Have you ever experienced a pain flare up just when you thought you were managing your injury well? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there! Whether you’ve experienced this flare up while you’re receiving treatment or while you’re self-managing with exercises and stretches, our first thought tends to be “something is wrong”.

We’re going to dive into why this often happens and why we shouldn’t automatically panic.

Pain isn’t always a bad thing. Hear me out, some pain is actually good! For example, if we weren’t able to feel pain we could place our hand on a hot burner and feel nothing. The result…well your hand would be pretty burnt.

So why do we panic when we’re dealing with an injury and we get a pain flare up?

It comes down to education and being aware of why it’s happening. When injured, our bodies go through pain cycles so it’s normal to experience different phases of pain while progressing through your rehabilitation (treatment from a therapist, exercises, stretches, etc.). Whether you’re dealing with a new or old injury, you’re bound to experience some kind of flare up along your recovery.

Typically, when dealing with an old injury that the body has become used to, the flare up will come a bit sooner once you introduce change (i.e exercise, stretching, treatment). On the other hand, when dealing with a new injury the flare up comes a bit later because the body is adjusting to the new changes and stresses.

In simple terms: it’s ok for it to feel worse before it feels better!

Here are a few tips to help you deal with a pain flare up:

1) DON’T PANIC!! Breathe. You’re ok!

2) Try to find the what and why. Ask yourself “what was I doing?”, “did I do too much?”, “was I trying something different than I’m used to?”.

3) Modify what you’re doing. Reduce the weight, limit the movement, use proper body positioning, etc.

4) Do NOT consult Dr. Google. If you’re really worried and can’t seem to calm the pain down with time, reach out to your Athletic Therapist for help.

5) Ride the wave. Remember it is normal and it will pass with some modification and time.

Written by Marilyne Doucet

Certified Athletic Therapist

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