This post explains the importance of exercise after episode of pain. It follows on from this post explaining why 6 weeks for recovery is a good milestone.
Watch the video or read below for a refresh on 6 weeks for recovery and the importance of exercising after an episode of pain. Don’t stop exercising once the pain stops!
If you stop exercising when the pain stops, you’ll likely go back into old habits. The muscles around the area you’ve had the issue with won’t be as strong and potentially won’t have the endurance needed. This, unfortunately, leaves you more likely to relapse.
Refresh on why 6-weeks of exercises
Some general rules we go from:
- The pain can switch muscles off and stop them working as well or efficiently as they were before the episode of your pain.
- It can take 6-weeks or more for the muscles to build up their strength.
This is why you’ve got at least 6 weeks of doing exercises
You want to start the clock for those 6-weeks after your pain reduces. Aim to be pain-free and then start the timer.
Importance of Exercise after Episode of Pain: Don’t stop when the pain stops
Example 1: A desk-worker with neck pain
If you’re a desk worker and experiencing neck pain (which, unfortunately, is not unusual). You manage to reduce the pain and go back to work, forgetting to keep going with the exercises.
Sitting down can cause the front of the shoulders and neck to become tight, which can put pressure on the neck and be a cause of pain.
- Pain switches muscles off and stops them working as well or efficiently as before. So now the neck is slightly weaker than it was before the episode of pain
- It takes at least 6 weeks for the muscles to regain strength and endurance. If you stop exercising after a few weeks, when the pain stops, then you haven’t given the muscles enough time to strengthen.
If you haven’t spent enough time rehabbing the strength and endurance of the upper back and neck, then this could lead you down the route of a relapse.
Example 2: A basketball player with an ankle sprain
If you’ve had the misfortune of spraining your ankle (and checked that there’s no fracture), then this will cause the muscles around the ankle to be weaker.
Generally, because these muscles are weaker, then balance will be reduced. The injured ankle isn’t quite the same as the other leg that hasn’t had the injury.
If you stop exercising once the pain goes from the ankle, it’s unlikely the strength and balance will be 100%. If you then go back to playing basketball, it’s likely the ankle is less stable and so you’ll be more likely to roll it again and relapse.
After an injury, it’s a good idea to work within timeframes. You’re not expected to do exercises forever and ever, but make sure you’ve given yourself enough time to work on strength and endurance so you give yourself the best chance of recovery.
As an example:
You experience pain/injury
1-2 weeks – work on reducing the pain and regaining the range of movement
4-6 weeks – work on strength, endurance and balance
Overall timeframe: 8-10 weeks
NB Please note the above doesn’t cover all the possible scenarios of someone experiencing pain
Knowing the importance of exercise after episode of pain can help improve consistency with your rehab plan. If you’ve got any questions on the above, then please let us know (click for contact details).
Remember – Listen to your Body!
Please remember to listen to your body. Get any aches and pains checked out sooner rather than later.
As with all information given for exercises and exercise programs, when using our exercise videos or information, please use your common sense and don’t do anything that will hurt you. By performing any fitness exercises, you are performing them at your own risk. PhysioFit Health will not be responsible or liable for any injury or harm you sustain as a result of information shared on our website or YouTube channel. This includes emails, videos and text. Thanks for your understanding.