Dealing with pain in sports medicine through physical therapy.
It has always been said that “no pain no gain” as a way of encouraging others to push on no matter what. Yet, sometimes the pain exceeds our limits. In sports, chronic pain and pain from sports injuries are common. Many players seek orthopedic care to assess the pain and the affected damaged area. Others try taking pain relief medicines. Though these methods are effective, often times treatment requires professional Physical Therapy. Physical therapy has proven essential in helping mend sports injuries as a treatment by itself or post surgery.
Physical therapists in sports medicine aim to treat the pain by identifying its root, and by offering an array of stretching and strength techniques that can aid dramatically in the cure time of the athlete. Some of the more common Physical Therapy exercises include;
Strengthening musculoskeletal exercises– After surgery or when injured, the affected area is usually weak, and any kind of pressure exerted on the area causes pain. Strengthening exercises help the muscles and the bones to regain strength. These exercises may be achieved with the help of machines or acting on the athlete’s own weight.
Easy stretching– stretching assists the muscles to relax, therefore easing the pain. Stretching is a physical therapy that should be done with utmost care. This is because too much stretching may cause the healing injury to resurface and exacerbate the affected area.
Pain relief exercises– the sole purpose of these exercises is to alleviate pain. They focus on giving the strength and flexibility needed to battle through the pain. They are typically non-impact exercises, and could include swimming or taking short walks.
Aerobic training– aerobic exercises are good for the body and help create overall strength and conditioning. The type of aerobic exercise that you do should, however, be low impact since the affected area is still delicate. Going too hard or too intense could increase the pain and cause a re-injury.
To help mitigate pain before, during, or after a physical therapy session, try a sports massage. Massage sessions, cold or heat therapy and electrical stimulation are some passive techniques that are useful for pain relief, and can assist in the recovery process.
Physical therapy has always played an important role in sports medicine for pain reduction and injury recovery. Select your orthopedic specialist and physical therapist carefully, challenge yourself (but don’t overdo it) during the physical therapy sessions, and follow the experts’ advise.
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Dr. Kevin Crawford
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