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Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by SME61, May 31, 2017.

  1. SME61

    SME61 Peer Supporter

    Hi All
    I could really use some advise here. I completed the SEP a few months ago. My pain completely disappears when I am away from home traveling for business. My last trip was for a week and I had virtually no pain. As soon as I came home this past Sunday, the pain came back in my left buttock and in part of my leg. Today it is a 3-4 and quite annoying! It doesn't stop me from working but is very distracting and I worry about it a lot!

    I know what and where the stressors are, my wife who is depressed over the death of her father, our finances (we are fine, I just worry) and my inner child who is worried about everything. I have no doubt I have TMS I am a believer, but I must be doing something wrong as the pain has reappeared.
    Meditation helps, but I am having to do it a lot, I am also repeating Dr. Sarno's daily sayings.

    Should I start the SEP again?
    I am also working with a psychologist but it's slow going.

    Any advice?
    Has anyone had these issues?

    Penny2007 likes this.
  2. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Steve,

    This is a very common situation! A lot of people experience ceasing of their pain when they are on vacation or physically away from their stressors. It's good that you've identified the source of the stress...are you working with the therapist on "feeling your feelings?" Consider what approaches the therapist is taking. It's one thing to know the stressors at an intellectual level and another to actually experience the emotions behind them. You could try the SEP again or another program like Alan Gordon's TMS Recovery program, which is excellent for exploring the emotions behind your TMS. Just knowing about TMS and identifying the stressors isn't always enough to take the pain down, there can be more emotional work that needs to happen.
    Ellen likes this.
  3. SME61

    SME61 Peer Supporter

    Yes working with my therapist to feel my feelings. I have been working on this for several months. I might check out Alan Gordon's TMS Recovery program as well.
    I know it must be TMS if it wasn't I would have pain when I was away from my stressors as well.
    I do think I am feeling my feelings but perhaps not completely.
    Unfortunately, I become somewhat discouraged and scared that the TMS will not go away ever when it comes back. I am trying not to take the TMS too seriously and say to myself, ah, it's just TMS again I must be stressed out. Then try to examine my feelings by journaling and doing meditation.

    Thanks again for the tips!
    Penny2007 likes this.
  4. honey badger

    honey badger Peer Supporter

    SME61. Hang in there! Lately my pain has started again and I have it in new places ... which really frustrates me. I was reading some of the posts on the "ask the therapist" section of this forum and found that what I'm doing is "trying" to make the pain go away. When it doesn't, I get very frustrated, scared, and upset that I can't make it go away. This is only making it worse and I had forgotten about that important point! As I understand it (check out Alan G's posts for a more professional explanation), we should acknowledge it, remind ourselves that it's our mind trying to distract us from repressed emotions, and then go on our merry way, even though it's hard because pain is not fun to deal with. But it helps me to stop getting frustrated at myself for not being able to make it stop ... which is ultimately what I'm doing when I can't make it stop. Trying to stop the pain, for me, makes it worse. I hope this helps a little!
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017
    Penny2007 likes this.
  5. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think it's good to discover the emotions causing our pain, but then get on with life... enjoying it. You admit you are a worrier. Aren't most of us, today? We need to focus our minds on positive things, and live in the present, not the past or future. Of course, I live partly in the future, believing it will be better than the past or present.
  6. Penny2007

    Penny2007 formerly Pain2007

    Could this also be a type of conditioned response? I too find that when I'm sitting at my desk I have the worse pain, when I go out or even just get away from my desk and do something else, it goes away. Hopefully someone wiser then me has suggestions on how to deal with a conditioned response.
  7. DontStopBelieving

    DontStopBelieving Peer Supporter

    Hi Sme61, I have the exact same problem. I travel a lot for work and I love the travelling, meeting clients, that's what actually helped me overcome the most hideous and hard TMS experience ever. Also when back in the office, I develop symptoms again, not as intense and not always the same, for me the pain moves around. I concluded it has to do with being in one place, trapped, with no way out that has its roots in my childhood when I was hiding from an alcoholic father by locking myself in my room. But also I started thinking: do I actually create the pain for myself for no reason because my mind doesn't know how to cope with normal everyday life in a different way? Because maybe I never learned have to, and I live a life waiting for everything to be over so I can relax? It could also be for the reasons the others TMSers mentioned, you are the only one with the answer and believe me, I'm right there, still trying to find an answer myself with symptoms going away and coming back for the last 5 months. What I leared is that you should never stop working on yourself, even when you feel better.
  8. Betsy4ever

