1. Our TMS drop-in chat is today (Saturday) from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM DST Eastern U.S.(New York). It's a great way to get quick and interactive peer support. JanAtheCPA is today's host. Click here for more info or just look for the red flag on the menu bar at 3pm Eastern.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
    Dismiss Notice

Walking wounded (Day 3)

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Justina, May 3, 2012.

  1. Justina

    Justina Peer Supporter

    When was the last time you exercised or did another physical activity? What was this activity? How did it make you feel physically and emotionally? If it is has been a while since you last exercised, why?

    Two years ago I discovered exercise (lol, I'm a bit slow with some things...). I detested sport at school, begrudingly played hockey as a kid and threw it all in when I was a teenager.

    Then, in an effort to loose weight, I started walking and realised that that's my thing. I'm a walker. Give me a clear, cool day and I'll walk for hours. I used to go for a ~5k walk most afternoons of the week through the suburbs and bushland near my house. I loved getting out there, watcing the sun set, spotting some wildlife and just getting some breathing time. I walked fairly fast and loved the way my legs tingled and felt all weak when I was done.

    The last time I walked and enjoyed it was the middle of last year. Then in August I spontaneously developed bilateral knee pain. No more walking. Actually, since then I haven't done anything energetically enough to raise my heartrate and get that 'exercise' feeling and I miss it.

    The last time I went for a walk (if you could call the slow shambling I'm reduced to walking) was probably about two weeks ago. I don't enjoy it now because all I can think about is how I don't enjoy it, how pathetic I must look inching along and anticipating the moment the pain in my knees gets too great and I need to limp home. Most of the time I was upset, even crying.

    It frustated me to no end that I couldn't even walk to the bus each morning, less than ten minutes, without pain. Now I know it's my internal monologue that's causing my pain, not my (not) faulty knees.

    My knee pain has dropped by half since I started learning about TMS and understanding how it affects your body. The thought that I can walk like I used to gives me such a trill. I can't wait.
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    One of the most frustrating things I had to deal with was not being able to walk very far. I severe leg pain and walking even a block was challenging. To make matters worse I don't have a car, so I was very limited in where I could go. My fear of walking was even greater then the pain I had. If I wanted to go somewhere, the first thought I had was "how far would I have to walk" and "what's going to happen if my symptoms start up again." Thoughts like these are how TMS distracts us from our emotions.

    When I learned about TMS, I realized that I did not have a structural problem and that walking would not harm me. The distraction no longer served a purpose. It was a little bit challenging at first, but I knew that walking wouldn't harm me and that my problem was psychological not physical. The more I walked, the more confidence I gained, and the better I felt.

    Being active again and exercising is such a big part of recovery, because it shows us that our body is not weak. Justina, now that you know the cause of your symptoms, start exercising again. Take a walk around the block, and don't worry about your symptoms. As you are exercising tell yourself over and over again, I do not have a structural problem. I am not weak. I do not need to limit my activity. Being active will help you break your conditioned response.

    More than anything else, exercising and being active will help you fully accept the diagnosis and overcome TMS.
    Justina likes this.
  3. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I definitely count myself amongst the previously walking wounded. A few years ago I decided to go out for regular walks to get fit and lose some weight. After walking one morning I felt so desperately tired, I went back to bed. Every time I even thought about walking I felt tired. Other times I can remember walking the dog, or walking around a shopping mall and feeling like my legs had turned to lead. On one occasion it got so bad I was nearly in tears fearing I would collapse at any minute and be unable to move. I made it back to my in-laws, laid on the floor on my back for about ten minutes, got up and I was perfectly fine. PPD is such a tricky bugger. Now that I know what's going on, when I get lead-leg syndrome as I call it, I carry on walking and eventually it fades.
    Beach-Girl and Forest like this.
  4. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member


    I too love to walk, swim or run. That feeling you are talking about is the release of endorphins. I love it too, they make us feel great. I am lucky enough to live next to the beach and walk it often. I haven't tried it without my pain medication though since I did have a physical problem and remember trying to walk when my back was really messed up. I can't seem to move past this. I can't take that walk yet without any kind of medication.

    Your post is inspiring to me. I too need to get out there, just walk around the block (no meds) and show myself how much better I'm doing. My pain has moved from my lower back to my shoulder/neck area. Although this is a good thing, I know I have this big barrier to overcome - simply taking a walk. And along with you, I will soon try the walk again. I know I can do it! You too!

  5. Justina

    Justina Peer Supporter

    I'm glad I could inspire you, BG, I've gotten a lot out of reading your posts too. Let me know when you go for a walk! And I'll report back too.

    Thanks yb and Forest for your stories. It's great to hear from people that have made it out the other side.
  6. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Took That Walk!!!

