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 overdid exercise & effects of coughing
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Singer_Artist

USA
1516 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2006 :  18:07:47  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Boy do I need words of encouragement today...I went to the gym and worked out my lower body for the first time in one month...I have been house bound with severe neck TMS...The only thing I did for my upper body was 2 minutes on the ergometer (stationary arm bicycle) on a very low tension...Just b4 leaving i bent over very slightly to pick something up and had some pain in my lower right forearm...THat was similiar to what happened one month ago when this whole set back began...Then after the gym i decided i would go to church...B4 going i swallowed the wrong way and began to choke and cough kind of violently for a few moments...After that I had pain in the hands and now i have twitching in my right thumb and pain intermittent...The range of motion is even less...I am fighting with my brain to not initiate yet another new bout of TMS on top of the one i am just beginning to come out of...I remember doctors asked me to cough years back to see if i had herniated discs..Apparantly coughing isn't good for herniated discs so my biggest concern is if i irriated my discs from the coughing..I am trying to tell myself i am NOT THAT FRAGILE to re-herniate my discs in my neck just from a coughing spell..But why the pain and twitching in the right thumb..I am feeling so discouraged right now because i really tried to press on past this TMS by going to the gym and to church and now i am wondering if i over did it...I don't want to get into the FEAR and negative self talk and make it worse...Any supportive words would help...I am feeling scared i hurt myself again...and i know i shouldn't focus on the physical but it is hard not to given what i am feeling in my body right now...Part of the sermon i went to focused on abortion, btw...and i must admit...i have alot of guilt about one that i had in high school...I regret my decision but at the time it felt like the only choice i had...

tennis tom

USA
4714 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2006 :  19:25:18  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi S_A,

You are in a very fragile TMS state. In a very short period of time, a week or so, you have gone from being bed-bound and non-functioning, to getting back out into the world and doing again. I have witnessed, through your posts here, a big mood swing, from negative despair, to very positive. This transformation has occurred due to your getting re-acquainted with TMS theory.

Slow down a bit. You're flipping to the other side of the TMS coin, too fast, in my observation. It might be too soon to go to the gym--it is rife with TMS traps, for you, right now. Too many people, in too good shape, in a competitive atmosphere, and all kinds of mechanical equipment to trigger TMS incidents.

Maybe, you should choose some safer exercise activities for the time being, until you regain your physical conditioning. I would reccommend wallking or swimming for a several weeks. It would be safer and you can also think and feel at the same time.

When you have doubts about what is TMS and what is not, read Sarno again. Read Sarno until you can quote him almost page for page.

An interesting TMS phenomenon, I've noticed, is that TMS sufferers tend to miss or gloss over the parts of Sarno's books that apply the MOST to their own TMS symptoms. It is a typical TMS ploy that the gremlin plays on our minds. That's why it is so imoportant to read and re-read your Sarno until it sinks into your heart, similar to how you may study the Bible. Eventually the slow heart comprehends what the fast brain is quick to know--to paraphrase, and fracture, the Edna St. Vincent Millay poem, that Sarno quotes in his book.

S_A, for your homework assignment, find the poem in Sarno's book and also look up the Holmes/Rahe list, of life's events that cause psychosomatic dis-ease. I believe it's on page 26 of M_B RX.

Good Luck and Best Wishes,
tt
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Singer_Artist

USA
1516 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2006 :  19:55:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanx so much Tom...I hear what your saying and it makes sense...But I think that the coughing irritated more then the gym...I basically did lower body and stayed away from neck exercises, except the ergometer for 2 min...My lower body felt fine and so did my back..The slight bending i did to adjust machines, etc. was minor..and mentally it felt great to be there...I didn't even get startled from the noises, etc..so that was a positive thing...I am walking 15 min a day with my roomie and my 2 dogs and that helps...Right now, however, i am in a great deal of pain..had to take an aleve which hurts my stomach..the brainwashed part of me feels there could be some inflammation...This is so frustrating and depressing...I am typically an optimist but this is really trying my patience and yet i know the key is to be patient...thank God I have a phone session with Don Dubin scheduled for Monday, I really need help with this...and soooo appreciate you and the other kind souls i connected wtih in this forum..:)
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Dave

USA
1864 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2006 :  20:09:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
I am trying to tell myself i am NOT THAT FRAGILE to re-herniate my discs in my neck just from a coughing spell...

It is true, you should tell yourself that you are not that fragile.

However look carefully at this sentence: "re-herniate my discs"? What does that mean?

First of all if you had any disc herniation in the first place you should accept Dr. Sarno's explanation that disc herniations are typically normal and do not cause pain.

Second, you seem predisposed to the idea that you can "re-injure" something, as if an injury was the cause of pain in the first place, and your body is more susceptible to the same injury. Again, accept Dr. Sarno's explanations about this.

