1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by John Straight, Dec 28, 2018.

  1. John Straight

    John Straight New Member

    TMS story

    Hi ,

    As I am new to the forum I will tell a bit about my history of TMS. Though it will be much the same as a lot of you already described. It started about 1981 with knee pains. This was also the year that I left my parental home to live on my own with my girlfriend and the year that ended my military service and I had to start working for a living.

    the working was very demanding for me and gave me lots of stress, always afraid to do things wrong or not being good enough

    Later , after a few years lower back pains appeared frequently. I will not go into detail as it was ups and downs. Many times I had to stay in bed for 3 weeks . Also as computer work started to take a lot of my time I developed RSI ( repetative stress injurie ) in the arms and wrist , and shoulders. I started doing Alexandertechnique for it and it helped a lot , but symptoms kept on coming back and I had to be carefull more and more.

    In 2010 my back started hurting very seriously after lifting a heavy weight and even the spine was curved like sciatic. This was the day before I had to do a job that I hated at work. So the trigger was very clear to me ............

    I was already a member of the RSI patients society and in the magazine one day read about the TMS approach , which I immediately saw was the way to go for me. In the years that followed and reading Sarno's books , as well as others on TMS my pains got less and at last were nearly or totally gone.

    Last summer however , when finishing a contract ( which is a usual thing for me ) and going on a long holiday the TMS came back very strong during vacation.

    So now I have to do a bit Aleandertechnique again , which I do not like as it is against the recommendations from dr Sarno to do special exercises against TMS , but at the moment it seems I have to.

    so now I wonder how to continue.

    a little background info

    I was raised by a very strict father who told me and my sibblings all the time that we were not good enough

    I did psychotherapy on that ( PRI from Ingeborgh Bosh , which is real good for this )

    but still as soon as I have to do something which I hate or if I get comments that I did something wrong or if I am afraid at work to make a mistake immediately the back starts to hurt a lot , disabling

    I tried some journalling , but it is not really my thing I think...............

    I hope to find some advice here how to contimue from here on

    thank you very much

    Tennis Tom likes this.
  2. Free of Fear

    Free of Fear Well known member

    Hi John,
    I do Feldenkrais (similar to AT) and it has been an integral part of my recovery. For me it's not at odds with Sarno's approach because Feldenkrais doesn't change the body (it's not PT or massage or whatever) but works on the mind instead. It's a way of relaxing and restoring mind-body balance. It's a way of healing the brain (see the chapter in The Brain that Changes Itself).

    Like any approach though, I think it comes down to this question. Are you doing it to get rid of the pain, or are you doing it to become more in balance? Anything that we do to try to get rid of the pain is another form of avoidance, that includes meditation. It's a good way to keep the pain going.

    That said, I think there is the risk with Feldenkrais and Alexander technique of falling into the structural/mechanical mindset again. I had a friend who did Alexander technique and she always pointed to my posture and said no wonder I was in back pain. Lame! She wanted me to sit in positions that did not feel good, simply because it was the "right" way to sit.

    So, my advice is to be honest with yourself about why you're doing it, if it makes you believe in your body more or less, if it relaxes you, etc. if doing Alexander technique makes you think that your pain is structural or physical in origin, then yes, don't do it, since at that point it does go against Sarno's approach.

    (For me, benefiting from Feldenkrais has been proof to me that my symptoms were more psychological than physical, because the motions themselves are meaningless, there's no way that doing these little repetitions could fix structural back pain; the movements are just ways to engage and anchor awareness.)
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Welcome John,

    I ditto Free of Fear's careful guidance. Try to see your physical approach as treating something other than your TMS symptoms.

    You might look at the free programs on the Wiki, some of which require writing, and some which have little or none. There are easy ways to post your progress to the Forum as you go along, by starting threads. You can always start threads with specific questions in the heading too, to get responses.

    You might also consider doing therapy or getting outside help, even though you've done this before. Often when someone relapses it points one toward knowing more, digging deeper. Life events over time bring up new issues, or peel back deeper layers on familiar issues. I see it as a life-long process of making friends with our inner experience, including hate. It also sounds like you're aware of Inner Critic activity. In helping myself initially with TMS, this aspect was very important in my recovery. Alan Gordon's Recovery Program has some good audio of working with parent messages in this regard.

    Good luck!~

    Andy B
  4. John Straight

    John Straight New Member

    thanks for the replies
    I indeed do Alexandertechnique to keep symptom control , but now only in times when there is pain
    I had quit entirely when things went well , but sometimes it is a tool for survival and I know is better not used that way.

