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Day 1 Somewhat discouraged

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Matthew419, Apr 23, 2020.

  1. Matthew419

    Matthew419 New Member

    I am 41 years old, a dad of 4 young children, and physically active. I have dealt with chronic low back pain for the past two years, which for most of that time, robbed me of much of my physical activity. I went through practically every treatment approach short of surgery, with one practitioner after the other looking at my scans and saying, "I have no idea why you are still in pain." I started reading Dr. Sarno's Healing Back Pain in early February, followed by The Mind-Body Prescription, and have now finished both. I saw Dr. Rashbaum (Dr. Sarno's successor at NYU) in late February, and he confirmed that he believers TMS is the cause of my pain. I believe the diagnosis, and I have worked through Alan Gordon's educational program. Today I began the structured, 6-week educational program. I have resumed much of my physical activity. But my pain hasn't subsided much in these two months. I still have not had one pain-free day, which leaves me a bit discouraged. If TMS is the correct diagnosis, and I believe it, and I have become knowledgeable about the condition, why haven't I seen more improvement yet?
  2. Okcowgirl

    Okcowgirl Peer Supporter

    Welcome Matthew419
    I am pretty new here, so may not be the best person to answer your questions about improvement. I mostly just wanted to say Welcome. I also wanted to say that I am sorry you have been in pain and have been robbed of physical activity, especially with 4 young children. That must be so hard.
    The only thing I can offer you as input is that the more I read about recovery here, the more often I see that it can take a while, with small victories that add up over time. What I am doing is making a note of ANY difference I notice, as it can be cumulative and over time, I am hoping I will suddenly see that I have had improvement. There are plenty of people in here who had long plateaus without improvement but, over time, had incredible recovery stories. I see you say the pain hasn't subsided much and that you haven't had one pain -free day, but have you had pain free moments or a change in mood for the better? If so, write those down, savor them, and remember them. Just my small input.
    Best of luck .
    Dawn aka Okcowgirl
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  3. Matthew419

    Matthew419 New Member

    Thank you Dawn! I do appreciate your input. Yes, there have been better moments. The biggest positive change is that I know I can resume my physical activities without doing structural damage to my back--so when I've been able to jog, or play ball with my kids, those have been very happy experiences.
    ssxl4000 and Okcowgirl like this.
  4. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I don't know when my first pain free day was, even though I had a rapid recovery.... But it wasn't just learning about TMS.... it was also learning about myself at a NEW deeper level using the model of child/adult/parent on myself and doing inventory about my conditioning and beliefs about everything.

    I did have the luxury of being off work so I could focus a large portion of my attention on my mind (the problem). Also, I assume you live near New York? The last two months corresponds to the most rage inducing event I could think of since 9/11....being scared and told what to do by the Govt. ....Not knowing what's going to happen.... being bombed by the media with terror stories.... even with the contempt for the media I have always had, it still leaks out via my peers and children.

    I read HEALING BACK PAIN continually on auto-loop and each time I made an identification, scribbled it down and made a strong mental print on it. I did the 12 reminders every day.... and ANY time I caught myself focusing on the pain I forcefully shifted my attention to a source of recurrent irritation. I think THAT was crucial.

    We are wired to be successful...part of that is the ability to put shallow and enraging and distracting things out of our minds so we can focus on the task at hand (like being a good father of four). When I caught myself focusing on the pain, I also paid very close attention to my environment, physical as well as mental. I saw that there are dozens of times a day where we 'lie' to ourselves to stay sane. I also mentally examined... is there some rage inducer in the room or my mind OR is this just conditioning?

    The admission that we are condition-able is rage inducing to the mind, because it means our adult/consciousness is NOT the ultimate authority in our head . It is humbling to find out that in spite of our lofty ideals, we are really simple and average in certain respects.

    Each one of us needs a different amount of therapy. I have had friends whose pain ended by just knowing it wasn't structural...others of us need a little deeper inspection. I was one of them. To this day, if I have a minor relapse it always takes some digging, BUT as soon as I start, the symptom usually gives up, knowing that I am on to it.... none the less, I dig anyways to make sure it stays gone....

    The pain is alerting us to something... I have never, after 20 years of doing this, had a symptom where there wasn't some thing to learn, look at, consider, and sometimes reject.

    hang in there...
    BloodMoon and Okcowgirl like this.
  5. Matthew419

    Matthew419 New Member

    Thanks for the insights, baseball65. You are right about the rage-inducing nature of these last two months.
    Baseball65 likes this.
  6. ssxl4000

    ssxl4000 Well known member

    Howdy Matthew419, losing fear is a huge success! Great job! Unfortunately, the subconscious operates on it's own timeline, so the pain reduction will not always coincide with your loss of fear. If your life is anything like mine, your kids may make things stressful. With me, since my kid creates stress for me, I have some deep negative feelings towards her that I hate to admit (darn inner child anger), which makes my brain view her as a "danger" sometimes. So, even if all is going well and everybody is happy, I find symptoms flaring sometimes when I'm at home simply because my subconscious hasn't fully gotten the memo that while my daughter can annoy or frustrate me, she's not a bear trying to eat me.

    Somewhere along the SEP there is a posting about changing your mindset from worrying about pain reduction to getting to the point where you don't care about your symptoms anymore. In the end, I think a lot of us don't fully lose our symptoms. So, that mindset change is really important. It sounds like you are already on your way there, so keep up the good work.
  7. Matthew419

    Matthew419 New Member

    Thanks for the reply, ssxl4000. Yes, I've spent some time reflecting on that writeup about changing the mindset. Makes sense in theory, but hard to achieve in reality!

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