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When your pain hits peaks, what do you do?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by BinLA, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. BinLA

    BinLA Peer Supporter

    Seems like a simple enough question, yet... I find the answer to that to be rather fleeting in the TMS community. Odd, since the entire condition revolves around pain. Yet, I hear great broad concepts like Sarno's reminders to think psychologically. Or, that we are ultimately safe from TMS pain.

    Well, maybe I'm just a weakling? Because those don't help me to confidently process pain at the 9/10 range which I experience with my symptoms. (Gastritis, etc.)

    I realize pain will always hurt, I'm not asking for an instant cure. But I'm wondering how people walk through pain episodes where they are on the brink of going to the ER, or have trouble knowing how to navigate pain that intense while remaining conscious?

    The closest I've found to this is John Kabat-Zinn who has some good work on mindfulness available. It does help. But in the TMSphere, the actual processing, acceptance and gracefully moving through high end acute pain seems to be a topic of which is hard to find a lot of good info.
    The dull or moderate pains are one thing, these peaks are something quite different.

    How do we move through our hardest times with some semblance of confidence and grace, so they don't just become another trauma the brain grows to fear? (PTSD type response)

    What has helped you?

    Where do you go mentally during these times?
  2. Marls

    Marls Well known member

    Hi BinLA, it never ceases to amaze me the amount of times I’ve been at the end of my tether and go to wiki’s gang for help or diversion and there’s a post I can relate to. I’m now laying on my bed feeling pretty damn sorry for myself, so I’ll be following this post.
    I can control 6 or 7 maybe 8 with a continual mantra “I am safe. I love myself as is”. Over and over, seeing and feeling each word, with a smile on my face. Refusing to let the voice of pain get a look in. Often works. I have a “Pretend” button for social situations which is getting rusty but I still can activate it. But when I get a 9’er I sometimes allow myself a bit of slack (like now). Retreat. Allow myself a bit of self pity. Let the pain win. Capitulate. Roll over. Most importantly allowing myself to gather the wherewithal to rebound tomorrow.
    Here’s hoping someone/anyone gives you some tips which I can follow coz I’m sure there’s a few interested in this. Cheers marls (if ya roll over sometimes you get a belly rub).
    BinLA likes this.
  3. nowa

    nowa Peer Supporter

    I will be one of them!!
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  4. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    You are preoccupied with the pain. This is what is keeping it going. The intensity will vary but it is all the same thing. How you manage the peaks of pain is not the issue. Learning to tolerate the pain calmly, reassuring yourself in that moment of its very nature and taking care of your life is what will see the end of it. Get back into your life gradually, become aware of yourself, your needs and self care. Look to recent/present stressful or traumatic events in your life and evaluate how you are processing or handling them. Is it in line with honouring your true self? From a practical point of view it is ok to build up to a fully functioning life so as not to cause too much trauma from rises in pain.
    BinLA likes this.
  5. BinLA

    BinLA Peer Supporter

    Thank you Birdsetfree...

    The odd thing is, I have a busy active life. I don’t avoid much unless I’m really in bad shape. In fact I may be a bit too busy for a sensitized body at times.

    As far as being preoccupied that’s a tricky one too. This week I’ve had one of my more common tms manifestations on and off. Actually for about 10 days. I never missed work or any events. Even made it to the gym. When it got bad I’d moderate diet and keep going, knowing it would eventually go. Yet... for whatever reason it got worse and spiked into territory I rarely see. So I’m sure my mind is keeping one eye on the pain. Yet, I feel like I kept on with life and wasn’t sitting around ruminating.

    The part about assuring myself lovingly and reassuringly. That’s where I think you’re really into something. I feel like Marls said... I do a very good job of this to a point. But at peaks this breaks down and then all trust seems to be gone... and I’m left with what feels like a trauma that gives the brain yet one more example of why I can’t trust the body. (If that makes sense)

    So... what you describe that I need to do is exactly what I want to do... to have faith and somehow build the fortitude to gracefully endure any level of pain. But... how?

