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Pain Management in Athletes With Impairment

A Narrative Review of Management Strategies

Grobler, Lara, PhD*,†; Derman, Wayne, MBChB, PhD*; Blauwet, Cheri A., MD; Chetty, Sean, MBChB, PhD§; Webborn, Nick, MBBS; Pluim, Babette, PhD

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: September 2018 - Volume 28 - Issue 5 - p 457–472
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000600
General Review
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Objective: To review the literature related to different treatment strategies for the general population of individuals with amputation, spinal cord injury, and cerebral palsy, as well as how this may impact pain management in a correlated athlete population.

Data Sources: A comprehensive literature search was performed linking pain with terms related to different impairment types.

Main Results: There is a paucity in the literature relating to treatment of pain in athletes with impairment; however, it is possible that the treatment strategies used in the general population of individuals with impairment may be translated to the athlete population. There are a wide variety of treatment options including both pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatments which may be applicable in the athlete.

Conclusions: It is the role of the physician to determine which strategy of the possible treatment options will best facilitate the management of pain in the individual athlete in a sport-specific setting.

*Institute of Sport and Exercise Medicine, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa;

Department of Sport Science, Faculty of Education, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa;

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts;

§Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa;

Centre for Sport and Exercise Science and Medicine, University of Brighton, Brighton, United Kingdom; and

Royal Netherlands Lawn Tennis Association, Amersfoort, the Netherlands.

Corresponding Author: Wayne Derman, MBChB, PhD, Institute of Sport and Exercise Medicine, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Francie van Zijl Drive, Tygerberg, 7505, Cape Town, South Africa (ewderman@sun.ac.za).

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received February 12, 2018

Accepted April 08, 2018

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