Kinesiophobia boils down to an irrational fear of performing certain movements or activities. The cause of this fear is typically an injury that has caused pain or other unpleasant sensations. However, this fear of moving or re-injuring oneself persists despite the absence of real danger associated with movement. Thus, a person with kinesiophobia may be inclined to decrease or modify activities that involve movements similar to those that have already led to injury or pain in the past.
When an injury has just occurred, it may seem logical to protect yourself from painful movements. However, current science tells us that it is very important to re-expose oneself gradually, but still quickly, to sensitive movements in order to prevent avoidance behaviors that can lead to Kinesiophobia.
Over time, this problem can have very harmful effects on several areas of your health:
- Biologically, such behavior can cause the central nervous system (the control center of the human body) to develop hypervigilance and therefore become more sensitive to harmless everyday movements (bending over, for example). This can, among other things, be manifested by a constant feeling of muscle tension or stiffness during movement, and possibly even at rest. In the longer term, local or generalized muscle atrophy is another possible consequence of prolonged physical inactivity associated with Kinesiophobia.
- Mental well-being can also be affected if kinesiophobia leads to a cessation of a person’s meaningful and valued activities in an effort to protect themselves from “potential injury.” Moreover, it can also negatively affect the social life of an individual if he completely stops the activities he practiced with other people or outside the house.
You are probably beginning to realize that in some cases kinesiophobia can become a vicious cycle affecting the biological, psychological and social spheres of health all at the same time. Indeed, it represents a considerable risk factor for suffering from certain chronic conditions such as persistent nonspecific pain, anxiety and depression.
If you feel like you are increasingly limiting your movements because of pain or a fear of hurting yourself, the first step is often a gradual re-exhibition of sensitive movements to help your body reduce the protective mechanisms that have developed over time. We are aware that it can seem difficult to establish a game plan in order to return to the activities that are important to us in the presence of fears and/or pains. This is why it can be very helpful to consult a team of professionals such as our chiropractors and our kinesiologist who have the expertise to advise and guide you through this process.
For more advice in your return to your activities, do not hesitate to make an appointment in Chiropractic or Kinesiology at the clinic.
Looking forward to helping you very soon.
Your chiropractor and your kinesiologist
Dr. Charles Belanger
ABC Health Clinic Gatineau
Dr Charles Bélanger
Private: Vincent Barrette