South African Family Practice

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An overview of the management of muscle pain and injuries

O Babarinde, H Ismail, N Schellack


Sport injuries and muscle pain can occur as a result of engagement in exercise and or organized sporting activities. These injuries affect all age groups and gender. The most common types of sporting activities known to cause these injuries include jogging, cycling, volleyball, swimming and heavy weight lifting. Lack of warm-ups before participating in sporting activity, overtraining and or excessive exposure to these physical activities may increase risk of causing injuries. These factors are categorized as extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors that may lead to sport injuries or may precipitate these injuries are age, previous injuries and level of flexibility. The most common type of injuries seen are sprains and strains. These injuries are accompanied with pain, swelling and redness of injured area. Non-pharmacological and pharmacological management are available for the effective management of these injuries. Pain may vary from mild to severe depending on the severity of injury. These varying types of pain can be managed optimally using non-narcotics such as paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen. When pain is categorized as moderated to severe, narcotics may be prescribed and administered.

Keywords: sport injuries, sprains, strains, PRICE, TENS, narcotics, non-narcotics, NSAIDs

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