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I'm confused about stretching....

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by JohnP79, May 8, 2020.

  1. JohnP79

    JohnP79 New Member

    I'm wondering if someone can help me out with this, I'm probably just not grasping the concept here.
    I've always been chronically "tight" especially low body. Sports medicine doctors have told me I have the worse hamstring range of motion they have ever seen. I now suspect that this was TMS and that I've been suffering for 20ish years. It wasanageable over the years though so I didn't pay it much attention. 18 months ago though the back pain became unbearable and drastically affected my life. I was lucky enough to find Healing Back Pain and treating things as TMS has been the only "needle mover" for me in 18 months. I buy in completely!
    I've returned to walking , some running and weightlifting, all of which were out of the question while I was suffering. After workouts though, I'm still getting pretty intense DOMS and I feel a need to stretch things out.
    I feel like I need to stretch and here is my rationale....
    My muscles have been held so tight and oxygen deprived for so long that they need to regain the ROM that is missing.
    I just don't want to be subconsciously reinforcing that this is a physical problem- I know it's not!
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Miriam G. Bongiovanni

    Miriam G. Bongiovanni Peer Supporter

    Hey John,

    Well done for curing yourself using the TMS approach, so glad it worked for you!

    Are you increasing the intensity of your workouts each time, or do you feel that you're getting DOMS after the same workout? And if it's the latter case, how often do you do these workouts? DOMS isn't a bad thing if you're constantly challenging your body during workouts; in fact, in my case, I feel that I haven't really pushed myself if I don't feel any soreness at all the next day!

    About stretching, I think it's true that TMSers may struggle more with tight hamstrings and ligaments - I see it in myself, I'm completely free of pain but I am quite inflexible considering the sports I do. But then again, I spend a lot of time sitting down because of my job, and that certainly doesn't help. I don't think it's because our muscles have been oxygen deprived for so long - it might be that we simply are still holding more tension in our bodies than we need to, even though this tension is not so bad as to generate intense TMS pain.

    Whether or not you treat this problem as TMS depends on the severity of your tightness I guess. Tight hamstrings don't have to hurt unless you're doing a stretching exercise that targets the hamstring (in this case it's normal to feel some pain, and this wouldn't be TMS, but just your hamstrings stretching out).

    If you would simply like to become more flexible, there's nothing wrong with stretching out (without constantly telling yourself that you're inflexible though!) You could try yoga combined with breathing and vizualisation - while stretching, simply breathe and vizualise your ligaments relaxing and getting looser. If you've already been stretching and see no improvement, it's worth looking into your beliefs... do you believe that your body is inflexible? Can you really see yourself being more flexible? Just like TMS, if you don't 'see' the outcome as possible, then you would be blocking your progress. So even if the problem is 'physical' (i.e. tight hamstrings), you can still help yourself on a mental level by vizualising a more flexible self and believing in this new vision.

    I hope I haven't confused you. Wish you the best of luck!


    TMS Coach & Mindbody Practitioner
    Free of Fear and plum like this.
  3. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    With that type of awareness you can do anything you damn well please and will NOT be reinforcing the TMS. The very fact that you are worried about this is an indicator of how well you understood the text. I am a "Healing Back Pain' fan and still use it as my basic text all these years later.

    As I got better after reading HBP ,I dispensed with all stretching before anything . I really never did it much before the pain came, AND the people who had suggested stretching to me all did so under the 'myth' that it 'prevented injury'. Well meaning coaches, teachers and Physical therapists in the pain industry. I added that to my 'delete and recondition' list.

    Sarno was right. THat was and is BullShit.

    I have played competitive sports for years now, lifted weights and played grab-ass all without stretching...zero negative results. I was even born with a congenital fusion so I am a 'joint' short, and still have no pain or problems.... However..

