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Sabotaging new effort?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Miss Metta, Oct 24, 2016.

  1. Miss Metta

    Miss Metta Peer Supporter

    Hi all

    Well, for the last few weeks I'd been meaning to post here and say, "Yes, Tennis Tom, you can punch the air now, you were right, my leg pain was really TMS after all." And so is my back pain. After some time coming to terms with it, journaling and getting the ok from my doctor, a few weeks ago I started swimming again.
    Initially the pain tried to flare up, but I reminded myself that my doctor said "you can't hurt yourself swimming" (meaning, my leg pain). The back pain I was also experiencing whilst swimming(!) - how's that for an anomaly, swimming is usually Rxed for back pain - also dissipated.
    Finally, breakthroughs, and real evidence that it was TMS, and I wanted to say to Tom, you were right.

    Heartened by this new freedom to exercise, after a few weeks of enjoyable swimming, I decided to take up weight training, something I hadn't done in years - with the idea that my back pain and joint pain that came from weight training was TMS, I now had a new way to look at it.
    The first session was good. Even my knee wasn't clicking and clunking.

    After the second session, though, I felt ill for 3 days afterward, like I had the flu. Sore throat, malaise, achy, chills. Then it went away. Third session, same again - flu-like symptoms for 3 days that left me really unwell and unable to do much except sleep, felt depressed, and then went away and I was good as gold.

    Next session, 4 days later, same again. I also noticed a lot of tightness and nodules in outer quads and ITB area - an issue I used to have with squats. Because of stuff I have read from other people previously, I decided to ignore it, that there was nothing wrong, it was TMS, and that my past attempts to treat this weight-induced 'injury' was a distraction. (In prior years I've been given the usual assessments: pronation, weak glutueus medius, chondromalacia...) that might account for my lateral leg pain and tightness post leg workout.

    So 2 days before I was to do my next session, I felt my lower back in its same old trigger point 'go'.
    I journaled about it, and though I found lots that I was raging about or feeling pressured about, it didn't go away. I gave in to it and did not do a weights session, I was afraid of holding a barbell on my shoulders to do squats - I feel a bit precarious with this anyway, as the bars on their own are just about heavy enough for me.

    I gave in to the pain and babyed it, walking around with a hotwater bottle shoved into the back of my jeans (cause it feels good anyway) and under my jumper so that I had constant warmth. Once or twice I gave in and used topical gel. I don't think I got to the bottom of what caused the spasm. A part of me was relieved to not have to go to the gym, but another part was annoyed, because I knew this was TMS and I couldn't fathom the reason, other than it was something emotional but I hadn't put my finger on it yet. I never did.

    So 5 days later it starts to go away gradually on its own, and I'm looking forward to going to the gym (having had a pain-free swim yesterday) today. I put on my gym gear and as I'm brushing my teeth, I'm imagining doing squats and how good it will feel to be back in the gym. And then - you guessed it - I twisted a little bit and the whole spasm came back again! Again I feel so tight and sore and like I have not enough back strength to put a barbell on my shoulders (that seems to be the feeling I get with it).

    What's happening? Why the 'flu' like symptoms? Why the back going out with just minor movements when I'm contemplating training? To me, to have the back spasm twice in a row just before I'm due to weight train says something is up. Is my sub trying to protect me from that post-workout malaise, or is that too a TMS symptom? When it went this morning I laughed at it. I got annoyed and told it to go away. I even 'punished' it by putting an ice pack on the spot rather than a hot water bottle.
    Clearly this is about weight training and not exercise per se, or it would have gone 'out' yesterday when I swam, which it used to do. For some reason my sub is now allowing me to swim, something it had stopped me doing with a deluge of symptoms for over 18 months. That's practically gone, now. But now it's acting up over weight training.

    How to approach? Tell it to go to hell and train anyway? Admittedly a part of me is afraid of getting those post-training flu symptoms - that's not normal I don't think - unless I'm overdoing it?!

    thanks all
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Metta,

    You're having great success so far! Focus on the breakthroughs, review them in your mind on a regular basis. This sends the "cure" deeper and deeper.

    As far as flu like symptoms, yes, that is probably a TMS equivalent, since apparently it was not flu. There are a number of things going on: is the weight training too much? Probably not on a physical level, but you have doubt or fear there. Do you really need to find the specific psychological tension issue that explains symptoms? Not necessarily, in my experience. Your inquiry, journaling, imagination about what how your Inner Child might feel about _________ is as important or more so than finding a specific answer. Needing a specific answer, and then a specific result (like subsidence of symptoms) is a form of pressuring yourself, which frankly does not help! I don't know if you have done the TMS Recovery Program at the wiki, but it is great in terms of learning skills.

    You have a variety of currents running right now about this, including fear about the new level of weight training. My suggestion is that you do it, in a very progressive way, working up from a very light weight, like just the bar ---some level of physical stress that you know down deep cannot cause xyz symptoms.

    None of this can be done perfectly. It is a sort of ongoing experiment. The main thing is you're making huge progress. In my experience you don't need to rush things. Here is a great article on fear, which we need to remember is a better distraction in the TMS process than the pain itself.

    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/understanding-and-overcoming-fear.8574/ (Dr. Schubiner's Blog - Understanding and overcoming fear)

    Good luck in this, and congratulations on the wonderful progress so far!!!! It will all come together in time, based on what you're telling me your experience is so far.

    Andy B
  3. Miss Metta

    Miss Metta Peer Supporter

    Hi Andy
    thanks for the encouragement and support. It's funny, but with back pain, sometimes by doing a quick mental inventory of everything that's been bugging me or making me cross in the last few hours (answer: most everything!), I can often find the reason and the pain melts away within a few minutes. It's not even a big 'aha' moment, more like "oh yeah, I'm annoyed about that..." and the pain will go. In this case though, even journaling didn't help,and days later, it was still in spasm. So I could only propose that something about doing the weights work was scaring my sub, or angering my inner child, and it knew darn well that causing a large spasm in my back would be enough to put me off. So it used that tactic, twice, to great effect.

    Thanks for the article. I think I'm finally 'getting it', that I don't necessarily need to get in touch with the emotional trigger (although doing that was a major breakthrough with my pain ) for it to work. TMS is so tricky, isn't it?

    I tried a short home workout with no weights and doing air squats, or holding a kettlebell, so I was more stable, and there was nothing on my shoulders. At the gym, I use the Smith machine for squats otherwise I am unstable, but even the bar is enough weight, maybe even too much. So with the home workout, I wanted to see whether not being in the gym (and all that entails) would make a difference, as well as using no weight, so that I could have confidence that I could do it. Pleased to say I've not gotten those flu symptoms, but neither do I feel any post-workout soreness, so I also feel I haven't worked hard enough to make any progress! Still, not getting the flu symptoms tells me that either I was working too hard too soon, or that the gym environment itself is 'triggering' (there's a whole other painful history around gyms that may need working through. Or not.) Thanks again

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