What to Do When Exercise Causes A New Pain

Do you need to stop doing what you are doing? Do you ignore the pain and continue to exercise?

This can especially happen if you are starting a new exercise regimen or trying a different type of exercise. When new aches and pains begin to appear, it can be difficult to know what to do.

What about when you have to train for a race, or another competition and don’t want to stop training but also don’t want to make things worse?

This is the most common scenario we see when working with athletes. It is normal to feel some pain when you start doing more of a certain activity, or pick up a new one.

The most important thing to be successful is your decision-making, whether you are doing more of one thing, starting a new exercise program, or switching up the type of workout.

Below, we provide a simple framework that will help you evaluate your symptoms and decide what to do next.

This is the “Red Yellow, Green Light Decision Making System”

What are the differences between levels?

Red Light-level pain is one that increases during an activity and alters the way you move and go into motions. This can be milder, but lasts for hours. The pain may be there the next day, even if you wake up feeling better. 

You don’t need to stop doing what you are doing when this happens. But you must take a step back. The area of the pain may become even more aggravated if you do not take a step back and you may find yourself in a situation where you have to stop activity completely when you feel the red lights.

A Yellow Light refers to a milder level of pain and soreness that can be caused by increased or new activity. It’s normal to feel some soreness after or during intense activities. This is because your body adjusts to new activities. It’s normal to feel sore for a short time after the activity, but it will fade over time.

This pain is ok and you can continue to be active. It is important to not push past yellow light pain levels and to allow your body to adapt to the activity level before you push further. Work on your strength and tolerance at this level and then once you feel more comfortable with this activity level you can test more challenging levels of activity.

There is no pain in a Green Light. You can push yourself further and keep moving forward with your activity.

It is important to monitor your pain levels during and after exercise in order to avoid injuries and allow you to progress with your sport efficiently.

Although there are some subtleties in how it translates into different types of exercise and bodies, this system can be used to make smart decisions about how to train around pain.

We can help if you have been suffering from “Red Light” and “Yellow Light” symptoms for some time, even though you have tried adjusting your activity level to make a lasting change.

We will diagnose the problem and create a treatment plan to help you get back on track.

Are you having trouble gauging your pain? Do you need an expert to help guide and motivate you to live a pain-free life?

We are here to help you overcome pain here at ProKinetix so you can continue the activities you love! Let us know what’s going on and we’ll discuss whether or not we’re a good match to work together on overcoming your pain.

Oakland, CA Pain Management Clinic

Dr. Ben Bagge

Pro+Kinetix Physical Therapy & Performance

"We Help Active Adults & Athletes Get Back To Workouts and Sports They Enjoy without surgery, stopping activities they love, or relying on pain medicine."
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