I doubt that your workout caused any injury. It is not uncommon for TMS to "kick it up a notch" when you perform physical activities. This is why it is important to take it slowly. I would take Tom's advice and not push things. You have still not been able to complete Step 1 of TMS treatment: repudiate the structural diagnoses. This takes time as you have been conditioned and reconditioned to associate your symptoms with injury or other structural cause.

Relax, read Dr. Sarno's book repeatedly, and whenever you are aware of the symptoms, focus on something psychological instead. Your posts here are filled with descriptions of physical symptoms, but nary a mention of what might be going on in your life that may be leading to repressing emotions. That is the root of the symptoms.
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Singer_Artist

USA
1516 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2006 :  21:06:27  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dave,
Thank you so much for your reply...I want to read and re-read it many times...You are so helpful and I am so grateful to you! You are right, I need to focus and talk more about the psychological...There is just sooo much going on there I wouldn't know where to begin and I would hate to be draining to anyone on here...IN a nutshell, I still miss my parents terribly and I am angry at them for dying so early on me! They passed away 16 years ago, Mom was only 63, and Dad was only 68...I lost 5 friends in the past 6 years or so and this TMS stuff has been plaguing me on and off for many years...I have not been able to sing (perform live) for over 3 years because of TMS in either the knee or the neck...I miss it terribly and don't want to just be a part time voice teacher! I have not been able to pick up a brush and paint for the past month because of the neck TMS and that also makes me very sad and angry...Especially because I have a big exhibition coming up in the largest library in Vegas soon...I have to be better enough to attend my own wine and cheese opening on July 18th...
Last and certainly not least..I am extremely homesick for New Jersey..Haven't been back in almost 3 years to see what little family I still have on the planet and my long term college friends and fellow musician/artist friends...I only have a few close friends here in Vegas and was feeling very isolated and alone just b4 this recent bout with TMS...I was also very stressed about my money situation given my primary source of income is selling my art in this culturally challenged town...Most of my sales are out of state or country and I know i would be so much more successful back East but due to circumstances (ie..the TMS and money issues) I am essentially trapped here in Vegas...So all of this stress just lodged itself in my neck and started the terrible TMS ball rolling again after a year of being able to work out again, etc...So now I feel even more trapped because i can't even go to the corner store and am totally relying on friends to shop, cook, start my shower, etc..It is the pits, to say the least...I have a phone counselling session scheduled with Don Dubin tomorrow..He studied with Dr. Sarno...I saw him for 3 sessions years ago in Beverly Hills...Unless I sell another painting soon, I wont be able to afford more then 2-3 sessions with him...I need to STOP thinking i have something wrong with my neck,,,You are soooo right...I don't think the gym hurt me really...It was the intense coughing and choking that tightened the TMS muscles...My brain used that as an excuse to set me back again, just as i was feeling like i was going forward...Sorry this got so long...
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Singer_Artist

USA
1516 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2006 :  21:11:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Correction to my reply to Dave..I only saw Don Dubin for two counselling sessions years ago..and although I read the books over and over again...I never completely the writing about what/who i have been angry with throughout my life...I started and after I got better I didn't continue the work..Big mistake...I am more serious now then ever..I want to lick this thing once and for all! I am willing to do all the work necessary..But it's hard to even sit up and type let alone do alot of writing..It's hard for me to move my neck so looking down on the page is tough...Today it was a classic case of 2 steps forward and 3 back...This is maddening, truly...I am normally an exremely optimistic person and very spiritual..My Faith in God/Jesus is strong, but my attitude deteriorates as the pain increases..especially when I thought I was getting better again...
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armchairlinguist

USA
1397 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2006 :  10:44:43  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Karen,

Have you made a big list of all your pressures yet? From your posts I can see that you have a lot of big things in your past that are continuing issues for you, as well as issues in the present. It is great that you have shared a bit of that, but sometimes seeing it all together in one place is even more helpful. It's recommended in The Mindbody Prescription, under "Jim Campobello's Therapeutic Program for TMS". This is a letter that Sarno received from someone who read Healing Back Pain and explained what he did to facilitate his own recovery.

I know when I made my list, I looked at it and felt a big understanding about how much pressure there really was there, a lot more than I knew about. I listed everything from big stuff to tiny stuff, things I had no idea concerned me but the more I thought about a certain relationship, the more I realized they were there, slumbering, repressed or suppressed. I tried to get a lot of different angles about certain things. For example I have a friend that I have a complicated history with and I tried to consider all the things that had happened between us that had hurt or bothered me, not just to write down "Difficult relationship with <friend>". Sometimes it helps to do a few passes over the list, doing major things first, then going back and filling in.

