Vinluan: Pain: The athletes' complaint!

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By Bobby Vinluan

Sports Psychology

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


PAIN is the most common complaint of an individual presenting a symptom of disease, injury, or even emotionally distressed. This feeling is particularly whenever or where ever we are; in the home, office, hospital etc. and is mostly heard in sports trainings and the arena following an athlete’s injury.

Pain is a subjective complaint that eludes objective assessment, however, in assessing pain, one has to gain insight of the intensity and the associated degree of functional limitation of the individual.

In such situations there are parameters that can be used in objectively determining pain, although many factors also influence these parameters.

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Athletes are the most vulnerable individuals to injury especially in contact sports like martial arts or basketball. Injuries come unexpected, and when it occurs to an athlete, you’ll never know the gravity of injury, from minute fractures, muscle cuts, dislocations etc. because injured individuals themselves cannot pinpoint exact locations where pain occurs, instead of using a finger to point the location of pain, universally, they use an open hand.

Because the quality of pain is characterized with different presentations, the assessment of injury should be done with utmost care; like professional paramedics do, care for injured athletes should consider the following; know the onset, nature and course of the pain, including its periodicity, site, character and radiation of the pain, the associated symptoms, and the aggravating or relieving factors.

The threshold of pain tolerance is also an important factor in determining pain objectively, because these factors helps in determining the degree of interference of pain to the individual’s daily activities such as work, recreation, training and the activities of daily living.

Pain does not only affect an individual’s daily activities, it also affects the lifestyle and the personality of an individual. An athlete for example with severe injury and pain will be emotionally affected and sometimes, like ordinary people this may result to personality change to the extent of losing family ties as a result a broken marriage, to even attempted suicide.

These manifestations may be the result of emotional breakdown, relating the individual’s emotional state and degree of pain that can be extremely difficult.

This is because some people have difficulty conceptualizing pain and have a low pain threshold; they actually overdramatize what they feel, because of the variability of pain.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 19, 2014.

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