June 4

How to Break Your Pain Cycle the Natural Way

complete pain cycle
  • How many times have you been disappointed looking for a solution to your pain?
  • How many times have you burned your savings on medical bills but still had the pain return?
  • How often have you had to avoid doing what you love because the pain was too much?

So many of us who have pain like sciatica, TOS, arthritis, low back pain, and more, have tried to search long and wide for a solution to feel relief that will actually work. I was one of those people.


At only 26 years old, I had a herniated disk, hip and back pain, shoulder pain, and more, all from jumping from planes in the Army. That is until I learned about the pain cycle and how to break it, which is what I will be covering today.

Let's dive into it. What is the pain cycle?

The Pain cycle is my own version of the cumulative injury cycle, a very popular and well-researched process of how we develop injuries and how it continues to cause you life long pain.

My version of the cumulative injury cycle is simply tweaked to help you understand how it relates to your pain.

How does the Pain Cycle Work?

To best understand the Pain Cycle, I believe you should start with your current pain.

There are several kinds of injuries that cause different kinds of pain and, right now, you should try to figure out where you are in the cycle.

What we usually feel first is tissue trauma - this can be any kind of damage to any kind of tissue to your body, like your skin, bone, nerves, muscle, etc. If you had any kind of muscle tear, broke the skin, broken bone, etc. this is usually how you entered the cycle.

Trauma will lead to inflammation, the next piece in the cycle. This is a normal process of the body to help begin repairing the damaged area. If you are feeling heat or see swelling or redness, you're probably in the inflammation stage.

After inflammation, you move on to muscle spasms. The muscle will spasm to help protect and secure the damaged tissue after inflammation, almost like how a cast will hold a joint in a certain position. A quick muscle contraction that may be painful will tell you that you're in the spasm stage.

After muscle spasms come adhesion or scar tissue. This is simply the body sewing itself back up, but this time a little tighter to keep everything secure. This is why a muscle with a scar may not stretch as much as it used too.

Scar tissue leads to a muscular imbalance. The reason why is because the muscle with scar tissue will usually end up having limited range of motion. When this happens, it will create a pattern of pulling the joint its attached to out of place while creating weakness within the other muscles attached to the joint. (We'll dive into this a little more later.)

This muscular imbalance will lead to compression and friction within the tissues because there is now uneven tension in the joints. This is were we feel nervy pain like TOS or sciatica.

And compression will lead back to tissue trauma. And the pain cycle continues in another area of the body.

When I Learned About the Cycle

I remember when I discovered the method for breaking the pain cycle. When I wanted to be a trainer, I decided to learn some specialties to go along with my certification and make myself more knowledgeable. And it was in the corrective exercise class that I had my Aha moment and discovered how to break the pain cycle without medications or surgery. I became instantly obsessed and wanted to learn more.

Here's how we break the cycle.

Within the cycle, there are pieces that you shouldn't really mess around with because they are the natural way for recovery or there isn't much anyone can really do. But, there are pieces that you can work on to get out of the cycle, which is what we address.

There are three main reasons for pain during the Muscle Imbalance stage. The first is weak muscles, the second is tight muscles, and the third is altered joints.

Strengthen the Correct Muscles

The first way I learned how to break the pain cycle is by training the weak muscles. If you have ever been to physical therapy and performed exercises, this is basically the same thing. Here's my problem with this though, even though it has its place and I use it often, I have learned from experience that it doesn't fix the pain all the way, which is what led me to the second method for breaking the chain of pain (chain sounded cooler than cycle here haha).

Stretch at the right time.

Muscles that are tight can also cause muscle imbalance, which is why we focus on stretching the correct muscles at the right time. I learned all of these techniques and more while being certified in a 500-hour yoga teacher course. Stretching the correct muscles is going to depend on which muscles you plan on training. And knowing when to stretch will depend on factors like scar tissue and fascia. I was beginning to feel a difference in my own pain, but it wasn't enough and it still kept coming back. When I learned that my pain may be caused by fascia and scar tissue, I knew the next step in my journey, Massage Therapy.

Break up Scar Tissue

Scar tissue and restrictive fascia is something that will cause a muscle to become tight, which leads to other muscles becoming weak, and joints to become misaligned. Because of this, I made sure to not only get my Massage Therapist Certification, I also made sure to learn the specific techniques required to get rid of the scar tissue like trigger point therapy, myofascial release, and much more.

With this three-prong attack, I was able to eliminate almost all of my pain within a matter of weeks, not years. But for me to help others there was one thing I was missing, and that was figuring out which muscles were causing the problem. Luckily, the answer was easy to figure out and all I needed was time.

Assessments done right

I searched online and finally found a promising site. A site to teach me not only assessments for the body, but how it relates to pain. After spending 100+ hours in this course, I was able to not only learn valuable assessments to locate and eliminate pain along with new and advanced techniques, but I was also certified as a Human Movement Specialist.

Our MOVEment

We believe everyone, regardless of their age, should be able to live a pain-free and active life.

That is why our movement for Train and Massage is to not only help you break the pain cycle through assessments, stretching, exercise, and massage; it's to also teach you how to get rid of it yourself using gym equipment you already have.

If you Live in San Diego and want to take our services for a test drive, then click on the button below right now to get a huge discount on our services and feel what it's like to live pain free.

About the author 


Adam is the owner of Train and Massage and has earned multiple certifications including Human Movement Specialist, Certified Massage Therapist, Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, and More.

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