What is a "graded return to activity?" My doctor wrote this on my discharge instructions after back surgery. I'm sure someone explained it to me, but there's a lot I don't remember from that time in the hospital.
"Return to activity" seems clear enough--getting back to your daily activities at home, school, or work. Graded simply means you increase what you do a little at a time every day. How much you do, depends on how strong you feel, how much energy you have, or how much pain free movement is present.
Sometimes you won't know you did too much until the next day. Then a painful flare-up can put you back where you started. That's why it's best to start slowly and add gradually, testing new limits each day.