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Trying to understand more about how my pain might be triggered from post-exercise dread

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by escapee, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. escapee

    escapee New Member

    Hi guys,

    I accepted a self TMS diagnosis over a month ago. I've written a bit about my situation in other posts, but basically I had occasional pain in my right arm for many years after a weightlifting injury (which became a markedly worse, chronic, aching pain, after a breaking up with a girl 5 years ago). To my knowledge I didn't do any great damage during the injury (because I didn't have much acute pain... just a little for a few days), but the whole event did scare me. The post-acute phase pain first appeared when I went back to the gym a year later (didn't wait a year because of any pain, just didn't get around to it). At that time i thought "I bet I end up in pain trying this".. sure enough, there was a sharp pain in my arm the very next day. Which put me off.

    Since discovering TMS I've made excellent progress in the last month and have felt like an old happy/free self that I had almost forgotten existed. The thing is though, that over the years, I have had a lot of fear about physical activity making my arm worse. I have tried to ignore the fear and any inklings of re-emerging pain recently & focused on the psychological, self affirmations etc, and it has all definitely made a big difference. However just this last week I think I believe (on some level in my mind) that I over exerted my self and some of the pain has come back. Not as badly as it used to be, but it's still a bit disheartening.

    The thing with my pain, is it always appeared or got worse, in the following pattern
    (before I discovered TMS, and to a milder extent still now):
    1. I do physical activity that I suspect will cause me pain
    2. I feel no pain during the activity nor immediately afterwards
    3. I spend the next 12 or so hours feeling a bit guilty that I may have over done it with my presumably injured arm & thinking that I will probably end up paying for it.
    4. After about 6 hours the pain slowly creeps up and peaks at about 24 hours later, then hangs around for two or three days. After which, if I am "good" and do little physical activity, ie: "being patient" it will decrease in intensity or almost disappear.

    Since reading Healing Back Pain, and reading on this WIKI, I have tried to feel relaxed during step 3 in the above, and assure myself that there is nothing physically wrong with me. But I think when I do too much exercise (that I consider possibly harmful), I am still subconsciously dreading the possibility of being stuck with the old familiar horrible trigger point (muscle knot) pain for days.

    Is a 6+ hour delay between physical activity and emergence of pain a normal thing for any other TMSers?
    I'm not sure how conventional doctors would try to explain it in their traditional mechanical problem terms, but it does seem like a strange phenomenon which would make sense for a psychologically induced process like TMS. Also, does anyone have any tips I can use to combat my post-exercise dread at a deeper level in the sub-conscious?

    Thanks for your help!
  2. tarala

    tarala Well known member

    Hi Escapee,

    I have exactly the pattern you describe above, almost down to the hour. I've been having some success with the idea of outcome independence, where the criterion I use for success is to be slowly but surely increasing my physical activity and not what level of pain I have. There is a really good post on the Wiki about this by Alan Gordon. However I know I still have a lot of fear around this pattern, so I too would be very interested to hear what others have to say on this.

  3. escapee

    escapee New Member

    Hi Terry,

    Wow, interesting to hear your symptom pattern is very similar in onset to mine. Thank you for letting me know about "outcome independence". I hadn't heard of that it before, so I dug up Alan's post and took a read.
    Great post. I know I need to go with the flow more and not getting stressed out at every turn.

  4. tarala

    tarala Well known member

    Hi Dave,

    Glad you found it helpful. This forum is a great place for info, but also to connect with other people going through similar things who are also focused on healing. I find that kind of support invaluable. Keep up the good work!

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