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The Importance of Conditioning

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by gailnyc, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    While we are all thinking of what's going on in our lives emotionally to cause TMS, I wanted to take a moment to remind everyone that conditioning is another important factor in our pain.

    I was reminded of this today during my walk/run, when I experienced very very little pain. Just a few hours earlier I had gone grocery shopping and been in more pain. That makes no sense, right? Of course, physically it doesn't. But I believe what's happening has to do with conditioning. During even the worst of my pain last winter, I kept doing grocery shopping. However, I only started walking again when the pain had diminished, and I started incorporating running into my walk a few weeks ago, when my pain had significantly diminished.

    Because I was conditioned to associate grocery shopping with pain, I still experience pain when I do grocery shopping. But since pain was LESS connected with walking (and now running), I experience less pain now when I walk/run.

    I'm not sure what to do about this, except to remind myself when I feel the pain that it's only TMS. However, I thought I would share this observation with you, since I know that many of us struggle with a conditioned response of pain long after we accept the TMS diagnosis.
    plum and G.R. like this.
  2. mousemom

    mousemom Peer Supporter

    I am soooooo conditioned with any type of exercise right now. I just ordered the barre3 program since the founder has struggled with low back pain & seems to understand. I just need to remember that it is TMS & not physical when I try to workout. My back is still really tight right now so I am really struggling even doing my normal day to day activities let alone exercise. But I so desperately want to get back in shape & feel good again. Ugh this stupid back and TMS!!! I hate it.
  3. Donnie

    Donnie New Member

    Gail, I could agree with you more.. I'm new to TMS and I've just started to notice everything I've conditioned myself to. I hate driving (always have) and when my back started to hurt I read how sitting and driving make it worse, so guess what hurts the most DRIVING.. Same goes with bending over and lifting.. I'm still trying to figure out how to break the cycle as well.. Just stick with it and remind yourself that the pain isn't physical and you are fine
  4. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think you're on to something there, Gail. When I used to hurt a lot, the only thing I could do at the gym was ride the stationary bike. Now, I do dozens of other weight stations with much less or no pain. However, when I get back on the old "hurty" stationary bike, I will come away with sciatica, leg and back pain. Obviously, I've been programmed to hurt whenever I use the stationary bike that I used to ride when I really hurt. It makes me begin to wonder though whether many other objects in our environments are associated in our unconscious with many, many other meanings and possibly even sensations? Once you've acknowledged the power of the unconscious mind, a whole host of intriguing possibilities begin to emerge, don't they? Isn't there a rather famous essay by Sigmund Freud entitled "The Psychopathology of Everyday Life"?
  5. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    I do think for me much of the pain I have experienced is from a conditioned response: especially in the supermarket.
    I have learned to challenge these conditioned responses by continuing the activity I am doing even if I have pain.
    Sometimes, it is very difficult but for me this often breaks the cycle. I don't recommend that for everyone but that
    seems to work for me.

    I remember once I had to go to two supermarkets in the same day. The first one I had severe pain in my sciatica. I decided not to
    let it stop me and I went to the second supermarket and I had minimal pain in the second supermarket. That has convinced me that I could have pain one minute and no pain the next. I have realized this is probably from certain triggers or conditioned
    responses rather than psychological.

    The less I give attention to the pain and focus on it; the less pain I have. And the less I care whether I am in
    pain, I dismantle it's power over me. Alan Gordon has a very good article on this called outcome something.
    I highly recommend reading it on this forum. His expertise in TMS and really helped me.
    tarala and gailnyc like this.
  6. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    It's a tough situation. On one hand, you want to keep doing stuff when you're hurting. On the other hand, you end up conditioned to feel more pain when you do the things you kept doing when you were in pain!
  7. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    I agree. Sometimes it just a Catch-22!!!
  8. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

  9. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    May I ask you what you do when you are exercising or doing an activity that you get pain? What has worked for you?
  10. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Bruce, thanks for the URL on "outcome independence." It's a great reminder not to rush expectations of TMS healing.
    It comes when it comes.