    I have been trying to improve my swing (a lifetime baseball player obsession)... I did notice from some game photos that I wasn't getting fully extended and I couldn't pull the ball with authority SO in the name of being a better baseball player, I have added stretching to my pre-hitting rituals....and I can now pull the ball with authority. If I don't stretch, I stop my swing about 2/3rds of the way through... when I do stretch I get some really nice extension.

    Baseball is one of the sports OBSESSED with stretching...arms, legs, neck,etc. I have learned that when I do a little (no ritual...just moving around a little) I get better results... just like a car that has idled for a minute. I am careful to never let my brain grab onto it as a 'pain preventative' and think and coach it as a 'performance enhancer'.
    I don't know what DOMS is, but I assume from the context it is a cramp or something? Anything uncomfortable is always TMS sneaking in the back door. Oftentimes after a lot of Batting Practice I will get a cramp on one side of my obliques... I will reach to my right to grab something and it will spasm. I always grab it, exhale and laugh through the sharp pain saying out loud "F U, I know you are TMS and I am not buying into it"....and it always goes away fast. Like in seconds.

    work through any of those with the same mentality you did to get this far, and they too will go away.
    plum likes this.
  4. JohnP79

    JohnP79 New Member

    No, I am increasing the intensity of the workouts but very slowly. I definitely notice that the DOMS is worse in my "TMS muscles" (glutes, piriformis, qls and erectors) than it is in other muscles even while I'm keeping sets and reps the same.
    The stretching that I was doing before my pain got really bad was very similar to yin yoga. Long holds and lots of breathing. I never really got into yoga because of how inflexible I am lol.
    I suspect that I do see myself as "inflexible" as I've always been that way. My father and brothers are the same as well.
    Not at all confusing and thanks for the reply!
    Baseball65: DOMS = delayed onset muscle soreness (ie post workouts soreness)
    Glad to hear I'm on the right track! I hear you re: stretching as physical therapy. I stopped trying to target the muscles with stretching as soon as I read Sarnos book as well. I got rid of the idea that a specific tight muscle was causing my pain but I like the feeling of stretching and would like to be more flexible overall.
    I love what you said about your swing...I believe that mobility improves performance in everything we do and I would like to be more flexible overall.
    I really appreciate the replies, guys!
  5. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    That sounds like a nomenclature to empower soreness... Like giving TMS another name. A few of my TMS tickles (short attacks) have evolved out of soreness and paying too much attention to it

    I play hard.... IF I got angry about something during the game, losing, striking out, my playing time, or felt outgunned at any point in the game THAT can get into my unconscious and shake some old emotions lose (anger, shame, guilt, rage)....than magically the soreness is still around on Tuesday from a Sunday game. Time to do some introspection.
    plum likes this.
  6. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Personally I adore stretching. I love the way my body feels during and after. This is one of the reasons I treasure Yin Yoga so much, it’s simply a sublimely peaceful practice.

    I’m with @Baseball65 on the issue of the necessity to stretch. I didn’t bother too much with it as a dancer, the sheer love of movement was everything. Sure there were times of aching like hell afterwards but I never worried about it or patholologised the pain. I knew it would pass after a couple of days.

    I also never had anytime for physiotherapy and have seen it do more harm than good in several people. I completely understand why Sarno shelved it.

    Recalling those dance days, there were certainly two camps: the artists and the engineers. The artists were passionate and body/emotion oriented, whereas the engineers were more cerebral, mind-oriented and concerned with technical details rather than expression. There’s a great freedom in letting the body be, in trusting in its primal wisdom. The mind has a way of crushing the spirit and a tendency towards soul-destroying decisions.
  7. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    John, mind and body both need stretching. You would not stop eating if you have nausea because of TMS just because it would be too physical, right?

