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Please Help!!! What to do when you get pain in the middle of the night????????

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by G.R., Jan 13, 2014.

  1. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    Hi, Has anyone had pain in the middle of the night when you are sleeping?? It has been taking me a long
    time before I get to sleep and then I get woken up with sciatica pain. When I try to go to the bathroom to
    take a shower to relax me my buttock tightens up that I have to wake my dear husband up to help
    me get to the bathroom and take a shower. Probably taking a shower is not a Dr. Sarno suggestion but
    the pain gets so intense.

    Last night I was up all night. I was so tired to identify the
    emotions; although I did figure out my husband is going away on a business trip on Wednesday and
    I probably am upset about this since he has had to help me so much since my walking has not been normal.
    My daughter who will be here in the evenings is always very busy and may not help me like my husband.

    I think tonight I am going to journal a little before I go to bed. I will do some deep breathing and just
    enjoy the night. That can be a catch 22 though since I have been having this difficulty falling asleep
    for about two weeks.

    Any suggestions or insights would be greatly appreciated. I am trying not to get discouraged.
    Thanks everyone,
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi G.R.,
    I'm sorry to hear that you are struggling right now. When I'm in a lot of pain, and connecting the psychological to the physical through journaling isn't working, I turn to meditation in a form that is called Focusing. There is an excellent explanation of this by another Forum member (Unknown Stuntman) at the following link: http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/the-right-way-of-focusing-on-bodily-sensations.2183/

    Basically in Focusing one is placing attention on the pain but in a non-judgmental manner--exploring the pain as pure sensation like a curious observer. It takes some practice, but it does work in my experience.

    Have you tried Sarno's technique of telling the pain out loud to STOP! ? And whatever other phrase that works for you that basically is telling your unconscious that you don't need this message to be sent anymore because you are working on identifying the repressed emotions. I use this one I got from North Star "Your gig is up, brain!" I don't know why this works and it always makes me feel ridiculous to do it, but it does seem to work.

    For me, both of these techniques take about 15-20 minutes to be effective, so be patient if they don't work right away. I don't know why I have a delayed reaction or if that is typical, but that is just how it works for me.

    I've started doing Diaphramatic Breathing when I go to bed and it seems to be helping me fall asleep easier and have a better night's sleep. I got this suggestion from Stella.

    I hope these techniques help. Keep us posted on how you are doing.

    Wishing you a peaceful night....
    Lily Rose and G.R. like this.
  3. Alex Bloom LCSW

    Alex Bloom LCSW TMS Therapist

    Hi G.R.,

    I'm so sorry to hear you're having trouble making it through the night! Night time pain is something I have encountered with a lot of my clients and it is truly awful. Not only is it extremely disruptive, but when we are woken up in the middle of the night, we are at our most vulnerable...it becomes that much harder to apply the techniques you have learned and to make yourself feel safe and empowered. I think this is why night pain is fairly common: it is extremely effective at generating fear and anxiety. Everyone knows that feeling of tossing and turning in bed, obsessing over something that generates anxiety. How much more so when there is excruciating pain thrown in the mix!

    Some suggestions:
    1) Try your best to utilize mindfulness and relaxation techniques that you find are most helpful to you. There are a lot of options, from Ellen's suggestion for "Focusing" above, to the wide array you can find here on the forum or the wiki. If you can't find any that suit you, let me know and perhaps I could make some other suggestions. Remember, the goal here is not to decrease the pain per se, but rather to sooth yourself and diminish those feelings of anxiety and fear that the pain creates. "Will I hurt tomorrow?" "Will I be able to get back to sleep?" "How will I function tomorrow with so little rest?". All of these thoughts create pressure and fear, and have you projecting into the future. Stop. Slow down and focus on yourself in the moment. Try to calm yourself, and remember that your pain is not structural, you have nothing to be afraid of. Lying in bed, breathing deeply and creating a feeling of restfulness is a way of proactively helping yourself. Once you have controlled the fear that comes with the pain, you will find it far more easy to relax and get some rest. While you are trying this method you must be patient with yourself. Remember what I said above: due to the circumstances, it will be hard to feel empowered and put these techniques into practice as you will be feeling tired and vulnerable. But it can be done.

    2) Try to remind yourself that the pain is not structural and you don't need to take a shower to feel better. I know it feels good. I know it's helpful. I don't want you depriving yourself of feeling better, but the more you remind yourself that the basis of this pain is not physical, the less you will feel like the only thing that can save you is a hot shower. You're terrifying yourself...of course your muscles are tense! By relaxing, calming yourself and remembering that you are not damaging or harming your body further by simply lying in bed, you may be able to make some progress without relying on physical interventions.

    The connection between the anxiousness you are feeling around your husband's trip and your dependence on him to relieve your pain may merit some exploration. Currently your situation is: without him you can't get to the shower which means that without him you have no pain relief. This illustrates even more so how important it is to remind yourself that the physicality of the pain is not the main issue: it will allow you to regain control of your own well-being and free you from the fear of his departure.

    Hopefully some of that is useful. Please let me know if you have any questions about anything I've said here.
    G.R. likes this.
  4. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    G.R., I feel your pain! You've already received great suggestions so I'll just toss in my "I understand". Nighttime pain feels like such an ambush when you're most vulnerable.

    One thing I do is keep my iPod handy on my nightstand where I have audio books. Dr. Sarno's book, read by the good doctor himself, is a soothing way for me to drift back to sleep. I have it on the lowest setting for volume. His voice is very soothing and of course, the content is just what the doctor ordered.

    Hang in there!
    G.R. likes this.
  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    North Star, good idea to listen to the Sarno book CD on your iPod, to help you get to sleep.

