Returning to Activity: How Much is Too Much?

[box]”No Pain, No Gain” may be an effective marketing slogan, but it is NOT the smartest way to rehabilitate an injury.[/box]

When working to heal tissues and rebuild movement, we are always striving for the optimal therapeutic dose.

Too little and you don’t set up the stimulus for the changes in tissue and function that you want to see.

Too much and the body continues to break down and never rebuild to the desired level.

It is a “Goldilocks” challenge!

This presents a challenge for resuming or increasing desired activity levels. How do you know how hard to push?

[box] Here a a couple of general guidelines: [/box]


• You feel you are limiting or protecting /guarding your injured area as you do your activity

• You feel yourself changing your natural movement pattern.
Example: you can tell you are limping as you try to run, rocking more than usual on your bike, or not following through on your forehand.

• You have pain or discomfort with each movement that limits what you are trying to do.


• You are slightly altering your effort level, but can move smoothly at that effort level

• There may be baseline discomfort, but it does not change during the activity and is about the same before, during and after

• If post activity increased pain, soreness or swelling lasts minutes to a couple hours after your activity, that is probably okay. If it lasts the rest of day or into next day, that is too much.