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Alan G. Weather's affecting my symptoms

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by Guest, Sep 29, 2014.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    This question was submitted via our Ask a TMS Therapist program. To submit your question, click here.

    Why does it seem like weather affects my tms symptoms? Is this possible, or is it my fear that creates this?
  2. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    For the most part, weather is a conditioned response. A conditioned response is anything that you mistakenly identify as the cause of the pain due to association. I once had a client who was concerned that an increase in back pain was affected by barometric pressure.

    Anything can become a conditioned response. Commonly it's sitting (back pain), typing (wrist pain), or running (leg/foot pain). I once worked with a woman who would develop pain every time she flushed the toilet. I used to get headaches whenever the show Family Guy would come on. So I stopped watching it. Then, I started getting headaches just by seeing Family Guy in the schedule of programs. Family Guy wasn’t causing my headaches – that is crazy. Flushing the toilet did not cause the woman's pain, barometric pressure is not going to affect your body (unless you're a whale), and unless you’re 85 with an arthritic condition, weather is not going to affect your symptoms.

    This is how it works - we are evolutionarily wired to associate the onset of pain with a trigger. For example, if your ankle hurts every time you walk, you determine that it’s the walking that's causing the pain. In the case of a real injury, this process is helpful. It prevents us from injuring ourselves further.

    Because of this wiring, our minds are conditioned to try and find triggers for the onset of any pain. It’s constantly scanning the environment. Is it the weather? Drinking wine? Sitting? Standing? Walking? Bending over? Juggling? Watching Family Guy? Reading a book? Looking at a computer? Shampooing your hair? Playing the guitar? Typing?

    The way to break free of these conditioned responses is to know definitively that it isn’t the stimulus that’s causing the pain, it’s the fear around the stimulus that’s causing the pain. If you don’t buy into the fear associated with “cause,” it loses its power over you.

    Now I watch Family Guy all the time – even if it’s one of the terrible 2012 episodes. Your real battle isn’t with the heat or the cold or the barometric pressure. It’s with the fear.


    Any advice or information provided here does not and is not intended to be and should not be taken to constitute specific professional or psychological advice given to any group or individual. This general advice is provided with the guidance that any person who believes that they may be suffering from any medical, psychological, or mindbody condition should seek professional advice from a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions. No general advice provided here should be taken to replace or in any way contradict advice provided by a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions.

    The general advice and information provided in this format is for informational purposes only and cannot serve as a way to screen for, identify, or diagnose depression, anxiety, or other psychological conditions. If you feel you may be suffering from any of these conditions please contact a licensed mental health practitioner for an in-person consultation.

    Questions may be edited for brevity and/or readability.

    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
    driffy likes this.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I too have thought for years that my emotions are affected, negatively, by barometric pressure.
    Where I got that idea from, I don't know, because I nearly flunked a college course in meteorology.

    I still think a full moon makes me edgy, so I drink more water those nights.

    I do like rain and snow, if I'm indoors. I prefer cold weather to hot and
    winter better than summer but the reason for that is, there is less outside noise in winter.
    In summer, everyone and their kids are outdoors and they seem to think noise is part of having fun.
    To me, quiet is having fun.

    A neighbor two doors away had a party two nights ago and had lots of guests.
    She had her stereo going full blast on her outdoor patio for about six hours.
    All I heard was songs that had yelling and wailing and thumping. It all sounded the same to me: it was noise.
    I don't think guests can hear each other talk over such loud "music."
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Guest,

    I was conditioned to believe that changes in the barometric pressure triggered my migraine headaches. Once I understood that it was conditioning and not a real trigger, I was able to stop getting migraines after having them for over 50 years. I just kept telling myself in the presence of barometric pressure changes, that it wasn't logical for it to cause a headache, that it was just conditioning, and after a few times of doing this....it stopped bothering me completely. I'm still amazed by how easily and simply I got rid of this conditioning. You can do it, too.
    driffy likes this.
  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ellen, that's fantastic. It really was all in the head, and letting nocebobes condition you to have migraines because of barometric pressure.
  6. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member

    I have the same issues weather is a big trigger for me anytime that barometer drops my pain increases I had to take the weather app of my phone...
  7. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I sure notice that when I sleep outside or in a tent at 10,000 ft asl and the temperature drops at night that my TMS symptoms increase in direct proportion to how cold and wet it is. Any muscles, particularly in the core, that I've been training with weights tighten up like iron bands. My shoulders ache too. I thought it was just TMS, but then I realized I was trying to sleep in a 30-year old Marmot down sleeping bag that used to be like a roaster oven at any subzero temperature. I bet all the soreness, tightness and inability to sleep has to do with the fact that I've been stubbornly and cheaply freezing my b_tt off like some Scotch miser in a sleeping bag that lost all its loft and just plain doesn't work anymore! I'm going down to REI and buying a new down high-loft sleeping bag today! Just because my Marmot bag worked in 1980 doesn't mean it works the same now. Talk about a stubborn, obsessive Type T personality who refuses to bend with change.
    Ellen and Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) like this.
  8. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Bruce. I know what you mean about sleeping warm. My feet were a little cold overnight so I put on some socks,
    as I usually sleep in them in winter. And I went out to the garage and got my down-filled comforter for the cooler night ahead.

    As for down-filled sleeping bags not lasting forever, I think the only thing that does that is a dog's love.
    BruceMC likes this.
  9. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think it's part the cold acting as TMS psychological 'trigger' and part the cold causing your muscles to get tense if they're already sore from exercise. Or is it the other way around? Or a little of both? Answer: Buy a new 10 degree F down sleeping bag and check out the difference. I'm sure the symptoms have to get better if you're not freezing to death all night long!

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