    I think the step by step to that is harder to come by in the TMS community. Perhaps some people deal more with steady level 6 pain than the pegging the needle pain and so they don’t have these moments as much. Or... maybe again, I’m just a weakling? Lol

    I appreciate your input and don’t take my questions as challenging or arguing, it’s just confounding to me and I feel these are big moments in the TMS process for us. Thank you.
  6. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sweetheart, try searching for flare ups because I’m pretty sure you’ll find some gems that will gift you with some encouragement and hopefully a few practical tips.

    During a flare up (which is what I would call a pain flare in the 8-10 range), I always default to self-soothing basics, irrespective of what anyone else thinks. There seems to be a bit of a stigma around using physical cures at such times but I think this is nonsense. Embrace what works.

    For me this entails resting my face on a hot water bottle (my TMS *is* trigeminal neuralgia and the heat out-foxes the pain signal), I rest, take painkillers, enjoy a glass of wine and most importantly of all, I sleep as much as I need.

    I find these remedies provide the comfort, care and relief that enable the pain to calm. Sometimes this happens overnight, sometimes it takes a few days.

    As the pain eases I move back into the emotional and psychological realm and this typically involves EFT/tapping, a good cry, talking to someone close...the usual. I also reflect on what has caused the flare (and there is always an emotional storm of some kind or another), and renew my devotions to self-care because invariably I have started putting myself last on the list and engaging in various goodist type behaviours.

    Hope this helps, but do remember to have a dig around the wiki for posts on this.

    Plum x
  7. nowa

    nowa Peer Supporter

    I wonder what you would recommend for somebody who cannot sleep?
  8. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

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  9. nowa

    nowa Peer Supporter

    i have read it, it is great...
    but i can't do it yet...
    i will read it again!
    BinLA likes this.
  10. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    There is no rush. Relax. We are all learning, becoming. Remember that the T in TMS stands for tension. That’s the healing lowdown.
  11. nowa

    nowa Peer Supporter

    thank you Plum!
  12. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    When you are having a pain peak, realize you have tools gained from tms knowledge (cognitive soothing, somatic tracking etc- explained in Alan Gordon’s recovery program ). Apply these in the moment. The next step in this process is to let go and accept that at the moment you are still using the pain pathway. To start switching to a pain free pathway, you will be cultivating indifference to the pain. In that moment of agony try to not be disappointed but know that there is nothing physically wrong and that by not reacting emotionally in any way to it, it will eventually fade away. Also realize that this takes practice so no bargaining with the pain, just acceptance.
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  13. BinLA

    BinLA Peer Supporter

    This was so great, as usual Plum!

    Particularly because like you said, the TMS world can get a bit religious at times and there are mixed messages with pain control/soothing, etc.

    Really appreciate your input.
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  14. BinLA

    BinLA Peer Supporter

    This is one worth saving. Really well put.

    I think we learn so much in our quest to be TMS experts and understand the process... but when we hit these big challenges, it can be messy to apply. So simplification at those hard times is really valuable. (Not bargaining, acceptance, trusting there is no physical damage.)

    Some of that is easier said than done, like the accepting there is no damage when you're considering a trip to the ER for pain. I think I have a ways to go, as my TMS has changed focus from other things which I had gotten much more of a grasp on. So not surprisingly, it's switched to a scarier, harder-to-understand visceral pain.

    So the work continues... thank you!
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  15. Jeather

    Jeather Peer Supporter

  16. Jeather

    Jeather Peer Supporter

    I hope it's okay to jump in here - this thread resonates with me. I am a year into TMS methods, and my hip, back, SI joint pain has become unbearable over the last month - awake most of the night, counting hours until I can take pain meds, alternating Tylenol and ibuprofen mostly 24/7, but at night it doesn't help since lying down seems to bring a conditioned response. Truly, there is no comfortable way now - I just lean on furniture most of the day and try to not freak out my kids. I am up most of the night leaning on the dresser trying not to panic. My levels rarely go down below 8 anymore. I am considering checking into the spinal pain clinic to see if they can go anything - even a placebo effect for a week sounds good... that therapy where they burn the nerve with a needle? I have so many friends who are telling me how it helped them. Dr. Schubiner told me that taking the pain meds was okay if I needed them to stay sane. So I am on them heavily now. But they don't do much it seems. BUT! My moderate jaw pain completely went away last week. I'd had it for months. It was nothing compared to the back, hip, buttock issue I've had for a year . But it just went!
  17. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    Does the increase in pain tie in with any significant stressful life events, emotional turmoil, pressurised situation etc? Did you have success with your back pain using TMS methods before this flare up? Let's work this out.

