Managing pain is all about playing by the rules
When we play for our beloved sporting clubs, our passion can sometimes get the better of us. We protect our teammates and go in hard for the ball, often coming out with bad bruises and bumps.
For some of us, these wounds heal and become our battle scars. But for others, a bad injury can be life changing. As sports-lovers and team players, it’s important to be aware of the best ways to treat and manage pain.
It’s an issue so serious that across the country, the number of medication overdoses is overtaking the national road toll.
Next time you, a teammate or a loved one is carrying an injury, keep in mind these hidden harms. Taking risks on the field can sometimes go in our favour, but when it comes to medication, it’s always best to play by the rules.
- Painkillers are not a long-term solution
If you’ve ever been prescribed a strong painkiller like codeine to treat pain, your GP should have explained that this prescription is not a long-term solution. Just like heroin, strong painkillers are also opioids and can be fatal when used in the wrong way. Contrary to popular belief, opioids do not successfully treat chronic pain.
If you do have chronic pain, there are alternatives that are safer and can help you to manage your pain more effectively, getting you back at the club quicker.
- A pill is not always the answer
Having an injury and being away from your mates at the club can be a stressful time. Sometimes relaxant-type medications (like Valium®) are prescribed to help ease these periods of intense anxiety, stress or sleeplessness. However, taking a pill isn’t always the right answer. Though these types of medications are important when prescribed in the right way, they also can be addictive and don’t actually treat the root cause of the problem.
Instead, talk to your doctor about more effective treatments such as relaxation techniques and ask for a referral to a councillor, which could be covered by Medicare. What you eat and doing regular exercise (even if it’s just going for a walk or to the pool) also has a big impact on your mood, so try to stay healthy even if you’re injured. And next time you do go to the doctor, consider asking these questions.
- Mixing medication and alcohol can be fatal
Alcohol, strong painkillers and relaxant-type medications all work in the same way, slowing down the part of the body that controls our breathing. For this reason, when they’re combined the result can be fatal.
Sadly, the risky relationship between alcohol and medication isn’t well known. The majority of overdoses from pharmaceuticals are accidents, they are the result of mixing alcohol with medications, or consuming multiple medications.
Remember, it’s dangerous to underestimate the strength of these medications. Everyone’s body is different and changes over time. Be safe and never mix painkillers and relaxant-type medications with alcohol.
For more information about addictive medications, better treatments and how you can help a loved one, head to www.adf.org.au/arisk