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Trouble Breaking The Cycle

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Trouble Breaking The Cycle
by Avi Weisman - Thursday, 20 December 2018, 12:13 PM

I've never participated on this forum, so I was kind of hesitant but figured I would give it a shot.  If nothing else to get this off my chest, and hopefully assist with the physical pain and the associated anxiety.

By way of brief background, I have had a myriad of pain symptoms over the past decade (shoulder, neck, and lower back/leg).  My most recent one was back pain that was felt in the leg as well. Diagnosed as a disc issue.  I suffered for over a year and  a half, notwithstanding the fact that I tried all manipulative theory as well as re-read Sarno's book (as it helped with my neck pain).  As of about 3 month ago, I was basically pain free in my back, and was obviously extremely happy.  UNFORTUNATELY, last week I was invited to play basketball with my son at a friends house (he has a small indoor court in his house).  While I thought we would be simply shooting around, everyone wanted to play a competitive game. I haven't done this in several years because of my pain limitations.  However, I agreed to play (in part, to not disappoint my son).  Since it was indoor hardwood floor, we decided to play barefoot.  This was a stupid decision on my part.  There was no cushion to absorb jumps and running.  I have now been in pain again, with the same back/leg symptoms that I had for a year and a half.  Even though I'm trying to tell myself that this is TMS, my mind is racing with thoughts that I caused structural damage and nerve compression by playing basketball with no shoes on (ie. back compressed because there was nothing to absorb shock and caused structural issues).

Obviously I keep re-playing this in my mind and wish that I could turn the clock back and not have played.

Any advice would be helpful.  Dr. Schubiner, could I have caused physical issues by playing basketball that are contributing to this pain, or is this TMS/MBS rearing its head again ??  Please advise.

Picture of Chana Kaminker
Re: Trouble Breaking The Cycle
by Chana Kaminker - Thursday, 20 December 2018, 1:15 PM

Hi Avi,

I happen to be a Pilates instructor and specialize in Pilates rehab.  I also suffer from TMS.  Firstly, from what I know and understand there's no reason that playing barefoot would cause structural damage.  In fact, barefoot is actually very good to encourage stabilizing muscles to activate and is good for your posture.  Maybe you are sore since you haven't played in a while (which sounds likely) and the worrying about it is making it feel very TMSy.  Don't forget that worry and fear is the fuel for TMS.  

What stuck out for me in your post was the line "However, I agreed to play (in part, to not disappoint my son)".  Sounds like you were not only fearful from the beginning that you might cause some structural damage (conditioned response) but you also had a strong sense of obligation to your son.  That obligation can be very insulting to your childish sub-conscience and maybe triggered your pain. Just a thought.  

Try to not be too impressed by the pain.  Acknowledge it and have self compassionate for why it might have showed up now but don't try to fight it. Like a little kid having a tantrum who's trying to get your attention.  Acknowledge and be compassionate to the inner child but don't give him enough of a stage to allow him to continue to tantrum.  Let it be and it will pass. Remind yourself that it's a physical manifestation of anxiety or an emotional conflict.  Also, remind yourself constantly that you're safe and not in any danger.

Hope that helps!

Best, Chana  

Picture of Avi Weisman
Re: Trouble Breaking The Cycle
by Avi Weisman - Monday, 21 January 2019, 5:51 PM

Hi Chana,

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply to my post back in December.  It was extremely helpful and reassuring (especially coming from a pilates instructor).  Speaking of which, do you recommend pilates as an exercise for core strength etc, for someone like me who has experienced both neck and back pain/issues ?? If so, is there a specific type/approach that you recommend.

Also, are you located in Israel ?? I did a quick search and it looks like your studio is located in Israel.  That's awesome ! Good luck and thanks again for your feedback.

Picture of Chana Kaminker
Re: Trouble Breaking The Cycle
by Chana Kaminker - Monday, 21 January 2019, 7:38 PM

Hi Avi,

So glad my thoughts were helpful to you.

I certainly recommend Pilates (how can't I).  I am fully certified in Stott Pilates which has many modifications making it suitable for most people.  

However, I also incorporate mindfulness into my teaching and always encourage my students to be in touch with themselves and their bodies and to do as much as their body allows without pain and if there is pain to not fear it but to investigate it.  I constantly remind them that there is always a way to move without pain and encourage them constantly of how capable they are.  Basically, I use many of my TMS tools with them.

I suggest that you find an instructor you click with but keep those things I mentioned in mind and you will prove to yourself that you can move your body without pain and that you are doing something good and healthy for yourself.

Yes, I have lived in Israel for 27 years (more than half my life).  I was born and raised in Canada.

All the best.

Picture of Howard Schubiner
Re: Trouble Breaking The Cycle
by Howard Schubiner - Friday, 21 December 2018, 2:09 AM

Thanks for writing and thanks Chana for that great comment.

I recently read the book, Born to Run, by Chris MacDougall. It's a great book about running and in it, he reviews the evidence showing that running barefoot is healthier for us than wearing shoes.

You did not hurt yourself, but fear of hurting yourself is one of the most common causes of TMS. And the more you worry, the longer it will take to get better.

You were fine, you still are fine, you will be fine.

Does that help?

Best, Howard

Picture of Avi Weisman
Re: Trouble Breaking The Cycle
by Avi Weisman - Monday, 21 January 2019, 5:29 PM

I wanted to thank both of you for replying to my post. It was definitely very helpful and re-assuring.

I have gotten over that back pain from basketball, but I am now suffering from pins and needles and tingling sensation in my left pinky and left palm of hand.  I had to break some chunks of ice yesterday as my garage door wouldn't close because of the ice/snow build up. I was using a jackhammer type of action with the shovel and woke up today with pins and needles sensation.  Not really painful but the constant tingling in my left pinky and palm is getting me worked up again.  Trying to stay positive and tell myself its no big deal, but the struggle is real.  Everytime I think I'm over the hump, it rears its head again ! 

Picture of Dianna Cunningham
Re: Trouble Breaking The Cycle
by Dianna Cunningham - Monday, 21 January 2019, 6:40 PM

Hi Avi!

Just wanted you to know that MBS pain goes literally anywhere and everywhere. It seems once the pain subsides in one place the pain pops up again somewhere else. Just keep calm and carry on. This too will pass. Try to just observe it and not freak out which is very hard to do! And yes just as you think you’re out of the woods it does rear it’s head again. It happens to us all.

Blessings to you! Good luck and keep moving forward.