    Steve Ozanich reminds us about how he exercised from pain to healing in his book The Great Pain Deception.
    Chapter 4 will be tonight's call-in topic (see Becca's post for information on how to tune in). The subject is how triggers can
    bring on or increase pain. Steve is a great example of believing in outcome independence.
  11. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    Thanks, Bruce and Walt. Yes, patience is the key.
  12. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    My dog Annie has no TMS or any kind of pain, and is napping now under my desk
    but each morning she has no patience at all when it comes to wanting to go out for her
    morning walk with me and a neighbor and his two dogs. She cries until I leash her up
    and get a poop bag and we join the doggie parade.
  13. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    Sounds like great fun to have a dog community!!! Your dog is beautiful!!
  14. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, G.R., patience is the key. When you stop expecting it to improve, it will improve, not one moment sooner. I did notice last night just how much better I was out riding my bike along the road at sunset, but now it's very hard to access the state of consciousness I was in when it really hurt. It must be that the biochemistry of my gray matter has really changed and sealed me off from those old painful states of bodymind consciousness. Funny how that it though: I just can't remember them now. I guess you might say that TMS healing is like a kind of forgetting?
  15. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    G.R., Thanks. Annie is beautiful. Most expressive eyes I've ever seen on a dog and she's my third.
    Friends say they've never seen a dog with such "presence." She really is "in the present."

    Bruce, I'm glad your pain is all but forgotten. Good riddance to it! We just have to be alert for
    if and when triggers occur. That's discussed on tonight's call-in about chapter 4 of Steve Ozanich's
    book The Great Pain Deception. Hope you can call in.
  16. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Walt, without doubt some animals are old souls. Their kinship and knowing and love for us is beyond the regular experience. I'm very happy to hear you are held so safe by such a wise one.
  17. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Gail, you are disgustingly on the money. I've been musing on my *pain patterns*, which still possess the knack of eluding any attempt to fathom them. I may as well eat cheese on the hour and wear red every seventh day for all the sense it seems to make, but you know, you are right. My unconscious may be wayward BUT it is MY unconscious mind and unless it wants to wear a scarlet letter (every seventh day and subsist on cheddar), it had best play ball. Right now it makes as much sense as nailing my hat on my head to stop it blowing off. Madness to be sure.
  18. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I agree that conditioning certainly plays a part. I think awareness is the most powerful tool we bring to TMS healing, so your awareness that your pain in a certain situation is a conditioned response will most likely lessen it over time.

    Still, I can't help but wonder how the pain started in that particular situation in the first place. For me those routine household chores (like grocery shopping) seem to set off some emotional issues that I still need to work on.
    tarala likes this.
  19. KathyBee

    KathyBee Peer Supporter

    I am pondering too what is conditioning and not conditioning.
    Around 10 years ago I had an intense pain in my ears while at work. I went to the health office at work. I asked the nurse there to look at my ears and see if it looked like an infection. It hurt so bad, I thought it must be an infection. But she said the inside of my ears looked healthy. Then she said that it is common for people to feel pain in their ears right before or after a big rainstorm because of changes in air pressure. She also said antihistamine would make it feel better. She gave me a couple of non-prescription tablets and my ears felt better shortly after that.
    I had never had a problem with my ears responding to the weather before that, but now they seem to. And we get a lot of stormy weather here.
    I used to get bad ear aches as a child which my mom treated with folk cures that only helped a little bit. I grew up in a place where it did not rain often, so it was definitely not weather related.
  20. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Plum, dear. Yes, I am so fortunate to have such a loving companion as Annie.

    She's napping under my desk as I write this.

    I have friends with dogs and cats and they tell me how wonderful they are, too.

    My little ranch house is really Annie's. She shares it with me,
    not the other way around.

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