1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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New Program Day 5: Changing Your Brain

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Alan Gordon LCSW, Jul 15, 2017.

  1. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes - in the sense that ALL physical sensations, experiences, and processes come from our brains. Check out the phenomenon of Phantom Limb Pain for what has become a classic illustration of this - now widely accepted as a real phenomenon by the traditional medical community.

    I see this as more of a conversation with our negative brains. Our brains were designed to be constantly on the alert, always tense, and always "scanning the horizon" for danger. In what we call TMS (in honor of Dr. John Sarno) this mechanism has gone into overdrive - and as an inherently primitive mechanism, this really does not serve us well in today's modern world.

    Doing this work requires flexing your mind, and opening it up to new ways of thinking. The latest neuroscience is showing that our emotions really do cause all kinds of physical sensations. And what, after all, are blushing or stage fright all about? They are physical manifestations of shame or fear. "Fear" is a collective term for a number of underlying negative emotions that have a profoundly negative effect on the human psyche - the very base source being the most primitive fear of not surviving - whether by isolation and abandonment, or lack of resources, or sabre-tooth tiger.

    Are you doing anything else other than Alan's program? You might want to check out the Success Stories subforum - read a story or so every day, just to see the limitless array of symptoms and conditions that people have recovered from. Also be aware that this process is not a one-time cure - rather, it will give you resources for a lifetime. This is because TMS mechanism itself is not a malady. It was designed by evolution to keep us safe - we just have to learn how to live with it, and get it back under control. Which I will be the first to admit is easier said than done.

    Hang in there - the only thing it's costing is a little bit of time, after all!

    Balsa11, tb_player and Katya like this.
  2. Katya

    Katya New Member

  3. nele

    nele Peer Supporter

    Hi Alan, this is my third time, I'm reading your program and the comments. I like it very much. It is a great help for me!!! Every time I get some new insight - and some times questions.
    I have understood me feeling unsafe, my mind producing fear thoughts because it wants me to be alert ("unmasking the fear"). I do noticing them!
    And I try to embrace my pain ("it's just a sensation").

    But what do you mean by "Fear thoughts are just your brain’s way of trying to bring you away from an unpleasant sensation."? This is a new turn. You wrote this text about 1,5 years after the start of your New Program.
    Do you mean, the fear thoughts are not only the thing, my mind is producing to make me alert, but also to mask some other unpleasant feelings, which manifest as sensations in the body?
  4. PlainJane

    PlainJane New Member

    I don't know if I'm using this site correctly but I'm still going forward. Last night I started Dr. Sarno's book for the third time. I have been meditating daily for about 2-1/2 months, now. It feel so good. :) But I came her to say 'things are happening.' At first this was all very frustrating as I felt like I was trying to grasp air. But it's working. Me? It's working for me? I'm dumbfounded and so happy I feel like I could dance to the moon and back. I was getting energy again. I was doing things. Then, I got a horrible flare-up for no good reason AKA my first Extinction Burst. I keep telling myself that this is okay, it's that little 2 year old girl in my unconscious mind throwing a temper tantrum (this is actually great for me since I was a pre-school teacher for 11 years and was very good at working with children who threw temper tantrums).
    For the first time in about 10 years I awoke this morning...to no anxiety. What?! Every morning I wake up to an anxiety attack. Either it wakes me up or I wake up and it attacks. Twice last week I woke up, noticed not anxiety attack then, blam! It came. Blast! But this morning? No anxiety attack. None. It never came on. I was so happy I tried to tell the world. LOL I've been talking to my sister-in-law a lot because she too has bad anxiety. She has it worse than I do but has no other problems. I've been encouraging her to meditate and such. I want to pull her in so bad I can hardly stand it. But I know it has to be her decision. I'm also in a pain management class where I live (we zoom) and one online through a friend who lives in Oklahoma and a CRPS group. Of course I told my local group what I'm doing, our doctor introduced it to us. But I've also told my online groups. I've just told them what I'm going through and why and the names of the books. I'm hoping that, as I tell my story over time, some others will give it a go. One friend is going through H-E-double-hockey-sticks with Fibromyalgia and seems possibly interested. Fingers crossed.
    I have such a long ways to go, but I'm glad I understand the extinction bursts because that would have thrown me for a loop otherwise. I have more than hope. I know I'm going to get so much better and I'm excited. Thank goodness I'm a patient woman. ;)
    Hugs to all and all the best to you on this journey of good health! <3
    JanAtheCPA and Katya like this.
  5. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Try to be relaxed first thing in the morning instead of checking for anxiety.
  6. Carokitty