    [​IMG][​IMG] Zeke.jpg
  7. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Justina: I think I'm conditioned to experience pain while walking or running, especially in Edgewood County Park because that's where I fell out running and landing on my left glut three years ago and that's what initiated my TMS relapse. Riding the bike and weight lifting are my "silver bullets" and do not seem to trigger any subsequent TMS pain. However, two nights ago I walked twice as far at Edgewood as I've been able to do at any time since my fall. I only experienced some sciatic pain in my left leg during the last 300 ft or so of my 4 mile hike and only just before getting back to the car. Also, the pain that I did experience subsided really quickly, so that by the time I drove back by the grocery store I was pain-free. So, I'd say I'm having less pain and recovering much more quickly after my hikes than even 3 months ago. I think Dr. Sarno is right on the money when he says return to full physical activity, even the most strenuous, but do it gradually and don't give up. A year ago out hiking at Edgewood CP my pain was so intense I almost couldn't stand it and it lasted a long time afterwards too. But because I keep going back and confronting the pain process, my TMS-based sciatica continues to recede. You just have to push beyond the pain threshold and then pull back and then repeat the process a few days later. Don't push it and beat yourself up and become frustrated. Personally, I wait for my intuition to tell me it's time for another push into and beyond my personal pain threshold. Dr. Sarno is so right again when he counsels: "Don't give up!"
    Justina and Beach-Girl like this.
  8. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    Hi guys,

    I'm not the authority in TMS because I'm still in the middle of my own journey. It's taken me a long time, and I'm nowhere near where I want to be. But, I'm trying to absorb the advice of all the good, good people on this Internet machine and I'm also in the beginning stages of TMS therapy. I exercise, too. In fact, I started up running again, something that, while I enjoyed (and I used to run miles and miles) I've been psyching myself out of. But fuck it, I love the endorphin release at the end. A big part of my problem is really tight neck, shoulders and upper back--so tight from TMS that the joints there snap, crackle and pop all the time. Yet, somehow when I get running, blowing and blowing through a run because I'm so out of shape, my upper back and shoulders feel SOOOOOO much more relaxed from all the heaving and breathing. And ultimately I end up feeling relaxed for a nice, long while.

    I know that it's not the "cure" to my TMS, per se, because I have a lot of emotional guarding to overcome in therapy (my TMS therapist told me on the first session that I am incredibly well "defended" psychologically), plus inner child work, and loads of daily STRESS to overcome. But I am making progress, and honoring my process, and being true to my journey, and all of that good stuff. And I've had this for almost 18 months. It's a long time. But I will get there and so will you.

    So what I'm telling you is you WILL get there too. All of us will (some of us just need more help). Keep walking. Jog if you can. Run if you can. And enjoy nature. I do that too, when I'm not too busy suffering from TMS-allergies. :)

    Keep up the good work! :)


    PS Beach-Girl...that was a beautiful picture. Was that an animal in the middle of the screen?
    veronica73 likes this.
  9. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Phil, it sounds like you're doing really well.

    Yes, I was wondering what that animal was too (gorilla? ;) )
  10. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    Maybe it's the Invisible Gorilla that Dr. Zafiredes talks about re: TMS! :)
    veronica73 likes this.
  11. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    Veronica73, thanks. I'm still stuck in the middle of TMS-obsessiveness. As I have for months and months (see the thread I just created called TMS Psychology). But again, let's suppose I AM a chronic pain patient and not a TMS patient (sometimes I hate my medical training here). Even if I am, then I like to tell myself I'm living life as bravely and courageously as I can, confronting old demons about my feeling *inadequate* as a resident while BEING a resident; living with as much fun and purpose as I can in this situation; and living *WITH* TMS while I try to heal from it. So yeah, tough times, but lived with courage, I hope.

    OP--sorry, didn't mean to hijack this thread. :)
  12. Justina

    Justina Peer Supporter

    Woo! Go BG! :D

    MorComm, I know what you mean about being "programmed" to feel pain when doing a certain activity. I'm exactly like that with my wrists and typing. I'm trying to face it down and your post gives me confidence that I can do it.

    Shanshu, hijack away! I get so much inspiration out of reading everyone's posts.
  13. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    To Those who thought it was a Gorilla in the photo - that's my DOG. Sheesh. He still has his winter coat.

  14. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    LOL--Is it a Newfoundland?
  15. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    No he's a Heintz 57 - has a brindled red and black coat when his winter coat is gone. He lives outdoors, so he's never "groomed". I have bathed him before, but he needs a cut badly. Anyway. He's my best buddy!

    veronica73 likes this.
  16. Justina

    Justina Peer Supporter

    You motivated me, BG. I went for a nice brisk walk through the bush this afternoon (lucky it was a brisk walk because it's 10 degrees C!)


    I had a bit of pain during the walk but it's gone now, a huge improvement from a month ago!
    veronica73 and Beach-Girl like this.
  17. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Wow - what a great story. Keep going! Great photo too.

  18. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I wondered about that 10 degrees C, but realize now that you're in Australia where it's winter in the southern hemisphere. Do recognize the eucalyptus trees, though, because they've been transplanted here to California where I am. In fact, the ground cover looks like a dead ringer for the Bay Area! What I've been noticing with my hikes is that if I keep taking them spaced out over a given time period, I can walk farther with less pain each time, plus the pain recedes faster afterwards (i.e. my recovery times keep improving). Less 'creaky' each time too; less clicking in the lumbar joints. I hope your experience mirrors mine!
  19. Justina

    Justina Peer Supporter

    Yep, I'm an Aussie. I've heard that eucalypts are quite the pest in California, they're everywhere.

    That's a good idea, spacing the hikes out. I'm trying not to be too overzealous and take things slow. I'll go for another walk next weekend and see how I go. :)
  20. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, the eucalyptus trees are everywhere in California, but the real problem is that nothing else will grow under them and likewise, they have a way of catching on fire. Turkey Vultures do love to nest in them though.

    Wise plan. I only try to push my walking when feeling sore afterwards isn't going to be problem. I think that using your intuition to detect the best moment to push it is the best way to decide when to walk.

Share This Page