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RSI and managing pain

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Khetu, Jul 24, 2022.

  1. Khetu

    Khetu New Member

    Hello all,

    I wrote my story on my profile, but to give the gist of it I've spent the better part of almost 2 years not being able to use my hands without horrible pain, and it started to radiate down my arms a few months after the initial 'injury'.

    As you can see I'm typing this just fine so my TMS journey is really coming along, and I'm delighted how much hope it's given me, and how much I've been able to claw back and enjoy activities I thought I'd never be able to partake in again.

    I've read The Mindbody Prescription, and am doing the Structured Education Program which has really uncovered some parts of myself that have been deeply uncomfortable to face. I'm still in a good deal of pain, but it's at a point I can cope with as I hope to gradually reduce it to zero. The pain has never really gone above a certain point until recently, which is why I decided to join and make this post, hopefully to get some advice.

    Last night I was enjoying some writing with a friend, and the pain (which usually radiates around my forearms and hands/fingers) settled into one focused spot at the base of my thumb and it was excruciating. Obviously my first thought was "Oh no, I've overdone it with the typing," but then I remembered this is exactly what my brain wanted me to be fooled by and kept going. It got so bad I had to take painkillers for the first time in several weeks just to dull it, but I didn't stop typing which I'm proud of.
    I was really angry with myself (or my brain, rather) for seemingly punishing me when I was doing something I really enjoyed and spoiling an otherwise good evening.

    This morning, I woke up and the pain is now in my left hand along my fingers, which is a common place for it to settle, and the pain in my thumb is back down to a dull ache, and I'm typing just fine here and it's not increasing - so I know (as hard as it is to drill that into my head every single time) that I haven't injured myself and it's just TMS being a bully.

    How does everyone cope when the pain suddenly ramps up to a level that is worrying, when it had previously been manageable? How would I best assure myself that it's not an injury and calm myself down? I haven't had this happen yet - the sudden increase to a new level of pain, so I was wondering if anyone else had any words of wisdom for this?

    Thanks in advance.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  2. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Well known member

    Wow! You are doing great!
    How do you cope?
    First, “what am I feeling” - the first thing you go to is the real reason for your pain, not the physicality of the pain but your emotions. All of them. Were you really fully enjoying yourself? Subconsciously were you worried? Did your companions say or do something to trigger you but you steamrolled over those feelings? Did you really want to be there or did you feel you were supposed to want to be there? A million questions you can explore. You already knew you were angry with symptoms. Were you able to feel the anger physically? Sometimes learning to lean into the anger without anyone knowing you are angry but feeling that explosive burning feeling (even if subtle) can be a next healing step. These things can happen in your mind in a flash. There is then the art of redirecting your mind from the pain to continue on with whatever you are doing with more attention than you give symptoms. You can master this, and learning may not be perfect but that’s ok. You are learning - this is part of the essence of TMS skills - to learn to attend to self while not giving power to the symptoms; to not allow them to feed on obsessive worry and fear. You know the pattern, you know it’s just pain because you hyperfocus on it, you tend to pay more attention to anything but your physical emotions, you probably get tense in many situations, you may have personality traits that perpetuate the cycle right now. There’s the key ‘ right now’ -I have pain right now but I Am Ok. I’m breathing, I’m sitting, I’m talking snd I know tomorrow the pain will be in my other hand because that’s the pattern I have learned... notice your feelings, acknowledge you generate physical tension patterns, don’t dwell on their predicability or the pain, refocus, find time for relaxing ( again, you may need to learn to relax) and enjoyment.
    Khetu likes this.
  3. Khetu

    Khetu New Member

    Thankyou so much for this reply, your comment on whether I was truly enjoying myself and if something my companion was doing was causing me stress suddenly clicked. While I was having a good time there were things that were bothering me at that moment, and I hadn't even stopped to consider it was the present moment that was the issue rather than things in the past (which I'm sure still contribute massively,) that were causing such flare-up.

    The mindfulness and meditation techniques have somehow ended up being the hardest part of recovery! I never thought it would be so hard to relax and let go of things, but here I am haha. Thank you very much again, this advice is fantastic, I'll be putting this on a sticky note for my desk! :)
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  4. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Well known member

    It is almost always the present moment that is the issue. The reason we are asked to dig through the past is really to begin to see how we created cycles and habits in the past, that still cycle and repeat in the present day. Things like reacting instead of responding, withholding and not attending to "please" other and not express ourselves. Might I suggest you may like to try the SEP free program here. Reading and journaling, mostly. It goes more in depth on some thing that could be helpful like patterns, personality, mindfulness, reactions etc. Obviously you do see that you have a pattern of tensing your mind, and most likely your body in a reaction to your thoughts. You'll probably now begin to see other patterns, things you might remember from the past that are now just unconsciously done in reaction to a huge variety of things. Merely observing them is often enough to get yourself to begin to let them go.
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Bumping this thread - it's a good one!
    Khetu likes this.
  6. Khetu

    Khetu New Member

    Thank you both, I'm slowly working my way through the SEP and will make another post with my progress as the days and months pass, hopefully one day I'll be able to write my own success story too!
  7. mbo

    mbo Well known member

    In my humble opinion RSI (repetitive strain injury) should be renamed RSP (repetitive stress pain) in order to avoid wrong treatments.
    RRP (repressed rage pain) could be another precise acronym.
    Khetu, Baseball65 and JanAtheCPA like this.
  8. MedicineWithin

    MedicineWithin Peer Supporter

    It's really common for the pain to increase many times while you are healing. Just tune in to what you are feeling, your thoughts and emotions. If you start getting fearful thoughts about what it could be physically just see that also but don't attatch. It just an old pattern that kept you safe from feeling emerging to protect you. Be grateful for the pain even and the old pattern, becasue it probably saved you from feelings you were not ready for anyway. A list of gratitudes is a good way direct your feeling state. They key is to actually feel grateful (in your body) and mind. Look for things that make you feel safe. Focus on those. It's really just these little things that you train your mind with. Pretty simple.

    If you'd like more help you can visit www.thetaowithin.com [moderator edit: Unauthorized anonymous self-promotion]

    thank you!
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2022

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