While more prevalent among teens and adolescents, sports injuries can occur at any age. Affecting both professional and amateur athletes equally, sports-related injuries can range from minor aches to near-debilitating painful conditions. The term “sports injury” is so broad in terms of the possible source of the pain and potential treatment that any lingering discomfort shouldn’t be ignored if you hope to get back into the game as soon as possible.
Sports injuries are often caused by repetitive use injuries from strain placed on the same group of muscles, as can be the case with sports such as golf, tennis, and baseball. Such injuries often placed added strain on muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Some sports injuries result from sudden trauma or when muscles, joints, or bones are twisted or turned in unnatural positions. Failing to do a proper warm-up or not getting sufficient exercise between activities can also contribute to injuries. Common sports-related injuries include:
- Ankle sprains and shin splints
- Hamstring strains
- Knee injuries, including ACL tears
- Tennis elbow
Pain associated with a sports injury is typically relegated to the area where the injury occurred, although this isn’t always the case. If an injury results in inflammation that places pressure on nerves, pain may radiate elsewhere. For instance, a blow to the lower back may result in nerve pain felt in the legs due to pressure on the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body that goes from the lower back to the legs. Additional symptoms associated with sports-related injuries may include:
- Sharp, severe pain relegated to one area
- Dull, persistent aches and pains
- Pain felt in adjacent areas
- Discomfort affected by movement
Treatment for a sports injury often includes targeted rehabilitation that focuses specifically on the affected area or muscle group. The initial step necessary for any type of treatment is an attempt at making an accurate diagnosis, which typically includes x-rays and other image tests to pinpoint the true source of the pain. The diagnostic process will also include a physical exam and an evaluation of your medical history. since preexisting conditions or previous sports injuries that may not have healed properly can contribute to pain felt from a recent injury. Treatment for a sports injury may also include one or more of the following remedies:
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic care
- Medication management
- Customized pain management
Every situation is unique with any type of injury. Diagnosing and treating sports injuries early, however, increases the odds that you’ll respond well to pain management techniques. It’s just as important to make an effort to prevent future sports-related injuries or re-injuries with proper warm-ups and the use of appropriate, well-fitting protective equipment, especially with contact sports. If you experience unexpected pain or a hard fall, take a timeout. If the discomfort is severe, doesn’t go away after initial rest and the application of ice or heat, or becomes progressively worse, seek treatment.
If you have a sports injury that is causing chronic pain, contact Allied Pain & Spine Institute today to schedule an appointment.