Are you an athlete or a fitness enthusiast? Pain management for professional athletes can be extremely challenging. Do you often find yourself suffering with an athletic sports injury? Here are the most effective pain management techniques for athletes.
Pain management for professional athletes is of the utmost importance to maintain your lifestyle as an athlete. Staying fit, active, and pain-free is vital for anyone who likes being athletic and enjoys physical fitness. After all, you can’t enjoy your workouts or sports if you have body pain getting in the way. For many of you, the pain ruins everything and diminishes all enjoyment.
Athletes are prone to getting injured much more regularly than others due to the nature of their physical activities. That’s why pain management for professional athletes is so important. The typical pain-specific conditions that professional athletes often face include ankle sprains, shoulder injuries, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, ACL tears, and spine-related pain conditions – among other conditions.
Interestingly, ongoing investigations in Canada demonstrate that pain does not have an equal effect on all professional athletes. This means that pain management for professional athletes comes down to personal preference and to what works for you.
Furthermore, while some athletes may find it difficult to perform while in pain, others may actually perform better while they are in pain.
A series of studies have led scientists to categorize athletes in pain into type-A or type-P. Type-A athletes are actually able to concentrate on their sports goals while in pain. This means that they could be running a race, beating a competitor, and so on – while ignoring their pain.
For these athletes, their willpower is strong enough to enable them to play professional sports impressively well, even with pain present. In fact, they can even give a better performance than when they are not in pain.
In contrast, P-type athletes cannot perform well in pain because their attention is diverted due to the pain. While they attempt to play sports or exercise, their performance is hindered because they are intently focusing on the pain.
In other words, for these athletes (for most of the people reading this) the pain is all they can think about. This negatively affects their athletic performance, and makes sports and exercise much less enjoyable.
Pain Management for Professional Athletes: The Various Methods
When it comes to managing pain in athletes, it is helpful to understand that pain has different effects on different athletes, because this knowledge will guide your selection of your go-to pain management technique.
Pain management for professional athletes can be divided into the following categories:
Let’s look at some of the effective therapies that can be used for pain management for professional athletes:
Traditional Methods of Pain Management for Professional Athletes:
Below I’ve gotten a bit more in-depth on a couple of the more common, traditional methods for pain management of typical athletic or sports injuries:
Elevation and Ice
This is the typical first-line technique, but many people don’t implement this method correctly. The majority of the people think that elevating the injured area is enough, however, the correct method is to elevate the entire extremity and attain a position in which the heart is the lowest. This prevents much of the potential swelling, which in turn means less pain as most of the pain is due to inflammation from the swelling. In general, the method of icing the painful area is not a method used correctly by many athletes. You should remember that icepacks at their coldest may cause frostbite or skin irritation, so it is crucial to follow specific instructions, such as using a paper towel over the skin first, for its protection, while you ice the area using ice in a bag. The icing should be done for 10-15 minutes every hour; however, this duration may vary according to the patient. The literature related to the effectiveness of icing for managing pain may be inconclusive, but many doctors report that they have found the method useful for managing both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) pain.
Therapeutic Massage and Manipulation
Massage is more than just an indulgence – it’s a treatment. Massage therapy is a traditional pain management method that can provide pain relief by relieving muscle tension, anxiety and stress. Massage also distracts athletes from the pain by creating overriding sensations that mask the pain signals, thereby reducing the feelings of pain.
These two techniques are useful for both chronic and acute conditions. To reduce pain, an athlete should get a deep-tissue massage from a registered massage therapist.
Manipulation, along with soft-tissue mobilization, may involve different techniques by physical therapists such as the Maitland and McKenzie methods. McKenzie is a method for assessing and treating the spine and pain in the extremities with an emphasis on active patient involvement. In the Maitland technique, pain is treated by specific mobilizations of the spine.
A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit is a small, battery-operated device that delivers low-voltage pulses of electricity to the painful area of the body. This device may not be helpful for everybody or all athletes for that matter, but physicians believe that it is worth trying.
Differences in the published research regarding the efficacy of TENS may be there, but a recent study has concluded that TENS does cause pain reduction. The reason behind this may be that the electric pulses activate the descending pain-inhibitor pathway. It was observed that the patients who received a painful stimulus without the TENS unit during exposure demonstrated higher ratings of pain and unpleasantness as compared to the patients who were given the TENS unit while being exposed to the painful stimuli. The researchers studied the brain activity during the experiment with the help of functional MRI (fMRI) scans and concluded that it was the activation of the pain-inhibitory pathway that was the cause of the pain reduction.
Electrotherapy, including TENS, is generally used in combination with other treatments. It may provide enough pain relief for a patient or an athlete to become capable of participating more actively in some targeted physical therapy exercises, and the results are better for treating chronic pain as opposed to acute pain.
Alternative Methods of Pain Management for Professional Athletes:
Alternative practices offer a lot of hope for pain management through natural and holistic methods. Below, I’ve provided some more in-depth explanations for a few of what I think are the best alternative methods to reduce pain:
Have you heard of mind-body techniques for pain management? These include mindfulness, meditation and breathing exercises. Mind-body techniques aim to restore the sense of control that you have over your body. This tames down the “flight or fight” response that may make pain and muscle tension worse.
Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation and Self-Help
Yoga and Tai Chi are exercise practices that involve meditation, breathing control and gentle movements that stretch and strengthen your muscles.
Yoga is more effective for managing chronic pain than acute pain and can be helpful for athletes who are experiencing neck and back conditions. Yoga can help athletes gain flexibility, strength, and endurance in a short time, and can even be as effective as physical therapy, according to one study. Tai Chi is beneficial for pain management for the same reasons.
Meditation may also help with pain management because, like yoga, it has a calming effect on the patient. When a person is anxious, he or she feels the pain more intensely, so both of these techniques can help relieve pain by soothing the patient. A British study on the effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) found that this meditation practice led to better pain tolerance in patients.
Biofeedback is a technique in which you can learn breathing and relaxation exercises using a biofeedback machine. The machine converts data associated with physiological functions into visual cues that allow you to have a sense of control over how your body responds to pain.
This innovative approach is all about implementing a holistic perspective to both lifestyle and pain management. It involves a combination of personalized nutrition, supplementation and lifestyle counseling that is applied with the help of metabolomic blood and urine tests.
According to Kress H.G. et al, “Comprehensive multidisciplinary management based on the biopsychosocial model of pain has been shown to be clinically effective and cost-efficient, but is not widely available.”
Frequency Energy Therapy to Enhance Cell Communication in the Body
You may not have heard of frequency energy therapy, but recent scientific breakthroughs based on clinical studies over the past 30 years, have shown that this alternative pain management technique yields remarkable pain-reducing results. The best part is, this type of pain management technique is non-invasive, non-chemical, and all-natural.
Frequency therapy is the use of subtle electromagnetic fields and currents that help cells regenerate and communicate better, thereby facilitating the body’s healing process.
By improving cell communication in the body, the body’s cells can self-heal faster and easier.
The wearable WaveLife Energy Cell introduces these subtle electromagnetic fields to an area of damaged tissue where the injury or strain took place (and where you’re experiencing pain.)
When it comes to frequency therapy, WaveLife Technologies has just introduced a revolutionary, wearable patch called the Energy Cell to safely and naturally reduce pain.
The Energy Cell was made possible due to recent scientific breakthroughs, and this pain management technique is based on over thirty years of research and development.
To help you understand how this all-natural pain-relieving technique works, you need to know about Vital Fields. You see, in life, organic and inorganic matter manifest subtle energy fields that help regulate our body chemistry and cellular life. We refer to these life-promoting frequencies as Vital Fields.
Vital Fields (and WaveLife’s Energy Cell) have created an advanced form of frequency medicine after over 30 years of scientific development in advanced scientific labs in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
It is the year 2020, and we’ve just celebrated the start of a new decade. Now, for the very first time in history, Vital Field pain-relieving techniques are available to anyone and everyone via wearable devices and the WaveLife Energy Cell.
It’s one of the only pain management modalities that’s been measured and tested in lab conditions, where human cell activity has been measured and analyzed.
Dr. Peter C. Dartsch, a Cell Biologist who has specialized in Cell Biology for over 30 years, tested the WaveLife Energy Cell and found remarkable results on cell regeneration and cell metabolism. Dr. Dartsch explains that his study found that the Energy Cell “Noticeably improved the rate of cell regeneration and wound healing.”
WaveLife’s Energy Cell is made possible by major scientific breakthroughs, a patented EMF material that can retain and emit Vital Fields, and a composite cell material that stores the Vital Field therapy in a wearable patch that you place on your body.
The Energy Cell influences cell activity in the body, enhancing cell communication, expediting cell regeneration, and therefore naturally healing the pain you’re experiencing.
This is a fantastic way to address the source of the pain, not just temporarily address the symptoms.
WaveLife’s clinical studies have reported zero negative side-effects of the Energy Cell method, and significant reduction in pain – sometimes a complete elimination of pain.
Some of the world’s top athletes such as Franz Klammer (former world champion alpine ski racer who won 25 World Cups) and Markus Prock (three-time Winter Olympics winner) have used the Energy Cell as a natural healing method.
The Energy Cell is not used to diagnose or treat patients, but it does help the organism heal itself by enhancing cell vitality, which can significantly reduce the user’s pain.
The Athletic Advantage
No matter which pain control technique is utilized for pain management in athletes, physicians and physiotherapists may benefit from utilizing their innate determination to set targets and achieve them. This is a strength that athletes possess and develop during their physical training, that can be used to support pain management for professional athletes.
If athletes view their rehabilitation process in a similar way as their training, the likelihood of them meeting their goals is much higher.
As with any great performer, experimenting with different techniques to see which achieves the best result is the smartest thing you can do. Try out different pain management techniques, and see what works best. Don’t be afraid to try out a new method if you’re still suffering. If you want to try the safe, natural and effective pain management technique of frequency therapy in the form of the wearable WaveLife Energy Cell, click here.