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Is Quitting PT exercises a must?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Steve, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. Steve

    Steve New Member

    I've had RSI for 6 mos and just learned about TMS over the last week and am certain that's my issue. Just that awareness has already helped. I'm the classic case emotionally - childhood trauma, perfectionist, bury my emotions, lots of anxiety around the pain, etc. I understand the prescription and am pursuing aggressively, typing this now when I never would have in the past. I am wondering if I should quit or continue the PT exercises I'm doing at home. It seems like some exercise is a good thing but I can also see how doing them reinforces the wrong idea that I am physically injured. Would love to hear your experiences.
  2. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Hi Steve,

    It was a big leap for me to stop doing my PT exercises because I'd been told I had to do them pretty much every day of my life forever, and I had actually been sticking to that for several years. I probably spent 30 minutes a day on the exercise. I stopped doing them and spent that time rereading Dr. Sarno's books and journaling...and I am so much better.

    Every time I did the exercises it was reinforcing the idea that something was structurally wrong with me. I don't get that association from general exercise like walking, dancing, yoga, etc.

  3. Linnea

    Linnea Peer Supporter

    Hi Steve! I agree with Veronica, even though I´m also pretty new to this. I think it´s a huge step in reprogramming your brain not to do especially designed exercises, because it fools your mind into believing it´s still something wrong with your body. Though general exercises for your health I believe is a must! But I know it´s really hard to let go of them, I´m struggling right now to do that, it´s so easy to think “just in case”…

    Good luck on your way to healing!
  4. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think you're all right Linnea, Veronica, and Steve. Doing PT stretches and exercises designed specifically to strengthen muscles, tendons and joints to eliminate RSI or TMS symptoms does reinforce your programmed pain patterns. However, TMS programming is much more insidious and ingrained than just a series of stretches or exercises. The TMS mind is conditioned in all sorts of sneaky ways apart from conventional PT. For example, pain can occur when you walk uphill (but not downhill) or vice versa. When you run it hurts, but when you ride a bike it gets better. Or, in another case, you walk upstairs and feel weakness in your left leg, but walking downstairs is fine (on some days, but not others). These weird pain symptom discontinuities are pervasive throughout all the mental and physical activities of a person with TMS. You feel a tiny itch under your arm one day, you focus on it, and sure enough the next day it itches more and more until after a week of growing discomfort you are obsessed with it enough for it to successfully distract you from your underlying repressed emotional issues, whatever they may be: rage, sorrow, anxiety, fear etc. etc. etc.. But yes, eliminating PT from your schedule does go a long way toward short-circuiting the programming you've acquired from the medical-therapy establishment.

    To throw my two-bits in, however, I've found that Pilates exercises do function as a kind of mindful meditation that tends to short circuit the TMS process. I think it's because Pilates exercises on the cadillac and the reformer machines require that you simultaneously focus your mental attention on self-consciously holding your core muscles in place, breathing, and performing choreographed motions with your muscles. What I think this does is shift your center of attention from your unconscious mind to your rational neocortex, thereby, in effect, changing your brain chemistry in such a way that TMS no longer sends impulses through your nerve pathways. But in this sense Pilates is functioning as another kind of mindful meditation like Pranayama breathing exercises that force your attention self-consciously onto your willed rather than autonomic breath. Remember that breathing is both voluntary and automatic and thus serves as an intermediary between both areas of the brain. But aside from this personal hobby horse, I think you guys are absolutely right to abandon all those absurd back stretches! I think what you should ask yourself is, "Have they ever done me any good? Have they relieved my TMS pain?" Invariably, when I asked myself those two questions, the honest answer I received back was, "No way!" They may keep you occupied while you move away from a particularly traumatic episode or period in your life that initiated the TMS pain response, but other than keeping you busy and occupied, they've never seemed to do a frigging thing for me!
    honeybear424 and Forest like this.
  5. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    My one experience with a PT was during sciatica attack. I was given a series of exercises to do. At about the same time I started going to a Pilates studio and using the reformer bed, etc. When I showed the Pilates instructor the exercises I had been given, he remarked that these were not exercises at all. He said they were just function tests to show the PT how well or poorly I could manage a certain movement. I felt a bit cheated by the whole PT experience. It gave me zero placebo pain relief. I do enjoy Pilates though for general strength and fitness.
  6. brianleejackson

    brianleejackson Peer Supporter

    Hi Steve, I too myself struggled with the exact same thing. Stopping the PT exercises was a must for me. Deep down when I was going on my visits to the PT doctor, my brain was simply telling myself that there was something physically wrong with me. Don't get me wrong, I actually work out and exercise is great... but I don't do anything specific for RSI like stretches or PT. It would probably be better to pick up jogging or some other type of activity while you tackle the TMS, something not related to your hands. Because mentally if you go jogging, your not going to relate that to your hands hurting. That way you can stay healthy and hopefully take the next step in tackling your TMS. Hopefully that helps!
  7. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    PT was a big waste of time and money for me too. I've had some nightmarish experiences with PT. Nothing like seeing your PT on local television selling condos. *sigh*

    Find your pace. Whatever works for you. I too am overdoing it in the exercise dept, but know I must stay active. My back doesn't like this so I must find a new way to start.

    Good luck to us both!

  8. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I stopped doing all my old PT exercises and started seeing a personal trainer instead. Now I have new kinds of pain :D But I don't worry about it, I assume it will pass as my various muscles get stronger. My trainer emphasizes core, breathing, and balance. She pushes me way harder than I would ever do on my own, and I've really started seeing a difference in muscle tone - it's really cool. Esp. at my age! I also take a serious walk at least twice a week and I attend a weekly aerobics class.

