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TMS can amplify real pain stimuli, right?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by music321, Aug 21, 2018.

  1. music321

    music321 Well known member

    I just injured myself. It was a real injury involving mechanically hitting my body. The musculature involved is painful and in spasm. I'm surprised that I'm experiencing this level of pain and spasm from the injury, frankly. Am I right in thinking that all of the pain/spasming might be WAY out of proportion to the damage actually done, as a result of TMS?
  2. music321

    music321 Well known member

  3. had

    had Peer Supporter

    Sorry nobody responded to you for so long. Being ignored sucks.

    Yes in my experience it can. I have physical damage and the resulting pain. When I am stressed or worried it can flare it to extreme levels with no new injury or activity. Sometimes just sitting still doing nothing and it burns to severely. That's, to me, clearly TMS taking advantage of the existing weak spot and by recognizing that I can usually get it back down to normal levels of misery in short order. A while back I heard my knee pop and imagined the worst...I had a year of constant pain until I finally had an MRI and a very kind orthopedist said "nothing is wrong" and the pain went away. The entire time I was in pain because of fear and needing more surgery and having difficulty accessing medical care due to lack of insurance. So even if there isn't any damage just the potential injury is a magnet. Evil little bastard TMS is.
    plum likes this.
  4. bur

    bur New Member

    The brain can decide to not feel pain, even though there should clearly be pain. The brain can decide there is pain, even though there is no injury. Schubiner shows several examples in this video. So I guess the brain amplifying should be possible as well.
  5. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    You get more of what you focus on. Focus on pain, you get more pain. Focus on peace, you get more peace. The brain amplifies whatever we rest our attention upon. The modus operandi of TMS is to distract and cause us to focus and obsess on our body when the actual problem is our freewheeling, negatively biased mind. As Rick Hanson says it is like velcro for negative emotions and experience, teflon for positive. You have to counter that tendency by facing down fear. TMS amplifies pain because we are overly attuned to it and because our mind races like a greyhound whenever anything triggers that awareness.
    MWsunin12 and westb like this.
  6. JackG

    JackG New Member

    I have an example of this from recent history. Before I started treating my pain as TMS, I was seeing a physical therapist. One day, I complained to her of discomfort and pain when doing the "Cat-camel" or "quadruped" stretch. By this point, she had already come to her own internal decision that what I likely had was TMS or some other over-sensitization problem. She told me she noticed nothing structurally wrong in how I was moving and wasn't concerned.

    I went home that evening and, in my nightly 1.5 hour ritual of stretching and doing "back exercises," I did my cat-camels and again felt the pain and discomfort. I was starting to get red-hot with stress and fear, thinking it was the herniated disc "rubbing" together (or some inane babble) as I moved. So I put my hand back to where it hurt. Nothing but skin and the top of my underwear. I did the cat-camel movement, my hand still on my back. The underwear moved up and down as I did it, the rough tag slightly rubbing against my skin. I immediately realized what my pain was: it was the tag of my underwear touching my skin. A feeling so mundane and painless, which I'd obviously known and experienced for decades, suddenly drawing all my attention and resulting in fear and pain. As soon as I realized what it was, I laughed at myself and continued doing my stretches. It stopped bothering me soon after.

    I think a lot of this syndrome is the conditioning and over-sensitization that happens as a result of the fear. Because I was so fixated on anything going on with my back at any point, the mere rubbing of a soft tag resulted in my brain flipping out. 6 months prior, I'd have never even noticed the feeling.

    For me, that's one of the hardest pert of my ongoing recovery. Recognizing that normal stimuli are not actually painful or harmful. But sometimes my brain will cause something to seem much, much worse than it actually is - even if it really is pain. That pain will be exacerbated by my already sensitive body.
    plum and MWsunin12 like this.
  7. music321

    music321 Well known member

    Thanks for the replies. Had, no apology is needed! The old joke is "don't think about the elephant!". The only way not to think about something is to redirect attention. I've been trying to focus on building up my life, and I'm just starting to make some miniscule progress with TMS. But, a journey of 1,000 miles and the first step, and all that.

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