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Day 1 Tossing and Turning

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by maliolani, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. maliolani

    maliolani New Member

    Unlike many who come to Dr. Sarno’s treatment, I do not have a debilitating back pain that makes it hard to get through my days. Instead, I have a seemingly mysterious (but not unique, I know) condition in which I am in pain at night, lying in bed. Whatever position I am in, on my back or on either side, the part of my back or shoulder that I am lying on aches. It hurts enough that I cannot sleep or stay asleep. I awaken dozens of times during the night to turn over. If I turn over onto my back, it is only a matter of a minute or so before the discomfort is more than I can stand and I must turn on my side, which also starts to hurt.

    The pain in my back is not just an unbearable discomfort, but it is a “princess and the pea” situation, where I can feel every little tiny wrinkle in the sheet under me, every place where the fabric of my pajamas is stretched a bit, stretching my aching skin along with it. I just want to scream. I have no choice but to turn, but turning just moves the ache to the new part of my body that I am lying on.

    All my life before I came down with this condition I was a back sleeper. I remember up until a few years ago I loved lying on my back, and I could luxuriate in bed in the morning, enjoying the softness and warmth of the bed. Now, I cannot wait for the night to end and my pain with it. I just want to get out of bed, that instrument of torture. Of course, it is true that I have some minor aches and pains in my back during the day, but they are relatively inconsequential and probably common to almost everyone.

    I thought it likely that this pain, which started at the same time that I began (since eliminated) taking statin medications for high cholesterol, was an extension of the severe muscle pain that statin medications are infamous for causing. But even on the statins, I did not have any particular muscle pain during the day. I did, until about a year ago, have a frequent tendency to get a crick in the neck, suddenly and often for no apparent reason. That would be very painful and last a few days, and happen every few weeks or months. For no apparent reason, that went away when I retired, even though the amount of time I spend at the computer in retirement is not less than before I retired. Could it have been just stress related?

    I have complained about my weird back condition to doctors, who have x-rayed me and pronounced me as having no obvious back problem. It has been suggested to me that I likely have fibromyalgia and I was offered a referral for diagnosis. But when I asked how I would benefit from having a diagnosis of fibromyalgia from the referral, I was told that the only benefit to me would be that I could get some kinds of drugs that they probably otherwise wouldn’t give me. I did try one drug that is for nerve pain, gabapentin/Neurontin. It basically did not help. I’m very opposed to masking symptoms with pain killing drugs that don’t address causes or effect cures, and especially if the drug is one that it is hard to get off of, like gabapentin. I eventually quit taking it. Other than that, I have just tried NSAIDs, which do nothing at all for my strange nighttime back pain. I also tried chiropractic, which did nothing, and acupuncture, which did very little.

    I can easily believe that there is no physical problem with my back. I can easily believe that the pain is caused by reduced blood flow, and therefore reduced oxygen and nutrients, to the tissues involved. I cannot say definitively why the blood flow would be reduced, but I do believe that it is not a medically treatable condition. Also, I can easily agree that I have plenty of anger and stress inside.

    I read Dr. Sarno’s book, Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection about a week ago. It resonated with me. I believe that it can really help many people, perhaps not all, and it does not matter to me whether improvement is on the basis of a placebo effect or not. Since the night that I read the book, my back discomfort at night is still there, but seems to be less of something to get angry and upset about, and more of an unwelcome visitor whom I can laugh at, even if I cannot make it go away completely. I can accept what discomfort I have better, though I still have to turn over repeatedly at night. I hope for further improvement as I go through this program.
  2. lexylucy

    lexylucy Well known member

    hey just wanted to reach out and say hi. I am thinking of starting the SEP tomorrow! I was listening to MindBody Prescription just the other day I heard a list of possible scenarios-
    "I have terrible back pain in the morning, then I take a hot shower and I feel a little better and get moving and start to feel much better"
    "I have hardly any pain during the day but have terrible annoying pain all night tossing and turning"

    I hear you. I have the former. So strange these pain patterns, huh?

    I am finding - and I don't know if this helps - that If I tune in to my feelings in the morning - I get very very anxious - strssed about the day - what am I gonna do about this or that" but I feel better when i get out of bed. My brain works better when I start moving I can think better - exercise, meditate and food and a hot beverage and dogwalk later my problems don't seem so terrifying. And there is more blood in my brain body.

    so I don't need the pain anymore I am saying to myself....no thank you...

    Do you have any emotions that come up at night? Did you used to share the bed with someone and don't anymore? Is there a lonely feeling? Is the nighttime the only time you can "think" clearly about your day? Mistakes you may have made??

  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I find that lying in bed after I wake up at a time close to my normal wake-up time makes me worry and anxious.
    If it's within half an hour of my get-up time, I find it better to get up and get my morning stuff done.
    That keeps me "in the present."
    lexylucy and maliolani like this.
  4. linapina

    linapina New Member

    I was 'pleased' to see that I am not alone in having more or less the same problem. I have been diagnosed twice with fibromaylgia (though I'm still skeptic if I really have it) and the last 4-5 years or so I've had this problem. I go to sleep fine and my bed feels so comfortable, I fall asleep without problems but I wake up too early and it feels like my back has been broken. The only thing that helps is getting up and moving about or sometimes it helps just to sit. If I'm lucky and don't wake up with my back 'broken' I still have major discomfort and can find no relaxation in any position. I toss and turn (this I do when I sleep too resulting in bad sleep) If I'm lucky I can stay in bed after I awake and slumber, (I'm almost always exhausted from bad or too little sleep) but eventually I have to get up and I feel like a truck has run over me all night. Usually I don't have pain in my back during the day.

    There is more to the story than this but this bit has really puzzled me for a while and I don't get why I have this pattern. It has made me dread going to sleep. I don't ALWAYS have this problem though but most nights. Well I have just read dr Sarno's book Healing back pain and I have decided to start the SEP today so I have some writing to do. Will make a first Day 1 post later. Just wanted to answer this and share.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2015
    maliolani likes this.
  5. lexylucy

    lexylucy Well known member

    [QUOTE="linapina, Just wanted to answer this and share.[/QUOTE]

    Thanks for sharing :)
  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Linapina, I think you did yourself a very big favor by starting the SEP. It's a wonderful way to
    learn the psychological causes of your symptoms. Do each day's exercise with a firm, positive,
    100 percent belief in TMS. But don't spend more than an hour a day on an exercise.
    It's important not to obsess about pain or healing. Try to enjoy each day as much as you can.
  7. linapina

    linapina New Member

    Walt, I seem to have trouble doing the exercises in an hour or even more time;-). Second day is still unfinished. So simple questions but very hard to answer! I guess it's the perfectionist in me, trying to do everything as well as I can. The commitment to the program got me stuck too. Haven't even gotten to day 3 yet.
    Unfortunately the links in Day 2 doesn't work. Instead I am reading a book that was mentioned in a post, Scott Brady Pain free for life.

    It's hard not to obsess about the pain when you have it. Today is one of those days and my mind is constantly thinking about the pain. It also makes me doubt again that I will ever be better. So I try to distract myself in different ways, watching a movie, reading, eating etc. Worried to go to sleep though when my back is already aching.

    Lexylucy, thanks for sharing too!

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