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We often hear people say “I’m tired” when referring to feeling tired after a long day at work, or after working out. But what does it mean when you feel tired after your physiotherapy session?

You may be wondering if there is something wrong with the way your physiotherapy plan, but that’s not the case! When someone feels tired after physio it means that they are getting closer to recovery.

This blog post will help explain why fatigue is actually a good sign and how it can be used as an indicator for healing progress.

Should You Feel Tired After Physio?

As physiotherapists, we often get asked if the tiredness that a client feels after their session means they’re doing too much.

Fatigue is actually one of the key signs your body sends to let you know it’s making progress towards recovery and healing itself! The tired feeling you feel after physio simply tells us that something is happening inside of you that require energy. The same reason your body migh feel tired while you have a cold or flu.

Tiredness After Physiotherapy

The tired feeling or fatigued after a exercise is often one of the first signs that your physiotherapist sees when they’re assessing a client’s exercise program, it tells the physio that the dosage or repetitions of the exercise is challenging, which is a good thing! Exercise must be challenging. Fatigue should always be followed by rest and recovery. 

What Is Causing Fatigue? 

For example, tiredness can be caused by:

– Being tired from a long day at work/school;

– Working out too hard and not listening to your body’s signals of fatigue; – Feeling stressed or anxious about life events (e.g. work, school, etc.)

– Physiotherapy!

When you feel tired from your physiotherapy, it means that something is going on in your body and it’s working towards healing itself! For example:

– You may be feeling tired because of an increase in the load surrounding the area where you had surgery;

– Your muscles are contracting and relaxing more often which can lead to tiredness;

– Or, you could be feeling tired because of an increase in movement around a joint.  

Regardless of why fatigue is happening after physiotherapy, it’s still a good sign! Understanding the difference between chronic tiredness and tiredness from your physiotherapist’s treatment will help you better understand all of the other changes your body is experiencing too.

Why Is Rest So Important After A Physiotherapy Session?

We have established that tiredness and fatigue are completely normal after a physiotherapy appointment, and that fatigue is actually an important part of your recovery journey. You need to listen to your body, and when it feels tired, rest. Workout needs equal rest to regenerate, rebuild and re-energize.

Tiredness After Physio

When your physiotherapist says that you need to rest, what they really mean is that you should allow yourself time for sleep and proper relaxation.

This means taking the occasional nap (if tired), getting plenty of deep sleep at night, avoiding things like caffeine or alcohol which can make it harder to get quality sleep, taking regular breaks during the day to get up and stretch/move around, avoiding stressful tasks (like deadlines at work) if tired.

You may also need some extra help with sleep to make sure you are getting enough quality rest each night.  If fatigue is an issue for you, come see us as we can recommend a physiotherapist who specializes in sleep.

How Should You Feel After Physiotherapy?

After a physiotherapy session, you might feel many different things. From relieve from pain, a little different because you are moving a little differently, you might feel looser, stronger, or you might feel tired because you had a tough session, you might feel glad because you now understand your pain is not from anything serious and there is a lot that you can do to fix it.

You might feel a little emotional because your physiotherapy session got a little deep into emotional stresses that could be causing your discomfort.

You might be feeling motivated. Or you might feel confused because your physio said lots of big words, if that is the case ask your physio to explain it in a better way, it is important that you understand.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading this blog about tiredness after physio, and tiredness is very normal after a physio session, especially if it is your first time going to a physio, it can be a lot to take in but your physio will take it at your pace, step-by-step.

Thank you again, and have an amazing day!

References 

[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30151552/

[2] https://physioprofessionals.com.au/role-of-physiotherapy-with-chronic-fatigue/