality traits that are being exhibited in the present moment. For me personally I have found that I am able to overcome pain when I am able to become aware of my thinking patterns that are generating the inner tension and repressing emotional energy. When I get the signal, I stop thinking of the pain, distract myself from it, and I redirect my mind to start probing my thoughts looking for a thought that is negative (worry, fear, striving, controlling, etc) and then I redirect my mind to a more positive thought or series of thoughts. I carry a written mantra that I read sometimes If I can't think of something. Or I might recognize that I'm exhibiting a certain personality trait such as people-pleasing or being overly self-conscious. I become aware of it and I redirect my thinking to something more open. For example, if I notice that I'm worried about what other people will think of me, I change my thoughts and say "I don't care what others think of me. I'm just going to be the very best person that I can be and do the very best job that I can do. That's within my control. I can't control what other people think. Let them think what they want to think." This is "active" whereas ignoring the pain is passive and keeps you stuck in that inner-tension generating mode which created the pain in the first place and keeps it around.

    If I have pain all the time, the I'm pulling out that "mantra" card all the time. If' I'm walking the the street pain free and suddenly I feel some pain in my Achilles tendon (like happened today) I pull out my card and read it and then move on. My card says something very simple on it: "Thank you for signaling me and making me aware of my thoughts and feelings. I know what you're trying to do. I don't think that way any more. I don't need you any more." This might sound incredible simplistic, but it's sending a very powerful message to your subconscious.

    Hope that helps!
    jennyc19, SebastianM, Ines and 5 others like this.
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Enrique's post is probably the best advice you could hear about your situation. Can TMSers get acute structural injuries? Yes, the difference is that these injuries heal on their own in a relative short time frame. I believe the general thought is that if pain remains after 3 months then TMS could be the culprit. It sounds like while some of your symptoms worsen when you exercise, some of them are also present all of the time.

    I love the idea of using the symptoms as a signal that Enrique mentioned. This is a great practice and can really help you change the way you view your symptoms and how they relate to your emotions and personality. Recovery is not about ignoring our symptoms, but about understanding what is going on psychologically.
  4. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    I used to get very bad tailbone pain (allegedly due to childbirth--later was assured by Dr. Sarno that it had healed long ago) so I hesitated to do any exercise that involved leaning on that part mainly because I was afraid it would hurt or somehow be harmful.

    A few months after my back pain went away (after very painful and incapacitating episode) the tailbone pain remained when exercising sometimes. However one day I decided I was no longer afraid and said to myself: "Dr. Sarno said this had healed, there is no way I'm injuring myself by doing this so @$%^&*# I am doing this rowing exercise" and proceeded to lean back on my butt/tailbone and do it. That talk with myself did the trick. I can now do any such exercise pain-free for years now. So for me it was overcoming the fear that I was still injured.
    Forest likes this.
  5. stayfit65

    stayfit65 Peer Supporter

    My pain varies between burning back pain and dull aching. I have been going thru Dr. Schubiner's program for the last 3 weeks or so but embraced the TMS theory about 3 months ago. Some days I feel good, but others my back is burning and aching again...can fatigue make your symptoms worse do you think? It seems like Fridays are the most difficult for me. I'm thinking I'm mentally exhausted from the week. Then Saturday I can get up and run 6-8 miles and feel fine, but by Sunday it's back...any thoughts on this? Why is it still waxing and waning? Is it just going to take some more time???
  6. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    And I used to get some type of ailment on SUNDAY evening. . . before the workweek. I eventually figured out it was the end of the weekend and getting ready for the workweek needed a perspective change for me!

    I also sometimes still get some type of ailment the day before a vacation is ending. That one just makes me laugh!

    It takes time for this new way of thinking to sink in. If you keep working at it, you'll see results. :)
  7. BeWell

    BeWell Well known member

    [Deleted at BeWell's request]
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 6, 2016
  8. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member

    I have the same type of issues !
  9. Cara

    Cara Peer Supporter

    I have noticed the same thing! My pain is worst getting ready for work, at the end of the week, and Sunday night. I haven't yet had success getting it to go away, but noticing that pattern has helped me think psychologically. Also, I had a really really bad pain day on Tuesday and went to bed at dinnertime. I had been getting 5 hours of sleep a night and that night slept for 10. The next day was MUCH better. Is that the sleep or the psychological change of letting myself have what I wanted/needed? Either way, it tells me I need to figure out a way to prioritize sleep more.
  10. BeWell

    BeWell Well known member

    [Deleted at BeWell's request]
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 6, 2016

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