How do I know if I’m overdoing it with my rehab exercises?

I get this question a lot if someone feels pain after doing exercises. Your exercises should not increase your typical pain while you are performing them. You should feel challenged or fatigued but the goal is never to produce additional pain. I don’t believe in no pain no gain when it comes to injury management.

Pain has a way of altering our normal movement patterns, which can have a long term effect if not properly managed. It is best for us to get you moving properly without perpetuating pain and inflammation.

Learn more about functional movements.

Here is the tricky part. Sometimes we feel soreness long after the exercises are done and not while you’re doing them. This can be a normal part of the strengthening process. We can feel what’s called “delayed onset muscle soreness”. (DOMS). This kind of soreness can be expected 24-48 hours after working out under-utilized muscles.

My rule here is that I should be able to do my exercises again 3 days later with minimal discomfort. If that is not achievable, we need to change something. Less sets, less repetitions, less movement (i.e. 50% of the expected full motion), or pick something less intense altogether.

Either way, it is good to let your therapist know how you feel after your exercises. Beware, if you say they are too easy we will make them harder!…and that’s a good thing.


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