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How to stop butt-clenching/tension?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Mars497@, Apr 6, 2020.

  1. Mars497@

    Mars497@ Peer Supporter

    Hi all,

    I know it sounds silly to even admit but I’ve come to realize so much of my low back pain is coming from daily clenching and tension I’m putting into my lower half. I am convinced I clench while sleeping and have even caused calf issues (peroneal tendinitis) by toe pointing while I sleep. But I find I’m doing while I’m awake too, mostly when I’m standing still cause I catch myself!
    I used to be super active and athletic, fitness instructor actually, and now I have trouble even standing upright sometimes as every tiny muscle near my sacrum/low back feels tight and I’ve had every symptom of piriformis syndrome.
    How do you teach the muscles you know you’re putting your tension into to actually relax?
    I went out to the backyard this weekend to rake up some leaves (gently) just to get outside and get my mind off all the news and now today every little movement that comes from my hip and glute area is talking to me and making me fearful that searing pain is coming next.
    I don’t mean to post to complain but if someone can offer some advice on how to remedy this, please let me know. I would be very thankful.
    I am working through a few books right now including GPD, Defying the Verdict, Backsense and Rapid Recovery.
    P.S. I did feel like I was making some small progress until recently with our current pandemic. I see posts and I know it’s affecting so many of us with added worry and tension.
     
  2. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    I totally had this! It was one of my many TMS manifestations and I had lower back pain as well. I even had injections in the buttocks which looking back was so ridiculous!! It's just that you are generating inner tension every day with your chronic negative thoughts. As soon as you relax and let go and just handle the emotions without judgment, the clenching stops. I was able to overcome this issue pretty easily. It's very straightforward if you think about it. Become aware of your negative thought patterns that are generating the inner tension, then deal with them and remind yourself emotions are safe and then just go about living your life and not caring about the clenching. Become indifferent to it because you know what it is.
     
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  3. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Mars,

    When I had pelvic and low back stuff...this is how I let go. I lay on a yoga mat. Then, I put two fingers on my belly about 2 inches below my waist. Then, I asked my brain, through thought, "Can you at least let the muscles relax to here where my fingers are? Just let them go for these two inches." Amazingly, you can visualize that...and your body responds. Then, I moved my fingers down two more inches and said, "Now can you relax muscles just two inches more?" And, I incrementally went down to my pubic bone.

    I know this sounds kind of bizarre, but it worked. It's such a large area of our bodies that to think of relaxing it all at once seems like too much.

    Anyway, I thought I'd post this back to you.

    Also, I would take a walk and every couple minutes just think to myself, "Your body is busy walking, so just let those muscles relax towards the ground. Just let them go."

    Best wishes to you.
     
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  4. LMB

    LMB Peer Supporter

    Hi Mars
    I am from Toronto Cañada and a new member. I did not post my story yet but I have been reading TMS wiki for a few years and read all of Dr Sarno’s books and most of the books mentioned on this forum. I have many TMS symptoms and I totally understand the butt-clenching related to butt pain, low back tension that is constant. The muscles around the sacrum and lliac crest are always sore. I had MRI and bone scan to rule out any physical issues but all normal. It’s so difficult to fully believe that it is TMS because it doesn’t go away. Some days the sacrum area feels more relaxed but the buttock muscles are painful, it’s regional pain, if it’s not the sacrum, it’s the buttocks or low back constant.
     
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  5. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle


    It's tension that you are generating on a daily basis from your thoughts. Our chronic negative habitual thought patterns cause inner tension which in turn causes muscle tension. If you become aware of those thought patterns and practice consistently changing them and shifting focus, you disable the pain strategy in a sense.
     
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  6. Mars497@

    Mars497@ Peer Supporter

    Yes, all of this exactly @LMB . Some days are a little better but mostly it’s constant. I do it in my sleep too because I wake up feeling it more than when I fell asleep although I can’t say I feel tense or anxious at night. I’m still trying to find the reason why I’m doing this and what is really bothering me. I’ve been experiencing this constant debilitating tension for almost a year. I have struggled with anxiety since my late teens but it was not until the last few years that the anxiety took such physical manifestations. I admit I have not tried meditation. Please share if you find things that start to help you break through. I will!
     
  7. Mars497@

    Mars497@ Peer Supporter

    @miffybunny how did you personally get to where you could identify your negative thoughts patterns? I’m feeling stuck between knowing I’m fearful of any low back pain but also I get angry about how long this has gone on and how frustrating it is when I know I’m the cause. @TG957 put it well when she says in her book “it left me with a full responsibility for my recovery”. That right there is overwhelming, especially when you feel stuck in the search for the answers to “what changed?”, “what set this off?”, “why did this start and why if I’m so good at creating the negative, why then can’t I create the positive and bring myself out of this?”.
     
