Let’s say you experience a little pain for 1-4 days after a workout. Should you spend your energy figuring out what is to blame for the flare up?
Answer: You’re better off figuring out how to get over the flare up faster vs trying to figure out what exactly caused the flare up.
Blaming ONE thing and attaching ONE story behind a 1-4 day flare, doesn’t respect the complexities of pain. It ignores all the other factors that influence the chances of having a flare up.
Let’s compare it to drinking.
You went out for the night and had many drinks. At 2am you had your last drink and boom, out of nowhere, you get sick 😷
What is just the 2am drink that got you sick? Or was it the combination of all the other drinks you had throughout the night? Maybe skipping 1 or 2 of those drinks earlier in the night could have prevented the whole thing?
No one can really say for sure. Flare ups work the same way.
When clients experience flare up with exercises they’ve done in the past with no problem, one question we ask is:
“has there been any change in routine lately?”
This brings awareness to other factors in their life that influence pain. Most of the time, people point out current stressors are on a all-time high or their sleep quantity/quality have been on the low side.
If the extra stressors were not there, would their body be been able to handle the workout without a problem??? We can never say for sure, because everything about pain is uncertain, but maybe!
The best thing to do in this situation is support your body to help get over the flare up faster
A few things seem to help our clients:
– Get blood pumping and everything moving through some low level cardio. My favorite is hopping on the treadmill on an incline. Nothing crazy. It should feel like you’re going on up a small hill. You can also try a bike if walking isn’t an option.
– Don’t avoid all movement. That’s everyone’s first response but that can actually delay the flare up from going away. Find ways to move your body that feels good and avoid the ones that trigger the pain from feeling worse.
– If you can’t control the outside stressors right now. You CAN control your gym routine. Maybe it isn’t the right time to push it really hard? Especially if these flare ups happen on a consistent basis. Once things have slowed down in your life, your body will be able to handle stress (workouts) without a problem. When clients have crazy deadlines and intense work hours, sometimes we dial back their workouts and avoid adding unnecessary stress.