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Can't get over the hump

Can't get over the hump

by Avi Weisman -
Number of replies: 5

I have written on this forum before and it has seemed to help.

I have had different pain symptoms over the years (frozen shoulder, neck pain, tingling fingers, lower back pain etc.)  The back has been the problematic area/symptom for the last 2 years, with pain behind my leg at times as well.  Several months ago the pain subsided quite a bit and i figured it was a good time to get back to some physical activity (and strengthen my core).  I got a personal trainer who had back surgery so i figured she would be sympathetic to my symptoms and take things slow.  I find that my mid/low back hurts and is super tight many times after my "workouts".  I don't think I'm doing anything aggressive but the pain and tightness seem to be coming back (especially days after workout).  I'm trying to tell myself that it is TMS, however my "logical" mind is telling me that maybe I have something structurally wrong that is aggravated everytime i try to work out that core area.  This pain and subsequent internal battle is quite frustrating and I can't seem to get over the hump.  Do you recommend that I continue my low-impact workouts or simply stop.  Feedback is appreciated, especially if anyone has had similar situations.  Thanks in advance.

In reply to Avi Weisman

Re: Can't get over the hump

by Jason H -

Hi Avi.

I have had a not too dissimilar experience.  I play a lot of volleyball.  When I play volleyball it can greatly aggravate things.  At it's worst many years ago I did not play due to hugely debilitating neck pain (I mean if I moved my neck would shoot pain thru my spine, and my neck was always tilted, I had to turn my whole body to check for blind spots when I drove)..Anyway, it was bad.  I read "healing the back" and decided to jump out on the volleyball court for the first time in years.  I paid the price the first 5 minutes,  but then 15 minutes in I was playing like normal with zero pain.  Thus TMS was for sure the culprit.  And I have played volleyball ever since.  BUT I still do get aggravated, tight and tense muscles if I play a lot or it's fairly intense.  I think some of that is just a "normal" response to exercise and physical stress (particularly as we get older, and especially for stress-prone individuals).  Not a doctor, but just my guess.  So, on the one hand the TMS literature would say to go for it and do as vigorous as exercise as you would normally do, and on the other hand there is some pain involved with any exercise.  As far as TMS specifically is concerned there should be no difference between an easy, moderate or intense work out.  As far as the pain goes:  I might recommend when it happens yoga, a movie or anything that requires your full concentration, ironically more exercise.  I hope this helps some.

In reply to Avi Weisman

Re: Can't get over the hump

by Howard Schubiner -

Yes, this is super common. Your brain is afraid of exercise; it thinks that it's dangerous, so it will "punish" you for exercising by ramping up pain. 

I'd suggest cutting back to a small amount of exercise for one week; all the while telling your brain that this amount of exercise couldn't possibly hurt you; that you are fine; that you will be fine; etc. etc. etc. 

Then go up to a bit more exercise the second week; and so on.

You will gradually retrain your brain. When pain occurs, just remind your brain that it's OK, nothing is wrong; it doesn't have to be afraid. Soothe it and keep going, little by little.

Make sense?

Best, Howard

In reply to Howard Schubiner

Re: Can't get over the hump

by Avi Weisman -

Hi Dr. Schubiner,

It should make sense, but unfortunately my brain doesn't compute it that way.

I went to the gym tonight and while I tried to take it slowly, It just reinforced fear.  The trainer introduced a simple new exercise that had a bar across the back of my lower neck (it was called the "Good Morning").  I right away wasn't comfortable with it, but I went with it anyway.  Now I'm at home regretting it and feeling a lot of pain in my neck.  Also feeling very anxious as well.  I know that the neck is a trigger point for me, i simply don't like people touching it, manipulating it or working on it.  Yet I allowed myself to be put in that position.  

Maybe i'm not ready to exercise yet.  Either physically or mentally.  

So frustrating .........

In reply to Avi Weisman

Re: Can't get over the hump

by Pasi Lautala -

Avi,

I've been following your dialog and I think you hit the key word right in your first sentence "fear".....I've struggled with TMS on and off for 25 years....it ended up my professional soccer career (didn't know that yet back then) and gave a decade of misery until I learned about it. Since then I've done tons of things (including triathlons, games, etc.), but still haven't been able to put it completely away. Over the last year, it's been quite bad, as I returned back to my home country (where my soccer career took place). The return must have triggered painful (still unconscious) memories, as it's been a really difficult year from pain/mental perspective. What's even more difficult is that for the first time in a a decade, I gave up to "fear". My mind started constantly wondering, if something was wrong, as I was experiencing pain in knee, elbow, both Achilles tendons, etc. In the past, I've been able to convince myself that it's just TMS and pushed along (while doing readings)....and eventually attacks have always subsided. I'm continuing to do things even now, but I've been having really hard time to put the "fear" away and I'm convinced TMS is continuing its attacks, as it can sense my continuing hesitation. Obviously my pain isn't strong enough to keep me away from activities and it rarely gets any worse when doing it (even extensive over two hour ones), but when the activity is over...oh boy....

Anyway, my point is that it's not necessarily the pain that keeps us in the loop, but the fear of pain/something being wrong.....and it's really tough to quench that fear. I've done it in the past, so I feel confident that I'll do it again. However, its power has surprised me, after all this time I've known about TMS.

Good luck.....and I wouldn't give up on light exercises, quite the opposite.

Pasi

In reply to Avi Weisman

Re: Can't get over the hump

by Liam Black -

Try to act gradually. Evenly distribute the load, a large load immediately, even for a completely healthy body, is stress. If you increase your workouts gradually to a certain standard, your muscles and brain will react loyally to this.