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Which pain is from my mind-body issue and which from is from physical fitness...pain pain go awaylol

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by OtterMan, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. OtterMan

    OtterMan Peer Supporter

    I have had period of no pain. Periods of emotional breakdowns. Periods of back pain. Periods of tension headaches. I feel like im a on a ride. But i feel i am winning. My question today is i used to work out or run to avoid my life, to feel better. It became a patterned addiction. Now i am going back into physical fitness, yoga, light weights, but now i have pain from the work out the next day, mixed with tms pain, tension, etc. Has anyone gone through the same thing - like the pain is from the exercise not from TMS but its hard to differentiate between the two. Im trying to remain positive but its hard because i dont know which pain is from my mind or physical anymore.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi OtterMan -

    Sure, I have this, because instead of PT Physical Therapist, now I see another PT - Personal Trainer - and sometimes she just busts my butt! I had a session yesterday and today I woke up with painful muscles just below my shoulders from a new thing she had me do. I do the same thing with this as with random TMS pain that pops up - I ignore it. I assume it will go away. No ice, no mentholated ointment, no Ibu - I just ignore it. It WILL go away, whether it's from exercise or from TMS.

    Because here's the thing about pain: 100% of pain is generated by your brain. This is really really important to understand. It is entirely possible (although very very difficult) to break your leg, and to control your brain to completely stop the pain once your leg is being safely attended to - because the only reason the pain exists is that your brain needs to warn you not to move your leg and make it worse. This is why pain was designed, but it can only be generated by your brain, after the nerves have sent a warning signal from the break, up to the brain, and then it comes back as pain.

    If the brain has the power to send pain signals to a broken leg, it has the same power to send signals for no reason other than to distract you. It welcomes over-strained muscles due to exercise, because it can let up on the phantom TMS pain in some other place, and give you a different pain to worry about for a while. It's just a different form of distraction.

    Here's one of my favorite all-time links which I find really useful for all kinds of pain: http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/a-word-about-outcome-independence.562/#post-6366

    Keep thinking psychological, rather than physical!

    Karen and eric watson like this.
  3. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    I have experienced something similar and I agree, it is hard to differentiate between tms pain and exercise induced pain. I found it hard to remember what "good sore" muscles (the discomfort that lets you know your workout effectively targeted something) actually felt like because I was so accustomed to the "tms sore" muscles. I reminded myself by specifically targeting an area that I hadn't experienced any tms pain in before with new exercise move. When I woke up the next day and "felt" that area I paid close attention to the feeling, noting the differences between it and the feelings in the tms areas. The main difference for me is the "good sore" is primarily a mild "tightness" that I feel most noticeably when I first move that area upon waking. After a few minutes of moving the tightness is generally gone from my mind until I actually "use" that sore muscle, and it's always gone within 2 days.

    What I have actually found to be most effective in my recovery is to assume that all of the pain is the exercise induced "good sore"(to the extent that it is not so severe that consulting a doctor has jumped to the front of my mind), especially if it's in an "old familiar" spot. Unless you feel as though you may have caused yourself serious injury, I don't know that differentiating between causes is really beneficial. Even if you're trying to differentiate, ultimately you're still "thinking" about the pain, and as long as that's happening it's still an effective distraction tool from your brain.

    Please disregard the "tms guru" that appears with my avatar. I do not consider myself to be any such thing. I am far from an expert, just a curious student who asks a lot of questions.
    eric watson likes this.
  4. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Just footnote: Usually the pain and stiffness of sore muscles occurs about 48-hours after a workout. This is referred to as the "48-hour lag". This is when the lactic acid reaches a peak in the muscle fibers and begins to go down as it's reabsorbed and processed by your body. It seems that this lag would be a good way of distinguishing between pain from TMS and real muscle fatigue. If the pain goes up for 48 hours and then starts to taper off, it's from exercise. If it's highly variable or constant over a prolonged period, it could be TMS.
    Karen and eric watson like this.
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Bruce, it's 24 hours for me. I remember the old days when I used to do things like a marathon hike down a mountainside at the end of a weekend of hiking and camping. I'd feel perfectly fine in the morning, but just about 4pm in the afternoon, I'd get up from my desk, and practically fall down because my quads would be killing me. I always thought it was strange that I hadn't felt it first thing in the morning. Today I definitely felt the exercise soreness across my shoulders (my traps, I guess) when I got up this morning, a little less than 24 hours after my training session yesterday morning.

