My Physio exercises are sometimes painful. Is this normal?

We’ve all heard the saying, “no pain, no gain”.  Is this true?  Well, that depends……

If you are attending Physiotherapy, chances are you sought help because you are having pain of some sort.  If the goal is to reduce or eliminate your pain, why then do some exercises that Physiotherapists  prescribe increase your pain?

We do know that the sooner you can get moving after injury, the better your chances of full recovery are and the less likely you are to develop longstanding issues such as chronic pain.

So, when it comes to your prescribed exercises causing pain, a little bit of common sense goes an awful long way.

Ask yourself theses questions:

How bad is the pain?  Are we talking 9/10 pain, have to lie down, take meds and can’t do anything else the rest of the day pain?  If your answer is yes, then maybe we need to look at modifying what you are doing.  Alternatively, if the pain from exercising is what you would call strong discomfort that lasts for a little while but settles again fairly quickly and you can go on about your day, well, then maybe this is a “worthwhile” aggravation that is needed to get you over the healing hump, so to speak.

Is the pain you are experiencing “your” pain?  Meaning, is it the same pain that you sought help for? Or is it possibly discomfort experienced from muscle soreness because you’re doing movements that are new?

Is it a pain that gets better the more you move?  This can be pain from joint or muscle stiffness – in which case, moving into and past the discomfort makes a lot of sense.  However, if its pain that gets worse and worse and worse the more you do, this sounds more like an active inflammatory process or injury process and warrants a discussion with your therapist.

Of course, as with anything, please talk to your Physiotherapist if you have any concerns about your exercises.  They know you, your injury and the rationale behind the exercise prescription and can give you expert advice!