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Day 1 Trying to commit to TMS and to practice

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by allabitica, Sep 1, 2020.

  1. allabitica

    allabitica Newcomer

    Hi all,

    I have had struggles with chronic pain for many years.
    - I have had issues with migraines and pelvic pain/nerve symptoms for years - both had a sudden onset, were severe for a while, and slowly improved without ever seeming to respond to many treatments (except PT in the case of the pelvic issues). However both have lingered as chronic, intermittent issues ever since.
    - Then I developed back pain and that's what has pushed me to get more serious about a mind body approach. The back pain was somewhat different from the other two. I had a bad spasm that was very painful and stiff for a few days, and then the pain went away completely. I noticed occasional aching afterwards when I swam and worked those muscles differently. Months later, the pain started coming back, just gradually as twinges, then more and more severe. Occasionally it would seem to get mostly better, then flare up again, and now it has been steadily painful for multiple months. I've done PT, massage, trigger point injections, and steroid injections; the massage might have helped temporarily, but nothing has made a permanent difference. An MRI didn't show any major smoking guns. The doctor who read the MRI had a theory that "the disc that muscle is attached to is unstable and the muscle is irritated trying to stabilize it". It isn't a constant pain - I'm OK if I'm sitting still or walking - but any kind of bending, twisting, or prolonged standing will be painful.

    I want to accept my TMS diagnosis but a few things hold me back:
    1) The back pain is completely isolated to one muscle (the quadratus lumborum). It is at the attachments of the muscle to bone (spine, lower back, hip) and tender throughout the muscle. The pain doesn't move around (very occasional sciatic twinges but that's it). I don't understand why this one muscle is giving me so much trouble and why the TMS would be so specific to that spot.
    2) I have been trying to implement various TMS techniques, although all inconsistently - Curable, journaling, meditation, etc. - but nothing has made a real difference yet and I get discouraged even though I know I need to stop looking constantly for affirmation that it's working.
    3) I have also been trying to get more physically active. I had been avoiding doing yoga because I felt like that would flare it up, so I started doing yoga again. When I do yoga, I will get a flare and then go back to baseline, which reassures me that yoga isn't making it worse, but I was hoping that doing more activities would help it get better. It makes me think there is something structural that the yoga irritates.
    4) I feel like my other chronic pain issues improved over time, but this just seems to be holding steady constantly. I am frustrated and afraid that it will never get better and always limit comfortable movement.
     
  2. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi @allabitica , I'll try to address your comments in a few brand strokes:

    1.). You can have constant pain in one spot with TMS because often it waxes and wanes....changes in intensity. That's still considered 'dynamic pain", as opposed to static pain like a broken leg.

    2.) If you are implementing all these approaches for the purpose of eliminating pain, then forget it. You need to ask yourself WHY you are doing them. If it's to access emotions, change thoughts and calm down the brain find ways of relaxing and deactivating the danger center (lowering fear and anxiety) then, that's great and you can do whatever works for you, however you want to do it. But if you are following all these "approaches" like a paint by number how to get better recipe, it' won't work. The pain is a merely a symptom. It's not the cause. Until you address your life and the causes for your brain to be freaking out and sending pain signals, you won't make any progress. People get very hung up on approaches and "methods", not realizing that these are simply tools...not answers to the universe.

    3.). The goal is to reduce and eliminate FEAR so it's important to challenge your fears around physical exercise in a slow and gradual way...to build confidence and to allow your brain to make the shift without scaring the crap out of it before giving it a chance to practice. The body also takes a bit to catch up with the brain. Once your thoughts are "online" in a sense, the body will follow suit. It's not the activity that causes a flare or increase in symptoms, it's your FEAR and THOUGHTS about the activity. In order to train the brain out of that neural circuit of fear-pain-fear, you have to lose the fear first.

    4.). Frustration and fear (such as fear of never getting better) are what reinforce and fuel TMS. The goal is to become aware of those thoughts that are causing frustration and fear and to change those thoughts to more accurate, better feeling ones. Our thoughts really do create our reality. Just as pain sensations are temporary, so are your thoughts. Literally everything comes down to our thoughts. "What we resist, persists".
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2020
  3. allabitica

    allabitica Newcomer

    Thank you! I know I tend to latch onto the goal/outcomes vs. just doing the work for its own sake. I'm definitely a catastrophizer/high anxiety and that has fed a lot of the fear around my chronic issues. I know that resetting/calming down my nervous system would likely do a lot for me overall, so I want to remind myself to focus on that goal.
     

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