Movement Archives - Pain 2 Possibilities

Category Archives for Movement

Kinesiophobia and why it is holding you back

​Hard word to say but easy to understand, especially if you are living in chronic or persistent pain.

Kinesiophobia is defined as 'an excessive, irrational and debilitating fear to carry out a physical movement, due to a feeling of vulnerability to a painful injury or reinjury' (Kori S, Miller R, Todd DD. Kiniseophobia: a new review of chronic pain behaviour). Simply put, it is the fear of pain due to movement. It is the second most common cause of disability in the general population.

Here is where the conundrum lies for a person living in chronic pain. 

Physical inactivity is a potential factor for developing and maintaining chronic musculoskeletal pain, whereas physical activity has positive benefits in decreasing pain and disability in many musculoskeletal conditions​. However, for those living with chronic pain, the fear of movement is very real. This fear limits the amount of movement and exercise which then potentially leads to a more sedentary lifestyle.

It becomes a circle of fear and ambivolence which then increases the intensity of pain.

So when exercise is prescribed as a part of your healing regime, kinesiophobia rears it's ugly head ​thereby limiting the benefits of rehabilitative exercises.

So what is one to do?

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  • Work closely with your care provider or manual therapist (chiropractor, osteopath, exercise specialist) to work through an exercise regime specifically that suits your unique needs. Spend time to really get to know these movements because if done well, they will help to make you stronger.
  • ​Practice those small but meaningful moves weekly to master them.
  • Start from where you are. Understand that if you are living in pain, you will not be able to start from where you left off or even where you may have been in the past.
  • ​Be sure to breathe through your exercises as this will help to calm your brain and central nervous system thereby lessening the pain.
  • ​Listen to your body and work within your threshold. This means understanding where your pain lies, what movement that area of your body can tolerate safely and then work within that range.
  • Learn to master a calming, positive mindset to change your experience with pain. (Yes this one takes some practice but will add huge impact in reducing your fear of movement).
  • Be aware of what words are rattling around in your head when you are in pain. Is there any way you can turn those thoughts around into something more empowering? My guess is, yes you can!

Another tool for your pain management toolbox: Sleep

​There is nothing like a good slumber! Sleep is one of the non negotiable tools in your pain management toolbox, and for very good reason. It is one of the most fundamental support systems we have.

We are learning through recent research just how important sleep is when it comes to the maintenance of your overall health and in the recover of pain and injury. It's reach is broad and effects your ability to manage pain, to repair after injury or exercise, to manage autoimmune disorders, stress and emotional well-being, just to name a few!

It can be difficult getting a good nights sleep when you are living with chronic pain which then in turn restricts your healing and unfortunately also increases your pain perception.

​So how does sleep help your body manage pain? Let's explore...

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  • Sleep is a natural anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce inflammation while you slumber.
  • Just like food and water, sleep is a non-negotiable of health and well-being even though it can remain elusive for those with CP.
  • ​Stress management. Without a proper night's sleep, your body experiences greater stress. Stress makes your nervous system more sensitive to pain.
  • You can cope with pain much more effectively with a good rest under your belt due to a decrease in your pain response.

​Sleep can remain a little elusive and challenging at times but try these simple steps to help you get the rest you need to manage your chronic pain a little bit more strategically.

  1. 1
    Create a set schedule for sleep. Be as intentional about when you are going to sleep as you are for eating your meals. Put it in your schedule so that it takes priority.
  2. 2
    Eat dinner a little earlier as a full stomach can keep you up at night and make it harder to fall asleep, especially as we age.
  3. 3
    Remove yourself from electronics well before bedtime and dim the lights. The blue light from electronics stimulates the part of the brain responsible for alertness and readiness.
  4. 4
    Read a book or have some quiet time where you can listen to your breathing and calm your thoughts, especially after a busy or painful day.
  5. 5
    Avoid caffeine (yes that includes chocolate) after 1:00 pm as it is a stimulant and will make it more difficult to fall into quality sleep. (perhaps that means we can eat chocolate for breakfast or is that just wishful thinking?)


Breathing is something that we often take for granted day in and day out. As a matter of fact, when I ran a Wellness centre for big Pharma, I would often joke with the employees that they should learn how to breathe. To which they quickly replied…I already know how to breathe. Ever wonder what’s actually going on in there when you take a deep breath? Simply put, it looks like this:
1) lung ventilation:
This is the initiation of external respiration through which inhaling and exhaling occur.
2) gas exchange:
O2 (oxygen) and CO2 (carbon dioxide) pass through the surface of the lungs.
3) gas transfer:
This is the transport of O2 from the lungs (through that inhale) and to the tissues, and of CO2 back to the lungs (for that deep exhale).
Go ahead. . . take another deep breath. Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. And this is where all good things begin!
Paying attention to our breathing serves many, many benefits. Breath increases energy, calms the nervous system by slowing down the fight or flight response, improves our respiratory system and all the muscles that support it (think Diaphragm, the intercostals between the ribs, into the shoulders and spine), improves our cardiovascular and digestive systems and can slow a busy mind. One of my favourite functions of deep breathing is in the management of pain. I could go on but this is a great start.
One of the simplest ways I can pass along to practice deep, rhythmic breathing is ‘four corner breathing’. Visualize if you will, the outline of a book. As you follow your eyes along the top edge of the book take a slow, deep breath in. When your eyes turn the corner and follow the book’s edge down, hold your breath. When your eyes turn the corner again to follow the bottom edge, breathe out slowly and completely. Hold you breath one last time while your eyes follow the outside of the book up to the start point. This is great for kids and grown ups alike!

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