There is more to pain than tissue damage: eight principles to guide care of acute non-traumatic pain in sport

Review written by Dr Sandy Hilton info

Key Points

  1. There is a gap between what is known about pain and how non-traumatic pain is described to athletes.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Injuries occur when the load on tissues or joints is greater than the tissues’ capacity to manage that load. In sports this can be traumatic with a clear mechanism of injury. However, there can also be pain where no clear trauma has occurred. These non-traumatic injuries continue to be an issue for management, with persisting misunderstanding of the nature of pain and a continued belief by some that pain means there must be an injury at the site of the pain.

To address the need for education at all levels (athletes, trainers, coaches, doctors), the authors of this editorial paper proposed a set of principles to use as treatment and education guidelines. Global adoption of these principles would significantly change the allocation of resources and the management of clinical care in sport.

Injuries occur when the load on tissues or joints is greater than the tissues’ capacity to manage that load.
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Adopting these principles could help reduce the burden of pain and prolong participation in sport.

METHODS

This was an editorial paper with a supplementary infographic designed for easy sharing within facilities and organizations to encourage coordinated care and a common framework for management.

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