Dealing with a sports injury can be a difficult situation for most people. It is not only difficult to deal with the issue of pain, there is a psychological impact to coping as well. When you have to deal with chronic pain chances are you also have to deal with depression, negative thoughts, an inability to concentrate and personal feelings of self-doubt. As you’re probably already aware, those kinds of feelings and emotions can affect not only you but everyone around you as well.
Clearly, it is important to start pain management as soon as you recognize your sports injury will be a recurring problem. As pointed out in Advanced Pain Management: “When your painful sport injury lasts for more than a few weeks, it is important to see a pain management specialist to help ensure your pain does not become chronic pain.”
A visit to a pain management specialist can help you tailor your treatments to your unique needs so that you can get back to your favorite sport.
Deciding on the Type of Treatment
Your choice of treatment will depend largely on the type of injury you’re dealing with. For minor injuries like sprains or strains, many will choose to treat them at home using a PRICE therapy (PRICE stands for Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). This is a common treatment that most people will be able to do on their own.
In addition to the basic PRICE treatment, they may use a few over-the-counter painkillers like paracetamol or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to help to ease the pain while the body goes about the busy task of healing.
For Chronic Pain
But when the pain from the injury lasts for longer than 3 weeks, you may have to try other therapies to help to manage your discomfort. Some may choose to try physiotherapy, a specialist treatment that can incorporate massage, muscle manipulation, and exercise to help facilitate your range of motion and give added strength to the surrounding muscles to help you to heal faster.
Others may try a more invasive technique to deal with chronic inflammation like a corticosteriod injection or surgery. While injections may help relieve the pain for the moment, they are often temporary and may need to be repeated. They can also come with a host of side effects that could cause more problems rather than help the situation.
In the case of surgeries, there is another series of problems to contend with. In some cases, like broken bones, surgery may be your only option but they may require the use of wires, plates, screws, or rods that will later have to be replaced.
How to Manage Pain
During all of these treatments there will always be a need for the body to successfully manage pain. While drugs are always an option as more people become aware of the safer alternatives to drugs they are shifting their efforts to manage their pain on their own. As pointed out at WebMD: “If you have chronic pain and are looking for alternatives to medication and surgery, you have a lot of options. Alternative pain treatments that doctors once scoffed at are now standard at many pain centers.”
Here are a few of the alternative pain management options that people are trying today:
Acupuncture: this ancient Asian remedy has only recently been seen as effective in the western world. Studies have shown it to be very effective in relieving pain caused by a wide number of injuries. It blocks the pain signals in the nerves so that your body no longer senses the pain in the affected area.
Exercise: You might think that exercise is what got you injured in the first place but regular physical activity can provide major benefits for someone in pain by adding strength to the affected area and increased flexibility.
Manipulation: You can also try chiropractic manipulation or massage therapy to retrain your muscles on the proper place to be. That along with exercise can strengthen your surrounding muscles so that you can prevent further injury while you’re recovering.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation: The TENS unit is a device that gives us tiny electrical impulses that help to prevent pain signals from reaching your brain. This method provides very effective pain relief in all sorts of injuries. Many people have found that this is a preferred method of managing chronic pain unlike other popular remedies. It is a non-invasive and non-toxic treatment that can produce long lasting results.
Dealing with chronic pain as a result of a sports injury is no picnic for anyone. Its negative effects can severely curtail your life in many ways. As one doctor explains to WebMD: “If you’re living with chronic pain, here’s important news. Today’s pain specialists have sophisticated new treatments – from effective drugs to implants and electrical stimulation – to provide chronic pain relief. There’s much that can be done to tame the beast.”
By trying these alternative treatments that have come out in recent years, we all have a better chance of coping with chronic pain and eventually overcoming the problem.