Professional athletes are aware that in addition to success and joy, sport brings tremendous stress, injury, and pain. Shocks, fractures, and sprains are unavoidable companions of all serious sports achievements, therefore the athlete’s path is always that of overcoming themselves and the reactions of their body. Over time, many get used to chronic pain without giving it much importance. But persistent pain can be a sign of a serious illness.
Acute and Chronic Pain
For a long time, doctors were able to identify only one type of pain that occurs as a result of any damage or manifestation of a disease. However, studies in the last 30 years have allowed doctors to identify another type of pain known as chronic pain.
Acute or epicritic pain is the body’s reaction to immediate tissue damage or inflammation, which gradually fades as it is healed and restored. Chronic pain is a protective reaction that can only intensify over time, thus becoming a source of new suffering and discomfort. Chronic pain is a syndrome that has been observed in a patient for more than three months with a visible improvement in general condition.
Medical studies show that in addition to discomfort, chronic pain can cause depression and other mental disorders. That is why it is so important to get rid of constant long-term pain syndromes.
Chronic Pain Syndrome Treatment
To eliminate chronic pain, the doctor must first establish its root cause and localization. Depending on the etiology, a number of different measures are taken to eliminate the pain and prevent its re-occurrence. The treatment methods for acute and chronic pain include:
1. Drug treatment
For pain relief, analgesics and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed. To eliminate depressive states, sedatives and antidepressants have shown to not only improve the general mood of a person but also create a favorable background for the action of painkillers.
The doctor often prescribes non-opioid analgesics since opioids can be addictive and cause additional pain during withdrawal. Opioid-containing medicines are indicated only for very severe pain like oncology.
Physiotherapeutic procedures such as magnetic exposure, UHF, electrical stimulation for pain and phonophoresis have an analgesic effect. This effect is not as pronounced as with medications but is noticeable. Hydrotherapy, mud therapy, thermal procedures as well as ultraviolet irradiation contribute not only to relieve pain but also to increase the emotional state.
Despite the fact that until recently, the effectiveness of acupuncture has been the subject of controversy among physicians, now it is recognized that this method gives positive results in the treatment of patients with chronic pain. At the same time, it is extremely important that the procedure is carried out by an experienced specialist.
4. Relaxation therapy
This method includes aromatherapy, auto-training, communication with people or animals, walks, and creative activities. All this helps the patient to relax, distract from the pain, and relieve the depressive state.
The main nuance of the treatment of chronic pain is that all procedures give a high and stable result only in combination. If the patient is given only pharmacotherapy or a course of psychological assistance, there is a high risk of relapse which may also increase after the end of treatment.
Medical and “amateur” (non-professional) massage is used to relieve muscle tension and hypertonicity which is also an effective anti-stress method. Massage improves lymph and blood flow, which is important if chronic pain is caused by a sedentary lifestyle or chronic injury.