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Daniel L. Obsessing about pain

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by Guest, Feb 18, 2017.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    This question was submitted via our Ask a TMS Therapist program. To submit your question, click here.

    I am a recovering anorexic and have stuggled with gaining weight and fully recovering. I believe that I am suffering severe anxiety over gaining weight but am still gaining as I know I need too. I am no longer unhealthy but am not fully weight restored. Since April 2016- I have suffered runners knee attributed to muscle atrphy- this has gone on and off and has largely prevented me from running my outlet and hobby. More recentylt this has prevented me doing sports at my university and I have felt rather depressed. WHile doing physio therapy for my knee I have suffered various new areas of pain often arrising from very little cause i..e no change in training/no increase in running or gym or swimming. Ihave suffered shin, calf, shoulder, elbow, ankle and posterior tibalis tendon pain. Most recently is an arch pain which continually throbs and hurts most to push off when I walk. However I belive due to my amm9unt of time nursing my knee injuries etc I have spent so much energy googling injuries and worrying about my body that I have become obsessive and paranoid of sports injuries stopping me doing what I love. I am now consciusly walking and scared and have been trying too attrribute this pain to psychological anxiety that I have had since my period of an eating disorder. Is it possible that emotions I feel are causing the symptons despite them not being repressed and I am struggling to cope as I find it very hard to believe that this shooting pain is really caused by my mind despite that resting the foot, icing, and using NSAID's for 5 days had no effect and neither does exercising- the pain doesn't change. Some advice and reassurance would be much appreciated. Is this pain psychologically caused and how do I cope
  2. Daniel G Lyman LCSW

    Daniel G Lyman LCSW TMS Therapist

    Well, there's a lot there. And it's clear you're feeling really anxious about your pain, which is already a good sign that it's TMS. Let's go through the rest of the evidence you provided:

    - You have had another anxiety related disorder (anorexia)
    - No change in training, yet pain bounces all over the place (your whole body!)
    - Your runners knee has "gone on and off" - that's not how a structural issue presents
    - You have googled and become obsessive and paranoid
    - Structural interventions to your foot had no effect

    Okay, that took me five seconds and I came up with five piece of evidence that your pain is TMS. If you take a half hour, I'm sure your list will be exhaustive. It is EXTREMELY likely that your pain is TMS, and you need to know that. Make a list of evidence and read it over and over again.

    I'd also like to discourage you looking for "repressed" feelings. You can't discover your repressed feelings by putting pressure on yourself to discover them. The only thing I want you to focus on is reducing your anxiety. Do this by going over the evidence sheet, keeping yourself busy so that you don't ruminate and Google your symptoms, and working on a meditation or a mindfulness exercise. Reduce your anxiety and your symptoms will fade. Don't let yourself be distracted by anything else - your anxiety is your focus.

    I hope that helps!

    Any advice or information provided here does not and is not intended to be and should not be taken to constitute specific professional or psychological advice given to any group or individual. This general advice is provided with the guidance that any person who believes that they may be suffering from any medical, psychological, or mindbody condition should seek professional advice from a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions. No general advice provided here should be taken to replace or in any way contradict advice provided by a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions.

    The general advice and information provided in this format is for informational purposes only and cannot serve as a way to screen for, identify, or diagnose depression, anxiety, or other psychological conditions. If you feel you may be suffering from any of these conditions please contact a licensed mental health practitioner for an in-person consultation.

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  3. sanbenito

    sanbenito New Member

    Dear friends, good morning. I particularly wanted to ask you about a complex topic.

    I wanted to consult it, since I cannot solve this problem ... stress due to calorie restriction can cause pain in my body, since I lost a lot of weight, I came with pain that I cannot identify with MRI or anything, massages does not work, nothing but my discomfort continues, could it be due to a lack of calories or low weight? Been with these discomforts for 2 years, I had eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, I do sports, I always move, but I wanted to know if the lack of weight in my body can cause that, if it causes anxiety and with them. it's my back symptoms, I don't know if it has to do with food or not ... but it's something I can't decipher. I've seen doctors, I performed acupuncture and nothing works ... my male is there,

    the symptoms of my back are always on the right side, lower area, the doctors checked me and there is nothing wrong with my lumbar, everything is perfect, but my pain is still there. restricting my body's calories can cause anxiety and with it pain? This pain apparently in December 2017 and I'm still with him.

    I am attaching photos so you can see where my pain is. Thanks for your help. I expect a prompt response. He read the books about J. Sarno, practiced sports, meditation, and wrote in a newspaper every day. But still not resolved my symptoms.

    Can all my back symptoms be generated by the anxiety of being hungry?


  4. Daniel G Lyman LCSW

    Daniel G Lyman LCSW TMS Therapist

    Hi sanbenito,

    Food is a big deal to me. Everyone around me knows that if I'm hungry, things can go awry. I get hangry, I get impatient, all kinds of not-so-nice things. Now, I work (and have worked) on this quite a bit. I've gotten much better than I used to be. Now when I'm hungry, I stop, breathe, and remind myself that hunger is just a sensation that my body is experiencing, and that I have control over how I react to it.

    That said, a new reaction to hunger has developed. I've always been someone who gets chapped lips when they get anxious. It sounds weird, I know, but that's one of the ways my body processes anxiety. I will literally have put lip balm on a few minutes ago, but if I get anxious about something, my lips will feel chapped. I mention this because now when I'm hungry, I don't get upset, but I'll notice that my lips start to feel chapped. Quirky, I know, but my brain has shifted the way that I process the discomfort. The chapped lips sensation has gotten better over time too, once I realized what was going on.

    This leads me to answering your question: Hunger can and often times does cause anxiety, and that anxiety in turn could be triggering your pain. I can't guarantee it, but I think that's most likely the culprit, especially since you've been looked at by doctors and everything looks good. So, when you're hungry, treat it just like you would if you were feeling stressed or anxious: be mindful of the sensation of being hungry (Alan Gordon would call that somatic tracking), take a few deep breaths, go for a walk, remind yourself that you don't need to be scared of being hungry, and then (eventually) eat something. The goal is to get to a place where the sensation of being hungry is just like the sensation of being sleepy; it's not threatening, it's just a sensation.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
  5. mugwump

    mugwump Well known member

    Wow this is so informative. This is very helpful and i have shared it to my friend. Thank you!
  6. fewjoram

    fewjoram Peer Supporter

    These are all very helpful words that we need to keep reminding ourselves. Although sometimes, we feared for a long time that it's hard to pull ourselves up. If others can't help us, we need to find the will and courage to do all this.

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