    Maybe the timing is a gender thing!

    Karen and eric watson like this.
  6. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Everyone has a different recovery cycle, Jan. For some 24 hrs, for other 48 hrs. Varies a lot with the individual. If I lift real heavy in the late afternoon, I feel fine all morning the next day until about 4 pm when I start getting real sleepy and slow moving. Also depends on the kind of exercise. Ran a marathon at the end of an Outward Bound course and felt just great and smooth until the next afternoon when I couldn't walk across the street to get to an ice cream shop because my legs wouldn't make a scissors' type motion. Willing my legs to move and they just stayed stuck there frozen and immobilized. My point is that legitimate pain peaks after exercise and then starts to subside, unlike TMS which comes and goes or stays according to some kind of weird internal laws of mental conditioning. You can sure tell sciatica from the soreness of an overworked bicep I think if you pay attention to the differences.
    Karen and eric watson like this.
  7. OtterMan

    OtterMan Peer Supporter

    Thanks for the insightful responses. They have really helped. I had a two week period of relatively no pain. Even went to Yoga and and felt great after for the first time in forever. I had a really emotional weekend, came back from a trip and on Monday i went to Yoga again, was all tight, had negative self defeating thoughts etc. and then came home and was all tight. I thought it was from Yoga and i tired to ignore it. Then the next day i did some weights. In the morning i was all pained again and anxiety was up again. So at that time i couldnt differentiate between the exercise pain or the TMS anxiety mental/body pain.

    Anyway i lost it because i was focusing on the pain coming back again (my fear) and freaking out, being emotional and having axiety as a result. Then i related it to everything that is happening in my life, and then i thought i wouldnt be able to start my new job because i feel im back at square one. I freaked out. This fucking roller-coaster of pain and thoughts and fears. And now im being hard on myself. But saying i dont want to be doesnt help. I still dont have the switch to get me out of it. Ive been told from the site to just not care, relax, let go, etc. Meditation, yoga, journaling, crying, getting to the root of my problems, emotions is getting fucking exhausting. I want to get on with my life.

    Ok i vented.
    THanks again for the responses.
    All the best.
    Layne, eric watson and BruceMC like this.
  8. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks OtterMan. Your repost instantly suggested another real sure fire way of distinguishing normal post-exercise vis a vis TMS pain: Anxiety. If the pain occurs in association with emotions like anxiety, it's very likely TMS-related. After a good workout or run, you may feel sore afterwards, but at the same time you'll feel fulfilled, relaxed and mellow. This is not typically the case with TMS. For example, I rode my bicycle down to the mechanics the other day to pick up my car after I'd had them install a new pair of LED racing headlights. I'd bought them on Amazon at a cost considerably lower than usual. However, I hadn't factored in the cost of installation, which was more than I wanted to pay. When I got off my bike and started walking over to the car shop, I suddenly started having pain in my back and limping. I was worried about paying the bill! Then, I kept limping all week long even though the bike ride I'd taken was only a few miles long. That had to be TMS. My anger and anxiety about paying more than I'd expected (which I was hiding in front of the mechanics to preserve the peace) manifested as sciatica in my leg. However, next week when I sold my old lights on eBay for more than I'd paid for the new racing lights, suddenly the limp disappeared with my renewed sense of having just scored a good deal. I got back that successful "making it" feeling and the pain didn't have any valid psychological reason to exist.
    Karen, Forest and eric watson like this.
  9. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is a great explanation. When I lift weights, I do feel a burn and soreness, but it goes away in a day or two and does not have the same emotional charge. Whether the pain is a result of exercise or TMS, the important part is how you react to it. I am not going to say don't care about it, because of course you are going to care. You are in pain. But you can control the amount of anxiety you have about the pain, and investigate the emotions behind it, similar to what Bruce mentioned. I have been recovered for about 5 years, and I do develop some pain symptoms now and again, either as a result of exercise or TMS. However, my response to these symptoms is completely different from when I was still symptomatic. I no longer fear that I have a serious injury or worry when it will end. All I really do is remind myself that it will go away, whether it is TMS or from exercise, and this keeps me from being dragged back into the pain cycle of anxiety, fear, and worry.
    eric watson likes this.
  10. OtterMan

