No pain when golfing, cooking, working garage or otherwise distracted

Anybody ever notice their pain is basically absent when you’re fully engrossed in something? For example, when I’m out on the course I can eat, drink, golf etc and there is no pain. When I’m cooking I can sample things along the way and there is no pain. When I’m just sitting watching a movie…pain.

How do we harness this? What is actually happening here?

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That’s an interesting observation. I suspect that pain level will factor in here, but this doesn’t surprise me that you’ve noticed this. The same thing happens when we try to go to sleep, that our pain and anxieties will pop up and/or worsen.

How do we harness this? Well, staying engaged will certainly help for a lot of people. There will certainly be some people though, that movement and activities will make pain worse, so each individual needs to listen to their bodies.

Sharon from ModSupport

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It definitely helps when my mind is fully engaged with something else, and it can also help me postpone needing to take a pain pill. It depends on a lot of things though, like did I sleep enough and have enough water previously.

I also know that because my pain is caused by tumors that grow out of my nerve sheathing (neurofibromas), the position I am in can impact my pain awareness. Different positions compress the nerves and the tumors more than others, so sitting and looking straight ahead can be fine. If I have to turn for even a short period of time, my body will ache and my face will light up.

So it’s strange. It’s not completely psychosomatic, there are visible tumors on the nerves that cause considerable objective nerve pain, but the mind does play a role. I try to meditate daily, and I have learned some cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques to try and harness the mind to reduce the suffering our consciousness feels when the body is in pain. These include things like progressive muscle relaxation, but mostly it takes a lot of paying attention to your thoughts to see how they influence your pain awareness.

A psychologist can help and can give you some homework, and you might be able to notice exactly what it is about golfing or cooking that puts your body and mind at ease. Then you can see if you can transfer that to other parts of your life.

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So many different things are involved when TN pain flares up. I have thought that the mind being fully engaged helped me to ward away attacks, but not so much lately. The pain hits right in the middle of a fully engaged activity. If my med. levels are up, I can usually ride over it, or try to ignore it.
I am going to pay more attention, as willimus says, to my thoughts. Maybe that will help ward away pain attacks.

Wishing us all many pain-free times!

That is very interesting and I wish it was true. Sometimes I guess it can be true but I know I volunteer and I stay busy and I still get my pain so being busy doesn’t mean the pain goes away maybe some people it’s not as bad as others, I don’t know I’ve had mine for almost 25 years I’ve been living with that and it hasn’t been fun.

I have had similar experiences where I can get active doing something and no pain present. We are all different but I think for some of us we can experience similar patterns. When I initially acquired TN I would go for walks and pain would magically disappear. When receiving acupuncture treatment (which did work for quite a while) I asked acupuncturist how it all worked and he said that what acupuncture was doing was redirecting blood flows around affected areas. That’s what moderate exercise will do. Anyway this is definitely something that could be looked at in pain management for some TN sufferers. Thanks for posting.

Yes, I have noticed what you described, but have any of you experienced a rebound affect where once you are finished doing something pleasurable, the pain returns with a vengeance? Say, you had a nice time with friends and you laughed and relaxed one night. The next day, or two, your pain sets you back a week. This is my problem. It is so bad, I have become wary of doing such things. I plan when to do them, knowing I will pay later. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. Winter is so hard for me. I pretty much hibernate in my home waiting for warmer weather. Exercise has to be done with caution. I can’t manage more that a gentle walk, or sure enough, pain will hit me later. I used to be a very active person, and have suffered from TN and associated problems from remedies to fix it since 2009.

Hi Todd,
When I am gardening, cooking, working on my computer etc -no pain
My neurologist said that because I am concentrating on what I am doing that I am actually blocking the pain… but when i sit down to relax in it comes…
I have managed my pain for 18 years by keeping busy…
But this year it went thru the roof - nothing I did helped. I lost 10kg weight as I could not eat or talk… May to October 2022 was dreadful.
I could not go into the garden as it was raining a lot and cold winds…
November I saw my neurologist, who was horrified at what I was putting up with… I gave in and had an operation - Percutaneous Decompression for Trigeminal Neuralgia. The left side of my face is now numb including half my tongue & nose. No pain but a strange feeling; like I have had a stroke but no visible signs. I am back in the garden and off all medications so got my energy back again… Now to wait and see as the nerves repair - what will happen… especially when Winter comes, which is when pain has been worse… GP