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is strengthening ok?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by sarah2254, Jul 17, 2020.

  1. sarah2254

    sarah2254 Peer Supporter

    Hello all,

    Convinced I had carpal tunnel, I wore wrist braces for 3-4 years while typing, sometimes up to 24 hours/day. Now, I know my hand pain has always been caused by TMS. However, I want to build my arm muscles doing arm exercises/weight lifting, not because I think this will solve my TMS, but because my I believe wearing the wrist braces long-term may have led to muscle atrophy.

    Do you think Dr. Sarno would advise against arm strengthening in this situation?
  2. pj200105

    pj200105 New Member

    Hi Sarah! I'm kind of a noobie to all this. But from my understanding, as long as you understand that the strengthening is not going to fix your pain, then I think it is ok. I would actually suggest doing total body strengthening (in which arm strengthening is included). I think that will make it easier on your mind, so it understands that you are strengthening for overall well-being, and NOT for TMS related symptoms. As the book, mentions, returning to activity is an important part of healing.

    Anyway, let me know what you think!
    Sita, sarah2254 and Baseball65 like this.
  3. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    pj200105 is 1000% correct.

    When I recovered I went back to lifting weights and exercising the OLD way I did before I encountered 'the system'. I specifically avoided all of the exercises they showed me to strengthen myself to prevent pain. I even disregarded all of the folklore about warming up, stretching and form... I rock back and forth when I lift weights, I don't stretch before hand, and I certainly and most importantly do not think that it is for the purpose of evading pain, but because I want to be strong and healthy.
    Sita and sarah2254 like this.
  4. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sarah, Dr. Sarno recommended to go about your life and resume all the normal activities. This is what I eventually did, after ignoring my carpal tunnel diagnosis and all the recommendations from my doctors (tramadol, steroid injection and surgery if the two above would not help). I was told that I had muscle weakness in my hands and fingers, by the same doctors. My EMG was their proof that I needed to follow their recommendations. Objectively, I could barely type and I absolutely could not write. I could not write my signature - if that tells how bad it was. I had a hard time lifting a mug full of tea with my hands, I could not put my hands flat on the hard surfaces - they were shooting back at me with pain. After I rid myself of pain and muscle spasms, I started working on strengthening my body.

    I am now back to a full scale yoga practice, I do pushups, side planks (one-handed) and arm balances - and feel no pain! One word of caution: do not push yourself too hard, because it may lead to major setbacks and disappointments. Being angry at myself for being weak and not able to meet my own expectations cost me some time lost in recovery. Empathy and self-compassion are as important as motivation and drive to get stronger.
    Northwood, Sita and sarah2254 like this.
  5. sarah2254

    sarah2254 Peer Supporter

    Hi Pj,

    Thank you for your reply! I think you are definitely right in that to get rid of the pain, I need to focus on reducing fear, regardless of whether this involve strengthening or not. Do you have any recommendations for overall body strengthening? E.g., any youtube links? I've never really been into fitness, but would love to learn more about overall body exercises! Hope you are well.
  6. sarah2254

    sarah2254 Peer Supporter

    HI Baseball65,

    Thank you for sharing your personal experience! This is definitely helpful. So, just to clarify, would you say it is a bad idea to fixate on the possibility that my arm muscles may have atrophied due to wearing wrist braces for a long period of time? If the reason for strengthening is due to muscle atrophy in my mind, this reinforces the structural cause? I am thinking to just convince myself my muscles did not atrophy after all. I appreciate your input!
  7. sarah2254

    sarah2254 Peer Supporter

    Wow, TG957! This is incredibly useful advice! I am amazed by how similar your story is to mine. I have inboxed you in hopes we may discuss this further :)
  8. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Atrophy is a real thing... I have a picture of myself somewhere from the period about 1 year into my Pain odyssey, and I am wearing shorts and had gained a lot of weight laying on my back for a year...and I looked like a Giant Chicken! I had like no calf muscle to speak of....but a new Gut that hadn't been there before!

    It came back to normal in a few weeks of just going back to my old normal stuff. I had been having therapy 'walks'. I was never a 'walker'. I was a runner and cyclist until the Pain came. So I went back and ran and cycled. Of course it took a minute for all of my strength to return, BUT there was never any pain.

    Atrophy is not something that takes months and months to repair... days, maybe a week or two. All of our pain comes from conditioning and TMS. I have never ever hurt myself in 21 years using this mind frame. When I severed my thumb and they had to reattach it, I was in a cast for a month and back at work in five weeks USING the reattached thumb.

    We are always a lot tougher than we think. God knew his business when he made us.
    sarah2254 and Sita like this.

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