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  • Dr. Lee Brotherston

An unhealthy fear of healthy movement

Dr. Lee Brotherston chiropractor back pain

Different people have different phobias. Some are perfectly rational – like the fear of heights, the CRA, and clowns. These are well-founded fears, which help to keep us safe. Some phobias, however, do us a great disservice. Today we’re going to talk about kinesiophobia – the fear of movement. The actual definition of kinesiophobia is, “an excessive, irrational and debilitating fear to carry out a physical movement, due to a feeling of vulnerability to a painful injury or re-injury.”

At first, it may sound like a silly notion – how can someone be too afraid to move. But I’m not talking about people who are paralyzed with fear and cannot move at all – I’m not sure what that’s called. I’m talking about people who develop a fear of a certain movement, or type of movement like lifting, or bending as a result of a pain they once felt, or an injury they once suffered.

Fear is a basic emotion – it’s a reaction to a specific threat. In the short term, it can help us avoid re-injury by preventing us from performing a movement that could stress damaged tissues. However, in the long term, this avoidance activity can become maladaptive – that is, incomplete, inadequate, or faulty, adaptation to a certain situation or environment. People that suffer from kinesiophobia often avoid activities which are assumed to cause pain or re-injury. This avoidance leads to increasing levels of sedentary behaviour. There is a viscous cycle where people with chronic musculoskeletal pain show greater levels of pain, disability, and emotional distress. As a result, people suffering from kinesiophobia have a decrease in their quality of life.

So, if this sounds like you what should you do? Well, you need to move. If you are unsure how best to break the cycle, come see us and we’ll help you through it. It can seem daunting at first, but taking control of your pain is incredibly liberating! As always, feel free to schedule a complimentary consultation to see if we’re the right fit for you.

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Lee Brotherston

Partner and Chiropractor at

Oak Ridges Health Group

58 Brock Street W, Suite 201

Uxbridge ON, L9P 1P3

468 Main Street E

Beaverton ON, L0K 1A0

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