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Befor the kicking starts

Posted by Miri Barak on March 06, 2005

Hello dear friends'
I don't understand the meaning of kicking here:
"WE WANT TO HEAD YOU OFF BEFORE THE KICKING STARTS"

It's in the middle of an operation and the doctor asks the patient to tell him when he feels pain.

I understand that head off is to prevent, but kicking, is it literally or does he mean "the fun", that is the pain?

Thanks a lot