It’s going quite well, you feel your injury is getting better, when for no reason that you can work out, it feels like you have taken a backwards step and it hurts. This is a flare up.
During recovery there may be any number of flare ups. The road to recovery is not straight forward. We are challenged by our daily living circumstances and our belief systems. Louis Gifford ‘Aches and Pains likened it to a the toblerone bar. Ups and downs, but on it’s way up. Adam Meakins https://thesportsphysio.wordpress.com has a great graphic.
You are getting better, but for some some reason, today it hurts. It may be that you have over done it, but it might also be that your system is now sensitised. Your brain is on alert, looking out for any threats or dangers. Any activity that alerts the brain to further danger, could be considered a flare up. It may be that you have added in just a couple too many squats, lunges, miles. If so, although there may be no further tissue damage, you system has decided that that is enough!
What to do?
Go back to safety, go back to where you were before the flare up, even maybe a bit before that and begin to build again slowly. No need to rush, you’ll get there. Move slowly and mindfully, with concentration. Your nervous system needs to ‘catch’ the safety massage, to feel safe, unthreatened. You may not have any further tissue damage, in fact, if you have been careful generally, then it is unlikely. You have a system that is sensitive and it is telling you! Too much, pipe down, take it easy. Do that, go back a little, build again, move forward with confidence. You may need to challenge yourself some times, to push just a little harder, but that’s okay, remember you are brain training as well as rehabilitating from your injury.
Sometimes we have flare ups because life is a challenge. Anxiety, stress thought processes, fear, worry, all these things may play into your pain experience. Unpicking a little of your life may help you to establish unhelpful thought processes or viruses, catastrophizing, barriers that may be getting in your way to a return to health.
Remember though, that we are designed to heal, probably on the move and that you will get better. With or with out a flare up or two.