Pain can be a problem for young athletes, so it's important for parents to know how to deal with it, a pain specialist says.
Don't ignore pain
"Now that kids are back in school and fall sports are well underway, there are many things parents can do to help their children avoid getting hurt while still enjoying sports," said Dr Anita Gupta. She is a member of the American Society of Anaesthesiologists' Committee on Pain Medicine.
"And, if they do get injured, it's also important to address the pain effectively," Gupta said in a society news release.
If a child complains of pain after sports, don't ignore it. If the problem seems minor – such as a sore muscle – try ice and rest for a day or two.
If the pain doesn't get better or is more serious, see a doctor who specialises in pain medicine, Gupta recommended.
Avoid injuries in the first place
If possible, avoid the use of powerful prescription opioid painkillers, she said. It's best to start with so-called RICE therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), she added.
The most effective way to treat pain is by combining various treatments, according to Gupta.
The combination therapy can include: physical therapy to increase range of motion and strengthen muscles; compression braces to support the injured joint and reduce swelling; interventional procedures such as nerve blocks; medications such as anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling; and alternative therapies such as biofeedback, massage and acupuncture.
Gupta also said it is best to try and avoid injuries in the first place. It's important that your child has the right equipment, she said. Children should also be taught the proper techniques in each sport, and they should stretch to warm up their muscles, she added.