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Can the way your body moves with injury lead to chronic pain?

Updated: Sep 10, 2019

Have you ever experienced muscle aches or pain arising from your ligaments, bones or joints? Them sorts often have a big impact in how we move every day! It could be subtle changes or avoiding an action completely.



Our brains tell our bodies to move differently when we have pain. However, there is growing evidence that changing the way we move might contribute to the development of pain that lasts for months or years


It’s our brains that do the talking! We get told that, due to the pain we are experiencing, that we should not do certain movements as they could increase a musculoskeletal pain. “When we experience pain for a short amount of time, changes in the way we move are thought to protect us from further injury by restricting movement of the damaged part. It is evident that short-term pain causes reduction in activity in the regions of our brains that control movement” Said Schabrun from The Conversation.


Flight or fight

You would think that pain lasting longer than a couple of minutes that our brains would find it hard to control our movement but recent study suggests that it’s almost the opposite – that our brains find a means of searching for a new way to move since a particular pain is not going away anytime soon.


changes in the way we move that are helpful in the early stages of experiencing pain may have negative long-term consequences. This may lead to persistent or recurrent pain, scattered with only short periods that are pain free.


Regardless of the movement being helpful in the early stages of experiencing pain, changing your movement could have negative long-term consequences. Jim Liakos from Bankstown Physiotherapy states “this may lead to persistent or recurrent pain, scattered with only short periods that are pain free”



Jim also notes that “changes in movement persist in people who have recurring episodes of pain even when these people are usually pain-free. As a result, it has been suggested that moving differently, even when free of pain, could incline you to another episode of pain”


Physical activity and exercise are the cornerstone of treatment in musculoskeletal pain. If you are experiencing any pain, give us a call on (02) 9793 3119.

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