Playing through the soccer pain or using pain killers?

GoalWA-Logo-200-clear(goalWA.net internet articles compilation) Sometimes we’re so caught up in all the pro sports stars whose lives have been wrecked by misusing prescription painkillers that we forget the problem extends down to the amateur level.

And, yes, that does mean college and even high-school sports.

“What’s the difference between discomfort and pain? And is it OK for me to keep playing if I just have a little bit?” Those are two of the most common questions I’m asked by injured young athletes, and I’m guessing the same is true for our sports medicine colleagues across the country. The answers are different from person to person, and specific to the type of injury too. —Soccer America

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At least one study put the number of college student athletes who’ve used prescription medications to enhance their performance at as high as 53.3 percent. And another recent study on high school athletes, published online in the Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, reported that 12 percent of male seniors and 8 percent of female seniors admitted to abusing painkillers.

To former ESPN.com columnist Gregg Easterbrook — who wrote about painkillers in his book “The King of Sports: Football’s Impact on America — it’s no surprise that the largest percentage of those young abusers play football.

“Youth and high-school players see an example that appears to be of men so tough, they laugh at pain,” he wrote. “The message sent is that young players should use their own bodies recklessly.”

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Continuing to play if you have an injury can make that injury worse. A small stress fracture that might have healed quickly can grow into a more serious, more painful fracture that will take longer to heal. Returning to play too soon after a concussion increases your risk of serious brain injury.—TeensHealth.org

So what’s a concerned parent to do?

Well, if your child is experiencing neuro-musculoskeletal-related pain from playing sports– spinal pain, say, from too many tackles or strained soccer kicks –first know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last March began urging physicians to avoid prescribing opioids for chronic pain in response to a record high 28,647 deaths involving the highly addictive drugs in 2014.

Know, too, that the most popular non-pharmacologic alternative to routine care is drug-free chiropractic care.

“Doctors of chiropractic play a key role in sports health care by providing hands-on care that help improve range of motion, flexibility, muscle strength, and other key performance factors,” notes the not-for-profit Foundation for Chiropractic Progress‘ Sherry McAllister.

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Sports might stem the turn towards Heroin

Teens who participate in daily sports and exercise activities are less likely to transition from opioid pain reliever use to heroin, according to research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and published today in Pediatrics.

There have been anecdotal reports of teen athletes being prescribed opioid pain relievers for injuries, who later transition to nonmedical use of opioid pain pills and then turn to heroin. However, this study found that sports activities may have a protective effect related to that potential transition.

Researchers from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor looked at 18 cross sections of eighth and tenth grade responses in NIDA’s Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey, answered between 1997 and 2014. While the survey measures prevalence of drug use, it also collects secondary data, including information related to involvement in athletics. NIDA’s MTF survey is conducted annually by a separate team of scientists at the University of Michigan.

To learn more about prescription opioids and heroin go to: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/relationship-between-prescription-drug-abuse-heroin-use/introduction

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