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Oxygen Deprivation v Neural Pathways

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by lucaspjones, Dec 28, 2020.

  1. lucaspjones

    lucaspjones New Member

    Hi, I've been following Alan Gordon's most recent pain programme lately, and I noticed how he talks about pain in terms of 'neural pathways' instead of Dr Sarno's theory of 'mild oxygen deprivation'.

    Does anyone know the reason for this different interpretation? Does it ultimately matter, and did framing the pain in one particular way make any difference to anyone's recovery?

    I've been a TMS believer for nearly 3 months now, I've seen progress but I'm still struggling in truth. Fear, and ultimately doubt, are dominant in my mind and are probably barring me from making further progress.

    Any replies welcome, would love to hear about others' experiences :)
    Baseball65 and Cap'n Spanky like this.
  2. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    The brain remembers pain and uses it to distract from what it deems as unacceptable and dangerous emotions. These are the neural pathways of pain and the oxygen deprivation is the physical mechanism recruited by the brain to enable them. This is how I understand it. This is why it is important to practise creating a new attitude towards the pain, a new neural pathway of indifference to the pain.
    Jeather, Baseball65, Ellen and 3 others like this.
  3. Cap'n Spanky

    Cap'n Spanky Well known member

    I've been a follower of Dr. Sarno and a believer in TMS going on 15 years. I've had tremendous success in ridding myself of pain issues. Dr. Sarno is a hero to me and I am eternally grateful.

    For me, the specific mechanics of how the brain causes pain was never that important. What's important is accepting and believing that IT IS the brain causing the pain and symptoms in my body and not some structural issue. I didn't let tiny quibbles I had with Dr. Sarno's theories stand in the way of that.

    Maybe it's a little like reading the bible. People pull out the parts that are meaningful, and leave the parts that don't make sense for another day.

    I absolutely love Alan Gordon's approach to TMS. His learned neural pathways explanation of pain is a more modern interpretation and it makes a great deal of sense to me.
  4. Painfreefuture

    Painfreefuture Peer Supporter

    Knowledge of the physiological mechanisms behind the pain was very important to my healing. I am a skeptical person by nature, I am a trained scientific researcher, pseudoscience wouldn’t cut the mustard with me. Sarno opened my mind to the theory, but the modern brain research helped my brain buy in. The lens I look through for my understanding is that during the worst part of my TMS pain I had an overactive amygdala and a very low threat threshold, which activates the fight/flight/freeze response resulting in a multitude of chronic symptoms. Mindfulness was the primary pathway to my healing. When the threat response was triggered, I consciously responded with awareness, reassurance, and comfort. Over time, many many months, I unwound neural pathways to raise my threat threshold by training myself to recognize that I was safe. The threat response was no longer triggered and the pain subsided. Sorry if I went off on a personal tangent here. I hope this is helpful. Hang in there you are on the right track.
    Kellso, tgirl, Jeather and 4 others like this.
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I agree with all the responses here. Neuroscience has progressed massively in the years since Dr. Sarno retired, never mind in the years since he wrote his last book (2008?) He himself was revising his theories in later years, even though this did not appear in a mainstream format like a new book (I can't remember who it was who said that Dr Sarno apparently mentioned, at some point, that "TMS" should probably refer to "The Mindbody Syndrome" - this being a reference to the fact that TMS symptoms obviously covered much more than muscle pain - making the "myositis" obsolete).

    In any case, I think that the oxygen-deprivation was certainly a decent working theory at the time he proposed it, and I still think it's useful for people just starting out to help them visualize the healing flow of oxygen in their bodies. And when you think about that, why wouldn't it still apply? We all know that oxygenation IS important to good health - as evidenced by the immense value of breathing exercises, combined with mindfulness (eg: meditation) in the healing kit for TMS.

    It's just that the new research into neuroscience is also showing us so much more. And will continue to do so.

    Alan Gordon, along with many other awesome TMS practitioners, is a worthy successor to carry on the research and development of TMS knowledge and treatment. His particular genius is in combining the knowledge of learned neural pathways with the emotional component.
  6. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Everyone,

    My view of this may be simplistic, but to me the core of what you're after lucaspjones is confidence. I would suggest that you find in the authors that you're reading what makes sense to you, resonates, and frankly, throw out the rest. Find a few threads you feel are true and follow them deeply. The sense that you're on the right path might actually be an intuitive surety or feeling, rather than an intellectual exercise. Many people, tens of thousands have gotten better following a "strickly Sarno" diet of understanding. If this gives you support, forget the rest. If a neural pathways approach, or whatever else makes sense, use it.

    For most people it is knowing and believing whichever of these you go for ---using these theories to support thinking psychologically, rather than physically, which is important. The problem originates in our mind and emotions, rather than in our tissues.

    I do caution you to think of neural pathways as anything physical. Some folks think they need to change something inside in order to get out of symptoms when they read this. I encourage folks to read "neural pathways" as "habits of mind." Keeps it it extremely "non physical."

    I'll post this here, this thread which also contains a great other thread, which I love because miffybunny skillfully touches on some of these themes. So, there are two threads here. With yours, we now have three!

    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/tms-vs-neuroplasticity-vs-somatic-tracking.23179/ (TMS vs. neuroplasticity vs. somatic tracking)

  7. Cap'n Spanky

    Cap'n Spanky Well known member

    I'll add that just because I wasn't overly concerned with the exact mechanics the brain uses to create pain in the body, doesn't mean I accept pseudoscience. I'm a big believer in science and am turned off by much of the New Age junk I see floating around. In fact, there are some books recommended on this forum that wish were not.

    It's really that science is just barely beginning to understand the brain and it's interaction with the body. To know the exact mechanism seems premature, in my eyes. Twenty-five or 50 years from now, things may be very different.

    But I did see solid evidence (in myself and others) that the brain can and will cause symptoms; and there are techniques I can use to get better.
    Baseball65 likes this.
  8. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes! What we do to get better ----the techniques, are all in agreement.
    Cap'n Spanky and Baseball65 like this.
  9. lucaspjones

    lucaspjones New Member

    Thank you all for your amazing responses :) I wish I could reply to each of you individually but I wouldn't want to dilute what has been a very insightful thread.

    I look forward to more research being done on this topic in the future, and I'm so thankful that I have a supportive community to help me through my worries!

    Dealing with fear is an immense challenge, but I'm getting a little better it each day - and one of the most important antidotes to fear is education, so it's very encouraging to learn more about neural pathways from you guys :)
  10. Jeather

    Jeather Peer Supporter

    I will add that Dr. Siegel says in his Back Sense book that it is "tension" causing symptoms. But what is tension? I guess a sensation caused by oxygen deprivation?
  11. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    We believe it is the stress caused by emotional repression, as originally explained by Dr Sarno. Repression comes first, followed by symptoms to distract us from the repressed emotions, followed, as we are more recently learning, by memorized or learned neural pathways. Sounds simpler than it is, of course.
  12. Jeather

    Jeather Peer Supporter

    i feel I’m in a similar state... do you think that watching movies that are intense, not too crazy, can cause issues? Even though my brain knows it’s just a movie?
  13. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    Love this response.
    lucaspjones likes this.

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