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Relaxing into Pain

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by gailnyc, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    I wonder if any of you have experienced this...

    For the past couple of weeks I've been practicing the "face, accept, float, let time pass" program of Claire Weekes. This has helped me a lot, especially since I discovered that what I really need to do to feel better is RELAX into the pain.

    This is counterintuitive. Usually when we feel pain we tense up into it. According to Weekes, this causes the pain-fear-pain cycle to continue. We are just adding to our already stressed-out nervous system.

    It's very hard to learn how to relax instead into pain. But I have been practicing. Whenever I become conscious that I am tensing, I consciously relax whatever muscles are tense.

    Very often, I find that these are my stomach muscles (even though my main pain is in my foot)! I have realized during the last week that I very often, throughout the day, clench my stomach muscles tightly. Even when my mind does not seem anxious, I realize on some subconscious level I am, because I feel it in my body.

    I hope that learning to relax into pain and relax tense muscles will lead to a calmer me. Not just in terms of how I deal with pain but how I deal with life in general. I have always been a worrier and have suffered a lot from anxiety. Hopefully this practice will loosen me up a bit.
    veronica73, JanAtheCPA and Forest like this.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    That's me, Gail - big time clencher of the abdominals.

    Relaxing into the pain is a very useful technique. Now that I know about TMS theory, I am learning to take it step further.

    I have an almost pathological fear of dental pain (too much painful drilling when I was a kid, before they invented Crest with fluoride)(and better numbing shots for skinny little kids)(plus I'm a high-anxiety person). It takes plenty of shots to get me numbed up for a procedure (lots of crowns since my 30s, due to cracks from clenching) but I'm so sensitized, I swear I can still feel twinges of nerve pain when the drill gets "too close" or whatever. So I had an old crown that recently had to be re-done to deal with decay underneath it. I'd had a couple of shots and I was trying to stay relaxed as I listened to the drill, but sure enough, suddenly there was a twinge of pain, which in the "old days" would have had me stopping my dentist and asking him for another shot. This time I decided to employ my new skills: I evened out my breathing, unclenched my feet, hands, jaw and, yes, my abdominal muscles, and then I tried something brand-new: I told my brain that there was no need to send any pain signals to that tooth, because I was perfectly safe, there was no danger, and my dentist was taking care of everything very expertly.

    And it worked, absolutely, like a charm. There was still a teeny tiny twinge, but I didn't care about it anymore, and I no longer expected it to get worse. It actually blew my mind how well this worked.

    This is a perfect example of how TMS knowledge is beneficial far beyond a specific symptom - it can help in EVERY aspect of physical life. Our thoughts hold a LOT of power - the key is turning them to positive outcomes.

  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    And I love this. I need to do this, with more consistency and a lot more intention.
  4. RikR

    RikR Well known member

    A wonderful book on this called; Paradoxical Relaxation by Dr. David Wise. About TMS type symptom recovery by a non-TMS doctor. They have a huge clinic at Stanford Medical school
  5. OtterMan

    OtterMan Peer Supporter

    I have been able to relax into the pain in Yoga class. I have had 2 classess where my body completely opened because i said ok just be gentle, accept your body, there is nothing wrong with it and let go. Then i started to have fun with yoga instead of it being a chore for my fitness or mental health. If i could only do that in most aspects of my life. I can only do it minimally now.

    I just realized i dont even have fun because i am always in my head worried, feeling guilty etc. Gawd how do i change this lol

    veronica73 likes this.
  6. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I noticed that after taking a long hike yesterday, when I got back to my house and took a shower, I sat down and had a total relaxation experience. I also noticed that during the hike, my TMS symptoms were way down, the first time in fact that they didn't build at all. Then, in the middle of the night, I woke up full of rage at something a friend of my father had said to me as I drove him to the airport ten years ago following my father's death. Wanted to just beat him senseless at the time, but stuffed it. Sure seemed like that total relaxation experience let that old repressed rage out of my unconscious in the wee hours at 4 am. Then, when I woke up, I noticed that my allergies that had been going on for a week since I had a tick bite had gone way down, almost disappeared. Seemed like my underlying rage was what was driving my allergic reaction. Seemed to move like this: total relaxation, repressed rage surfacing late at night, cessation of allergic symptoms in the morning. Sure do encounter some strange things when you start to act as your own brain surgeon! Especially when you become mindful. Really weird coincidences too: my allergies began almost to the exact date of the anniversary of my father's death (March 9th). Our behavior is so conditioned!

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