Pain and movement recalibration

Paul Ingraham

When movement is limited by pain for too long, could the pain become a conditioned response to the movement? Rather than an accurate indication of the tissue state? Like Pavlov’s dogs salivating in response to a bell instead of food.

This article by Ben Cormack of Cor-Kinetic explores the potential to “recalibrate” painful movement by gradually breaking the association between the movement and pain with the “5 R’s of Rehab”:

I’m fascinated by this idea and think it has a lot of value, but I also wonder if the case for a primarily conditioned painful response is a bit overstated. Is that really a thing? I don’t doubt that it is possible, but is it common? I have clinically witnessed (and personally experienced) many chronically painful movements that really did not seem like a conditioned response persisting long after the resolution of any problem in the tissue. I think a stubborn source of tissue-driven pain (nociceptive pain) is highly plausible in many cases.

Just thinking out loud here.

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