    Betsy4ever New Member

    Steve i witness it myself when you are away for from stress environment your started to feel good. Emotions are tricky to control but as you are aware what causing you pain it relatively easy to manage . Hope things will change for us all
  9. Cat Lady 13

    Cat Lady 13 New Member

    I am right there with you. I am wondering about the conditioned response aspect. And I haven't quite figured out how to make it stop. I am trying Walts method of not acknowledging the pain too much when it's really bad. But sometimes it's very hard to do because everyone around me brings up my back issues constantly which only reinforces me thinking about it.

    For example I have the most back pain when I am standing or bending or twisting. Yesterday my work had a team event where we went to a golf place to hit golf balls. We were broken up into teams. I did not want to hit balls because the twisting motion hurt too much. I did try to hit a couple and just couldn't do it. So everyone kept asking why I wasn't playing and I had to say cuz my back hurt. Then they wanted to talk about it. I tried to downplay it but it still hurt worse the more we talked about it. I was afraid I was going to have a major attack like I had last week when I could not move. When I got home last night and this morning I have continued to tell myself I am ok.

    I also have the most pain in certain situations so I definitely think there is a reason but I don't know what it is.
  10. SME61

    SME61 Peer Supporter

    Hi Everyone
    Thanks for the kind replies. I did not seem them earlier.
    My journey continues. Two years ago today
    (Fathers Day), I was overcome by excruciating back and leg pain and it took a 6 weeks before I could walk more than 1000 feet. Now I can run and jog and exercise without any issues. This I should be thankful for!
    However, I still have burning in my leg and my buttocks almost everyday. It's only a pain level of at most a 2-3 but t is distracting and once I start thinking about it I can't stop which makes it worse and I worry that I will never be pain free.
    I have learned a lot about myself in this journey and I am sure I have much more to learn. My psychologist has been helpful and is trying to get me to focus on my emotions rather than my leg pain.

    Last week, I came to the realization that my father was an alcoholic and when realizing this and when thinking about it, I felt guilt and shame and cried and cried for at least 20 minutes.
    Perhaps this is a good thing, but it did not feel great.

    I am trying some new things:
    1). Enrolled in an 8 week mindfulness course
    2). Will most likely attend an Adult Child of Alcoholic's group meeting tomorrow night.

    As anyone had success with these things in healing TMS pain?

    Thanks for your help and kind replies

    MindBodyPT likes this.
  11. SME61

    SME61 Peer Supporter

    Thanks for the comments they are very helpful, I will certainly try this! When the pain comes on I am often gripped with worry and fear!

  12. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    Awesome to hear your progress...I did an 8 week MBSR class and it was wonderful. Can't recommend It enough! It definitely helped my TMS healing.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  13. honey badger

    honey badger Peer Supporter

    Hi Steve,
    Glad to hear of your progress. My deepest heartfelt thoughts are with you on recognizing your father's alcoholism. Wow, that's a biggie. I wonder if this will open some more doors for you, and you will be able to make some even greater strides emotionally in your own recovery.

    Going back to what we were saying about "trying" to make the pain go away, I've been focusing in particular on taking away fear and attention from my pain. Those are two things that Alan G. says fuel the pain. I have also been listening to the audios that he has on his Recovery program, and they're AWESOME. I listen to what the patient/client is saying, which is often what I would probably think or say myself, and he guides them to connect with their emotions. It feels like I'm getting a mini therapy session through their work.

    Since the last one I listened to, which I think was the one on anger, I have been able to connect with my sadness when an episode hit me and frightened me. These emotions sometimes feel quite overwhelming and I think I just push through and ignore them. So, I went to the bathroom for privacy and stood there connecting with my body, following what Alan G. did with his client in the recording, and the feeling that I was quite scared of passed right through me once I connected with it. It didn't last more than a few minutes. It was not my goal to get rid of it, but rather I wanted to connect and honor my emotions. So the fact that it left me, was a very pleasant consequence. This was such a positive result for me that now, every time I feel something strongly (anger, anxiety, sadness), I take myself to another room, and give myself a few minutes to fully feel it in my body and observe what the emotion feels like and where. So far it's feeling really great because it's like I air it out. I think it's sending my brain a message that my feelings matter and that I'm worth taking a few minutes to connect with myself.

