Dealing with chronic muscle pain and injury

Dealing with muscle pain is often part of an athlete’s life. A grueling training regimen, repetitive movements and stress tend to deteriorate the body’s ability to rejuvenate itself. This can be very debilitating and severe muscle strains will simply make the athlete unable to train or perform at all.

While there might not be any quick fixes to chronic muscle pain, there are a few solutions that have been tried and tested over the years, with varying amounts of success depending on the severity of the injury.

Different types of muscle pain and injuries

The origin of the muscle pain needs to be identified first and foremost before considering any types of medical treatments. Muscle sprains and strains require immediate RICE treatment (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), but in some cases when this isn’t enough,  the pain can develop into a chronic soft tissue injury. This is when alternative treatments methods have to be looked into to reduce pain and inflammation.

  1. Painkillers

Depending on how long the injury has been sustained, painkillers and pain shots can be the only short term solution. From NSAIDS (non-steroid pain medication) such as Ibuprofen to steroids shots injected directly into the inflamed area, these should only work on a short-term basis and never as “pain prevention”.

Researchers have indeed found that NSAIDS actually slow down healing process for elite athletes.

  1. Botox

A new study published recently in the American Journal of Sports Medicine showed how Botox could actually effectively treat muscle and knee pain for elite athletes. This was combined with physiotherapy and it instantly revealed itself more efficient than conventional treatments such as steroids injections.

While it’s still early days for this revolutionary type of treatments, botox training courses could soon well become the norm for sports and medicine specialists.

  1. Preventing

Naturally, prevention is better than cure and there are many things that should be advised to professional and amateur athletes alike in order to avoid chronic muscle pain and injuries. Proper alimentation and stretching are key. A diet rich in proteins, vitamin C and A, and zinc, will help rejuvenate muscle tissues and prevent any damage and long term injury.

Making sure enough calories are consumed on a daily basis is also crucial to help maintain the body’s ability to repair itself. Perhaps also counterintuitively, the athlete also has to consume enough fat: an optimal level of fat has been proven to help reduce the inflammation process. Finally, it is recommended to eat within two hours after a workout, as it has been demonstrated that muscle tissue heals faster during this 2 hours-window frame.

Stretching exercises are equally recommended by sports specialists in order to help increase flexibility and avoid muscle sprains. Warm-up stretches in particular serve to increase body temperature and prep the body to perform each activity.

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