01 May Sports Pain and Injuries: What is the difference?
The medical community can sometimes be its own worst enemy. For example, in an effort to be as specific as possible we sometimes create terms that end up being unnecessarily confusing. Two such terms are ‘sports pain’ and ‘sports injuries’. The terms are confusing because people use them to denote different things.
Defining an injury as a sports injury only tells us how a person may have sustained that injury. Regardless, any pain the patient might be experiencing is what we are most interested in. The pain is just as real and uncomfortable regardless of how a clinician defines the injury that caused it.
We do not want to let terms like ‘sports injuries’ and ‘sports pain’ get in the way of you finding relief from your pain. So if the definitions prove confusing, we don’t mind dispensing with them. We want to know where you hurt and why you hurt so we can offer a treatment option or two.
Injuries Caused by Sports
The most common definition of sports injuries comes by way of the National Institutes for Health. They define them as the “kinds of injuries that most commonly occur during sports or exercise.” An athlete who sustained an injury during the heat of competition has suffered a sports injury. But so has the weekend warrior who injures himself during his normal exercise routine.
Using this definition, sports injuries can include everything from pulled muscles to torn ligaments and broken bones. The key is that such injuries were sustained during some sort of physical activity normally classified as being athletic. Breaking a leg in a collision with another football player would be a sports injury. Breaking that same leg falling off a ladder at home would not be.
The Leg Is Still Broken
Using the broken leg example, it is pretty easy to see why labels aren’t that important. It doesn’t matter whether a football game or a fall produced a broken leg. The leg is still broken. Asking how the injury was sustained might give doctors in the ER an idea of whether or not they need to look for other injuries but asking is mostly a matter of curiosity.
Above and beyond an acute injury like a broken leg, the two sports-related terms can become even more confusing when referring to chronic pain. For instance, some clinicians classify osteoarthritis pain as sports pain for the simple fact that it is caused by physical activity.
Osteoarthritis pain is the result of the two bones in a joint grinding on one another. A person suffering from osteoarthritis has lost cartilage between those two bones. Even the slightest movement can cause painful grinding. To some doctors, pain-inducing movement in an osteoarthritis patient is no different from the movement that could cause pain after an athlete pulls a muscle.
Let’s Focus on Your Treatment
All of this is to say that defining sports injuries and sports pain is less important than treating them. That is what we are all about at Lone Star Pain Medicine. Rather than splitting hairs over whether your pain is the result of a sports injury, let’s focus on finding a treatment.
We offer a variety of alternative treatments ranging from nerve blocks to PRP injections. Each case is different, so we value the ability to sit down with the patient to discuss every option. One of our Weatherford pain doctors would be more than happy to have that discussion with you. If you are looking for pain relief and haven’t found it with traditional treatments, come see us at Lone Star.