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TMS Pain & The Gym

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by EricFeelsThisWay, Mar 8, 2018.

  1. EricFeelsThisWay

    EricFeelsThisWay Peer Supporter

    Hi guys,

    I usually get back pain after the gym that I define as "soreness" but I know it's really TMS in disguise. Was wondering if anyone else experiences that and can add some kernels of wisdom. I'm pretty good at repeating to myself the TMS self-talk:
    -Your pain started at the gym years ago, so it's just neural pathways that have trained themselves to fire together
    -Yes, you did a hard workout three days ago, but you did not injure yourself and your body is designed to heal itself.
    -There's a noticeable difference between muscle soreness from lifting weights and TMS pain, and you know the difference. Soreness from the gym doesn't affect your mood. Muscle soreness never causes shortness of breath or lumbar pain, and those are TMS symptoms that you've been dealing with for years.
    -Maybe it's all the feelings of self-consciousness, insecurity, inferiority, inadequacy, and body image issues that are bothering you. Think psychological.
    -The locker room reminds you of being teased in high school, so you're on high alert, which causes back pain.
    -There have been times that you've felt this pain even when not at the gym, and there have been times you've been at the gym with no pain, so there is no real correlation.

    ....and so on and so on. Thing is, I'm good at making these lists, just not great at actually believing them all the time. It's so easy for me to slip into old frames of thinking. Any advice?
  2. LindenSwole

    LindenSwole Peer Supporter

    Number 3 is the biggest tell-all for me. If you're in the gym a lot and have been working out for a long time YOU KNOW the difference between muscle soreness due to lifting weights vs. muscle soreness due to oxygen deprivation. The feeling is VERY different.
    EricFeelsThisWay and plum like this.
  3. Kevin Barry

    Kevin Barry Peer Supporter

    No advice but I understand completely what you are talking about. You have helped me with your approach and your list. I am going to keep doing what you are doing and know that with information and support like yours I will keep improving. Thanks!
  4. peter1

    peter1 Newcomer

    All these reasons I bear in mind every day because evidently, it happened to me at a psychology level. I also do self-dialogue, and my self-conciseness is calm if I respond to all my questions. For example, when I experience strong negative emotions or pains, I see to myself to STOP and think reasonably. Believe me; it helps me to control my mind!
  5. Ann Miller

    Ann Miller Well known member

    First, I'd say you've got great awareness. That list you made was awesome and definitely all things that I've realized for myself at the gym as well. What I tell clients in this situation is to start building your list of times you were able to do something that DID NOT cause symptoms. Instead of focusing on flares, or pain, or deciphering psychological triggers, shift to looking for positive outcomes. I just lifted that weight and I'm completely fine. I just sat on that hard wooden chair and I'm fine. Etc. It's a slow rewiring of your thoughts. The body eventually follows but we lead with thoughts.
  6. Mick1965

    Mick1965 New Member

    I have a question. I’ve been going through a lot of stress lately. I took some time off work due to stress, I returned 6 weeks ago with a different attitude. I’ve been having stressful thoughts about retirement, I question my marriage as we have been fighting quite frequently. About 2 weeks ago, I was in gym and doing bent over rows. I felt a tweak in my back and now I am really struggling with left lower back pain. I went to Physio who told me I irritated a facet joint and that we would treat it for a few weeks. I’m very suspicious of this diagnosis because the pain is very intense for an innocuous injury and it moves into hip, other side of spine, intense sharp pain left side of spine. My worry and stress certainly isn’t helpful. I’ve been through chronic back pain before for years and so grateful to use Sarno’s treatment to conquer for almost 10 years. I’m not sure if I should just think psychological and not push my body until I know it is not an actual injury or give it a couple of more weeks to see if it is an injury. Thoughts anyone?
  7. Bonnard

    Bonnard Peer Supporter

    I can relate so much. My insecurities kept me inconsistent at the gym until my mid-40's.
    I would always make another attempt / join another gym / start another exercise program.
    Some of those messages from childhood really messed me up (you're the scrawny one; you can't do that; you're not the athlete in the family; feeling like I was being mocked and being overwhelmed in a weight room etc. etc...).

    Here's what solved this for me (not for everyone):
    I hired a personal trainer and laid it all out for him (my layers of insecurities/fears, but also my specific goals). I told him all about my TMS/Sarno issues and how I previously worked through back pain.

    As I got into a serious routine (including cardio/crossfit/weightlifting), I used my trainer to let got of the insecurities. The confidence came.
    What came next was TMS stuff getting in the way. For me, it took many months. It kind of got ridiculous. Every single week with my trainer (sometimes we'd train twice a week tog.), I'd start by telling him about a pain or potential injury that came up. He was so patient.
    A few times, he had me limit an exercise for a week or so. But only a few out of a ridiculous number.
    He taught me the difference between what he calls normal soreness, a "tweak," or something more serious that needs attention b/c it could turn into an injury. We have laughed about my fears together. We have celebrated my successes. I was very fortunate to find him.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  8. Bonnard

    Bonnard Peer Supporter

    One last thing: I think I'll always have questions that came up -- "Is that serious?"
    BUT, getting that number of questions down, and being able to increasingly trust myself, if where I found progress.
    There's a whole other story about a structural illness pulling me away from the gym for a long period, but we deal with one thing at a time.... :)
    JanAtheCPA likes this.

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