Breaking the Pain Cycle

Pain Cycle

As you begin the Hinge Health program it is normal to experience some upticks in pain along the way. They can make it feel like you are making things worse or moving backwards, but it’s important to remember that the persistent pain journey is not a straight path. Ups and downs are expected. Evidence tells us that if you are consistent, patient, and active, your pain system will slowly change and reduce its sensitivity.

Your exercise therapy will help retrain your pain system and increase your strength and flexibility. As your exercises increase in difficulty over time, you’ll move with less pain and more confidence in what your body is capable of. Movement is necessary to break free of what doctors and researchers call “The Pain Cycle.”1

When you are challenged by your pain, repeat the following phrases to yourself

  • I am sore but safe.
  • It’s best to pace it, not race it.
  • Hurt does not equal harm.
  • Movement is medicine.
  • Consistency is key.

Remember to pace yourself and move in a way that feels good to you. If you are experiencing any difficulties it is okay to ask your coach for help. Your coach is there to help modify the exercises so that you may feel successful. Sometimes that may mean skipping an exercise if you’re not quite ready yet, or exploring an exercise without the sensors. It is always better to go slowly instead of stopping altogether.

But also keep in mind that soreness and pain are common, and you will move through it. Your body is capable of amazing things! Your coach will be there by your side to empower you to find the movement that works for your body and help you work confidently through any discomfort.

Key Takeaways

  1. You can break the "Pain Cycle" with movement.
  2. Soreness, pain, and stiffness are common (and even expected) when moving through persistent pain.
  3. You can feel confident that you are safe to move through the initial discomfort, but it is ok to ask your coach for help with movement modifications or pain coping strategies as needed.


  1. Butera, K. A., Fox, E. J., & George, S. Z. (2016). Toward a Transformed Understanding: From Pain and Movement to Pain With Movement. Physical Therapy, 96(10), 1503–1507. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20160211