  8. Mars497@

    Mars497@ Peer Supporter

    Another thought @LMB is to read Steve O’s “The Top Ten Mistakes Made in Healing from TMS”. I stumbled upon it on another thread where it mentioned that he does counseling. If you go to his site and sign up for his newsletter, he sends the pdf to you for free. It’s an eye opener and helps to explain why this searching we are doing isn’t really the way to heal. Basically that chasing after healing is at the heart of this stuck feeling. I’m still wrapping my head around it but it helped to read it and to have it to refer to and reread. SteveOzanich.com
     
  9. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Mars,

    As crazy as it may seem, a good way of relaxing your pelvic floor - which in turn tends to relax your lower half - is to relax your jaw. A normal resting tongue position is key for this and can be found by placing your tongue against the roof of your mouth as if making a “clucking/clicking” sound. Ideally the front 1/3 of the tongue should rest upwards, just behind the front teeth. This is considered to be the best position for your tongue to help keep the jaw muscles more relaxed. The pelvic floor muscles always have some tension in them otherwise you'd be wetting yourself all of the time, but with a relatively relaxed pelvic floor, I believe you'll find that you can't buttock clench.

    Several scientific studies have supported a connection between the jaw and hips. One study, on the effects on hip pain of myofascial release massage techniques performed at the jaw, strongly suggested that clenching the jaw increased hip pain while massage therapy on the jaw relieved hip pain http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19539119?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.P (Influence of the temporomandibular joint on range of motion of the hip joint in patients with complex regional pain syndrome. - PubMed - NCBI). Another study measured cranial (skull) angles in relation to angles of the spine and pelvis, and very reliably correlated jaw angle with both pelvic alignment and with curvature of the lower back. The reason why this connection exists, though, is not truly answered by these studies and remains somewhat mysterious to the world of science.

    Hope this might help.

    BloodMoon
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2020
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  10. Mars497@

    Mars497@ Peer Supporter

    @BloodMoon thank you for this input. I will look into this as really anything to help is worth exploring and I keep an open mind to things that have helped others on this site. Funny that you mention jaw because my jaw used to be my stress spot-for years when my anxiety was up, I always felt it there. I exhausted my jaw at night and sometimes even during the day I’d catch myself holding it in funny ways. I’ve wondered recently why I haven’t felt it as much there and instead in my lower half. Maybe this is even more reinforcement that I should take to heart that there is nothing more going on than simple tension, which like a bucket filled to the top must then spill over elsewhere.
    Jaw pain never stopped me in my tracks like low back pain does so maybe this is my mind’s way of saying “ok, let me see if this will finally get you to deal with stuff”?
     
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  11. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think you've absolutely got it sussed with all of what you say here. You've got nothing to lose in positioning your tongue in such a way as to relax your jaw to see if it will help you in the long term. The hard part is 'checking in' with yourself at regular intervals to make sure your jaw's relaxed. Correct tongue positioning can become a good habit though, just as jaw clenching and buttock clenching can become a bad habit. I think you're right...tension, tension, tension = TMS...and we need to reduce all that tension to recover. All good wishes. BloodMoon
     
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  12. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi! I had to start becoming aware of a lot of these automatic thoughts I was generating and then I had to catch myself in them. Then I would allow any feeling to arise...if a feeling did come up, I looked at it without judgment, I felt it for about a minute and then I would reach for a better feeling thought. Then I would go about whatever I had been doing and I would shift focus from the physical sensations to my actual life. This took a ton of practice and patience until it became natural and almost automatic. I always compare it to playing a new song on the piano .....repetition and practice. Boring and banal but eventually it pays off until I can play the song where it flows. When I read what TG957 wrote it really resonated for me as well. It is daunting knowing that it's all on you to heal, but it's also so empowering and such a relief not to be caught up on the merry go round of the medical mill and endless waiting room visits, and exhaustive searching and rehashing and feeling like a victim.

    It's irrelevant and not useful to to ask those questions in your last line, because all they do is put focus on the TMS and the symptoms. All those questions do is prompt more negative thought spirals. The types of questions you ask must radically change. For instance: "What have I always enjoyed doing that I would like to do now?", "When do I feel most myself?", "What brings me joy and meaning", "What really matters to me?"...things like that. Hope this helps a bit!
     
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  13. Mars497@

    Mars497@ Peer Supporter

    Yes, this does help! Thank you @miffybunny. Especially the last part about asking myself those other questions instead. I am going to try working on what you suggested. Thank you again.
     
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  14. LMB

    LMB Peer Supporter

    Thank you Mars
    I read and reread Steven Ozanich’s book The Great Pain Deception, great book and I just registered to receive his newsletter.
    As I mentioned, I did not write my story yet but I think I will. I believe in TMS but when the pain persist, it’s so easy to think that chronic pain never goes away and you just need to manage it.
     
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  15. Mars497@

    Mars497@ Peer Supporter

    @LMB I know how that feels for sure. I’m not sure if you’ve experienced this but it seems when I read more and get more involved in my mental work, the pain kicks up even more. I’m having one of those days today.
     
  16. LMB

    LMB Peer Supporter

    Hi Mars
    Yep, same for me, also if I sit down to try and relax, it’s worse. At night when I go to bed, I often feel good and sleep well but in the morning, I don’t even have to move or get out of bed, the pain somewhere in the low back, sacrum, coccyx or buttocks starts, it’s programmed to start no matter what and it’s there all day. It’s crazy.
     
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