    I just posted this on the other thread:

    We are biologically designed for being physically active but in the past few thousand years we surrounded ourselves with civilization which robbed us of physical activity. In order to be balanced, mindbody needs to work in each and every way, but first it needs to get into a balanced state. Now that I became aware of myself, thanks to Dr. Sarno and all the people who helped me to recover, I maintain myself in a much better mental state by exercising. If I neglect my mindbody for a week or two, it responds with stiffness, both physical and mental. I am more fit and active now than before getting very sick, and that is what keeps me healthy!
    HattieNC and Mars497@ like this.
  8. JohnP79

    JohnP79 New Member

    Very interesting...I've know about DOMS for years as I have a fitness background. Never considered it to be TMS but I do now see that overall tension in my body (from my mind) causes it to be worse. Some friends who I would consider to be "very chill" don't deal with it like I do.

    Thanks man
  9. JohnP79

    JohnP79 New Member

    I find that this happens in a couple of days for me....is this (the ability to ignore the mindbody-at least for a short time) something that you found improved with TMS healing?
  10. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    @JohnP79 , i did not say "ignore", I said "neglect". My point is that if I don't exercise or meditate for couple weeks, both my body and my mind suffer. I am not sure what your question is about, because ignoring the mindbody is not a good strategy to stop experiencing pain. In order to succeed, you need to be mindful of your mindbody and mindful of your pain. It is the understanding of the origins of pain that makes a difference, while being mindful of pain does not equate to being obsessed with pain. Does it answer your question?
  11. JohnP79

    JohnP79 New Member

    I just mean that as life gets busy and hectic and you neglect meditating, journaling, exercising or whatever you find helps to acknowledge your mind body, do you find that you get a little more "slack" to do this. Are you able to neglect your mind body for longer periods as you heal from TMS? Not that I want or intend to constantly push the limits of neglect, I just know that (in my world at least) life gets nuts sometimes.
  12. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Definitely yes. The price to pay for neglect is much less: I have had no pain in 3 years, and what I feel as a stiffness now used to be my baseline. But I feel more motivated to do yoga than before, because the more you move, the more your body wants to move. I don't have to meditate daily for 1 hour in order to feel no pain, it takes few minutes here and there. But I had to resume a weekly sitting meditation when the pandemic began.
    It is also easier for me to control weight, which has been my life-long struggle. My binge eating is less frequent because I have fewer bouts of anxiety and almost never get into a jittery state of mind that was my "normal" for years.
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  13. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    wow... GREAT question. As TG957 points out, the longer you do this, the price for neglect goes down.... But, like my sister there, I might start binge eating, chain smoking or just flat out have a spiritual drop off.....but I get the warning shots from TMS much further down the line than I did when I first started doing this...

    I don't think we intentionally push the bounds... it's just human nature. We start taking stuff for granted and our mind drifts. Doing whatever it is you do to get centered is worth doing period.... the pain is just the 'fence' that lets you know you are reeeeeally pushing your luck in the neglect department.
    Northwood and TG957 like this.
  14. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    This it! Well said, @Baseball65 !
  15. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi TG, Do you talk about your binge eating in your book? I could do with some inspiration as I've been finding it harder to control my urges to binge eat during this pandemic.
  16. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    @BloodMoon , I don't talk about it in the book since I didn't consider it big enough issue to write about, but I know very well that I eat more at the time of stress. I always envied those who lose appetite when they are stressed out :=).
    I also noticed that a) the more I exercise, the less I eat (which may seem counterintuitive but is true!) and b) my need for snacking is less after I meditate. Exercising brings my stress level down, and less stress means less overeating. It is only when I exercise quite intensely every day when I am on vacation, I notice that my food intake is less than when I sit all day long at my desk. I play mind tricks with my stomach by using celery sticks for snack, but unfortunately my stomach wants fat and salt when I am stressed out. The catch-22 is that the more I am stressed, the harder it is to convince myself to peel myself away from the refrigerator and go for a 4 mile run uphill :=(. This is why I try to not let myself down the slippery slope too far, because the less I exercise, the less I want to do it. I am not perfect, I do slip, but then I try to recover my routine within two-three weeks, otherwise, I will go back to binge eating and loading up on cheese and chocolate to feed my anxiety.
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
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  17. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you, TG. I had to smile about the celery sticks - my stomach doesn't get fooled by them either! For reasons other than TMS, I can't exercise with any intensity or for very long at anyone time, but you've inspired me to experiment with getting up and moving my body whenever I have the urge to binge. My daily exercise consists of getting up off my day bed and moving my body around - walking on the spot etc., - in front of the TV (which is better than nothing, I guess) - so I shall do that more often and every time I think of food. I haven't noticed that meditation lessens my urge to binge, but I'll try 5 minute meditations in response to those urges and see what happens. I used to do yoga nidra meditation on a daily basis, but I kept getting dizzy spells with low blood pressure from lying flat on my back, but I think I'll go back to it and just prop myself up to lie semi-recumbently and see if that works and might also help stop or at least reduce my urges to binge. Many thanks for your reply.
  18. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    @BloodMoon , in my very humble opinion, meditation is not about what position you take, where you sit or what audio do you listen to. It is about freeing your mind from the outside distractions, diving into the state of equanimity. Meditation is a deeply personal experience and each person has to find their only way of meditating that bring them healing.

