Pavlov had a dog. 

He experimented with his dog...Every time he fed his dog he would ring a bell as the dog drooled away anticipating its food. Eventually, Pavlov’s dog would drool at the sound of the bell, even in the absence of food. This was Pavlov’s demonstration of classical conditioning. 

Why is this relevant?

The idea that two different stimuli can be paired together brings an alternative, theoretical angle to managing long-term pain sufferers. If an acute injury (say, low back pain) occurs, and we experience pain every time we bend - pairing together pain and bending - could it be possible that pain and bending stay ‘paired’ together even after the injury is healed and recovered? It is plausible, and does possibly explain a layer to the stories of “I had a car accident 3 years ago and it still hurts to bend!” Perhaps this an argument to explore more movements and re-find some joy in movement and re-condition ourselves (whether that’s walking, group exercise, stand-up paddle boarding, etc) or perhaps pain sufferers can take simply comfort in knowing that there not forever ‘broken’ and that pain comes from a few different angles and each angle needs to be addressed. 

Either way, some pretty cool food for thought! 

Tristan Chai