Movement, without Motion | Kelly Starrett, DPT

When we’re trying to unwrap chronic pain, one thing that gets lost in this conversation is how important it is to restore pain-free movement to the body. If you’ve ever had any pain where you need to lay down, or have been immobilized because it’s too painful to move or bear weight; then it’s easy to forget that the ultimate goal is to restore movement and return the body to motion.

Goal beyond immediate relief: Return movement back to body

A huge benefit of the H-Wave is that it allows us to accomplish the benefits of movement, without the strain of motion. For example, when you’re in pain your brain is telling you that there’s a significant problem, and that the area in pain is actually threatening to your body. The result is a hesitancy, sometimes even a fear towards movement.

However, the H-Wave can help reduce this fear by engaging tissue within the body, without actually moving the part of the body that our brain finds threatening. A small contraction is movement in the tissue or adjacent tissue to what our brain perceives as the problem area, is the beginning of this idea of “movement without motion”. It means we’re not necessarily moving the specific part of the body (ie: limb or spine), but we’re engaging all of the tissues that are necessary for movement of that part of the body to take place.

Result: Body and Mind activated to expect pain-free movement

This non-fatiguing muscle contraction created by the H-Wave device signals to the brain that there’s movement happening at the tissue level. So, without the limb or spine going through the full range of motion, this starts to activate the systems that would normally carry out that full body movement.

What this does is train your body and tell your brain that “you’re getting ready to move” therefore it’s ok to move, that “movement is safe”. As we start to deescalate how the brain Is reacting to what’s happening in the localized tissue (which is painful or injured) by introducing this movement without motion, it can begin to tell the brain “this is what’s happening next”. When your brain starts to realize that the goal is movement again then we don’t need to be afraid of movement. It’s one of the ways that we can begin to restore motion to the body.

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