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Muscle tension worsening

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by James59, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. James59

    James59 Well known member

    Muscle tension throughout my body just keeps getting worse. I'm getting to where I can barely function. My legs and arms often lock up. For example, when I try to turn around my torso moves but my legs stay put until I can figure out a workaround. But sometimes I can still turn with little resistance.

    I also get really tense when I sleep. I tend to feel best just before bed, but when I wake up I feel more rigid than ever.

    A thought occurred to me recently. I suspect some part of my mind doesn't feel safe unless I'm tense. I think this has been the case since early adulthood some 35-40 years ago. I remember lying in bed back then and feeling some slight tension. I tried to relax but found the sensation of loosening up somewhat frightening so I let myself tense up again. I think that small bit of tension has gradually increased over time putting me where I am now.

    My tension has increased significantly in the current political climate. I also noticed a significant tightening in the past few days when I read a disturbing discussion on Facebook about one of my favorite high school teachers being involved in inappropriate relations with several female students - including one girl whose affections I sought unsuccessfully (now I know why I she rejected me all those years ago).

    Things that help me loosen up a bit include getting into a TV show or movie with a good story, putting my MP3 player on shuffle and moving as best I can to the music, and EFT tapping. Also, anything that involves a genuine sense of urgency will free my muscles for a moment or two. But at best these only provide marginal relief that is very short lived.

    Nothing else I've tried including journaling and meditation has helped. I'm starting to worry that I may haves some neurological condition. I stopped seeing doctors years ago because they couldn't find anything physically wrong and the treatments they suggested just made things worse. I couldn't trust them anymore.

    I don't know what I'm seeking with this post. Maybe suggestions, maybe empathy, maybe reassurance. Whatever thoughts come to you are welcome. I'm just frustrated and feeling hopeless.
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi James,

    Chronic tensing of my body is a problem I have too. My approach has been that when I'm aware of it, I tell myself "I'm completely safe." Then I try to become firmly rooted in the present moment, since the tension is coming from thoughts about the past or future. I find that becoming rooted in the present moment is best done by utilizing my senses, e.g. looking at things, feeling things (like the ground beneath my feet), listening to sounds, etc. This helps me relax my body. I've also found that doing Hatha yoga (I specifically do Bikram yoga) has helped, as many of the poses require holding a posture while engaging certain muscles, and then relaxing them all. This has helped me to better identify when I'm tense and when I'm relaxed.

    But it's hard to unlearn a long held pattern. It takes time and repetition to rewire the brain. But it can be done. I'm not completely tension free, but I've made significant progress.

    Best wishes to you.......
    James59 and mike2014 like this.
  3. James59

    James59 Well known member

    Thanks for your reply Ellen. Just wondering, have you had trouble with muscles locking up on you like I've had?

    I have tried being in the present, ever since I read The Power of Now several years ago. But I have trouble staying with it. I don't seem to have the patience for it and frankly I usually find it boring after a minute or so.
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    No, never had problems with muscles locking up.

    I've never been able to stay present more than a minute or so myself. But even that short time is enough to stop the thoughts that are leading to stress and tension.
  5. EileenS

    EileenS Well known member

    My knee kept locking up 11 years ago right after I got laid off from a job. Although I had expected to get laid off and thought I was happy to get laid off (severance pay from a workplace with a dictatorial boss), it must have been TMS because it hasn't happened since. I would have to walk around for several hours with a bent knee in pain. Four years ago, about a year before I started getting chronic pain, my left calf and foot would suddenly spasm sometimes before bedtime and send me to the floor. Again, I haven't had it since. My chronic pain issue has been muscles that don't want to relax. I have MRI cervical spine standard medical reasons for pain, but although my doctor said that's where my pain was from, the p.t. I used to see said it was from muscles that don't want to relax - not what's on the x-ray, and I've always felt she was right.
    For advice, I agree with every word Ellen says.
    I myself find Ekhart Tolle boring. I think it's his voice. However, many others teach how to stay present. I took a group course last spring in which one lesson was all about staying present. It was the hardest lesson in the course for me, but the most rewarding. Stick with it. Try 'walking meditation'. (Google it.) Combines fresh air and being in the present.
    Hi Ellen, as you can see by my avatar I like yoga. I went to a Bikram class several years ago with a friend who only does it. Maybe time for me to give it another sweaty go.
    Ellen likes this.
  6. Lydia

    Lydia Peer Supporter

    This is very interesting what you write about your 'trying' and finding it 'boring'. Sounds to me, as if your mind is interfering quite a lot in the process. Throwing up some powerful thoughts, so you'll stop the process. Do you relate to that?

    You might benefit much more from meditation, if you combine it with a form of bodywork, like Ellen did too (like Tai Chi, yoga, Breema, Trager). That makes it a bit less scary to explore what is happening in you, regarding to the thoughts in your mind and the tension in your body. The moment you'll manage to stay in that realm without judging (bypass the thought 'this is boring'), just being very curious without words, you'll will probably find some great insights, some inner distance and a way out to more freedom.

    It could be a very healing journey, when you have the courage to use mediation for diving in a little bit deeper, and meet your own mind at work (-:

    My advice is: don't give up, and don't go for the quick solution. When you've built a habit over 35 years, and are kind of 'addicted' to tension, you'll need some time to 'rebuild' it and feel safe without any tension at all. Keep going and I wish you well (-:
  7. Kraynor

    Kraynor Newcomer

    I'm constantly in pain, however some things are worsened then others. For example, I can lay flat more comfortably than standing, when I lay flat I can think more calmly about not tensing but standing hurts so much I can't fight the tension associated with the surrounding area.

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