Sports are celebrated and incredibly important in our culture. From Achilles to Hercules, Gilgamesh to Arjuna, Peyton Manning to Abby Wambach, athletic excellence and feats of heroism and awe is something towards which many of us aspire, and even more of us admire. Participating in sports can help you enjoy better health, but it can also lead to painful sports injuries.
The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat…and the pain of sports injuries.
Sprains, strains, and ACL tears are commonplace in the sports zeitgeist today. If you play for a national squad, or a popular and well-funded team, pain relief and pain management treatments are as high-quality as they are commonplace. For the average athlete, however, or amateurs just trying to break through the lower ranks and make a name for themselves, options can be limited, and it therefore becomes all the more important to recognize different types of sports injuries and treat them and the associated pain before they become critical.
A few examples of sports injuries and treatments include:
- Broken bones: A broken bone is one of the most common injuries, and not just for athletes. Above all, when dealing with a broken bone, DO NOT take it upon yourself to try and fix the break yourself. If you can, set the bone, or have another do it for you, but if this is beyond your capability, DO NOT move the damaged area. If you see any bone sticking out of the skin, do your best to keep the region clean and let the wound breathe. Check with your doctor for an effective pain relief agent, ie, morphine.
- Dizziness: It may be difficult to see dizziness as a sports injury, but make no mistake—not only does it qualify, but it can be one of the most serious. Dizziness, coupled with disorientation, instability, nausea, and/or memory loss can all point to a concussion, which itself can lead to everything from short or long-term memory loss to sensitivity to light and sound to long-term brain damage, depending on the nature, severity, and repetition of the injury. In addition, dizziness coupled with thirst or light-headedness can point towards dehydration, which is itself a serious and painful injury. The best-case scenario includes a loss of energy and disorientation—the worst-case scenario? Death, has happened in the past in National Football League mini-camps. Hydration and regular attention to any cramps or irregular athletic-related pain is vital.
- Sprains and strains: Whirlpools and warmth are your friend when suffering the pain of a sprain or strain. Twisting or overextending your muscles and ligaments can lead to a sprain or strain, depending on the angle and force of the impact.
- Ligament damage: Once upon a time there was a pitcher on that great and glorious bat and ball sport not named cricket. Yes, we are of course referring to baseball (fans of rounders will have to wait.) In 1974, Tommy John damaged the UCL in his pitching elbow. The pain was immense, the disappointment was intense, and his career looked over—until, on a wing and a prayer (and a hunch) doctors performed the first of what is now termed Tommy John Surgery. If you pitch in American baseball, this is a term that is at once feared and revered. On the one hand, the surgery (which surgically moves other ligaments to the site and attaches them in such a way as to allow the player to throw a ball once more) has a year recovery time. That’s a long time away from your sport, to say nothing of the fact that attaching ligaments and slowly, painstakingly recovering your form can lead to a great deal of discomfort, which in turn may require pain relief pills. On the other hand, surgeries like this are extending the livelihoods of athletes across the globe.