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Physical Symptoms Shifting to Psychological Symptoms

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by RHCPfan, Aug 11, 2021.

  1. RHCPfan

    RHCPfan Newcomer

    Hi everyone,

    After about 2/3 months of serious TMS treatment, my lower back pain has reduced about 90% (it fluctuates every now and then but it's always tolerable), but now I have been feeling extremely anxious/tense virtually all the time. I always feel like I'm behind despite working so hard, and I get frustrated because I know the quality of my work is so poor because I'm so tense/anxious/stressed. I understand that what I'm experiencing is common, but I'm not exactly sure how to go about treating TMS after the symptoms shift from physical to psychological. I am on about day 14 of the tmswiki structured educational program, I've done a lot of journaling before starting the program, meditation, and regular exercise. I'm really happy because self-treating myself with TMS has allowed me to exercise again which has always been a big part of my life, but this anxiety/constant state of tension has been around for about 2 months now and I'm looking for tips about treating people with TMS whose physical pain shifted to anxiety/constant tension.
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    As you said, pain moving to anxiety is very common in TMS treatment. I've been mostly pain free now for over 7 years except for a few relapses, but anxiety is a frequent companion. I've found that just as with pain or other physical symptoms, it is important to not over focus on it and catastrophize about it. I think it was Jung who said, "What we resist persists." I've started using a technique that is similar to somatic tracking, but instead of physical symptoms I use it when experiencing anxiety or other unpleasant emotions. I just try to look at the feelings with curiosity and without judging them. Just sit and feel it. Sometimes I find it useful to think about what the feeling looks like and other qualities. What color is it? Does it move or vibrate? etc. This exercise allows me to get used to the feeling and take away the immediate judgement of "This is bad. I need to get rid of this feeling right away." It reduces the fear, which is what is fueling it to begin with.

    On those occasions when anxiety is so high, I can't even sit with it, I find aerobic exercise (especially outside) very helpful. It turns off the thoughts that are fueling the anxiety for awhile. I often go outside and tackle some gardening task that will get my blood pumping.

    I hope this is helpful.
    plum likes this.
  3. Verde

    Verde Newcomer

    Hi RHCPfan
    I can completely relate. About two week ago I started having nightly nightmares and they are so difficult emotionally I often wake up with my ribs aching. I suspect I am not breathing properly while I sleep during these nightmares because when I wake up earlier (not during dreaming that I am aware of) I am not hurting in the ribs or abdomen. I used to get this for a spell after a severe car accident when I developed PTSD. So I am thinking all the emotional and psychological trauma and pain is emerging through nightmares. The week before they started I have 5 panic attacks in a week and I hadn't had them in years. It is hard but ride them out and if you don't have close support (I don't) find someone you can feel safe to work with (I did) and it can help tremendously.
    I hope this is helps
    RHCPfan likes this.
  4. Verde

    Verde Newcomer

    Hi Ellen-
    Thank you for posting this and I found it very helpful!

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