Movement - Antidote for Pain

We are born with instincts. Some work to your benefit; others don’t.

Limiting movement at a site of injury is a primitive hard-wired response. Instinct tries to protect your injury by tightening. If you break a bone or tear a ligament, it certainly makes sense to restrain movement for a while. It gives an injury time to recover. Obviously, see a doctor for major problems.

But, for minor issues, you can return to health quicker-and-better with healing movements. Resist the tendency to restrict a minor injury. Extra pain and a longer recovery are created by lack of movement.

As an example, envision twisting your right knee. Your knee immediately begins to hurt, but you’re sure it isn’t a break or ligament tear. In this scenario, an ice pack, subtle movement and massage is preferred over restricting movement.

Each knee has 6 ways to move. If the knee is held tight, space within the joint decreases and the 6 movements are limited. Tightness compresses the joint by pulling the bones closer together. Blood flow and lymph flow are reduced. These makes things worse. In contrast, movement introduces flexibility, length, blood flow, lymph flow and “as-designed” operation.

Lack of movement invites pain. Movement subdues pain. That’s one reason why surgical patients are encouraged to get out of bed in a day or two. The bottom line is: we can consciously resist the instinct to restrict movement. It takes courage to overcome the hard-wiring, but it’s worth it. Begin movement as soon as practical.

Common sense applies. Don’t bully yourself. Running a mile with a hurt knee isn’t appropriate for healing. Slowly moving the knee is a circular pattern is a better choice. Move the knee gently in every way you can imagine. Visualize expansion and lightness as you proceed. The recommended type of healing movement is circumduction. (Refer to the October 7 blog, entitled “Circumduction – King of Healing Movements”.)

Be aware that “exercise” is not the same as “healing movement”. Lifting heavy weights with the legs will probably do more harm than good to an injured knee. Worse yet, an overly intense exercise is likely to engage the wrong muscles. Healing movements are not stressful; they are gentle and introduce awareness. It’s awareness that guides pain reduction and healing.

Try intelligent movement. Judge for yourself.


Jack Menear