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Traffic Light System Of Pain

The traffic light system of pain is an analogy I use to help my patients understand how far they should push themselves when doing exercises in order to get the best outcomes 🚦 ⁣ ⁣

When prescribing exercises to patients, when dealing with MOST (not all) pathologies, I will start off by explaining to them that a bit of pain is expected when doing their exercises. This tells us that the targeted structures are being manipulated. I then go on to describe the traffic light system... ✅ ⁣ ⁣

GREEN LIGHT → Pain is minimal. Patient is coping well with exercises. It is most likely time to progress them 🟩⁣ ⁣

AMBER LIGHT → Pain is moderate. Patient should try and push through this pain as much as they can, monitoring their symptoms closely 🟨⁣ ⁣

RED LIGHT → Pain is too much. Patient should stop & we will look to adapt/change that specific exercise 🟥⁣ ⁣

I understand that everyone’s perception of pain will be different, so the VAS ratings displayed are just rough estimates for the purpose of this post..⁣

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