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Is any physical assistance ok?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by sarah430, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. sarah430

    sarah430 Peer Supporter

    Is it okay to do physical things - such as medication, massage, acupuncture, physical therapy etc. to temporarily relieve the pain? I know this is probably a slippery slope, but I think Sarno also thought we shouldn't suffer. It's a fine line between doing something for immediate physical relief (pain killers, heating pad, etc.) and doing something physical that you think is treating your condition. Interested in anyone's thoughts on the matter.
  2. LindaRK

    LindaRK Well known member

    A few months ago I was in excruciating pain - I went back and forth on whether or not to take something, but eventually did as I couldn't stop focusing on it because it hurt so much. What I did do was tell myself that taking the med was not for the cause, but for the symptom. In fact, I told myself that alot over the time period until it kicked in.
    sarah430 likes this.
  3. Alex Bloom LCSW

    Alex Bloom LCSW TMS Therapist

    Hi Sarah,

    I usually advise my clients to stay away from anything that will have them focusing on the structural components of their pain. That being said, I agree with Sarno in that if you are deeply suffering that at times you are going to have to do what you need to in order to retain your sanity.

    I think there is a subtlety here that can sometimes go unnoticed, and I'll do my best to describe my understanding of it.. The overt relationship between structural thinking and structural solutions is fairly obvious: If you tell yourself that you need to sit in a certain chair to feel good then it encourages you to buy into the fact that there is some sort of damage to your body that can only be accommodated by a specific roosting spot. Fair enough. I have seen this mechanic in place, and it is definitely something to be aware of. The more subtle aspect of this kind of structural response is that it encourages you to not just think physically; it encourages you to think about the pain at all! Now look, when you're back is exploding and you can't move, let alone get out of bed, and a message will let you do that, then go for the message. But when you're thinking that the main problem that needs addressing is your pain, you're barking up the wrong tree. Focusing on the physicality or lack of physicality is something of a sideshow. The real issue is what's going on underneath that pain: how you're treating yourself, how you're reacting to the rise in symptoms. It is these issues that deserve more of your attention.

    I know the distinction here is a bit nuanced, so please forgive any lack of clarity in my explanation. But really this issue lies at the heart of TMS recovery: how do you "not care" about something that is so present, painful and agitating? It is hard. Most likely it is one of the hardest things you will ever do, but I assure you that it can be done. Remember to examine not just how the pain makes you feel physically, but what sort of emotional response it engenders. Are you feeling defeated? Scared? Anxious? These are precisely the goals of the pain, to keep you helpless and focused on what it is keeping you from doing. By working to undo some of those emotional responses you can begin the work of taking away the power that the pain holds over you. And if you need to take a couple Ibuprofen along they way, don't feel bad about it. Just be aware of the dynamics that are at play.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2014
  4. sarah430

    sarah430 Peer Supporter

    Thank you so much Alex and Linda. Alex, your comments truly resonate and I will hold on to your post to re-read and re-read.
  5. Alex Bloom LCSW

    Alex Bloom LCSW TMS Therapist

    I'm so glad that you find it helpful! Please never hesitate to ask questions or for clarifications that you find necessary.
  6. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Alex, very good advice. Sometimes I think when we're in pain we may believe it is TMS but still need a little help
    dealing with it. I find it helpful to keep the cap on the bottle of pain killer and try deep breathing, meditation,
    affirmations, distractions and if after trying everything and still feel the pain is too much to bear, take the cap off the bottle.
    But even then remind yourself the pain is from TMS and repressed emotions, it isn't physical.
    sarah430 likes this.
  7. sarah430

    sarah430 Peer Supporter

    Good advice as always Walt.

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