This is the official thread for Section 2.2 of the TMS Recovery Program donated by Alan Gordon of the Pain Psychology Center (PPC). This section is entitled "Reframe the Meaning of the Pain." Neither Alan nor the PPC necessarily endorses this thread or any of the viewpoints presented in it. Please keep these official threads on topic and put your best thoughts down, as these threads will be read by many people. All posts in this thread should all relate to section 2.2 of the TMS Recovery Program: http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/TMS_Recovery_Program#Reframe_the_Meaning_of_the_Pain In section 2.2, Alan writes the following: Reframe the Meaning of the Pain One of the ways that you may be able to reduce your symptoms is by changing the way you think about the pain. Many TMS sufferers think about their pain all the time; mostly from a perspective of fear: “I’m not in pain right now, when’s it going to come?” “I’ve had it for so long now, is it ever going to go away?” “Nothing else has worked so far, will this recovery program be any different?” This very common type of thinking can actually perpetuate the pain. The following article, Breaking the Pain Cycle, explains the concept of reinforcement, how you may be reinforcing your symptoms without realizing it, and what steps you can take to break this cycle. To emphasize, your TMS symptoms themselves aren’t serving as a distraction from painful unconscious emotions, it’s the fear and preoccupation around the pain that is serving as this distraction. That’s the purpose of the pain in most cases, to generate fear. It’s for this reason that runners often get leg pain and screenwriters often get wrist pain (and not the other way around.) It’s for this reason that pain often manifests in a place where you know you’re structurally vulnerable. And it’s for this reason that some TMSers can eliminate their symptoms simply by reading one of Dr. Sarno’s books (as it can neutralize the fear associated with the pain). Consequently, every one of those pain-themed fear thoughts is actually serving to reinforce the pain. (Perhaps you may have just had the thought, “Oh man, I’m never going to be able to overcome those thoughts. I’m doomed.” That’s another one right there. See how prevalent they are?) Familiarize yourself with these thoughts. Spend some time watching how frequently your mind goes in that direction. Shining a light on this type of thinking brings it to conscious awareness, and it is the first step to diminishing the power of these thoughts. In Part II, I talk more specifically about how this type of fear-thinking develops, and how to best respond when it rears its head. Alan Gordon says that a good way to reduce the severity of our symptoms is to change the way we think about the pain. We may work ourselves into a fear that the pain will never go away if we think about the pain all the time. This just keeps the pain coming and can even make it worse. This can be changed by “breaking the pain cycle” which is explained in an article Gordon posts. It offers steps in breaking this vicious cycle of pain. Often, pain shows up in part of the body that is structurally vulnerable. For instance, a runner may get leg pain or a writer may get wrist pain. This can cause a conditioning that perpetuates the pain. But the pain can stop if we stop associating it with an activity such as running, walking, sitting. A member on this forum posted an example of breaking the pain cycle. She wrote that she had been bedridden for weeks, afraid to get up and walk because she associated back pain with walking. She made up her mind to stop thinking that, got up, and walked half a block outdoors. She had a little back pain, but next day walked a full block and felt less back pain. She no longer associates walking with back pain and posts that she is walking farther every day with little or no pain.