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Pelvic pain

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by junglebiscuits, Oct 5, 2022.

  1. junglebiscuits

    junglebiscuits New Member

    Hi all,

    First of all I’d like to thank this community for the incredible resources and support. Dealing with chronic pain can be so isolating and finding this community has helped so much in my journey.

    To try and keep it brief, my chronic pain begun with neck and head pain at the end of 2019. Since going down this path in May of 2022, my neck and head pain has improved so much, thanks to this knowledge and work.

    There is a lingering symptom that I’m having trouble with knowing how to approach. The end of 2020 I began having symptoms of vulvodynia. After going to doctors, trying meds, and pelvic floor PT, the pain and tension still persisted. They have all the common symptoms of TMS, and while I believe the diagnoses and have cut out out all types of structural approaches to “fix” it, I have not had any changes in the pain.

    The pain I experience is a burning sensation in my vulva and vagina, ranging from constantly to for minutes at a time. My vulva can also be extremely sensitive and even painful to the touch. Sex can range from neutral to quite painful. What I’m struggling with is what approach to take to move forward. What has helped me a lot with neck pain has been to push through it - continue to do activities that I have associated with having pain regardless of my pain level at the time. Over time I’m learning that the activities that I do have no correlation with the sensations in my neck.

    Unfortunately, this approach feels more complicated for vulvodynia because the activity that I associate with pain is sex. It feels unhealthy to “push through” an intimate activity with my partner that’s associated with pleasure and connection, that in reality causes me pain. I don’t feel consciously afraid of the pain throughout the day, it can be easy enough to ignore (compared to neck pain which was completely consuming for me). So I’m left not sure I’m which area I can begin to approach this in my daily life.

    I know my case is not that different or unique, which is why I’ve come here to hopefully get some thoughts from those who have been through and are continuing to be in it. Anything would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for reading ❤️
  2. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Well known member

    You mentioned you have done “this work” - have you used a formal program or just tried to do your own thing?
    If you have not, I’d suggest trying a formal program that helps you ex. Journal, and work through relationships (starting early in life), intimacy, trust and control and watch for habitual response patterns in your life to whatever comes up. It is challenging, and you may opt for support. Family Systems therapists or EMDR are great types of therapies known to work well with tms folks since they are mind-body related.
    Pushing through the pain is a method to conquer fear, but that alone is usually not enough to keep tms symptoms from being chronic (constant, new or reoccurring). The emotional work to understand and accept yourself and why you repress emotions is usually what is needed to break the pain cycle.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  3. junglebiscuits

    junglebiscuits New Member

    Thank you for the feedback! I have gone through some of the structured program on here, although I stopped halfway once my neck problems had improved. I've also started to read and use "Unlearn Your Pain" by Howard Schubiner. I think you're right that doing the emotional work is what I need in this case. Weird question, but when doing the emotional work, should we be going into it with the specific intention of the pain that's bothering us? For example, when I was going through the program earlier this year, I was focused on my neck pain, and that's what improved while there was no change in vulvodynia symptoms.
  4. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Well known member

    I think you are focusjng on pain reduction and totally missing out on the cause of your pain. Personally, I would re-read Sarno or watch a few youtube videos or lectures (Schubiner has great ones) and really listen and understand the physical mechanisms of pain sensation and the psychological drivers of the pain. Sarno’s motto “think psychologically”!
    Stopping programs means you have continued to avoid and confront the true genesis and feelings of your pain. Essentially, your mind has simply tried to keep protecting you from the feelings generating the pain.. but part of your mind also screams for you to attend these feeling so it gives you pain.
    If you find it difficult to follow a program, get some support! Use the SEP forum to make short postings to keep yourself accountable, find a tms group or a coach or therapist.
    My symptoms dramatically increased as I went further into the work, which is very common so I did not fear them. It was a good sign to me that I was dealing with things.
    Remember the process is not more complicated with your symptoms.. it is just your mind being afraid to deal with the subconscious thoughts and feelings causing them.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.

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