When we fear movements we avoid those movements and then we enter a feedback loop of fear avoidance. Breaking free of the feedback loop requires non threatening movement.
After injuries it is our natural inclination to ‘baby it’. Treading lightly and with great care we avoid any movements or jostling that may cause aggravation. This is a normal part of the healing process.
However, depending on the severity of the injury and the length of time required to heal tissue damage, we may create habits of compensation to avoid setting off our natural danger signals. We start to avoid certain movements or activities, because we fear the pain that is associated with those movements. This fear avoidance causes the feedback loop to develop.
In order to break the cycle, the body needs to embrace nourishing, non threatening movement.
What is Non Threatening Movement?
Non threatening movement is pleasurable, natural movement that the body craves. It is everything that your body is built to do; walk, run, climb, twist, bend, stretch, etc.
Did you have a mini grabber just now? Did one of those words cause that fear avoidance response to quiver in your gut and make your heart flutter?
If the area of pain is not bruised, swollen, oozing fluids, and is otherwise healed from tissue damage, or if it does not have hardware issues like nuts and plates or severely degenerated joints and connective tissues; it is time to nudge away from fear avoidance and into non threatening movement.
In order to start feeling this again, the body needs a little bit of coaxing.
In session, my clients experience great progress in breaking the feedback loop by doing this simple exercise. It complements the neuro therapies and soft tissue work we do by allowing you to have full control of your active recovery strategy at home.
Find a movement that you are consciously aware of that you believe may have this fear avoidance feedback loop.
Move into the edge of pain, where it begins to become slightly uncomfortable and pause.
Acknowledge that there is discomfort, but don’t fearfully whip yourself out of the position. This is the fear avoidance at play.
Realize that, in that moment, you are safe in your movement. There is no impending doom. You are not being traumatized further. You are simply exploring the movement boundaries.
Continued movement explorations such as these allow you to effectively reeducate your movement ability. You are able to move into spaces you may have previously forgotten you have the ability to access, increasing your range of motion.