The Best Thing to Do to Keep an Injury from Turning Into Chronic Pain


This is a phrase that we use a lot at Pro+Kinetix. It’s a key concept we constantly explain to our patients. This is a common scenario where an injury, such as a sprain, or something more serious, doesn’t always resolve completely and becomes long-term chronic pain.

These are situations in which we could easily have nipped the problem in the bud and started a healthy, respectful movement program from the beginning and our patients could have avoided years and years of pain.

Typically, after an injury, the body loses movement in that area.

Let’s say you have an ankle sprain. The ankle is sensitive and swollen. We then resist any movement that could cause pain.

Problem is when this motion is not intentionally regained. The body becomes stuck in an unhealthy pattern of movement and stops fully moving in the area.

The lack of movement can be severe or subtle and may not be obvious at first.

Fear plays an important role in recovery and pain.

We don’t know what’s happening and are afraid we will injure ourselves again.

Complicating Factors:

1. Believing that your body is fragile. Maybe a healthcare practitioner has told you that you have a pinched nerve, a bulging disc, or a stress fracture… these are scary-sounding diagnoses that often cause people to believe that their bodies are fragile and on the verge of injury at any time. These injuries are ones we are skilled in handling. We can help you understand their meanings and how they affect your movement.

2. Too much rest. Many people are told to “go home and relax”, which is not helpful. Rest is necessary for healing. However, it does not mean that you should not move the injured area. A skilled physical therapist will be able to show you how to give the injured area the rest it needs, while still allowing it enough movement for maximum healing.

3. Avoiding certain movements. Perhaps someone has told you to “never bend forward” or avoid certain movements for fear of re-injury. Avoiding certain movements and adopting a fear-based approach to life will not protect you from injury. It can also make future pain worse by failing to strengthen areas that are more resilient.

There are specific movements you need to perform after an injury or sprain to ensure a quick recovery. To gradually regain original mobility, we need to continue to work on the motion. We may not be able to regain our original motion if we don’t work on it.

You may not be able to fully recover your mobility if you continue to struggle after an injury. Although you may be able to regain some motion naturally, if you don’t work on it, you could easily lose 20% of your movement. Although it may not seem like much, everything is connected.

Even if this isn’t the intention, it can cause chronic problems in other areas of your body.

There are exceptions to the rule, but movement will help you get through it quickly. Overprotecting the area or “resting” will often lead to more pain and longer-term problems.

You need to move in a specific way to help your body heal faster and avoid long-term effects. This is exactly what we at Pro+Kinetix are experts at.

Although “Movement Is Medicine” is a good general rule, expert guidance is needed when dealing with acute or persistent pain. People who go online to find their symptoms, then follow YouTube advice, often suffer from chronic pain that lasts much longer because they are doing the wrong type of movement.

Although injuries and pain are part of life, your body is not fragile. We can help you to fully recover so that you can move on with your daily life. We can help you understand why your back pain persists months after an injury, and how to get past the pain in your shoulders.

Let us know about your situation. We would love to hear from you and answer any questions you have!

Oakland, CA Pain Management Clinic

Dr. Ben Bagge

Pro+Kinetix Physical Therapy & Performance

"We Help Active Adults & Athletes Get Back To Workouts and Sports They Enjoy without surgery, stopping activities they love, or relying on pain medicine."
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