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Day 3 Physical Activity and Pain Problem

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Dayton, Apr 24, 2019.

  1. Dayton

    Dayton Newcomer

    I cannot recall the last time I actually exercised at a sweat / cardio level. Maybe a couple years. Often meant to, but always put it off for some reason or another- busy in evenings parenting, back concerns, and probably scared to really go for it.
    But last time I did a physical activity: A short hike with friends on Feb 27th. It was awesome. I had no conscious back concerns that day (well maybe once when my wife gave me a glance as I picked up my kid), walked at a brisk pace, chatted with friends, carried my kid a few times, and even went back to retrieve a forgotten water bottle (a fast walk halfway back up the trail). Overall, it may have been 1.5 - 2 miles. Pain picked up dramatically a few days after that.
    About 5 days later, in an act of stubborn pain defiance, I took a short walk with my kid and dog. We had a blast. It hurt, but not that bad. I hobbled along following my rambunctious two-year old, laughing and smiling, taking a few photos and videos of us, a feeling proud that I put all the painstressworkdeadlinesanxiety away to spend perfect quality time with my boy. That was basically the last day that I walked for any decent distance. Too much pain, spasms, and immobility after that day. Thank god I took those videos. Me and my boy watch them almost every day.
    Each time I upped my physicality, I paid the price in pain. I tried to tough it out and walk/shuffle as much as I could each day, tried a few home physical therapy programs, and since the Sarno books, tried moments of thoughtless movement like walking "regularly" for a few steps, dancing to music, or flopping into bed (as opposed to the slow, grimaced, ease in and careful roll). Severe pain followed each of those instances.
    That pain seems so tied to specific movements, and the movements seem so precisely linked to a pinched S1 nerve. I'm constantly searching for the limits of my painless movements and swiftly reminded of exactly where those limits are. Crouch down and move slightly left- ZING, sit down in the morning and look down at my coffee- OUCH, step too surely with my left leg and extend it past halfway- BURN. And an involuntary, unanticipated cough or a sneeze...$%@@. I live in a perpetual state of sneeze fear.
    It's all getting worse, the pain and the immobility- just like the orthopedic surgeon said it would. He said that the location of my disc herniation would be impossible to heal because it was constantly getting irritated. He even doubted that an epidural would provide any relief because of the unfortunate location. Though I try hard to disassociate the physical image of MRI findings and the source of the pain, I cannot seem to find active movement that can overcome the sheer and utter bomb of pain when I "cross those lines"
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Dayton,

    Encouraging you to keep at your program and don't worry too much about the results yet. It takes time for the learning to go deep. Meantime find ways to sooth yourself, enjoy the small things, find joy, meaning, connection. These basics of life satisfy, regardless of the pain sensations!

    Andy B
  3. Dayton

    Dayton Newcomer

    Thanks Andy. Will do this. Trying to keep it as light and positive as possible each day and not put too much pressure on my situation. But pain and limitation incrementally worsen, even after "fun" and positive days. Obviously I'm still getting frustrated as I'm slowly witnessing something go from minor discomfort to full-blown life changing situation in a few months. Maybe certain SEP recommendations are frustrating me: "Set a date to do a physical activity that you cannot currently do" or "Think of an activity that you don't often do anymore because of stress/pressure/available time." Those are movement-based recommendations that, try as I must, I have been unsuccessful so far.
    I appreciate your encouragement Andy.

  4. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Dayton,

    Maybe the advice I give and the SEP gives could be more subtle:

    Satisfaction: Take pleasure in somethings very small which do not trigger symptoms. This is about giving yourself the gift of ease and satisfaction on a regular basis, not demanding of yourself that you go do physical activities, though they might have given you pleasure in the past. Separate these two goals: pushing a little on symptoms vs ease/relaxation/pleasure. Dr. Sarno's "drink a glass of wine and forget about your symptoms" comes to mind, but I cannot personally recommend alcohol. I suggest watching your child play, music, soothing touch from your partner or yourself, things like this.

    Goals: Work the edge of discomfort, tolerating a little more pain/activity, attuning to where you are, rather than pushing through. Each person has to work this edge, no matter where and when this edge occurs. Work with fear, anxiety, pain right where and when it comes up. Goals are good too, but putting a certain time frame may be pressure inducing. This is seems to vary by personality.

    Andy B
    Dayton likes this.

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