There is no denying that curing your chronic pain (also known as tension myositis syndrome) requires a change in lifestyle.
No change in lifestyle is complete without a to-do list. You know, that massive laundry list of all the things you just have to do to get on top of your diet or conquer your fitness goals.
It gets overwhelming and doesn’t stick for more than a few days tops.
What if you could cure your chronic pain without doing anything?
In this post, I will show you the exact steps on how to stop doing three things sabotaging your recovery.
In in 60 minutes you will chalk up a few serious wins, and make some real progress.
All without the guilt of feeling like you have to “do” something extra.
First: Stop Believing That There Is Something Wrong With Your Body.
Feedback from my readers and subscribers is that you are likely to have a more learned understanding of pain (kudos to you for taking the first important steps). This is unhelpful when things spiral out of control.
Stop asking your doctor for one more test, or another scan.
Stop doubting the results.
Stop planting the seed in your surgeons mind that the pain in your back could be caused by some sort of ankle misalignment.
Chronic pain and tension myositis syndrome feed off these anxieties and the need to do “just one more scan”.
Trust your family physician. If they have ruled out serious acute problems or are unable to explain your pain, great! Yes, unexplained pain is a good thing for chronic pain sufferers. This means it is likely a manifestation of tension myositis syndrome or tensionaliga.
Remember that your doctor may be launching headlong into a surgical intervention for pain that has no organic cause. For the layperson this means an all too common unnecessary operation.
You can’t blame them, it’s what they are trained to do. And generally speaking this is a very good thing to ensure there are no critical issues like a fractured vertebrae or tumor.
You on the other hand may be satisfied with not having a pathological explanation of your pain. That’s fine. The problem is that it can create an information asymmetry. Two people with good intentions, but launching off in seperate directions.
Think of two oxen yoked together but careering off in different directions. It makes it very hard to plough a field in a straight line.
Getting back on the right track is simple. Here’s a little script you can even use.
You: “Hello Dr Payne”
Dr Payne: “Hi, How have you been? Take a seat. Now what would you like to talk about?”
You: “We’ve been investigating what’s causing my [inset symptom here] for quite a while now. All the x-rays, MRI’s, and tests I’ve done have come up clear. I wonder if my [symptom] could be caused and sustained by repressed emotions or stressors?”
Dr Payne: “Umm…”
You: “I’ve noticed that my [symptom] gets worse when I am anxious or stressed [insert other trigger here]. How can we investigate this together?”
Congrats, you’ve now cleared the air with your treating doctor. All it took was a 30 minute appointment.
Get off the treadmill of endless tests and scans. You need a short circuit.
You can now move on with the next step.
Pro tip: physicians are unlikely to be familiar with tension myositis syndrome or tensionalgia. Instead try terms like psychophysiologic disorders (PPD) or asking about mindfulness for chronic pain. Studies have shown that it really works.
Second: Burn That Pain Diary.
Seriously. Walk outside one evening, pain diary in hand (with a beverage of choice in the other hand).
Go ahead and burn it. Or at the very least cut it up as a safer option. (I’d love for you to email me a photo of it).
What has that pain journal ever done for you? Nothing. Nada. Zip.
Stop logging your pain. Why do you ask?
It has a lot to do with potholes along the road.
Think about the last time that you hit a pothole while driving. You saw it approach from a few hundred feet away. You told yourself, “don’t hit the pothole”, “make sure to miss it”, “wow, that could do a lot of damage”. BOOM!
You hit the pothole.
Don’t hit a pain flareup.
It’s funny how us humans tend to hit what we aim for. If you wake up and reach for a pain diary expecting pain, guess what?
You’ll experience pain during the day.
Chronic pain, tension myositis syndrome, neck pain – whatever you call it. These symptoms feed off negative thoughts and expectations. Don’t go expecting pain. You’ll probably find it.
15 minutes is all it takes to destroy that diary.
Side note: If you really (and I mean really) need to keep some sort of journal or log for the day, write down three things you are grateful for or list five wins you had today no matter how small. You’ll never lose from computing gratitude or wins day after day. Over the span of a month, five daily wins can grow into something magnificent. Don’t compound pain, it just grows a thicker trunk and sharper thorns.
Three: We’re Gonna Have To Get Real About Facebook
This was the hardest part for me.
Unlocking my phone and flicking open Facebook or twitter was as habitual as fastening a seatbelt in a car or brushing my teeth after a morning cup of joe. The truth is ditching social media saves me so much energy.
Social media is a cesspit of negative emotions.
By ditch I mean delete it. Remove the temptation to check on this. The reality is there is nothing of consequence that you will miss.
Social media will not cure your chronic pain.
You: “But it’s how I keep in contact with friends and family“.
Me: “Get their cell phone number. Text them. Whatsapp them. And for god sakes have them over for a coffee – you know, face to face”.
You: “But I will miss out on events and important stuff”.
Me: “This is what we call FOMO and it’s what has made Mark Zuckerberg one of the world’s richest men.
Me: “What kind of important stuff will you miss? Cat videos or memes? It might surprise you that I still get invited to house parties, weekend drinks, and wedding ceremonies. On this flipside, there have been times I was FIRST to know about friends engagement and a pregnancy (twice)”.
You: “But I won’t remember people’s birthday”.
Me: “Take 15 minutes and write them all in your diary. When their birthday rolls around, surprise them with a call or text message. Friends love this. Easy as”.
Think of all the energy and time you’ll get back. You will no longer have to present the perfect exterior to the world.
Like any addiction (and yes, you are most certainly addicted) the first few days are the hardest.
Personally I love having a clearer head, and being able to think straight first thing in the morning.
Two simple steps. Do it now.
- Go to the “Delete Your Account” page.
- Click “Delete Account” in the bottom right-hand corner.
Here’s What You Should Take Away.
Saying “no” and stopping doing things has amazing transformative power when it comes to curing your chronic pain.
It frees up your time, energy, and emotional resources to tackle the day ahead of you.
Give yourself permission to stop doing things that are hampering your recovery from chronic pain. Be kind to yourself.
To recap here’s my 60 minute guide of things to stop doing:
- Stop pinning all your problems on a pathology that doesn’t exist. Clear the air with your physician. (30 minutes during your next appointment)
- Throw that pain diary out into the stratosphere. (15 minutes this evening)
- Delete social media. (15 minutes over a glass of wine)
Learning more about what not to do is easy.
Just subscribe to my regular newsletter – I save the best free information for subscribers who want to change (check your spam folder).