1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
    Dismiss Notice

tissue memory and TMS

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by PaperCrane, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. PaperCrane

    PaperCrane Peer Supporter

    Is anyone familiar with the idea of 'tissue memory' or 'body memory'? ie. The idea that past traumatic experiences and repressed memories are stored our musculature and connective tissues, creating tension and blocking circulation, which then leads to physical manifestations of pain.

    I recently started seeing a therapist and he mentioned it to me, when I was discussing TMS with him. I thought it was an interesting concept. Apparently, bodywork, especially myofascial release, is supposed to help in unlocking these tissue memories, so they can be addressed and dealt with, and I'd already had myofascial release recommended to me by several people before, so I thought I'd give it a try. Since there are parallels, I thought it might compliment what I was trying to do for my TMS issues.

    But, after having my first myofascial release session last night and being in a lot more pain afterwards, I'm now second-guessing my judgement a little on that one, lol. I'm wondering if the bodywork could actually be counterproductive by making me that much more aware of my physical self, although the pain I'm in today could just as easily be attributed to a number of big stressors I've had to deal with recently and other factors, too.

    I'm curious to hear your two cents on this idea, as well as whether or not any experiences with bodywork have been helpful to you while working on your TMS recovery.
    Jilly and eric watson like this.
  2. Jilly

    Jilly Well known member

    I've had the myofascial release and it is painful...I like the relaxing massages now that aren't very deep. They feel great. Massage has been good, swimming, hot tubs, etc. ahhhhhhhhh
    eric watson likes this.
  3. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    I've had myofascial release before and it wasn't painful but in my case it didn't release any emotions (though I know that can happen with bodywork or energy work). Right before I started working on TMS I started acupuncture which can also help release trapped emotions. Once I learned about TMS, my acupuncturist was really supportive and we switched from focusing on headaches to focusing on emotional work. It was a helpful adjunct to working with my TMS therapist. When my acupuncturist moved over the summer, I didn't look for another -- I knew others would be too structurally focused on "what's wrong." I also used to go for massage every week for years. Once I learned about TMS I tried to switch over to more general relaxation massage but I think it reminded me too much of all the years of doing massage as an adjunct to PT (my massage therapist and my former PT are friends). I stopped massage months ago and I'm still pain free.

    I wonder if you might like Peter Levine's books--he writes a lot about emotions and trauma stored in the body.
    Jilly and eric watson like this.
  4. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Papercrane-nice to have you here,i would say its the stressors and other things that are keeping the pain going
    and if you were in pain when you went for the myofacial re-lease then you will just hurt more-
    you have to get those stressors under control-affirmations work well and other things
    theres no problem with a good massage when your not in pain-but the pain is supposed to sub-side first.
    this can only happen by facing our repressions and then using acceptance there-and the anger we face
    well we have to know how those stessors work-so again the affirmations work well here too.
    goodluck and god bless
    Jilly and Forest like this.
  5. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I agree with a lot of what Eric mentioned. It is always important to understand what you are tyring to get from bodywork. There is a big chance that when you use massage, PT, etc to treat your symptoms, you are reinforcing your belief that you have a structural problem. You can still have a massage or whatever but you need to understand that it will not address the true cause of your symptoms.

    If you experience a signficant increase of symptoms, which it sounds like you did, then I wouldn't continue doing it. It could be counterproductive in the sense that it makes you focus on your physical body, instead of thinking psychologically.
    Jilly and eric watson like this.
  6. Back2-It

    Back2-It Peer Supporter

    I second Eric's opinions and along with Forest, but would like to add my own two pennies. People laying their hands on others to comfort and soothe is as old as mankind. (In fact, I think I saw Fred Flintsone getting a massage once, so that is the proof;)).

    Here is the deal, I think. One, you do have to understand that the ultimate cause of your problem, which is emotions and thoughts. Secondly, there is real pain, we all know that, and the real pain is caused by an over sensitized central nervous system. The pain -fear-pain-anxiety-pain-fear loop feeds on itself and the brain changes, too. What would be a normal abnormal sensation to the TMS/anxiety sufferer becomes a screaming riot of pain, perpetuated by the brain to body to brain loop.

