It is important to note that muscle pain is the initial symptom of most cases of sports injuries. The injuries that usually involve the tendons, muscles and ligaments are categorized as either acute or chronic, depending on the onset of the injury.
Most of the soft tissue injuries are painful due to the swelling and inflammation that occurs after the injury. Take note that pain relief is often the reason that many individuals utilize over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications that work by reducing the inflammation that manifests as a result of the injury. It is vital that you are familiar with the warning signs of serious injury to determine the ideal treatment, but in general acute and chronic injuries, they are managed in various ways.
When it comes to acute injuries, they are caused by an abrupt impact from a collision, fall or twisting force. Swelling, pain and other indications of trauma are immediate. The immediate treatment for acute injuries is the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation).
The common acute injuries include sprains, tears and strains to muscles and the ligaments. The tears can range from a minor partial tear to a full partial tear that entails surgical repair. Take note that acute injuries have varying degrees of inflammation at the site of injury. The role of the inflammatory cells is to help the body eliminate any debris and dead cells as well as facilitates healing. In most cases, anti-inflammatory medications are utilized to reduce the inflammation.
Over-the-counter pain medications
Over-the-counter pain medications such as NSAIDs are typically utilized to minimize inflammation. Other anti-inflammatory medications such as acetaminophen are also beneficial. Take note that NSAIDs are suitably used right after injury, before the swelling starts. The side effects include stomach upset.
When it comes to chronic soft tissue injuries, they often start as a minor, nagging pain that does not go away. Chronic injuries are managed with rest, physical therapy and over-the-counter NSAIDs.
NSAIDs provide pain relief but do not help with the healing. Some doctors utilize corticosteroids to manage chronic soft tissue injuries. The local site injections can quickly provide pain relief. The long-term use of corticosteroids is not recommended. The pain relief provided by these injections is usually short-lived.
In addition, NSAIDs are not recommended for use before or during endurance sports. Based on several studies, there is actually minimal benefit on the performance after taking ibuprofen and might conceal the pain which increases the risk for injury.
Ice or heat
When managing acute sports injuries, the treatment usually starts with the application of ice. As for heat, it can be useful to help ease the muscle tension in chronic aches.
Just remember though that it is best to consult a doctor first before using any anti-inflammatory medication. In doing so, the right medication can be given to ease the discomfort experienced by the individual.