Do you struggle with chronic pain? Have you been told by doctors to either completely stop moving, or to lose weight before committing to movement with chronic pain? Why is this advice wrong, and how can you start a movement today that’s really beneficial to you? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about chronic pain and how to reclaim your life with Dana Karen “DK” Ciccone. 


Dana Karen (“DK”) Ciccone is a certified Pilates instructor who helps people in pain improve strength, mobility, and well-being in a weight-neutral environment. She’s also trained in pain reprocessing therapy through the Pain Psychology Center. Having begun her own journey with chronic back pain as a young teen, she has been exploring ways to help herself and others regain the joy of movement for decades. After twenty years in the health sector, DK left a corporate career to follow her passion, later launching Movement Remedies, a chronic pain–focused Pilates studio in Boston, Massachusetts.

Her first book, You’re Meant to Move: A Guide to Conquering Chronic Pain, Increasing Stress Resilience, and Reclaiming an Active Life, was released December 2023.

Visit Movement Remedies and connect on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

FREEBIES: Email DK for a free digital copy of her book You're Meant to Move, at & use this FREE PASS for her Restorative Mat Class.



  • Don’t view exercise as punishment 
  • DK’s advice for someone who is averse to movement 
  • Change is tough but still necessary
  • There’s hope! 

Don’t view exercise as punishment 

Many people who are stuck in diet culture mentalities view exercise as a means to an end. They see exercise as a tool to gain a different body, or as a way to punish themselves for what they ate.  The thing is, exercise - or movement, as DK explains - is so much more than this. Don’t let diet culture make you believe that exercise or movement is something that’s bad or something that you have to suffer through.  Movement is natural. Movement is something that is so good and truly healthy, with loads of positive benefits for physical, mental, and emotional health, and at its core, it is something that everyone should do, not only for health but for the enjoyment of life. 
Evolutionarily, we were not meant to sit at desks all day and be sedentary. It’s just not how our body has evolved over time … So it’s inherent in us as humans … there’s a desire for moving our bodies. I would say [that] your body wants to be moved in all directions, some amount of time, every single day. (DK Ciccone) 
This will look different for every person. Detach movement from guilt so that you can reclaim it in a way that is unique to you, and so that you will allow yourself to enjoy movement however you prefer; 
  • Walking 
  • Dancing 
  • Swimming 
  • Yoga 
  • Weights 
[We are] reminding [our clients] that [movement] is to bring joy! I’m all about the mental health benefits also, because … Especially for folks with chronic pain … Life is hard enough as it is. I want you to … be able to embody your vessel … Let it be an experience of moving mindfulness. (DK Ciccone) 
There are so many different ways to move your body, and all of them - depending on your preferences - are beneficial to your life overall. 

DK’s advice for someone who is averse to movement 

The idea of “rest is best” as a priority for all chronic pain is no longer valid. Your body has evolved from a moving history, and not moving at all adds more pain and stress to the body than doing it a little.  Make a list of 10 things that have some form of movement that you enjoy doing, which is what DK recommends, and it can be as small and minor as making circles with your wrists and ankles. 
Try them. Try every single one of them. Try walking in a pool, try putting on music and walking around your house. Try sweeping … There are things that are moving your body that are not “exercise”. (DK Ciccone) 
There are many types of movement that don’t necessarily fall under typical “exercise” but that is still very beneficial for your body and health. You are able to find some part of your body to move that you still enjoy, and that will be beneficial to you.  If you want to be independent and healthy into your old age, you’ve got to move! 

Change is tough but still necessary 

Even though something could be difficult to do, it doesn’t mean that it’s not worth doing. Even more so, doing something tough is important because it is worth doing! Especially when it comes to your health and overall well-being. 
When it comes down to it, we’re talking about human change, and human behavior change, and that’s really difficult, you know, that takes a long time and the medical system is just not catching up! Like, we’ve all decided BMI is nonsense … There’s all this new research … And yet they’re continuing to push [diet culture]. (DK Ciccone) 
Unfortunately, the medical industry is also slow to change. True health and true well-being are things that you invest in and that are dependent on your effort, care, and self-compassion.  There are no quick fixes and there are no pills, plans, or diets that can save you from the effort it takes to build a happy and healthy body. Remember that health has no specific size or shape.  Health is what you are when you live fully, consider your body, and take care of yourself while you enjoy your day, hobbies, and passions. 

There’s hope! 

Your body is always capable of change and adapting, until your last breath. There is always hope for you to heal, recover, get stronger, and to care for yourself in a truly holistic and healthy way that supports and encourages you to live life fully and joyfully. 



  I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "Hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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