    I don't have an iPod or the audio book, but I've become good at not thinking about the things that keep me awake
    and think about pleasant, soothing things and images.

    It also helps if I go to bed not worrying if there will be three inches or more of new snow on my driveway in the morning. haha
  6. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    North Star,
    The Sarno book I have in the audio version is not read by Dr. Sarno--the Mindbody Prescription. Which one do you have that is read by him?
  7. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    I am also subject to middle of the night TMS. For me, it's anxiety but before I knew it was anxiety, it often felt like pain. Distraction worked well. In 1998, I thought I should write a thank you note to David Hasselhoff because the only show on tv (in China; at 4 a.m.) that could distract me was Baywatch Nights. :shame:

    Showers, listening to an audio book, etc. were good, too. Eventually I would calm down enough to either go back to sleep or get on with my day. More recently, I just have a chat with the part that is causing the trouble. In a way, it's a distraction because I have to get up, make a cup of tea, open my laptop, get into real Self (curious and compassionate, non-judgmental) and start visiting with the part that's having the problem and disturbing my sleep.

    Many times, this is what IFS therapy calls a polarization--two or more parts that just don't agree about how to handle a life situation. Right now, I'm going through a spiritual crisis because I want to feel closer to God but various opinionated parts are saying, "NO way, I'm not letting that guy run things". There was a time when I would have repressed that part big time! I didn't want to even know about its existence.

    Now, it's like every night time anxiety attack is an opportunity to get to know myself a bit more, gradually sorting out what I really think about the big questions of life. Nobody gets repressed. Nobody gets to run things in opposition to others. If my values and goals are not congruent with my actions I come to know it and figure out how to live peacefully. In the case of my spiritual life, the parts sometimes just want me to have fun--not take life so seriously. Often they have no interest in God (or they have animosity) but since God is important to njoy they are willing to step back and let me have some input into that aspect of my life!

    One interesting thing I've learned about my parts is that the worst of them are not trying to hurt me. Sometimes they do but this is because they are trying to avoid what they see as a greater danger. The anxiety (or other TMS) is painful, yes. A part can insist on a course of action (eating and other addictions are a good example) that is harmful. But I can be grateful for their attempts to help even if I want them to stop.

    Also, they are not really trying to hurt anybody but sometimes, in defence of me, they do. As real Self, I can consider the problem from a more comprehensive angle and help the part let go of its protector job. I've just recently reached this point with a nasty part of me that truly enjoyed poking people in the eye (metaphorically, of course) when they annoyed me. My friends and relations are enjoying the new (safer) me and I feel good about it, too.

    I seem to have tried to put parts work in a nutshell, here, but have left out so much! Still, I hope it gives someone a new tool or two for dealing with those "dark of the night" times that feel so scary and out of control.
    Msunn likes this.
  8. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Njoy….oh gosh, I just love your posts! I love your "realness" and candor. And the part about poking people in the eye….that made me giggle. I'm more into a smack 'em silly approach. Then there's the heavy artillery I have mounted on my car that comes in handy. hahaha

    Seriously, that comment made me think about a wonderful quote from Richard Rohr, a Catholic priest/mystic. He said, "Mystical experience allows you to enjoy your own life, and to stop creating enemies and people to be afraid of and nations we have to punish and kill. When you are enjoying deep union, you won’t need to create divisions, mistrust, and separation. Conspiracy theories and tabloid gossip hold little interest for you."

    I know that has a broader context than what we're talking about but it makes me think of the days when I used to gobble up the angry talk radio…everyone who doesn't think like you becomes an enemy. No wonder I've had so many headaches.

    Ellen, it's the Healing Back Pain book. I got it on Audible, a division of Amazon if you're not familiar with it. Love, love, love Audible.
    G.R. and njoy like this.
  9. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    "When you are enjoying deep union, you won’t need to create divisions, mistrust, and separation. Conspiracy theories and tabloid gossip hold little interest for you." -- that's an amazing statement. I'm not sure I'm ready to give up conspiracy theories, North Star, but the rest of the list has definitely worn out its welcome. Thanks for your comments. I love your posts, too.
  10. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ha! I'm with you on the conspiracy theories…these are interesting times in which we live! I still regard them…but without the anger.
  11. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think we were all happier and less stressed before television came along.
    I grew up listening to radio. Shows were interesting or funny. News was not in our face.
    TV news today takes us all over the world where there is misery. We get too close to it and it can depress us.
    I don't bury my head in the sand, but I don't think we have to know about everything everywhere
    unless it's positive, but it rarely is.

    TV news is a lot like Cecil B. DeMille religious movie epics. TV News gives us a half hour or hour of bad news,
    then one short segment about something positive. DeMille movies are entertaining but they are 2 hours of sex
    and five final minutes of redemption. My favorite is "Samson and Delilah" with hammy Victor Mature and
    gorgeous Hedy Lamarr. No one ever got stuck in the stomach with a javelin better than Angela Lansbury.
  12. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    I agree with Ellen about the focusing. This has worked so well for me. I know it seems counter intuitive, but going into the pain with a sense of curiosity and no judgment really quells the fear. I actually invite the pain to "give me all it's got". I find that my mind has limited ability to give me intense pain and eventually it subsides because it is no longer being fueled by my fear.
  13. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    Duman (a very popular Turkish pop group) sings Ehvallah! about the recent troubles in that country. Means "Bring it On!". I've adopted it as my TMS anthem. Fear is a choice.

    The words are in Turkish but doesn't matter -- we have our own words for our own battles.
    North Star and G.R. like this.
  14. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wow, Njoy, that video and song are powerful…and yes, what powerful imagery for TMS.

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