    OtterMan Peer Supporter

    THe thing is i look in the mirror one day and it looks like my back is fucked up and my posture looks weird and others in the mirror my body looks fine. Today i am having a really hard time believing my back is fine. The emotions behind this are too much for me too take right now. Why is this such a long process why cant i just move on with my life?

    Sorry i am having a hard day. I can sit in a car for 5 hours, but sitting and watching a live performance for 1.5 hours is unbearable?

    I am so exhausted today. I want to enjoy life.
  11. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Hi OtterMan
    I can certainly relate to your frustrations. I know for me, the hardest part of making progress was learning to relax. I realized not all that long ago that I am almost 40 and until very recently had absolutely no idea what the words "relax" or "fun" actually meant. Even when I thought I was relaxing, I actually wasn't. My body might have been sitting in the sun or something, but my mind was still going non-stop. It sounds to me as though this may be a trouble spot for you as well, especially from your comment about the view in the mirror. That was me, I did that every single day. My main TMS spot is my left shoulder and when it's been at it's worst there are visible physical differences. The primary reason for the visible differences was simply because I was catering to it. The right side was forced to do the majority of the work so the left side naturally atrophied. And the part that would make me absolutely crazy would be the days I would look in the mirror and truly wonder if I was going to get up and fly away one day since my shoulder blades looked much more like wings on a bird than something that belonged on a human.

    Your posture responds to your emotions, which is why it would look different from day to day. Forward, slumped shoulders, head carried down, back rounded is a "protective" posture to a perceived threat. It's the body's natural attempt to defend the organs and preserve life. When you're upset with yourself, depressed, or feeling anxious, your posture reflects the feelings. Days when you're feeling better you'll notice your head is higher, your shoulders are pulled back and your back is straighter. It's suggested in several books I've read that assuming this "better" posture intentionally can be an effective first step to getting your emotions to follow suit.

    On the plus side, the fact that you know you can sit in a car for 5 hours w/o pain, but can't bear 1.5 hrs for a live performance is a pretty good indicator that the TMS diagnosis may be quite accurate for you. Also, we're very prone to treating ourselves the absolute worst when we're exhausted, not to mention all the emotions that come with that. I encourage you to listen to your body. If it's telling you it's exhausted, allow it to rest. As hard as it is to actually do, try to stop "fighting" all of the feelings, the pain, the emotions, and see if you can just accept that it likely didn't start overnight and isn't likely to end that way either.

    I struggle to be kind and compassionate with myself and I've found this website to be extremely valuable in helping me to learn how to do this and why it is so very important to learn. http://live.soundstrue.com/selfacceptance/ . I found the 4th interview in the series to be incredibly powerful, you might enjoy it too.

    You will enjoy life again. As hard as this is going to be to believe, the reason you can't do it right now is actually because you are trying too hard. We've all been there and we're here for you.
    Karen, eric watson and JanAtheCPA like this.
  12. OtterMan

    OtterMan Peer Supporter

    "As hard as it is to actually do, try to stop "fighting" all of the feelings, the pain, the emotions, and see if you can just accept that it likely didn't start overnight and isn't likely to end that way either."

    I know this inside but i think as i have been in therapy and i get deeper into how hurt my inner child is, and that i may have caused most of this anguish i cant seem to forgive myself and let go and some days i feel much better like everything has lifted. I seem to go back and forth pain free into pain episodes. I am kinda at that point where i am done with all of this which makes me more angry and anxious. When i have internal conflict it just seems my body goes into a panic and doesnt know how to react in a more healthy manner. Then i am hard on myself and am furious that its started again.