    Carokitty New Member

    So if my pain goes away when I try this exercise, then it's TMS? What if it doesn't go away? Can it still be TMS? I'm still trying to figure out if my pain is truly TMS or I just spend too much time on the phone, which causes neck pain.
  7. Bowen

    Bowen New Member

    I have TMS and this must only work with some people as I have done hours, months and years of this type of treatment. I can approach it fully neutrally and just view it as a sensation going in and out of it or just staying with it. I know I do not have an injury. It has never made any difference though.

    Could it be that I am missing something here?
  8. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    Here are a few questions to ponder on that may shed some light. Are there any residual behaviours/attitudes from you that still focus on/acknowledge any physically based ideas around your symptoms? Have you looked at/changed areas in your life that are dysfunctional or emotionally disturbing? Do you face any fears around your symptoms fully and work through it to the resolution? ie going towards activities that bring on the pain and applying the tools from this programme to practice sitting with it and bringing to fruition a change/reduction in symptoms.
    Bowen likes this.
  9. Bowen

    Bowen New Member

  10. Bowen

    Bowen New Member

    Thank you birdsetfree I can definitely say that there is no physical reason to the pain I have.

    Yes I have spent many years in therapy digging through the weeds to no avail trying to find out where a connection could be however I am now trying to move on from that.

    In terms of going towards activities that make the pain worse I do have some fear there I have to admit however I’m not sure what to do about it.

    In Australia here they call what I have central sensitisation that is wind up in nature. I have been going through this over 20 years and it has slowly got worse as the years have gone on. My baseline of pain is very high and I cannot even watch TV anymore. The problem is that I have flareups and then sometimes I also have windups as well. The difference being that with a flareup the pain will go from the baseline to the flareup and then back to the baseline. However sometimes I will have a flareup that will not return to the baseline and will become the new baseline and I’ll have to adapt my entire life around the new levels of increased pain. most of the time I can identify why I have had a windup but there are also times where I have had windups and I would not have a clue why. It is not even like the pain is slowly getting worse and I push through it and it flares up and turns into a windup it is more like it just suddenly happens.

    Then there are times when I have had wind ups when I’ve been doing something that I have really been enjoying doing which makes no sense to me.

    So to summarise the fear is not that I’m doing any damage it is that when doing something that is going to intentionally make the pain worse that it will turn into a windup and the pain will get to the point where it is unbearable and I will not be able to function at all. I am already in so much pain I am at the end of my tether.

    Also just on your last point yes I have spent a lot of time just sitting with it in the situation that makes it worse however it just never seems to change. I look forward to hearing from you.
  11. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    The brain remembers the pain and uses this pathway over and over until you interrupt it consciously. This is where the practice is and it is a new skill to learn that will give you back control of your body. In your case there has been many years of this conditioning but don't worry it can absolutely be resolved and you can retrain your brain to switch off this cycle resulting in the pain fading away. I did it. I was in severe back pain for fifteen years but after doing the structured educational programme, having therapy with a TMS Psychologist and practising tolerating my pain (level 10) calmly, (lots of practice) I made huge leaps and bounds in recovery. I have been recovered for six years and have absolutely no symptoms now at all. I am very fit and healthy and chronic pain is a thing of the past. I had a lot of conditioning in a lot of different situations that I had to overcome but once I tackled a few big ones the recovery and resolution of the pain came fairly quickly. Alongside of breaking through the conditioning, I also had to address areas of my life where I was programmed to betray myself in relationships etc. I had to form a much healthier relationship and attitude towards myself and it took a lot of courage to face. I also changed the way I framed the pain to myself and to others. Instead of saying "I'm in so much pain", I would reframe this to "I'm so triggered right now, or I'm in flight or fight etc", to retrain my beliefs about the true cause of my symptoms.
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  12. Bowen

    Bowen New Member

    Hey Susan I have emailed you multiple times on you website but have not heard back from you
  13. Bowen

    Bowen New Member

    Is it working?
  14. Bowen

    Bowen New Member

    Just so disappointing

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