Initially patients may find that purely avoiding the provocative activities alleviates their pain and allows for symptom relief. This would include avoidance and/or activity medication.
Other activities that may decrease pain are; ice, heat, meds, or positional changes/support. Identifying what can “turn off” your pain is extremely important when pain is present. Consult with health care professional regarding ice and heat application and any medication use.
One of the most important activities when pain is aggravated is to test any pain modulation exercises your therapist may have prescribed to you. Ask your health care provider which exercises are utilized for pain modulation or are designed to reduce pain levels. Pain modification exercises are very common for orthopedic dysfunctions. The exercises are designed to be performed to decrease or eliminate pain.
When pain is present this is a perfect time to test these exercises. As a therapist, I want to know that the exercises I have prescribed are achieving the intended goal. By performing pain modification exercises in the moment of elevated pain, we can determine how effective the exercises are and based upon the results, continue as planned or modify the exercises appropriately.
The illustration below demonstrates a common test for pain modification exercises. When your pain is worse and the exercises are performed – do the symptoms get better, do they get worse after your exercises or do they stay the same?