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Need help with conditioning, please

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by jentwink, Feb 9, 2017.

  1. jentwink

    jentwink New Member

    To keep it brief, suffice to say that I have had worsening chronic back pain for 13 years. I found out about TMS two years ago, and have been struggling to cure myself ever since (no TMS docs in my area). I read Dr. Sarno's books and it seems like my pain does diminish, but ALWAYS comes back before too long. Conditioning is a huge problem for me. My two biggest triggers are sitting too long (i.e., working on computer), or standing too long (dishes, cooking, anything done in the kitchen.) Even though I know this and understand this, I can't stop thinking things like "I've been sitting here too long, it's going to start in any minute," or "I have to go in there and finish those dishes now, it's going to hurt and my whole night will be over."

    Today, I was in a good mood because I've been mostly pain free for a few days. Then, while at the computer I started thinking "I've been sitting here too long, it's going to start in," and a few minutes later it did, I kid you not! Obviously, I wasn't supposed to think that, (and I know that) but the problem is, it was too late. I'd already thought it.

    MY QUESTION: What do you do when you've already had the "taboo" thought and fed the monster? Is there a way to counteract it as soon as you've slipped up? I know the obvious solution to conditioning is to taper up slowly, spend limited time at the computer and work your way up, but what about the THINKING? How to do you stop those fear thoughts?
    Lunarlass66 likes this.
  2. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    Hi jent, I'm a newbie to this site as well and I experience exactly the same thing... I've been conditioned to wake up with pain and invariably, I do. Low back pain sucks the life out of everything and creates that vicious anticipatory anxiety which sets up the pain cycle. The people on this site are so compassionate, supportive and helpful.. They give something most of us with TMS enter into the healing process without. HOPE, especially when conventional treatment and doctors have failed to help. I wish I could offer you some insightful advice, but I'm still in the early stages of education and struggling to apply it without anxiety standing in the way. I completely understand what you're going through though, I get pain from kitchen, or any household duties, and highly suspect I TELL myself I will, and then I DO.. Conditioned response? It would be an incredible coincidence if it wasn't... And I try to reason with myself and say "sweeping the floor or reaching for something in the fridge is not going to rupture a disc, pull a muscle, etc, my back is NOT made of tissue paper!".. I know how irrational that sounds, even asinine, but anxiety is almost always caused by unrealistic thoughts or beliefs.. I wish you all the best in your healing journey..
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2017
  3. jentwink

    jentwink New Member

    Thank you for answering. I too am struggling with crippling anxiety, which I know has either caused or feeds on this pain. I also have lower back pain but did not attribute that to Tms, so now you've got me thinking. This stuff is so tricky. I don't know if I need to fix my anxiety first before I can make any real progress on my pain. It's all about thinking, and my thinking has been screwed up for years.
    Lunarlass66 likes this.
  4. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    My thoughts are much the same as yours except I haven't been struggling with consistent back pain for years but just about 4 months now. I did have some unprecedented traumatic events that seemed to happen before the pain began and although my life circumstances have improved, the pain continues. (perhaps my subconscious' protective mechanism?) It's hard to discount the affect my mental/emotional state is having on my body because as you probably know from your own anxiety experiences, there are always PHYSICAL bodily reactions to stress, or what we perceive as a stressful event, symptoms such as a racing heart, cold hands and feet, sweating, chills, shaking, upset stomach, headaches, and of course (as I'm finding out...) chronic back pain..As I may have mentioned in earlier posts, I did have surgery on my back 20 yrs ago for what I saw (MRI) and was told by my neurosurgeon a severe nerve impingement at L4-5, I thought it to be a complete success, was pain free (it was for leg pain, weakness etc.. Couldn't walk..) and I went back to my life after some physical rehab to strengthen back up... But, as Dr. Sarno states, TMS pain is worse than any type of pain a herniated disc or mild scoliosis (conditions seen on my MRI..) can cause... And the pain I have currently is different in that it "moves around"... Low back spasm, mid back pain... Even my neck is in on the game, and what is a huge clue to me that it's muscle tension, oxygen deprivation ( and of course, an oversensitized nervous system..) is that there's no sciatic pain this time. My surgeon told me that surgery cannot fix a back per se, it is only done to relieve pressure on a nerve, or for stabilization.. At least he was honest. There's always a surgeon who will operate, even when it may have no positive outcome. People need to make very informed decisions about surgery because as my surgeon also said, having the surgery accelerates the arthritic process... It really is best to allow the body, if at all possible, to repair itself. I struggle with this because I've lost ao much faith in my body. I know that sounds crazy, and I don't know if anyone else has ever felt thay way... Anyway, I apologize for the rambling... And I just want to say thanks jent, for the chat. It is a HUGE comfort to connect with people who understand how hard the anxiety-pain-pain-anxiety merry-go-round frankly... SUCKS!
  5. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    You counter the incorrect, irrational thought with a correct, rational one. For example, when the thought "I've been sitting too long and so I'll have pain" comes up, immediately follow with it something like, "That's absurd! Sitting doesn't cause pain. This is just TMS." Then, just go ahead with what you were doing. If pain starts, just say something like "Stop it Brain! There is no reason to create pain right now. I'm willing to feel all my emotions." Find the words that work best for you.

    Sarno says we can use our rational conscious brain to override our unconscious brain. It just takes persistence. I have always been amazed at how well this works. It's close to magic in dispelling conditioning. At least it was for me. But you do have to be willing to look at and feel your emotions. That's where journaling or counseling comes in.

    Best wishes.......
    Lunarlass66 likes this.
  6. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    This is a great piece of advice... It really is incredulous how pervasive the irrational part of the brain can be, it's all too easy for those of us with an overwrought nervous system to be bamboozled into believing what it tells us... Time to fight back!! ( stupid, unconscious, reptilian brain! :mad:
  7. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    I don't know how I got so many mad emoticons in my last post... Sheesh! Not THAT mad!

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