It’s a great day to talk about YOUR ultimate health!  

Today, I want to spend some time sharing the “3 Check Mark Game” that I created. I like to use this game for patients who are coming back from an injury. The game is used to self-assess where they are physically with increased activity.  

The goal of the game is to look at different delayed versions of inflammation or irritation to the injury area and self-assess your healing progress. We will use the example of an ankle sprain or low back strain as we play the game today. 

The first part of the game is when you are starting to resume or increase activity after the injury. The question to ask yourself is: how do I feel? Does the area get more sore during the exercise? In the case of the ankle sprain or the low back strain, you’ll assess how that particular area feels as you work through the activity. You’ll want to start the activity again slowly and controlled. Hopefully you are working with your health care professional, maybe even me, to guide you. The purpose of this is to check to see how you are doing with resumed activity.  

If you are feeling sore or it is difficult to complete the activity, it’s probably a sign that you are not ready to resume or you are doing too much, too fast. At this point, you’ll want to stop and reassess the intensity of the activity. Maybe you’ll want to start with a lighter activity. But, if you can do the full activity the whole way through and you feel pretty good, you can check the first box! 

The second question to ask during the check mark game is: how does that area feel a couple hours after the activity? If your ankle wants to swell up or your back is feeling sore a couple hours later, then you’ll go back to the first part of the game where you assess how you feel during the activity. Basically, you are starting over with the first check mark. Maybe you don’t go quite as intense this time. If you are feeling good a couple hours after the activity, then you get to check the second box!  

The goal at this point is to feel good during the activity (first check). Then remain feeling good a couple hours after completing the activity (second check). 
The third question is: how does the area feel the next day? For example, you do the activity and your ankle or back feel great, a couple hours after the activity things still feel good, but the next day you wake up and you are sore. That is a sign that maybe you are still doing too much activity for the healing injury. Remember to focus on the injury pain. Not normal muscle soreness that happens when you haven’t used certain muscles for a while. You will know the difference if you pay attention. If you can get to the next day and still feel good, then you get to check the third box! It’s a good sign you are on the right track and can continue at that level for a while.  

When you are ready to try increasing the intensity of the activity again, start over with the game to assess if you are truly ready for the increase. Again, I recommend that you work with a health care professional as you return to activity, particularly if the injury was serious.  

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions on the 3 Check Mark Game. Or if you want to discuss a specific injury you are recovering from. I would love to help you any way I can.