    I've had some of my old symptoms this week (tax season stress) which is mostly a kind of dizziness/wooziness along with a stiff neck and digestive "issues". On Tuesday I actually felt pretty crappy - the week before, I told my trainer I was worried about the time crunch and she had said I could cancel that morning if I needed to. But I really surprised myself by remembering how good I felt after my prior session, and deciding to go anyway. The old me would definitely have cancelled! I had very few symptoms during the session, and felt great after, although I knew I was going to hurt the following day because she says she pushed me harder than ever. TMS, begone!

    Sounds like you're on the right path, Steve - keep us posted!
  9. Steve

    Steve New Member

    Thanks to all of you for your feedback. My gut was telling me I should quit the PT and you all have confirmed my instinct. Very helpful! It does suck up a lot of time that would be better spent on emotional work, general exercise (I like hiking, mild yoga, etc) or just relaxing. I had cut back on it but you've help give me the courage to go cold turkey.

    I work on a computer for a living (trading of all things) and for 6 months have been paying people to sit next to me while i tell them what to do. I have no doubt that reinforces the idea i'm injured (and it's expensive!). I have started typing a few hours a day and have definitely noticed the pain varies greatly and changes with my level of fear. I am certain it's emotional in origin but imagine it could take along time for my unconscious to stop driving my negative emotions into my body as its been going on30 years. Before the RSI I suffered from shoulder pain and 24x7 OCD about it after injuring my shoulders swimming in high school and subsequent bungled surgeries. Treatment wise, I'm reading Sarnoff's books, doing the wiki's 30 day program, starting presence process and working with a therapist. Definitely feels like I'm on the right track.
  10. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I get the feeling that cyber space by its very nature is a fertile breeding ground for lurking fear and anxiety. It's not the keyboard so much as the nature of the medium itself I guess. Early injuries like your swimming ones activate the pain pathways, which then get reactivated later by negative emotions so it seems. Yes, just bag PT and do what you say you're doing. Sounds like the best course of action to me, Steve.
  11. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Steve - I did something similar to this while I had severe RSI pain, and as it sounds like you have figured out, it didn't really reduce my symptoms any. All I really think it did was reinforce the idea that I had a structural problem. I think you are doing the right thing by starting to type. Working on the computer again really helped me fight the fear I had. I also think breaking the reliance on other people or voice recognition software helped me gain confidence in my self that I was broken. You are on the right path. Reward yourself for doing such a great job!
  12. Steve

    Steve New Member

    Hey TMSers, thanks for all the great support. I quit the PT and spent four hours today on the computer - none worse for the "wear". Part of that was updating "my story" on this wiki.
    veronica73 likes this.
  13. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Good for you, Steve. I still can't believe how many hours I spent doing PT exercises--and I had been told I'd need to do them every day for my whole life. I have a friend that was born with serious physical disabilities and even he doesn't do that much PT. It was really nuts.

    Now I get an extra 45 minutes of sleep every day :)
  14. Steve

    Steve New Member

    I feel like a man let out of prison. I spent over 4 hours on the computer yesterday, punted my PT and feel better than usual. So glad I made this post and got your feedback! I was reading Healing Back Pain last night and in it Sarno says it took him about 12 years after coming up with his theory before he started insisting patients quit PT so maybe I'm not so slow :)

    For those with RSI, this link might be of interest: http://www.guyerinstitute.com/media/mishra2006_elbow.pdf. In it it says that PT has proved "ineffectual" for epicondylitis (a typical RSI diagnosis) in a "meta review" of 23 separate controlled studies of PT for RSI. So even traditional doctors say PT doesn't work for RSI. (I found this article back when I thought I had a physical problem and was considering Protein Rich Plasma injection, a non traditional, not recommended(!) physical intervention for "tendinosis". But the doctor said my MRI showed "nothing remarkable" and advised me to just continue PT.)
  15. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    A guy at my climbing gym came down with RSI in his elbows two years ago. He tried everything: Nasaids, ice, splints, two elbow operations. The result? No improvement, and he was terribly depressed and felt helpless. However, he only got tendonitis in his elbows when he played various instruments associated with his role as award-winning maestro directing a high-school orchestra, never when he was pulling up on holds in the climbing gym. He just quit all PT modalities and got better once he stopped obsessing on the problem. Several things I did notice that probably contributed to his condition: For one, he is a perfectionist and over-achiever, always placing terrible demands on himself in his relationships and athletic endeavors. He didn't just ride his bike 1500' up Skyline Blvd. every evening, he had to do it in world-class record time. He also had been married and divorced four times, each time to a new beauty. He was turning gray as he reached 40 also and the only subject he would discuss was getting older and losing his strength. Of course, he owned a little red sports car and drove around at night at 130 mph with his latest 19-year-old actress-babe at his side. In fact, after his fourth divorce he acquired in quick succession a whole series of picture perfect late-teenage trophy GFs, who always looked a little dazed and confused by it all. Yet when he stopped trying so hard and chilled out, the pain in his elbows that kept him from playing piano and sax quickly subsided. Odd that none of the traditional medical MDs that treated him ever noticed his personality traits or the role that a mid-life crisis was paying in generating the debilitating pain syndrome in his elbows, but they sure took the money from his medical insurance!
  16. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    Hi Steve. I remember the few times I went to PT before I knew about TMS and its true healing. I was so happy to read from Dr. Sarno's books that PT was not needed and I happily told the PT people I wasn't coming back. I really disliked PT, and though the electrical thingie he would put on my butt cheek felt good at that moment, the pain came back so I knew PT did not hold the answer for me.

    I agree that PT would reinforce the belief that there is something physically wrong.

    Best wishes!

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