So earlier in the week we talked about how stress and ager affect your back. We talked about the power of the mind and rewiring our assumptions about our pain. I also wanted to give you a stepping stone towards really understanding how to begin to treat TMS (which is the mind body connection that feeds your pain). Everything I talk about here today can be read in more detail by picking up Dr. Sarnos book Healing Back Pain: The Mind Body Connection. There is so much more to this topic but I wanted to pull out some practical steps you can start taking action on NOW.
This is going to be a 2 part series. The first part will be the first 4 ways you can start battling your stress and learning how the connection between the stress and your mind really have an affect on you.
1) Be sold out: You have to be 100% on bored with that fact that there IS a mind body connection and that your pain is not a symptom of any structural damage. Which brings me to the most important point I will ever make. Even the man himself, Dr. Sarno states in his book that you need to see a professional first:
There isn’t one person on this earth in the medical industry that would ever suggest to ASSUME anything about your back pain. You ALWAYS want to seek the advice of a true medical professional before you do anything. A specialist has the ability to look at the structure of your spine and see if there are any major abnormalities to rule that side out. I have said this before, one of the biggest factors in helping me mentally wrap my head around my pain and treatment that I was doing myself was knowing what EXACTLY was wrong with my back. By the time I had ventured out on my own I had seen two specialists, gotten two different MRI’s, seen two physical therapist and two chiropractors. Thats a lot of opinions but was absolutely necessary.
Being mentally clear is the only way you will eventually be able to do the activities you once did with out any pain. You have to cut ties with the old way of thinking and put the time in to rewire everything. This only works if you have completely surrendered your fear and thinking. Trust me just reading this blog is not going to help you do that. Dr. Sarno is a professional with years and years of experience with hundreds of testimonials and different cases. Dude knows what he is talking about and explains it well in his book. I am all about transparency on this blog and want you guys to know exactly what I am going through with my own pain management. This is a tough topic to swallow and it’s something you have to work at. I am currently rereading his book now just so that I can keep these thoughts fresh in my head. Sometimes we need a reminder that our pain isn’t the only thing we need to worry about. We have to fill our heads with hope and positive thinking.
2) Get it out of your head: This is something I am bad at and am currently working on myself. From my research and testimonials I have seen, journaling daily about your feelings is huge. It’s simply acknowledging how you feel. What has lead you to the feelings you are experiencing. Are you mad at anyone? Why? Do you feel hurt? Who hurt you? Going through these conversations solely in your head reek havoc on your nervous system. The constant frustration and bickering that goes on in your head without any escape can really transcend to the rest of your body. Journaling allows you to down load how your feeling, talk about it in detail. Look for ways your emotional state could be linked to your physical state. Did you have to make a big decision around the same time your pain started to really fear its ugly head? You will be able to start making connections and see how life events affects different aspects of our health.
3) Get to know the little things: I don’t like the word meditation because depending on your beliefs this could mean different things. Im not into the whole ancient meditation techniques but I do see the value in nondestructive thinking. What I mean by that is getting yourself to a point where your mind is able to completely clear itself and only acknowledge thoughts that may seep in but only to turn them away soon after. It’s a time where you don’t allow yourself to think like you normally would, worrying about the days tasks or meetings at work or dealing with someone. Those thoughts are considered destructive. One of the best ways to really hone in on a nondestructive way of thinking is to focus on the details around you. For example. If you can get 10 minutes alone in a quite room take something into the room that you can hold or touch. Acknowledge the texture, the way it feels, the weight. Focus on the small details of the object. Pair this with deep breathing and it really helps to relax. As someone who has been dealing with back pain for years I know how easy it is to wake up and the first thing on your mind is how you are going to get out of bed with the least amount of pain. Then you spend the next 2 hours walking around the house getting ready for work trying to bend over too much out of fear of making things worse. This cycle only continues for the rest of the day. Allowing these thoughts to live in your head rent free will destroy you. Just as much as you go back in forth on meaningless things you have to allow your mind to filter positive thoughts as well.
4) Set short and long game goals: Just like in business, you need to have long term goals as well as short term goals. Each short term goal is attached to a long term goal in some way. For example. My short term goals is to be able to control the pain I get after doing leg exercises. My long term goal is to be able to squat with weight on my back. These goals will be different for everyone. Maybe your long term goal is to be able to wake up and roll out of pain with little to no pain while your short term goal is to get more consistent with your sleep quality and before bed recovery techniques. Simply having “to become pain free” as your main goal will always let you down. You have to go for small wins to get to the big one. I use consistency in my exercises as a small goal because I know it will affect a lot of my bigger goals over time. Remember the mind is a battlefield, your short term goals to over come pain while doing specific activities will help you retrain the way your mind views those painful activities!
Hope this first round of tips helps! Stay tuned for next week I have 5 more coming your way! If you know of anyone who could be dealing with something like this share the blog with them! You never know how it may help
Talk to you soon,