    Anyway, i will look into the website you have mentioned. Thanks.

  13. OtterMan

    OtterMan Peer Supporter

    Have you ever listened to or read Claire Weekes stuff? I just found it and its thought provoking and i feel her concept of the Second Fear is my TMS. Anyway let me know:)
    eric watson likes this.
  14. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I love Claire Weekes - Hope & Help For Your Nerves was the second book I read, after The Divided Mind, and she really really helped me to develop what I like to call "a different relationship" with my chronic lifelong anxiety. She is well-loved by many TMSers!

    Dr. Sarno and other TMS docs believe that anxiety and depression are TMS equivalents - does that resonate with you?

    eric watson likes this.
  15. OtterMan

    OtterMan Peer Supporter

    Yes very much so. I am realizing my depression, anxiety and chronic pain are because ive been over sensitized from a stressful period of time which burnt me out and because of that experience i go back and forth from body pain (different areas) to anxiety to being really sad and emotional. I am going to finish the Pass Through Panic and try to apply her principals in my life.

    I also suffer from the "i'm cured" feel good and that i can do anything and then back pain comes back because i am disconnected again. The issue is i want my life to go back to the way it was, but i need to accept that this is where i am and i need to do the work to be connected to myself so my body can learn to deal with my rage and anger. Sometimes im exhausted from all this inner work and i get all brat like and say to myself "I want this to be done" which perpetuates the cycle of pain. Fear then comes into play and i am back at square one. I have had a week without pain, or a couple of days without it so i know i am doing something right. Just went things change suddenly i tend to get angry at myself and say the pain is back i cant do anything right etc. which just makes things worse. What i resist persists.

    I need to truly accept and love myself. Forgive myself and move on. I think thats one of my main core issues i've discovered of over 6 months of therapy and journalling.
    Layne and JanAtheCPA like this.
  16. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    Ah, wanting to go back to how it was. I suffered from "how it should have been." Took a lot of journaling to reshape my thinking on that one. But it can be done.

    I need to truly accept and love myself is key! Takes time and effort but it works!
    OtterMan likes this.
  17. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    Wow I can completely relate to this. One of my biggest anxieties is money issues. Even though I dont have money issues my dad has had money problems for many many years due to medical issues. I became afraid to spend money so I get a lot of anxiety when I spend a good amount of money on something even if I had $100,000 in the bank I'd still have anxiety. I just experienced this like 4 days ago when I sold my guitar. I got screwed on the deal on ebay and I was pissed off about it. This may have something to do with my symptoms having risen over the past couple days and to tell you the truth I've been having this obsession of buying and selling guitars relentlessly since December 2012. I have no idea why I just started on this guitar buying and selling kick and I think it has finally stopped. I didn't know other people were having this issue as well with buying stuff and having anxiety/pain over it.
  18. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    I have huge anxiety (and guilt - I think mostly because we have spent SOOO much money trying to figure out "what was wrong with me") when it comes to spending money on anything other than the monthly bills and groceries. Our living room tv finally decided to call it quits about a month ago. My solution to the "crisis" (no living room tv on a Saturday in the winter is a crisis by my husband's definition) was to move the one that we hardly ever watch (another old "tube" style tv) from the bedroom into the living room. You would have thought I suggested we burn the house down as the solution to the tv crisis from my husband's response to that suggestion! So, I told him that he had to just tell me what was going to happen otherwise I was going to end up in pain. I had already felt my neck muscles tensing when he shot down the idea of taking the one from the other room. He decided we were buying a new one and he wanted me to come along for the purchase, but he told me I was to walk away any time I felt stressed during the shopping process - that happened twice - once when a pushy sales person started stalking us in the first store we went to, and again when it came time to actually buy one. As my husband was at the cash register with the salesman I wandered away, I could feel the muscles getting tenser and tenser and I knew if I stood there and heard the total (even though it's not like my husband was buying anything crazy, and it was on sale) the shooting pains would be likely to follow.

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