Sports injuries can cause you to become sidelined and to miss out on fun social and competitive opportunities. However, what can start as minor injuries to the back, neck, arms, legs or feet can turn into chronic pain, soreness and stiffness that continue to plague you long after you stop playing the sport. Chronic pain is, by definition, pain that lasts longer than six months and it causes billions of dollars of health care costs annually. Here are five tips for dealing with the chronic pain depending on where it is located and on what your practitioner recommends.
Many doctors begin with over-the-counter or prescription painkillers as a conventional treatment. These do not typically remove the pain but merely cover it up so that the pain receptors in your brain no long feel the negative sensations. NSAIDS can often be purchased over the counter and may be used long-term. If you suffer with severe pain, your doctor may prescribe steroidal injections as part of your treatment plan.
What you may think of as only an anti-aging treatment actually has numerous uses throughout the body. A study purported that Botox can be used successfully for muscle and knee pain caused by sports injuries. In fact, it seemed to work even better than conventional medications did.
Physical therapy uses manual manipulation to improve the range and flexibility of the joints, which can reduce stiffness and pain. You may be able to regain the use of some painful joints while gaining strength. Your physical therapist will also teach you exercises that you can use at home to decrease stress in certain areas of your body. This may be combined with the use of resistance bands, weights or even exercise balls. Similar to physical therapy, someone with a coaching degree can help you get back into physical fitness safely and gently.
Meditation and Yoga
You may find that meditation can help you turn off the pain response by focusing your mind on something else. This can make your pain less severe while giving you a better outlook on life. Meditation is often combined with yoga, which is an excellent exercise for chronic pain because it improves strength and flexibility without much impact on the joints. If you are motivated to improve your chronic pain yourself, you can often forego or decrease the amount of conventional medication you require.
You may prefer the idea of herbal remedies over conventional treatments, which merely mask your pain. Some herbs have shown promise in repairing joints and decreasing stiffness and pain. Turmeric is useful for decreasing inflammation, glucosamine improves joint pain and a comfrey cream can improve lower back pain.
Check with your doctor before beginning any new treatments for your chronic pain. He or she will be able to help you determine the best fit for you based on the location, duration and type of pain you are having. Your doctor may also be able to suggest other helpful remedies, such as weight loss, guided relaxation and even certain types of exercise that can improve joint stiffness and soreness.