I am often asked, “I’m not in any pain now, so can I go back to my routine?” The answer is, soon, but not quite yet! This is a dangerous point when you feel as though you’re a 100%, but are basing it on pain level. This is certainly the first goal; getting you out of pain. However, it is most often a poor predictor of when you can resume regular activities.
Patients are commonly very anxious to get back to “normal” and start doing regular things again. The key is to slowly ramp up the intensity, duration and frequency. This applies to whether it is exercises, hobbies, household chores, work or sports.
Using pain as an indicator of being at 100% is very misleading because pain is the first to flee and the last to show up. Most injuries are the result from repetitive trauma or other musculoskeletal insults that take time for the the inflammation to build up and create pain (a few hours up to 2 days). In these cases, the injury to the tissues have already occurred and have no correlation to when the pain is felt! The pain is the last to show up.
The reverse is also common. Pain typically leaves before the tissues are at 100%. Getting back into your usual routine might be appropriate at this time, but not at the same intensity, duration and frequency.
My suggestion is to start at 30% of what you would do at 100% and increase 15%-20% every 3rd day. If it is too much then you should feel the pain within this time frame.
Please contact me if you have questions. I would be glad to talk with you!