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Sedentary Lifestyle Question

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by jessedas, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. jessedas

    jessedas Peer Supporter

    Hi guys,
    I had a few questions concerning sedentary lifestyle. This is something that I've searched for and oddly enough haven't been able to find discussions of here or many other places.
    I've read both The MindBody Prescription and Healing Back Pain by Sarno, perhaps Ozanich's book touches on this subject, which I've yet to read. Forgive me if this question is redundant.

    So, as I'm still fairly new to TMS (about 2 months now having read the books), from my understanding he suggests that we continue physical activity. To not be afraid of activity, and any pain associated from any trigger is a result of TMS, our brain (subconscious rage) trying to distract us from the rage surfacing to the top, using pain as its tool. All of this makes sense and is very understandable for me. I've had no problem returning to physical activity, it's returning to sedentary activity that causes me pain (or the trigger of what's causing me pain at least).

    What Sarno's book doesn't say (from what I've read) is to "continue sitting at your computer" or to "continue driving your car for hours on end". I've suffered for years with driving and sciatic/back pain, and more recently RSI symptoms from using the computer (headaches, severe neck pain, shoulder pain, arm and hand pain). I can see some emotional things attached to these events, especially the driving, but I can also understand the idea of over doing it.

    Prior to reading Sarno, years ago I read Pete Egoscue's Pain Free book, and Pain Free at Your PC. I've even seen a Egoscue specialist. His argument that movement and stretching is the key to being pain free is convincing, as is Sarno's argument about the mindbody connection. Egoscue's argument about the C position of the spine while working at the computer, when we should have an S position instead, not leaning forward and having to continuously hold the extra weight of the head, is also very convincing. I'm willing to accept what ever works, and perhaps I'm just struggling to learn/accept something new as I've already read Egoscue's method and Sarno's is new to me and somewhat in contrast to his work. Egoscue's method takes a lot of dedication, basically every day, and although I've gotten some success through it, I always tend to fall off the boat now and then and am unable to keep up the routine.

    Now, I believe this is the main blocker for me in fully accepting Sarno's theory. If his theory is 100% correct, then it shouldn't matter how much we move or how little. There shouldn't be any pain (more than a typical 5%), unless of course it's coming from repressed rage and we haven't accepted Sarno's diagnosis. Some body aches and stiffness from not moving around is common and should be accepted, but nothing like the severe pain brought on by TMS.

    A reviewer commented in amazon about this and brought up some points about sedentary lifestyle that I'd like to present here. Here's the thread, the comment to the reviewer is made by Newsview:

    Now, please understand I'm not trying to stir up an argument or start doubt for anyone. The idea of a sedentary lifestyle and pain, in my opinion, is a very important and valid discussion that needs to be addressed by this forum. Sarno's work, his timescale for when TMS, back pain etc came about, coincides with the technological revolution and a culture that's become more and more accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle. At least that's how I see it, corrections are more than welcome.

    If there's a discussion somewhere that talks about this in depth, I'd love to read it. Or anyone that's willing to add to Sarno's argument about sedentary lifestyle that I seem to be missing, through experience/advice or articles/books etc. My full gratitude to whomever can help me with this hurdle.
  2. trypp

    trypp Peer Supporter

    Hiya, Jessedas,

    I completely understand how you might be used to thinking about everything in terms of body positions and Egoscue's approach, but I just can't believe that you have to do that much work just to be able to relax in a chair without being injured. I mean, if our bodies can take hiking up mountains and bailing hay all day, can't we take sitting in a comfy chair?
    I read all of the TMS success stories of people who have recovered from RSI, and I am amazed at how people have no limitations and don't have to do any special exercises after TMS healing. But it seems to work.​
    I say, stay the course. Exercise is never bad, but I'm sure many people live far more sedentary lifestyles than you and have no pain. You are far stronger than you think.​
    Enrique likes this.
  3. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member

    This is probably the main blocker for most people, even that reviewer you mentioned or anyone else who would rate Dr. Sarno's books anything less than 5 stars, in my very humble opinion.

    Yes. So if there's long-term chronic pain and a doctor has confirmed no serious medical condition like cancer, then there should be no pain except if there some unresolved repressed emotions. Before I understood TMS, I suffered from back pain experienced when I sat at work in front of the computer or driving in my car. Today, I can sit in any position I want with no pain. I can drive hours and hours. The main thing that changed was my belief about what caused that pain. Try to focus on increasing your belief in TMS... that's a good starting point. There's an incredible amount of information on the wiki, such as the abundant success stories.

  4. jessedas

    jessedas Peer Supporter

    Hi guys,
    First off, thanks so much for taking the time to answer this somewhat arduous question, I really appreciate the feedback.
    Trypp, that video is great! Funny and a great way to make a point. Also enjoyed your point about how hiking up mountains and manual labor is something we all can do, why not sitting in a chair? I think it comes down to isometric muscle contractions vs isotonic (i think that's the other one). Holding on to the mouse/keyboard or continuously pushing on the driving pedal. The question comes to mind though; why would straining one not cause any pain while the other one does? Wouldn't make sense, unless tension was also involved. Tired muscles makes a lot more sense. That good feeling after working out, yes your muscles might be sore and a bit tired, but by the next day it feels good and refreshing. No crippling pain though,that's just ridiculous. So I understand where you're coming from there for sure.

