mindbody

Making Pain Disappear


Recently, a reader wrote to ask if I were pain free. She had been struggling with pain for decades and was looking for hope. I hope this post might help her and many others, too.

I admire those who integrate MBS/TMS concepts so fully, their pain disappears merely by learning about it. As Dr. John Sarno points out, large numbers of people have “cured” themselves by doing nothing more than reading his books.

For the most part, that has not been my experience, although I’ve had some pain disappear and later realized that the pain, like a flame, was extinguished without knowing exactly when it disappeared. I will explain this more fully below.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to ridding ourselves of MBS/TMS pain. I am not pain-free, but I can offer hope because in a two month time my pain has decreased measurably.

Before I explain about the disappearance of pain, I want to note that I am working the program for both pain challenges and overeating issues. What I find is problems often overlap. If you are using the program to resolve problems in more than one area, you might find you can cut several blades of grass with one artistic swipe.

in December 2009 when I saw my primary physician, I suffered all-over body pain, lethargy, and much depression. I was miserable and had lost hope … again. I blamed the problems on my pain–back and other structural abnormalities–seasonal effective disorder (SAD), the weather and its barometric pressure plus more.

I felt totally out of control and helpless. I bought a light therapy box for the SAD and switched to an anti-depressant that has a history of helping better with pain, all in the hope I could pull myself out of the dregs.

Ironically, the anti-depressant medication raised my blood pressure and caused so much fatigue, I started taking three hour naps in the afternoon. Six weeks later, I’m off the anti-depressant, my blood pressure is normal again, and I can say my pain is in the background.

Moreover, I am sleeping better due to less pain in my knees, hips, back, neck and shoulders, and because I used the MBS/TMS approach to uncover a psychological trauma (thoughts) that had continued to make me feel unsafe even though that particular war was over years ago. I’ve written about the latter psychological MBS success in an earlier post. My feeling of safety while I sleep continues today.

Six weeks ago I decided to single out the muscle pain and work on that alone and not worry or think about all the other body pain. Prior to segragating the muscle pain from the other pain, I would brood if I noticed some pain had lessened but other pain lingered.

I threw the baby out with the bathwater, thinking the program didn’t work, or I was failing the program simply because I wasn’t rid of all pain. That “all or nothing” thinking is typical of the perfectionistic personality trait found in those who suffer MBS/TMS.

Instead, I decided that if I could rid myself of the muscle pain using MBS/TBS techniques, life could be richer. I stopped worrying about the other pain.

Now, I want to share this amazing story of what happened last week when pain mysteriously disappeared.

Shopping, especially grocery shopping, is one of the biggest challenges for those living with pain. It requires me to be on my feet/structure more than usual. Bringing the groceries into the house and putting them away require lifting and bending all of which seemed to exacerbate pain. As a result, I have dreaded that chore.

The day I decided to grocery shop, I woke up feeling good. Ironically, by the time I meandered down one aisle at the grocery store, my back pain was over the top. I was hunched over, leaning to one side to alleviate the pressure on my spine, grasping the handle of the cart as if it were my very legs. I wondered how I would ever finish the shopping, my pain was so intense.

Then I stopped and asked, “What’s going on? How could I possibly be in so little pain before I entered this store yet in such excruciating pain after only five minutes?”

The answer came quickly and it was twofold. First, I was surrounded by items that looked and smelled tempting, but items I felt were forbidden because I am using the MBS/TMS techniques to change the neural pathways of my brain regarding food and eating. I want to lose weight, and I want to change my self-defeating thoughts and actions about food. One way to do that is to eat less and train my brain to stay on a healthy path.

For instance, my 2010 rule is that I don’t eat between meals.

While grocery shopping, I was surrounded by a variety of good and evil. Every aisle was a forbidden row of tempting food. It was psychologically painful to stand in the middle of all that good stuff and have to say “no” to so much availability. It brought up feelings of psychological deprivation and anger about being fat since babyhood & enduring all the fat shaming from being different. That was the pain I didn’t want to feel. The pain that showed up, however, was physical back pain.

That is when I reminded my brain how much I wanted to drop some pounds and live a healthier lifestyle. That knowledge is all it took. The resolve became primary and the feelings of anger and deprivation became secondary.

The next time I thought about pain I was in the fourth aisle, realizing that my excruciating back pain had disappeared from my mind for at least 15 minutes. It was amazing even to me. As soon as I uncovered the true reason for my pain, the brain gave up the game.

Simultaneously, I realized that for decades I have expected to have pain when I grocery shop. My life has revolved around pain since 1981 when I injured my back and underwent unsuccessful back surgery. I expect to have pain during certain situations like I expect the flowers to bloom in spring and the grass to turn green in the summer.

After peeling away the layer of unawareness, I told myself it didn’t have to be that way any longer. Now I have an opportunity to think differently and achieve different results. Now, I can hold different expectations and observe what happens. Now, I can choose to expect no pain.

Instead of lumping all your pain (or other problem areas) in one, big bucket, thinking you have to rid yourself of it all at once, how about breaking it down into manageable parts, then working on one area at a time? You might be surprised to find that various pain disappears merely by setting a goal, then refusing to worry about it one minute longer.

Remember, MBS/TMS is a psychological disorder with physical symptoms. Do not become intoxicated with your pain. do not give your pain more attention than it deserves. Let it go. Rather, think psychologically when you feel the physical sear of pain. Without attention it can disappear like whittled wood and you won’t even see it slip away.

4 thoughts on “Making Pain Disappear

  1. Thank you for your story. I’m pretty sure my husband is suffering from TMS. We have gone to three ER visits for his pain and each time they found nothing. He is from Israel and had a hard life as a child and a man. I think he has a lot of psychological issues. He can’t even move sometimes because the pain is so intense. I’m just hoping I can get him to read Dr Sarnos book.

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  2. WOW! Your revelation about grocery store pain actually led to an epiphany of my own! I, too, have struggled with dieting/finding a sustainable diet/lifestyle. I lost a bunch of weight and subsequently developed multiple food sensitivities – I believe they are a way for my subconscious to keep me thin. I realized that some of my other TMS symptoms are worse at work. I work at a pizza place where I am tempted and reminded all.day.long about what I “can’t” eat. TMS is a tricky bugger! Thank you for your story!

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  3. Layniebird, that’s wonderful. That’s what we’re here for–to experience, share and inspire others to get well. Keep me posted on your progress.

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