Frequently asked: Should I stop when it hurts?

One question we get asked a lot here at Harris & Ross is “should I stop XYZ when it hurts?”. Here, our Physio Dave Williams answers……

The answer to this is not always!

It will depend on the problem and situation but pain does not always relate to damage or harm particularly with lower back pain (LBP).

We know that in LBP, persisting activities with low levels of pain will resolve their problem quicker and speed their return to work. In rehabilitation of tendinopathies, exercising in pain less than 4/10 is completely acceptable and will speed up recovery compared to those who avoid pain.

However, if you have an acute injury e.g sprinting and sudden onset of pain at back of thigh, this would be an occasion to stop and ice and allow to settle as continued exposure is likely to further damage the muscle.

Similarly, if you have had surgery and have pain associated with swelling, it is important you don’t just push on regardless, as swelling is an indicator that the related injury is not “happy” with what it is being exposed to.