    Enrique, thanks as well for your insight. I agree, I can't imagine why anyone would rate the book so low. I have no doubt that many people (especially having read so many more positive than negative amazon reviews, and reading things here) have fully healed from their chronic pain through this method. I think it really does come down to belief as you've said, at least in order to fully heal by it. I think were I may have been stuck with all of this sedentary stuff, is that it's really the only thing that I can think of in Sarno's books that wasn't fully explained..so the mind naturally looks for a what/if in that area. Also because Sarno does claim that the cure is derived from knowledge, not belief (if I remember correctly), and there wasn't much knowledge laid out for us laymen in this area. It then goes on to explain that people have to be accepting of the diagnostic or else it doesn't work, or stated simply, they must believe in it. It seems to me that a general percentage of healing will take place from just reading the books and seeing success stories, and this has for sure happened with me. The remainder may take an act of faith on my part though. Simply because, like you've stated trypp, it doesn't seem logical that simple sitting should cause pain, and just because Sarno nor anyone else hasn't yet provided proof as to why a sedentary lifestyle doesn't cause pain and that it is indeed just another trigger for TMS, doesn't mean that it isn't the case.

    It reminds me of a book by Joseph Murphy that you may have heard of, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind. An interesting read he states that,

    Again, really do appreciate the feedback, thanks guys!
  5. Imagyx

    Imagyx Peer Supporter

    Thank you Jessedas, for your thread, because that is something I've been thinking of for a long time.
    I'm already into this matter for almost a year now, starting with the mindbody prescription and finding this TMS forum.
    Comparable to your journey is also that I first read a book about RSI that sounded a lot like yours from Egoscue and
    made a lot of sense to me in that days. I have the same problem now.
    I work out since October'12 which I would never have done before and made a lot of progress there.
    I put on weights, do more sets and repetitions etc.
    But I have a hard time at the computer. Sometimes it's a bit better and I can program for two or three hours
    and some weeks I can't even do that for a few minutes without getting pain in my lower arms.
    I think much of this is conditioning as mentioned by many other TMS-authors.
    I'm currently reading Steve'O's book for the second time, because it really is that good, but
    I still see a bit of a difference in getting active again in a physical way with sports and stuff and
    pushing through the pain and conditioning at the computer.
    I'm still searching for answers and want to work again this fall, but
    I'm very nervous and anxious about what may await me.
  6. jessedas

    jessedas Peer Supporter

    Hi Imagyx,
    Thank you! I'm glad you got something out of my post. I've had similar experiences with the Egoscue program, yoga and exercise. I've also read It's not Carpal Tunnel Syndrom!, and The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. The exercises seems to have helped alleviate the symptoms for me for a little bit while off the computer but only for a short while. The TP therapy had helped the most prior and until reading Sarno's work and considering the idea that my pain is tension induced (which I think is somewhat related to trigger points as he mentions in Healing Back Pain). I think exercise is good for general reduction of tension (and good overall health of course), but muscle building, as you've seen, hasn't in my experience helped much directly with muscle tension.

    The ideas of the sedentary lifestyle do make me question certain things about Sarno's theory that I wish there were answers for, but I can contrast those questions with questions on the other end of the argument (if that makes sense). Let me explain: For instance, although I've had pain while using the computer (and I have in the past related this to bad posture/ergonomics), why should I have pain while driving, where my posture is completely fine? My brother, who is even taller than I am, has no pain and can drive for hours no problem. He's even older than I am. What makes my body so different from his? It doesn't make sense that I should experience pain from something I did several years ago (drive for to long). In the same sense he uses the computer for longer than I do and has very little pain.
    So it does lead me to believe in Sarno's theory, that I subconsciously have held on to pain from past events (learned patterns of pain if you will), and the symptoms are not necessary nor needed anymore even though I'm still experiencing them. Why I've held on to these patterns of pain, I do believe now is very likely due to stress and tension. I mean, I have gone a week without using the computer..felt GREAT, healed etc, and then an hour into using the computer again the pain comes back. What's the deal with that? Alternately, after reading and thinking about all of Sarno's ideas, I've had a couple of nights now where I've used the computer for several hours (night time was always the worst for me), with very little pain on waking up in the morning. This is a breakthrough for me because I used to get arm pain, or severe back of the head headaches, or more recently severe neck pain especially when using the computer after 8pm. I used it until 11 last night and, although a little groggy and stiff, I'm experiencing very little pain today even as I type all of this to you.
    Also, as I'm sure you've read, what of the countries who never experience whiplash, or rsi symptoms, even though they go through the same rigors as we do?
    So, although I've yet to stop having questions about sedentary lifestyle, asking myself these questions helps to make me feel better, and all I want to do ultimately is to heal.

    Here's a couple of other tips that might help you, that I've learned so far:
    • I know Sarno says not to focus on the physical, but try sleeping with your arms down if you're not already. Sleeping with your arms above your head, at least for me, creates a lack of blood supply to them, which leads to oxygen deprivation. As we know from Sarno, this leads to pain. It was a tough habit to break for me..but whether sleeping on my side or on my back, I now just always try to keep my hands below eye level. I think it was also a way that I was sleeping to cover my face, or in a tense way, rather than being open and relaxed. Perhaps when I'm fully healed through Sarno's methods I won't have to worry about my sleep position with my arms anymore, but until then it helps me to feel more relaxed and less tense by morning time.
    • The Trigger Point Therapy book has some good tips on muscle relaxation, and getting rid of tension. This is where the book really goes along with Sarno's theories in my opinion. If you're able to focus on relaxing the tension, allowing your muscles to not tense up, and at the same time tell your subconscious to send blood flow and oxygen to the areas of pain (including your shoulders/ collar bone area where, even if there isn't pain, is likely sending pain to your arms via TMS), then I think you'll be feeling a lot better.
    • Lastly remember one important rule. The subconscious mind is subservient to the conscious mind. It will do what you tell it, and the more practice you get and familiarity with it the easier it will respond to your intentions.
    Hope you continue to improve and see positive results.
    Oh, and watching this video always puts me in a good mood ;) People are Awesome

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