    The fact that your jaw pain went away as your mind is focusing on your back pain is evidence for TMS.
  18. Jeather

    Jeather Peer Supporter

    Thank you for responding! :). I had a book cure 15 years ago with moderate back pain when I first learned about TMS. I guess you could call this entire year a flare up. But the last couple months have been the worst. I've had numerous TMS things that have come and gone through my life since I was little (48yo now). But I never really did the work to search myself and fix myself until now. The level of pain this year (which began slowly a year ago) has become almost unbearable, especially since the holidays (which were wonderful with my older kids coming home, but I was trying so hard to hide my discomfort from them and act normal). Each day now I wonder how I will survive. I DO believe it is TMS - Dr. Schu said that SI pain is always TMS, and the hip and leg and buttock issues too. He read my MRI report and said it was TMS (I live many states away from him, but he was so kind to respond to my email). It's hard when the pain is around the herniations and radiating down into the legs, but I choose to believe the discs don't cause pain. I guess the frustration is I know it's TMS, but the pain has been steadily increasingly since the fall. But the jaw pain left, yes! I've been doing the mind work as best I can - I did Unlearn Your Pain - I have the Curable app - I have a billion books, and I know I need to not overdo it. Sometimes I get sick of even thinking about TMS, but over the last week - pain that doesn't go away even at night - high levels that make be feel on the verge of panic most of the day... I don't know what's going on. But I didn't really start the workbook and self-therapy until the fall because I was waiting for it to go away like last time 15 years ago, and it wasn't... and fall is when the pain began increasing so much... hmm. It was getting worse as I was doing the mind/emotional work. I have had a huge amount of stuff to work through, no doubt about it. I feel like I have recognized and resolved so much. What is left to do? I'm sorry if my thoughts are chaotic - discomfort is very high right now. Ok, I am editing this post. As I was just making dinner, I remembered that earlier in December, I was making some progress - at least able to jog a mile or 2 from time to time. I was able to sit again better... able to drive. I was able to focus on my LIFE again. It was the first improvement in months since August. And then I got slammed around Christmas to where I am now. I can't walk to the end of my driveway and back without almost falling down. It WAS getting better. I can't help but think that the activity was hurting me somehow.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  19. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    You had an initial positive outcome from reading the book and that is wonderful. TMS can come back at us with full force, however, if we don't continue on the journey to find ourselves and balance our lives accordingly. The holidays, being an emotionally vulnerable time, can trigger inner conflict and rage which unexpressed can lead to physical symptoms. Also you were neglecting self care in order to make everyone else happy. If we don't have the deeper understanding of ourselves and strength that comes with that, we can end up in trouble.

    Knowing it is TMS is accepting the pain will still be there. Cultivating indifference to this by recognising its harmless nature is the key to its cessation.

    It is common for the pain to flare up as you start tackling the emotional work. After all part of your brain sees this as highly dangerous and is trying to protect you. Reassure yourself along the way, find support with your family and cry when you need to. I had huge releases of pain when I trusted this process.

    It was not the activity hurting you. It was the slipping back into old patterns of neglecting self care around Christmas time. And now the fear is ignited once again. Look back at your success instead. This is what you stay focused on, and then get into the emotional work, take time for yourself and your self care gently and calmly. You are safe. Dr Schubiner is an amazing Doctor whom I trust implicitly.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
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  20. Jeather

    Jeather Peer Supporter

    Thank you, thank you, BirdSetFree, for your words and support. I need them today. God bless you.
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