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Dr. Zafirides The Fear Of Pain Can Often Be Worse Than Pain Itself

Discussion in 'Success Stories Subforum' started by Peter Zafirides, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. Peter Zafirides

    Peter Zafirides Physician

    Hi everyone,

    I thought you might find this study on the anticipation and anxiety associated with pain rather interesting:


    The study found that people suffering from chronic pain report the fear of their pain worsening in the future can often be more disabling than the physical pain itself.

    Mind and Body - there simply is no separation. I hope you find the information helpful and worthwhile.

    Dr. Z
    joseph32, Ruth_L, Msunn and 4 others like this.
  2. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wow , Dr. Zafirides.
    This is a very good thought out idea on the part of the person in pain, or so they think. If only everyone knew that putting off the invetible was only causing more anxiety and repression that create even more dread then they might learn to heal in the right way ya know- as anxiety plus repression do equal pain and that is exaxtly what anyone is doing when they keep putting off the things that have to be done. I have a lot on my plate that im keeping up with and even though I use time management I still find I get overwhelmed at the opportunities in front of me. Now if im getting slight anxiety over a good thing then if we could imagine the anxiety that dread creates ya know.

    I really like the article as it goes right with what Dr. Sarno says about how the fear of the pain is often more pain creating than the pain itself- emphasis mine.

    Some way all those years I didn't know about tms and how it could create some severe Havoc in my life, if someway I would have known back then what I know now- well id had a lot of better years. I know one day because of great articles like this Dr. Z that our children, someday - wont have to suffer as we did but I really am glad I found out now. Now I know what the difference in this side of the yard and the other side is ya know.

    It also makes sense why folks want a quick and fast way out too. Its just the fast way out always leads to more pain in the future. If there's not an excellent placebo like surgery folks just don't heal fast. Even with surgery the mechanism known as tms will just find another area to run too. You knew this correlated so well with how tms knowledge therapy can help heal if applied- your truly a leading pioneer.

    Msunn and Peter Zafirides like this.
  3. Becca

    Becca Well known member

    Thanks for posting this, Dr. Z. It's always great to see more research on the connection between mind & body. I wholeheartedly agree -- there really isn't a separation. Some tend to look at healing as if there is a separation, but really, the two are intertwined. The more we realize that, and embrace it, the healthier we'll all be.

    I'm not surprised by the results of this study. I know I'd be in that category of people who chose to experience worse pain immediately (rather than waiting, even if the pain itself would be less intense). I think fear is a powerful, powerful thing. This study just illustrates how powerful simply anticipating something can be. But what happens when we can't just "get it over with" like the people in this study could? We don't always have that choice. And since the mind and body are interconnected, the fear of pain, or whatever symptoms we may have, becomes more crippling than the actual symptom itself. Conquer the fear, though, and the pain, the TMS, the whateveryouwanttocallit suddenly becomes so much more manageable. The question, then, is how to conquer the fear, and who knows what the answer to that is. In a way, though, I think studies like this one can help us start to separate the fear from whatever we're fearing, be it a symptom, a feeling, a situation, even a mere possibility. Fear by itself can still be a terrifying thing but it's far more manageable than when it's intertwined with something else. It has nothing to feed off. And suddenly there's less power behind it.

    ...so, that's what I got out of that study. Thanks again, Dr. Z., for sharing it with us :)
    joseph32, Msunn, Lily Rose and 2 others like this.
  4. Peter Zafirides

    Peter Zafirides Physician


    Thanks to you (and Eric above) for your wonderful comments. Believe me, I know the fear that comes with the pain of TMS, as I suffered with it for many years. For me - and dare I say for just about everyone who has recovered from the pain of TMS - there was a moment. There was a moment when I just said "NO MORE!"

    That doesn't mean I was free of pain from that moment on. No. Rather, I simply refused to be AFRAID of the pain. I refused to believe my spine was made of glass, that I had to be terrified of how I moved or what I lifted. I just said "NO MORE! MY BACK IS HEALTHY!". For years, after much of my TMS pain was a fading memory, I was still terrified of shoveling snow, as this was a trigger for my TMS pain. I believed shoveling snow would cause my back pain - and quite predictably - it did.

    It did, that is, until I chose to no longer accept this false belief, this false association. I started at first by yelling at my TMS while I would shovel snow. I would literally yell out loud, "You [pain] don't exist! You are TMS and I refuse to give in anymore!! YOU WILL NOT WIN!"

    My poor neighbors. I could just imagine what they thought of me.

    But it worked. It. Worked. In the beginning, mind you, the pain was still there after shoveling. But it would only last for a couple hours, rather than the days or weeks I had come to expect and learned to accept. The following year though, I had no pain after shoveling.

    That was 10 years ago. I have never looked back. I now look forward to shoveling snow without the pain of TMS. I refuse to allow any false-association of TMS to dominate my thoughts.

    I personally know the limiting power of TMS-induced fear, Becca. We come to believe we are fragile and made of glass, when nothing of the sort is really true in actuality. I say all of this as a long-winded way of answering your question. We always have a choice. The freedom is ours to change our life. It requires fighting through fears and through the years of self-limiting thoughts, yes, but it can be done.

    You can do it. We all can.

    Don't ever doubt your strength!!

    -Dr. Z
    Ewok2, tigerlilly, joseph32 and 6 others like this.
  5. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    This is spot on, dare I use the verboten-TMS-word "perfect?" It is the fear of pain that drives it. Then we begin to anticipate it which attracts it to us. Fear/worry is the most common guided image. As in Field of Dreams, "If you build it, it will come." We build the stage for the play in our minds, and the actors show up.