    This is from my book, it is explains my "zen" of meditation, if this can help:

    After taking the meditation class, I started meditating daily in the evening. It was hard. My mind would start wandering, my anxiety would start rising about 10-15 minutes into it. To make matters worse, I was in pain from sitting still. As I was sitting, I experienced increase in pain not only in my hands, but also in my arms, legs, and feet. Since I lost flexibility in my joints to dystonia, I could not sit on the floor cross-legged anymore, so I had to use a chair, but the pain was still present.

    I tried all kinds of meditation: guided, unguided, walking, sitting, with music or without music – until I finally found my groove.

    I soon found out that a guided meditation did not work for me in any form. I was too easily distracted by the voice of the instructor, by the instructions he/she was giving me, but most of all, by the prescriptive nature of instructions. I could not focus on my breath, whether it was on the count of four, or two, or any given number. Instructions were amplifying my anxiety.

    Body scan, one of the most popular forms of self-guided meditation, did not work for me either. A prescribed sequence in which I was supposed to focus on relaxing my toes, then feet, then ankles, then legs etc. - until I reached my face - was an annoyance. I would get lost in thoughts halfway along my body or forget whether I took care of my right side before switching to the left side and so on. I bought various audio guides on meditation and tried to follow recommendations on proper cross-legged sitting, on keeping my back straight, on counting the elephants instead of breaths – and was getting nowhere. Especially hard was sitting cross-legged, since my joints were painful and cemented by dystonia.

    I finally decided to just sit on the couch, rest my arms on the pillows, close my eyes, and do nothing: no counting of breaths, no body scan, no imagining a beautiful trail in the woods or a place where I wanted to be as a child.

    Surprisingly, the less effort I put into following the rules, the better results I was getting. I came to believe that people like me who tend to be obsessive perfectionists and over-achievers, are too uptight and tense to follow instructions. Any perceived deviation from instructions was generating extra anxiety, thus ruining the experience. So, the best way to start was to abandon any prescriptions and ease my way into the practice, which is what I did.

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  19. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    That's really helpful to me, TG. I believed that I was nearing my own "zen" of meditation when I found yoga nidra as it had been the only meditation that I stuck to for quite a while. What you say here though...
    ...particularly strikes a chord for me in as much as it made me suddenly realise that a reason I might not be getting very much better TMS-wise is that there's a 'rebel' in me that can't stand 'prescriptive' things and baulks at them (I think due to a strict upbringing with parents that made me behave like a little adult before my time). I also lose interest in things quite quickly. I'm going to journal about that - thank you! I'm also going to lie semi-recumbently on my day bed, close my eyes and do nothing...:).

    P.S. I've just bought your kindle book.
    Last edited: May 16, 2020
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  20. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I can totally relate to this. Even when I try to cook by a recipe, I end up tweaking it! You and I were not cut out to be in the military!

    And thank you for checking out my book. I hope it can help you to heal faster!
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