    Keep taking care of yourself Steve. My thoughts are with you!
    Lydia likes this.
  14. Lydia

    Lydia Peer Supporter

    How beautiful it is, that you see what and where the pain pops up. That there is a conditioning running your life: certain situations, talking about it, fear for a attack... What have you done, to connect with the emotions, that might play a huge role in the hidden background?
  15. Lydia

    Lydia Peer Supporter

    Yes, I have had so much support from Mindfulness. It's been helping me to see fear (or any other strong and 'unpleasant' emotion), and just experience it in my body, without making it bigger or smaller than it really is. It's been helping me to be more kind to myself, and experience me as a beautiful part of this universe. It's been helping me to acknowledge the power and possibilities of clear, non-judgmental attention. And it's been helping me to see thoughts as thoughts. Freeing. Encouraging. Nurturing. Wish you all the best in your Mindfulness course!
  16. Lydia

    Lydia Peer Supporter

    Hi Steve,
    I so much relate to pain coming back, sometimes even stronger. And for me, it's a challenge to not fall into the old traps, of wanting the pain go away, self-doubt ('I'm doing something wrong!'... this is actually a very effective mind-trick, which fuels the pain tremendously) and emotions like fear and frustration. That means, my commitment is needed to go for it, again but in a new way, of course. So, learning even more about myself, my past, how I handle emotions, thoughts and so on... A life long proces, as it seems...

    Yes, I do some excercises of the SEP again, but in another, new way. I'm new now! The past is the past. So, I'm writing about it, or telling myself oud loud...

    Wish you courage, to be with it, to accept what happens, to find a positive inner perspective, which can help you through. Or make some changes in your life, when needed. And don't forget: enjoy being alive... the mind wants you to focus completely on the problem... don't give in... eat an ice-cream!!!

  17. Cat Lady 13

    Cat Lady 13 New Member

    Lydia- I am still trying to identify and connect with emotions when I am feeling pain. Since I am still feeling some pain in either my neck or back I have to keep asking myself this question. There have been brief moments where I have lessened the pain by talking to it. It's helping and I look forward to the day when I shut it down completely. I learned how to do that with panic attacks. Now if I just learn how to do it with pain.
  18. Lydia

    Lydia Peer Supporter

    Yes, keep going! Thinking psychological is essential.
    There are several ways to relate to the pain and of course also to the process behind, that's running the show. Hope you'll try everything the SEP offers you, like writing, talking (to the pain), meditation etc, and will find your entrance to relief.
    Wish you all the best!
  19. SME61

    SME61 Peer Supporter

    Thanks for all the kind messages and help! My TMS pain went away for almost two weeks completely. However now it is back. Before it came back I worried for an entire day that it might reappear and kept on mentally checking to see if I had pain sure enough the pain appeared!
    I am so conditioned to worry about TMS that I may have brought it on, by thinking about it

    Is this even possible?
    I was so excited that it had gone away.

    Has anyone had this happen to them?
  20. hodini

    hodini Peer Supporter

    Hi Steve,
    Sorry to hear that, I can relate, I don't feel adequate to address psychological issues in your case, but perhaps a look at the more simple physiological issues might be enlightening. When one worries, it can be stressful, in your case worrying about finding the pain which does not exist at the moment could lead you to moving your body around to see if you can find where the pain might be "hiding".

    Stress leads to muscle tension, muscle tension can lead to detrimental effects on the nervous system, the nerves get stressed and react with creating muscle spasms and a cycle of pain is initiated. Of course the simple advise is not to worry, but I understand that is not always possible, perhaps if you notice when you begin to worry, make sure you can get into a comfortable position, loose clothing, and simply try to relax your body. perhaps if you are able to accomplish that in what ever degree, you may find you have a positive effect on your pain and then by knowing you have effected some control over it, it might help reduce some of your worry.

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