Breaking the Pain Cycle

As you begin the Hinge Health program, it's normal to experience some upticks in pain. This 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. The good news is that with consistent activity and patience, you can change your pain system's 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.

There will be times when you are challenged by your pain. When that happens, try repeating 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, remember that it's okay to ask your coach for help. Your coach is there to help modify your exercises so you can feel better and be successful. Sometimes that may mean skipping an exercise if you’re not quite ready for it or exploring an exercise without your sensors. It is always better to go slowly instead of stopping altogether.

Although soreness and pain are common, keep in mind that you can move through it. Your body is capable of amazing things! Your coach is by your side to empower you to find movements that work for your body and help you confidently work 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.


  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