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Don’t Be Afraid To Exercise – Ask A Physical Therapist

It is a fairly common complaint that we hear in our physical therapy office, “I would like to do [insert activity] but I am afraid my pain will come back.” We hear this from people who are actively having pain, but even more disheartening we often hear it from people who have been free of pain for multiple weeks or even months. Depending on your injury and pain, it’s likely possible that you can return to the activity you love, though modifications may be helpful. Here are some common modifications that I give to my patients for return to activity.

1.) Start slow – both speed and frequency Speed can correlate with form, with increased speed of activities resulting in more breakdown of your form. After returning to an activity post-rehabilitation, your PT probably made some corrections in your form for the activities that you were having pain with. Starting at a slower speed can help you make these changes cognitively and eventually turn these changes into your normal movement patterns. Remember, you can’t do sometime fast until you can do something slow and controlled.

2.) Find a good instructor and speak up There are great fitness instructors out there and occasionally some that aren’t so great. If you are headed back to group fitness classes, find an instructor who takes the time to correct for form during their classes. Additionally, before the class starts, tell the instructor that you are recently coming back from injury. If you do this, they will be more likely to watch out for you during the session.

3.) Don’t be afraid to take an individual lesson While individual exercise sessions are more expensive, the one-on-one care you get may be worth the extra money when you are returning from injury. While a PT may have corrected your form on certain activities, it is great to go to the experts in your particular activity. For example, there are lots of Pilates and Yoga studios that offer one-on-one or duet sessions which may help for the first couple of trials before starting group exercise classes again. Additionally, there are running coaches and lifting coaches who can help you if those are your preferred activities.

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