findings from FCE’s are time
-limited because your functional level can change over time,especially if you are actively working on your rehabilitation.
What should I do to prepare for an FCE?
In the days before an FCE appointment, follow your usual routine. It’s important to use
your pain management coping strategies in the days before, during and after the FCE.This means you should take your usual medications, do your normal exercises, work at apaced level of activity and use breathing, relaxation and coping statements.It can be helpful to plan a slightly lighter day than normal for the day after completing
your FCE. This is because it’s common for people to experience a short
-term increase inmuscle pain after doing activities that perhaps are not part of your usual daily routine.
For people with a chronic pain condition, it’s also common to experience a delay in this
pain settling down. You should manage this flare-up pain with your usual set-back plan.
…and during an FCE?
Let the person conducting the assessment know about all your health conditions,including whether you have chronic pain, and also discuss the pain managementstrategies you will be using. Remember, if you usually use medications as part of yourpain management plan, you must continue taking these on the day of your assessment.This is to ensure your assessment reflects your usual state of health.An FCE is intended to reflect your usual performance, so attempt all the activities to the
best of your ability. It’s easy to respond to the testing situation by trying to do more –
than you usually do, but
this won’t give you an accurate picture of what you can
manage. Provided you use your active coping strategies you will be able to manage theassessment without undue concern.Remind the person taking the assessment that you will need to stretch, breathe and/ortake short breaks throughout the assessment process, especially if this is a high pain day.It is common to find that your pain is a little higher on the day of an FCE, this is possiblybecause of some anxiety. If this is the case, remind yourself of your active copingstrategies such as breathing, stretching, positive self statements and activity management.
After the FCE
Stretch, breathe, use your relaxation strategies, and remind yourself that you’ve justcompleted a set of quite demanding activities, so it’s normal to experience a flare
-up of pain. People without chronic pain can feel muscle pain after completing an FCE. Asmentioned above, plan for a less active day on the day following if necessary
completely stop doing what you usually do on a daily basis.If you find your pain is particularly difficult to manage after an FCE, you may find ithelpful to talk with your GP.