Why Can't I Move The Way I Used To After An Injury?

The biggest reason you move differently or feel you can’t move the same is because of your brain. This doesn’t mean that your brain function is bad or poor, it just means that your brain has adapted to protect your body. When your body suffers from an injury there are certain movements or actions that hurt and this is completely normal. The problem is when we are in pain for long periods of time and we specifically avoid these movements because we think they will hurt.

If we need to go from A to B and every time we have tried it hurts eventually we go from A to C to B. Another option is that we just avoid getting to point B because it has hurt in the past. These are learned behaviors and are commonly described as fear avoidance. To put this in perspective, if you have ever hurt your neck then you know at times it can really hurt to turn your head to either side. If you can’t turn your head to the left and you need to drive somewhere you can either only make right turns to get there or just decide to not go. In this example both are bad because you have to use more time and energy or you are not able to go and do the thing you wanted.

Your brain creates these fear avoidances because it wants the body to maintain optimal function and having pain is not optimal. Initially during the injury phase and into the healing phase this is normal and ok to happen because we don’t want to aggravate or re-injure the area. Sometimes we allow this to go on for weeks, months, years, or sometimes the rest of our life if it does not get corrected.

 If you selectively don’t do an action or motion the rest of the body has to compensate, and you can see how that can be a problem if left alone for too long. Favoring one part of your body sets you up for the risk of injuring another area.

~ Dr. Matthew Starling (Certified Applied Kinesiologist)