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Day 17 Perpetuating the Cycle

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by jokeysmurf, May 22, 2018.

  1. jokeysmurf

    jokeysmurf Well known member

    I wake up with lower back pain sometimes. My brain automatically inserts catastrophic reasons which to me now, seem totally left field. I think everything Alan Gordon outlined in his Pain Recovery is pretty spot on and keeps on being helpful along with SEP. I used to perpetuate the cycle, a thought, a reaction, a belief and it kept going. If I spend all day monitoring my pain then I am keeping it alive. If I accept I have some pain but that it's possible for it to go down or go away then I have done my job and move on. It's this possibility that for me makes all the difference. Yes there is a possibility that it can come back but there must also be a possibility that it won't.

    I believe that the Amygdala or mine anyway, is one of the biggest keys to getting out of pain and reducing anxiety. Our pain decisions are made on an subconscious level. Our reaction isn't - thats where we have a choice in reaction. I have learned that the Amygdala has two types of reactions well, three (number three is no decision) but for people with anxiety and pain its mostly two.

    False Positives and False Negatives. A false positive is when i wake up and have lower back pain and decide or react as if I have a kidney issue when in fact i really do not. This false positive can create intense fear or intense pain because the amygdala is perceiving this as danger.

    A False Negative is when you have no fear but you are in danger. This one doesn't really apply since TMS is almost always no damage, no danger but its worth mentioning that the amygdala can do this.

    The amygdala can learn - Alan Gordon highlighted this very well. What we don't realize is that the right hemisphere is closely linked to the amygdala. It functions on an subconscious level. Every day while we are doing our normal things the amygdala is scouring the land looking for possible danger. Always! It doesn't care if it is wrong, it's only job is to announce danger. It would rather be wrong and keep us safe than take any chances. So this seems very logical how we can develop anxiety and pain. If pain is a danger signal as is anxiety then all we have to do is teach it that things are ok.

    So here is the hard part, where I keep having "hiccups" it's hard to ignore pain and anxiety. I should say how do we remain neutral rather? It's not that we have to ignore it but we have to accept it and move on. ACT is a type of CBT therapy that is very simple to learn. Its feels hard when we are in the thick of it. I know I still fumble at this at times. What I have found is that we don't have to be perfect at it, just better than being tricked is good enough. If we react say 80% belief that we are fine thats way better than 20% this will still move you toward pain relief. Our percentages will fluctuate but each time the brain is learning something new about the situation. Consistency was the key for me to reduce my pain and anxiety. I have more to practice still, but I'm so much better than before where I was in pain 24/7.

    How did I know when I was being "tricked"? well for me its any feeling of dread, fear, sick, head ache, body pain - i just automatically decide it's just my brain and try and move on as best as I can. The hard part is that for me it was in the actual moment's of pain and horrible anxiety that made the biggest difference in your reaction. When the amygdala is on full alert, thats when the biggest strides were made.

    So how do I retrain my brain that my back pain isn't my kidneys? Which I know for a fact it's not. Well I basically do nothing. I just live my life as if things were fine, which they are... minus the pain. My brain is just being "jumpy" for whatever reason. If we remember that it's probably impossible to know exactly what caused it to be jumpy since its always scouring and looking for danger, so I don't worry about it so much. What I have learned from these forums is that as time passes we do in fact form new associations and that is another key to getting out of pain and anxiety.

    Happy Healing
    DieMond128 likes this.

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