How do Athletes Deal with Chronic Pain?
Unlike acute pain, chronic pain is not pain that goes away. It’s often relentless and can make physical activity difficult for anyone, including even the best of athletes.
Because chronic pain doesn’t ever truly disappear, it requires a medical strategy known as pain management. Pain management is exactly what it sounds like — its goal is to keep the pain at a manageable level that allows people, including athletes, to be able to function on a daily basis.
What are Examples of Pain Management for Athletes?
Chronic pain for athletes can be more difficult to handle than it is in other demographics, especially because athletes put their bodies under more stress than the average person does (with the exception of people in certain trades that involve a great deal of physical activity, such as construction).
But there are many pain management options available to athletes, including (but not limited to):
Ice and Elevation
Elevating the injury and applying ice to the injured area is a common approach, but it must be done right. Elevating the injured area alone isn’t enough; it’s most effective to elevate the entire extremity. For example, elevating just an injured foot isn’t as effective as elevating the entire leg and applying ice to the foot.
Ice and elevation works for both acute and chronic pains and is easy to attempt. Just be sure to pay attention to how much of your body is being elevated and assess if you’re feeling a difference.
Meditation and Yoga
The mind is a powerful thing, and sometimes, mind over matter can actually help when dealing with chronic pain. Meditating has shown to be a promising way to deal with chronic pain, and even more so when combined with yoga.
Deep-tissue massages, when performed by a physical therapist or certified massage therapist, may be able to help ease chronic pain in athletes.
For some athletes, dealing with chronic pain means taking painkillers. This could be anything from a simple over-the-counter painkiller like ibuprofen or aspirin, or the more addictive prescribed painkillers like oxycodone.
Understandably, many athletes are wary of using these sorts of drugs, especially the stronger ones, as they can easily become addictive, even when taken as prescribed.
A natural solution that we highly recommend at Memphis Regenerative Healthcare is PRP therapy, or platelet-rich plasma therapy.
PRP therapy uses a sample of the patient’s blood and runs the blood through a centrifuge, with separates the blood sample into its different components. Blood is made up of plasma, the liquid portion of blood; red and white blood cells; and platelets, a particular type of blood cell that specializes in clotting and healing wounds.
With PRP therapy, the doctor will take the divided blood sample with plasma that contains the greatest amount of platelets, then inject the platelet-rich plasma back into the patient’s injured area. With more platelets being directed toward the injury or the area experiencing pain, it will heal faster and encourage the growth of healthier tissue, all using the body’s natural healing abilities.
Start Managing Your Chronic Pain Today
If you are an athlete who experiences chronic pain, you are not alone. At Memphis Regenerative Healthcare, we offer regenerative therapies that utilize your body’s natural healing process. Our therapies are safe and effective, and best of all, can help you better manage your chronic pain.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today.