Are you suffering from a sports-related injury? Each year, millions of people experience acute pain ranging from muscle cramps to runner’s knee. Take this quiz to see how much you know about sports and pain.
1 At sports practice, you think you’ve pulled a muscle. What should you use to relieve the pain?
B. Witch hazel
C. Menthol topical cream
2 The cause of painful muscle cramps, thought to be linked to fatigued or cold muscles, poor conditioning, dehydration or the depletion of electrolytes, is really unknown.
3 What is the most common injury for runners?
B. Runner’s knee
C. Planter’s fasciitis
4 You can prevent painful shin splints by reducing the amount of high-impact activity.
5 A sprain, not to be confused with a strain, is a common sports injury that occurs when a ligament (typically on ankle, knee or wrist), is twisted, stretched the wrong or direction or torn.
6 The best time to stretch your muscles is after you play sports.
7 Which sport causes the most head injuries?
8 What do golfers injure most?
B. Lower back
QUIZ ANSWERS BELOW
1. (D) Ibuprofen. While aspirin and heat rubs like Ben-Gay are effective for all-over body aches, when it comes to pulls and tears, aspirin thins the blood and can slow the healing process. Heat rubs increase circulation and can make swelling worse.
2. (A) True. The exact cause of muscle cramps — when a muscle or muscle groups suddenly tighten up is unknown. While painful, they are usually not serious and often go away on their own by stopping the activity and gently stretching the muscle. Apply heat to tense or tight muscles, and apply ice to muscles that are tender or sore.
3. (B) Runner’s knee. Running is a weight-bearing exercise that places repeated stress on the knee, where cartilage can become irritated (runner’s knee) and cause pain. To avoid runner’s knee, warm up before each workout and cool down afterward. Choose running shoes that fit well, and replace them regularly.
4. (A) True. Shin splints are painful but not serious, and are caused by inflammation of muscles, tendons, bone and other tissue that surround the shin bone, called the tibia. Runners, dancers or anyone whose legs hit the ground repeatedly can relieve shin pain by applying ice, cold packs or resting.
5. (A) True. Ligaments are bands of tissue that connect bones to each other. Sprains can be painful and include bruising, swelling, instability and joint stiffness. A strain occurs in muscles or tendons (the tissue that connects muscles to bones). Strains happen when the tissue is overstretched or over-tightened. Symptoms include pain, muscle spasm and weakness.
6. (A) True. Stretching your muscles before sports may cause injuries. The best time to stretch is after exercise, when muscles are warmed and easily stretched. If you do stretch before a work-out, be gentle.
7. (A) Cycling. Most sports-related deaths are the result of head injuries, and more head injuries are caused by bicycling than any other sport or recreational activity. Experts say that 85 percent of cycling-related head injuries could be prevented with correct use of helmets.
8. (B) Lower back. The back absorbs most of the twisting in golf, and the most vulnerable part is the lower back —or lumbar vertebrae —where the body weight exerts the most pressure. Too much weight or twisting can injure the disks between the vertebrae. The result is often a slipped disk, also called a ruptured or herniated disk. Treatment may include pain medication, anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections and physical therapy.