    I'll be straight up here: if it were not for a great medical massage therapist, who explained my anatomy to me, what muscles do as far as referral of pain, and also who told me that my patterns of tension, trigger points, what-have-you were normal, I don't think I would have recovered. Here is why. TMS docs will palpitate and feel that you have brick for a back or an iron rod for a thigh, but will fail to tell you that those things will do really weird things in other places in your body. They say you are fine, it is psychogenic in nature and take a TMS course. The allopathic doctors will do their quick feel around and then send you off for imaging. Neither explains what hypotonic muscles, effected nerves and strained tendons do to you, especially as you "resume normal activity" and things start hurting you think could never be connected.

    If you read Dr. Sarno's books carefully, his patients have access to him and can question him about this pain issue or that, and, because he did rehabilitation, could answer those questions. Most MDs and, sadly, I guess, DOs, cannot or will not give you a refresher on anatomy. High school biology was a long time ago for most of us, and we just hacked up frogs. Most of us do not have ongoing access to TMS docs, and if we do, their area of practice may be as a GP and they may not feel competent explaining muscular or skeletal issues, or may be afraid if they do they are straying from TMS dogma, which is to set aside the physical. Unfortunately, most TMS/anxiety sufferers are the type that are very detailed orientated, curious, exacting and perfectionists in attitude, so for them (me), I need to know more info., and knowledge is the cure.

    Now to the actual physical part of any medical massage of myofascial release or medical massage. I really, truly believe it will not have any effect if you cannot establish a trusting and congenial relationship with a therapist who cares, an not just one going through the motions. Yes, it hurts when it is done, but, at least for me, my knowledge was increased after each session and some hypotonic muscles that felt like solid chunks of concrete, once again I could feel them individually. After a day or so the pain fades.

    Some say that this type of bodywork short circuits the pain loop, but I think it will work when you know the source of your pain ---emotions and thought-- and when you can feel that the person laying their hands on you cares. Especially for someone like me. I have no wife or SO, and nobody to just touch me or rub a sore spot or feel the warmth of a sympathetic hand. In many cases, even if you do have a spouse or SO, they have long since lost patience with your "weird mental problem" (and let's face it, that is what most are probably thinking), and will touch your aching muscles and simply be going through the motions.

    Sorry to be so long-winded, but there is a missing link in this TMS/anxiety treatment. One, is that there needs to be ongoing information for the typical TMS personality, especially if the guarding and splinting of effected areas has been going on for years, and there has to be the realization the the effected muscles, nerves and tendons may need some coaxing so as to make you more comfortable and less fearful to use them in their natural fashion. If you have been a twisted, torqued, sore mess for years, your body needs to convince your brain by changing its signals and your brain has to re-enforce it.

    And it was medical massage Fred Flintsone was getting. Not a place that does "happy endings". Barney told me so.
  7. deborah a burns

    deborah a burns Peer Supporter

    I personally think myofascial work is too deep for someone in pain.
    I had someone working on my head and I did have a very intense release and memory...it was neither good or bad it just happened.
    I did massage for 5 years and I guess I never agreed with working too deeply on an area of pain, especially someone with a traumatic past. It's not my place to tell you what you should or shouldn't do but, I have had body memories or what I would call cellular memories that my body released in it's own safe way.
    Safety is the KEY...just sayin....
    eric watson and Jilly like this.
  8. Back2-It

    Back2-It Peer Supporter

    I can agree that for someone deep in pain myofascial work can be counterproductive. Before I accepted -- really accepted-- a psychogenic cause, I some PT at a chiropractor dig his elbows into my paraspinals. Talk about pain. I thought I would need a helicopter medivac to get home. The pain lasted for days and did nothing to improve my condition but scared me into thinking that, indeed, I did have a physical problem. Massage, like hypochondria, has been around forever. The ancient Greeks coined the term "hypochondria", for the unknown pain that surrounds the rib cage that never went away. In Turkey, I visited Turkish Baths for tours that had been established for a hundreds of years ongoing. I never did one, because those guys looked like they could snap me in half with two fingers, but my Turkish friends swear by them. I would be swearing at the bodyworker, that's all I know. Then he would kill me. :mad:

    Deborah's point about her body releasing in its own way is important; that is why there should be no TMS template, because we are all individuals. What helped me might be destructive mentally and physically to another person, and re-enforce the idea that there is some horrible pathogen or structural thing at work.

