It is a known fact that muscle pain is the main symptom of sports injuries. Pain can affect the soft tissues such as the muscles, ligaments and tendons. These are classified as acute or chronic, depending on the onset of the injury. Majority of the soft tissue injuries can cause a lot of pain due to the inflammation and swelling that occurs right after the injury. With the help of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications for pain relief, they work by minimizing the inflammation due to injury.
For acute injuries, they are due to abrupt impact from a fall, collision or twisting motion. Swelling, pain and other signs of trauma occur immediately. The treatment for acute injuries is the RICE method (rest, ice, compression and elevation). Common acute injuries include sprains, strains and tears. These injuries have varying degrees of inflammation at the site of injury. Take note that the inflammatory cells aim to remove debris and dead cells as well as promote healing. By using anti-inflammatory medications, it helps minimize the inflammation.
NSAIDs are commonly used to minimize inflammation such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. These medications should be used right after the injury before the swelling occurs. One of the common side effects usually includes stomach upset.
The chronic injuries typically start as a mild, nagging pain that does not seem to go away. Chronic injuries can be treated with physical therapy, rest and over-the-counter NSAIDs. By administering NSAIDs, it provides pain relief but does not help with the healing process.
In some cases, corticosteroids are used to treat chronic injuries. The local site injections can result to immediate pain relief. Take note that the long term use of corticosteroids is not recommended. Many doctors avoid using corticosteroids on the weight-bearing tendons such as the Achilles tendon. Corticosteroids are commonly used in the upper body. Just remember that even though anti-inflammatory medications are helpful in short term pain relief, they are not suitable for long-term use.
Additionally, NSAIDs are not recommended to be used before or during endurance activities. Based on several studies, it was discovered that taking ibuprofen will only mask the pain, which can lead to increased risk for injury. Additionally, the use of NSAIDs during high endurance activities is also linked with a higher risk of exertional hyponatremia.
Aside from pain medications, ice or heat can be applied for sports injuries. The application of ice is ideal for acute sports injuries. As for heat compress, it can be used to help ease muscle tension in chronic injuries and pains.
It is a known fact that you can deliver the appropriate first aid measures especially for sports injuries by attending a first aid course from a reputable and certified provider.