I think it helps because it gets it out, it allows you to see how long the list is, and it lets you refer to it when you are thinking about what might be causing pain, either generally or at the specific time. Also later, if you are journaling, you can go back and take one of those issues as a starter for a journaling process. (Be warned that if you try this you will probably look at the list to choose and decide that you are too tired or don't have anything to say at the time. This is the TMS talking! :-) )

--
Wherever you go, there you are.

Edited by - armchairlinguist on 06/26/2006 10:45:58
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Singer_Artist

USA
1516 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2006 :  10:58:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanx for the suggestion, ACL..I remember I did the life's pressures list a year and a half ago, during the last really bad bout with neck TMS until one month ago...I felt very overwhelmed because it was soooo long as was my list of everyone I was ever (or still am) angry at...that list was ridiculously long too, and yet I am a peaceful soul, overall...It's just that the perfectionist in me had to get VERY DETAILED (lol) and write about even the cashier who was unfriendsly once, etc. etc. I wish I could find a way to be more consise and feel that if I gloss over someone or something I can still recover from this...As an artist, I am not the greatest housekeeper, unorganized, etc..So it was hard for me to realize i am actually a perfectionist as well...When i am hurting this bad, I let cleaning,etc go because of all the physical limitations...I like it when my surroundings are clean, I can think better...But, when it comes to looking within I can really over think things...Then I become overwhelmed and give up..That is what happened the last time and also when I attempted to do a Step 4 with overeaters anonymous...I had pages and pages and it just was too much...I know I have an unbelievably deep reservoir inside and frankly it scares the heck out of me...Since being housebound this past month I have, thank God, been eating very healthy and not using food as a distraction...Now if i could just get myself to 'do the actual hard work..' I might be in business...I am reading Fred Amir's book and he has a very easy to follow system for journaling i am going to try..I have also always held my feelings in and had to use sad movies, etc as a way to release some of the emotional pain..I was raised like a tom boy and being an entertainer always feel like i have to wear a mask and make sure everyone is having a good time...I find it hard crying in the presence of someone else and even if they look at me during a sad movie i start to shut down...I am working on all of these things...Thanx for allowing me to share and feel so comfortable doing so with you!
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armchairlinguist

USA
1397 Posts

Posted - 06/27/2006 :  12:26:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, the list can be very overwhelming! What helps me to deal with it is that it is not necessary to "solve" the things on the list in order to improve physically. (I'm not sure I have solved any of mine yet!) The most important step is identifying and acknowledging -- not that that's an easy step, especially acknowledging! That's when we come in contact with the deep reservoir. I have been so scared and sad that I almost wanted the pain back. This was enlightening because it helped me realize why I had the pain, and thus stop fighting it so much. I was able to recognize the pain as a crutch I had needed, as person with a broken leg needs a crutch. But I was ready to graduate to walking alone...

I think it's our TMS perfectionism that makes us want to solve it all. I also recently read a book about anxiety (one of my TMS equivalents, which thankfully seems to be receding) where the author points out that it's better to do one small change and succeed than try to do everything and fail because you're overstretched. I think that's good to remember in TMS treatment...and in life! Certainly over time we can/will/should make small and large changes in our lives that will change and maybe improve our list, but there will always be a list. That's how life is. But if we know that and make provision to handle it in a healthy way, we can live with no need for the pain crutch.

I also like to remember that what is angry and pressured is the child part of myself. Then I am not so hard on myself about it (self-criticism is huge for me) because I understand how a child would be so angry about an adult life, especially when the adult is not always happy either!

I also have a hard time crying and being emotional, or being angry, in front of others, so I can understand that! I have made some small progress in that lately in my life...it helps to have an understanding boyfriend. It is very nice to have this safe space on the board where each of us can have our pain and anger understood, and I am happy we can share in that space.

--
Wherever you go, there you are.
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Singer_Artist

USA
1516 Posts

Posted - 06/27/2006 :  17:56:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi ACL, I LOVE YOUR REPLIES TO ME...They just help so much! Thank you! I feel less alone by several of the people on here trying to help and I am truly touched by this...I just read a wonderful reply to another post by NDB and that has helped me so much as well..I have to start journaling...I am procrastinating and looking for a quick fix by the Fred AMir book or even the therapy with Don Dubin...You are so blessed to have a great boyfriend..I think if i did it would help too..I hate being single and in the looking mode...I am on several singles dating sites and they have their share of stress as well...I realize that in the condition i am in for the past month, I cannot really be in a new relationship..Most people are not as understanding about what we deal with or they think it is hog wash and ask so..."Did you see a doctor yet??" Isn't that frustrating..especially when we are trying to repudiate the structural diagnosis...If i could just paint again i think that would help alot..I am spending too much time feeling the pain..I love your analogy of the pain crutch..that is so true! Thanx again!
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