    It's also great to hear Dr. Z tell part of his story. People demand examples of healings, so did I.

    If the good doctor hadn't given all his examples of healing I would never have healed, because I wouldn't have accepted TMS. Healings are yet another guided image. We mimic life all around us. The medical industry, in its entirety, are marketing geniuses by keeping people in fear. The good doctor came along and threw a monkey wrench into their spokes. I like the example of a "glass spine."Then you turn that into a rubbery, flexible, strong image in your mind's eye, and voila.

    I now see pain as an opinion of the brain. It has chosen the only option that it knows given its current life circumstance and knowledge. But all that can be reversed as new "accurate thoughts" begin to replace a false paradigm.

    See yourself as healed, keep flooding that image into the deeper aspects of your Self. Don't get caught up in seeing yourself as a pain sufferer, or broken. What you see yourself as, you will become. See light where darkness tries to over-shadow you.

    Will-power goes a long way, but you can't fight against yourself. A man divided against himself cannot stand, but it two men in eternal conflict.

    All healing comes from within, but it sure helps to have help. In ACIM lesson 137 it states, "When we are healed, we are not healed alone." I realize people contact me for support. I used to do the same thing (not contact myself, but other people). So it's good to know that Dr. Z had TMS. When I send people his way the first question is, "Did he have TMS?" Many people don't want to see a doctor who didn't have it because they don't think they can relate.

    Dr. Z has taught me an important thing here, that I need to go shovel my driveway. Pain-free of course!

    Ewok2, tigerlilly, joseph32 and 7 others like this.
  6. Peter Zafirides

    Peter Zafirides Physician

    Outstanding post, Steve-O!
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Excellent examples, Dr. Z.
    Lots of good food for thought for us all.
    A doctor who healed by TMS... what more validation of TMS do we need?
    Msunn and Eric "Herbie" Watson like this.
  8. Peter Zafirides

    Peter Zafirides Physician

    How ironic that a psychiatrist with an interest in chronic pain goes on to develop TMS pain and depression!


    As bizarre as it sounds, I wouldn't trade that time in my life for anything. It taught me so much about the mind-body relationship. It also made me aware of my true strength as well as the healing power of love - perhaps the greatest healing power of all.

    Please don't ever doubt your strength. It's in you. It truly is.

    -Dr. Z
    Ruth_L, Msunn, Becca and 2 others like this.
  9. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is such a great post guys. I believe if I took this thread and copied it , then printed it. I would have all I need to heal. I love the story above that DR. Z answered to Becca- how he tell his story, I second that Steve. And I also love the imaging that Steve talks about in his post.

    See if we want it we have to see it and believe it first, this is how we bring anything we need in life to existence. I studided a lot in the past 20 years about healing and helped many folks heal. I just had this hold up for some reason when it came to healing myself, after learning the tms concepts I put it all together, it just clicked and all I ever learned came to fruition.

    I learned Dr. Sarnos daily reminders and saw them in all my studies, I just was unconscious to all the truth as I thought it had to come from an outside source. I knew I could heal others by faith, I just had to learn to use that power on myself and with the help of Dr. Zs podcast and Dr. Sarnos books along with Steveos book of course I began to have self compassion for myself. I began to see myself stronger and healed, I started to smile on purpose and live on purpose cause I knew in my heart this was truth.

    I see power in this thread, thanks also to the great Walt and Becca. I love there strong conviction and compassion , nothing more stronger than that.

    Thanks again Dr. Z

    Bless You
  10. Becca

    Becca Well known member

    I. LOVE. THIS. This isn't just about fear, or pain...it's about the power of belief, and belief in yourself. I especially love this -- What you see yourself as, you will become -- this holds such immense power. In this one sentence, Steve, you're saying something I find just remarkable, something that Dr. Z also talked about in his own story: that you can successfully regain your life by believing you are not broken. The power of belief -- it always catches me by surprise. (It really shouldn't, at this point! Ah well. It is such a remarkable thing, belief, and I guess it's nice to be reminded of that.)
  11. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I appreciate how Dr. Z puts it, reminding us that we can draw upon our mindbody strength to overcome anything.
    It just takes doing what we fear we can't do.
    It reminds me of the old Chinese saying, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
    If we stand back, we stay where we are. If we step forward toward doing what we fear,
    we get there. Then we wonder what was there to fear about in the first place?

    Fear is just Raef spelled backwards. That means nothing, so there is nothing to fear.
    Msunn and Eric "Herbie" Watson like this.
  12. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    I second that becca, you see the best points
  13. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I thought that Dr. Z's story of shoveling snow could inspire a lot of people, so, with Dr. Zafirides' permission, I have moved it to the Success Stories subforum.

    To read and respond to other threads by Dr. Z , visit the following link. Our policy is that no thread is too old to reply to; we never want good discussions to die.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  14. nancy

    nancy Well known member

    Thank you, this post hit me like a ton of bricks!! I found it so encouraging and
    enlightening! You have made my night, and probably my life! I refuse to be a injured
    person, I am strong as I always was. Thanks Dr. Z, Nancy
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  15. okidokisan

    okidokisan Peer Supporter

    Reminds me of a mountain biking saying..."don't look where you don't want to go"
    I used to repeat that to myself on narrow trails with a drop off..hmmmmmmmm.

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