    It is indeed the Inner Critique that is the most important thing to learn to deal with
    the Past Reality Integration therapy deals with this also , but in practice it is not always so easy

    I will look for the Inner Critique audio , as I am very self and other critical oriented

    at the moment I restarted with Alan Gordons page for pain recovery
    although I did these kind of things already a lot of times it still helps to go over everything again

    thanks a lot

  5. healingfromchronicpain

    healingfromchronicpain Well known member

    Hi, I, too agree with @Free of Fear. For me it was John Barnes myofascial release (JFB-MFR) that was the Mind-Body bodywork that helped me immensely. I, too, wondered if it was against Sarno beliefs because it was bodywork. But it helped me get to the deep underlying emotional issues better than anything else.

    But I also know it has the risk of having me fall into structural beliefs. I had to remember that it wasn’t “fixing” my body by having the therapists release the fascia, but instead my body was releasing the tension held in there due to emotions, and that I have control over them with my mind.

    I don’t know that I have anything to help you with at this point as I find myself in a place where I’m much better than I was (thanks to Sarno, Ozanich, Brady, and Barnes, to name the most influential on me), but daily pain lingers. While writing has been therapeutic, and my memoir is almost done, continued journaling doesn’t seem to be my thing either, although I’ve tried.

    Instead, I just keep reminding my brain that I’m ok and that I can be pain-free and that I must acknowledge the emotions and psychological forces behind my pain, and that I will get better.

    The absolute worst of my pain was the first 2 years, but it’s lingered on for 13 years now. But I find solace in reading about those who have overcome their pain and I believe I’ll get there, too... somehow, someday.

    What I can say, however, is never give up! I know if I’ve made as much progress as I have, I can make more. And I belttgat to be true for all of us.

    If you’re interested in my story and all the things I’ve tried, feel free to look at my personal website about my journey: https://healingfromchronicpain.com/

    Best of luck!!!
  6. John Straight

    John Straight New Member

    The things that I have to solve for me now are learning to handle critique inner as well as from the outside. I am too much a perfectionist as well. So any tips for that are welcome.
  7. Free of Fear

    Free of Fear Well known member

    A few ideas come to mind for dealing with the inner critic.
    - Meta practice (meditation practice used to extend love to others and self)
    - Therapy, to work on integrating the critic (Internal Family Systems is a popular approach right now)
    - There's a good book called Inner Work (Johnson) on integrating parts of self like the inner critic; see part 2 on Active Imagination

    I'm interested to hear what others have to say. Dealing with the inner critic is one of the hardest things in Western culture because we've made it so strong here!
  8. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Here is a book on working with the Inner Critic. Soul Without Shame by Byron Brown. I use a similar method with clients, and is similar to Alan Gordon's techniques demonstrated on recordings.

    We harness the aggression which we perceive as coming from the Inner Critic to disengage directly from the Inner Critic, like a mother defending her child. Any effective work with the Inner Critic will create as sense of space and freedom, discernment and clarity, inner and outer boundaries, access to our aliveness. This work also helps us discern outer criticism, (and disengaging from this when needed) from inner criticism. This is tremendous help in relationships.

    This method is less about 'integrating' than it is about a healthy separation, claiming our right to our own experiences including anger, sadness, feelings of weakness, etc. I see it as very important in TMS work because we need to defend our right to experience the whole range of human feelings. It is the superego's (Inner Critic's) job to deflect or obscure our directly experiencing difficult feelings. Its activity keeps us bound up in child/parent self-images and identities.

    Integration and understanding of the Inner Critic as a vital helper may come in time with this approach, but it is not the emphasis. It is learning to fiercely lovingly defend our right to exist as we are in the moment.
    Free of Fear and Rainstorm B like this.
  9. Rainstorm B

    Rainstorm B Peer Supporter

    I heartily second Andy’s suggestion of Soul Without Shame - it was recommended to me by a therapist and is the single most useful book I have found for actual practical steps for understanding and working with the inner critic concept.
    It has helped me enormously in getting to grips with why I have this strong critical ‘parent’ voice inside me and given me tools for disengaging from it. Still a work in progress, but there have even been periods of complete silence and relief from the internal self harassment! And for me that has also meant a release from physical pain too, so a very clear link. Good luck with your ongoing journey John.
    Free of Fear likes this.
  10. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks Rainstorm for your confirmation on this. This is my personal experience, and can be a huge help for others.
    Rainstorm B likes this.

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