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Visualizing doing exercise to challenge the pain/TMS?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by BloodMoon, Aug 26, 2018.

  1. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    I've been reading @Steve Ozanich's book 'The Great Pain Deception' and found it quite alarming exactly what he had to go through physically/pain-wise to get better...and depressing too because I don't know how I could do anything like he forced himself to do despite the torturous pain it caused him, e.g. hitting loads of golf balls and running every day for miles...

    When I've just somewhat aggressively pushed through the pain and stiffness that I experience to do just the ordinary daily things that I need and/or want to do, I've ended up bedridden with muscle spasms that have torqued and skewed my pelvis out of line so badly that they've made me bedridden for months on end (on one occasion for 7 months). The muscles of my pelvic girdle spasmed and then 'splinted' my saco-iliac area, the muscles setting rock hard like concrete. So, I've found that I have to pace myself - pushing myself through the pain only to a certain degree to do things and taking breaks and resting a lot. However, Steve says in his book - words to the effect of - that if he paced himself and babied himself at all, he found it prevented himself from fully healing. Perhaps Steve goes on to offer advice in his book regarding how you can heal without the extreme effort/measures that it took him to get better (I haven't finished his book as yet) but for now I'm somewhat despondent that my relatively gentle efforts to challenge my symptoms won't be enough to get rid of my TMS.

    Steve does, however, mention about having used some visualization to help him recover. I've not as yet read what he's written about visualization further on in his book...but, in the meantime, I'm wondering if I were to visualize/imagine myself doing strenuous exercise - running and doing star jumps or whatever - this might work. It has been shown that those who have broken limbs and have been bedbound because of their injuries fare better recovery-wise (their muscles atrophy less and are actual liable to get stronger) if they lie there imagining themselves doing exercises and being generally active compared to those who don't do any such visualization http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2887151/Scientists-discover-just-IMAGINING-exercising-make-stronger-tone-muscles-delay-stop-muscle-atrophy.html (Scientists discover just IMAGINING exercising can make you stronger | Daily Mail Online)...

    I wonder if this would be powerful enough though to challenge TMS symptoms adequately enough to heal?

    Has anyone heard of anyone recovering from TMS by using this kind of 'active' visualization technique or any kind of visualization technique, for that matter?
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
  2. Kevin Barry

    Kevin Barry Peer Supporter

    Thank you for your post. I don't have any experience with imagery per se other than to believe it works. But what you are talking about seems like it could be a tool to use to work with TMS and I plan to try and use it. My philosophy with TMS and other challenges I have is that I try to use whatever I can to make progress and not worry about the results. So thanks again for the tip!
    BloodMoon likes this.
  3. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    You're welcome, Kevin! :) I've just started trying it myself. I hope it helps you.
    Kevin Barry likes this.
  4. bur

    bur New Member

    I don't know about visualizing exercise, but I've been reading about success with pain reduction through visualization in Norman Doidge's book The Brain's Way of Healing. The first chapter in this book tells the story how Michael Moskovitz (a pain specialist suffering from chronic pain himself) healed his pain through visualizing shrinking the pain centers in his brain. There's way more to his approach than I can explain in a few sentences. But if you're interested there is a lot of information at Moskovitz' website (see link above).
    BloodMoon likes this.
  5. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi bur. Thanks for your reply. Funnily enough, before I joined this forum, I tried Moskovitz's technique. I might return to it, but I was finding it extremely hard as you have to be so relentless in opposing the pain by visualizing the brain pain maps every single time the pain spikes. He's apparently had a lot of success with his patients, but some didn't respond and needed to do self-soothing and other measures instead of or as well as doing the 'no pain in the brain' visualizations. I thought his story very inspiring as it demonstrates that the brain is neuroplastic and can rewire - which gives hope that things can change for all of us who are suffering from TMS.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
  6. rain

    rain New Member

    Sorry that you're going through tough flare-ups. Those can be incredibly hard to get through. Have you tried increasing your physical activity in smaller steps? When I started TMS program about 40 days ago, I also read Steve's book and was wondering how to push myself and my limits. I quickly realized that it won't always work for me and my body was telling me to slow down and take it slowly. I gradually learnt to listen more honestly and lovingly to my body and to check-in with it often (sometimes as often as once every few hours) and listen to what it communicated. Before starting a hard (for me) hike, I ask its permission and try to get a sense of how it feels. Often, I get an honest reply back and I try to do my best to respect it.

    I found that having distractions - like listening to podcasts, music etc - while doing physical activity that might typically stress you, is helpful, especially in the initial stages of healing. I sometimes in fact get so carried away by music (I often listen to a lot of afro-cuban music that is high-energy) that I over-step my body's limits and end up hurting myself. I then apologize to my body and tell it that I will try to do my best to listen more attentively to it next time. I think developing a trusting, loving, respectful and challenging relationship with your body is really important. Everyone has different limits.

    Good luck with your journey and best wishes.
    westb and BloodMoon like this.
  7. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi rain,

    Increasing my physical activity in smaller steps has to be the way to go, just as you suggest...And what a good idea to take the stress away by listening to podcasts and music - I will definitely give that a go (since my pain increased in recent years I haven't listened to much music, for some reason I almost couldn't bear to). I can't run or hit golf balls like Steve O did during his recovery anyway, but I will try being being more active.

    I was recently buoyed by a post I read on an old thread on this forum in which someone called 'Andy B' wrote with regard to challenging the pain with activity the following: "So I would say that some people push through, and others add activity when there is less pain. Both systems seem to work, based on my observing stories here for a long time." The knowledge that some people improve and get symptom free by adding activity when there is less pain is encouraging. This will tie in with your advice to check in with my body.

    Thank you for your help/input...And I wish you all good wishes with your journey to recovery too.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2018
  8. Sita

    Sita Well known member


    As I was reading this subject I was thinking at the following technique (that I used in the past, when I was in pain and could not exercise - for real). It's a yoga technique actually and I've been into yoga for many years.

    Basically you tense and then relax each muscle in the body. Start with the left foot - tense for a few seconds, then hold for a few seconds, then relax for a few seconds. Then right foot the same.

    Ideally first you do the lower part of the left foot, end then the lower part of the right foot. Then upper part of the left foot, then upper part of the right foot. And so on, all the body up to the neck, left part of the neck, then right part of the neck. When I say all the body parts I'm thinking all of them, left buttock, then right one, left forearm, then right and so on. Go up to the neck starting from the feet.

    So you take a small part of the body and work on it, tense/hold/relax while being in bed on your back or sitting on your butt. It doesn't matter. You only move the muscles, that's it!

    While doing this exercise, think about the energy that comes into your particular body part when you tense and hold. I think about energy and light. And while I'm relaxing the muscle I think about the negative stuff that goes out. So positive comes in and negative goes out.

    It works! Just give it a try! You do that let's say 3-4 times for each body part. This works like this: left part of the neck - tense for a few seconds/hold for a few seconds/relax for a few seconds. Then repeat this process 2-3 more times with the same body part. Then go to the right part of the neck and do the same.

    English is not my native language, but I hope that what I wrote is clear. If not, please ask me and I'll try to explain it in a different way. All the best!
    BloodMoon likes this.
  9. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you very much for this, @Sita :). I'm going to try it.
    Sita likes this.

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