    My prayer is that all those who have had these TMS/anxiety-based problems teach their children and urge their schools to spend some time in health class about the MindBody connection. As I've said, the mystery of where babies come from and how to have sex-- safe and otherwise-- was solved for every 5th grader by the internet. The problem of how do understand and deal with the traumas and trials of the human condition, which can least to anxiety, anger, panic attacks and horrible physical symptoms, does not even merit a half-hour in many health classes.
    eric watson and Jilly like this.
  9. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    If you accept that the body is really part of the unconscious mind, this concept is not really antithetical to TMS theory. However, messing with the body too much, it seems to me, reinforces the idea that your problem is really physical and therefore could be counterproductive to effective TMS treatment.

    Depends on whether you're a post-Cartesian dualist I'd say!
    eric watson and Jilly like this.
  10. Jilly

    Jilly Well known member

    Hmmm... how about while having the massage you do a lot of self talk to your TMS and subconscious? Things like, this treatment is as old as mankind itself and it will help unlock and release stored repressions, we both will feel good, trust me in this body work, it feels so good to release stored and repressed baggage, let it go.... etc.
    eric watson likes this.
  11. Back2-It

    Back2-It Peer Supporter

    I did not view or participate in medical massage therapy with the idea that it was unlocking stored repressions, because, in my personal belief, except for a minority, this is not the case for pain. Just my opinion. I was doing several things. I was increasing my knowledge, I was recognizing the brain to body connection and sensitizing of nerve endings with the idea of short-circuiting it briefly, and also enjoying the soothing "medicine" of a sincere and caring therapist placing her hands on my body and making the the type of energy connection rarely made in our modern Western society.

    Meanwhile, away from the massage table I practiced meditation twice daily, used affirmations, re-connected with friends and family, forgave, soul searched, changed things I could, thought differently about things I could not, resumed normal activity --overcoming the fear-- and took advantage of the ideas of some of the "third wave" of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, as advocated by Steven C. Hayes, in his book, "Get Out of Your Mind and into Your Life". I also learned to breath correctly, from the diaphragm and not the chest. For me, it was body, mind and soul, a more holistic approach.

    I was not the TMS Poster Child, I'm afraid. I'm not actually a new member here: I was on the old forum as well. I do believe that each person, being unique, will take the foundations of TMS/anxiety understanding and custom make their own "cure". Being rigid in beliefs translates to the same physically, in my opinion. We are our conditioned thoughts.
  12. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    thanks for the input guys -Back2 it how you been,long time no see,good to hear from ya
    nice to hear from ya morcomm and jilly how are ya and deborah you have some great insights-a lot of good stuff
    really when we face our anxietys and angers its a form of re-lease
    sometimes we dont know how to release-we can face and journal but the hurt is still there
    id say keep facing and journaling and add affirmations of calmness and visualizations of your desired outcome
    make them real as the hand you write with-in time youll start to see huge changes but you cant lose that focus on those visualizations and affirmations
    we also have charged emtions that the journaling and facing are supposed to dis-charge
    acceptance is a fine tool here but theres other ways to dis-charge negative memories
    i like the way forest sais he just kelpt knowing that he was ok and it helped him.
    as said above-if we keep our mind on the pain it can make all the other attributes of no effect-
    we have to get that formula that works for us individually and in time you will
    if we can change the memory to a better one through visulizations and meditation
    we can change the negative charge-then lose the pain
    i really think if we do anything- thinking it will cure us other than the repression dischargeing
    stopping the fear etc....it will help but only for a short time-see the way Back2-it did it
    believeing wholeheartedly that it was a good thing for tension release but at the same time doing sarnos reminders and enjoying the massage never hurt-its when the pain is in full effect that we need to get the repressions -fears and stressors under control.
    Jilly likes this.
  13. Jilly

    Jilly Well known member

    I think if your can tie the mind (emotions) and the body (pain from repression) together with the affirmations and the body work at the same time it is powerful work.

    For me Dr. Sarno's model has worked beautifully and I agree everyone will have some variances to recovery just as each of us walked a different pathway that led us to this destination. Be well in your healing and recovery * hugs
    eric watson likes this.
  14. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    jilly a great observation-you go girl
    hugs to you:)
    Jilly likes this.
  15. Jilly

    Jilly Well known member

    Your'e always so positive and right on ! I love reading your posts * hugs :)

Share This Page