Stiff neck (achy, hard to move neck)
This is cause by muscles spasm in your neck area. An effective way get relief is to apply ice for 20 minutes and keep the neck area still for another 40 minutes. Then, you can apply liniment balm and massage gently. You can prevent stiff neck by doing warm ups with shrugs and head turns before a game. Keep in mind to always drape a towel around your neck after playing to avoid cold drafts.
Swimmer’s Shoulder (sharp pain in shoulders specially during overhand activities)
This is due to the inflammation of the tendons of your rotator calf, which holds the ball of your shoulder joint in the socket. A result of overuse, it is also common among weight lifters, tennis and volleyball players. When you feel the pain; stop activity, iced the area and immediately take an anti-inflammatory (aspirin or ibuprofen). Seek professional care if the pain persists longer than 72 hours without relief. Swimmer’s shoulder can be prevented by strengthening your rotator-cuff. This can be done by doing exercises such as doing forward and backward rotations using hand weights not exceeding three pounds each. But remember not to over-stretch the area.
Side stitches (sudden cramping in the waist area during vigorous activity)
The pain is actually due to a muscle spasm in the chest wall or diaphragm. To relieve of the pain it is best to stop for a while whatever activity you are doing, then take deep, slow breaths until you reaches your normal breathing rate. Bend over and apply pressure to your side or raise the arm of your affected side over your head. Take a rest. Some activities that can prevent side stitches includes: drinking plenty of water before and during a game; avoid eating two hours before energetic activity; breathe properly while playing, taking slow, deep breaths.
Wrist or finger strain (jammed fingers and painful swollen wrists)
Falling on a hyper extended wrist or finger is the most common cause of injury, but overuse and over stretching of the muscles are also factors. How to get relief from wrist or finger sprain –mild and moderate sprain should be treated with elevation, compression, and cold. For support, a jammed finger may be tapes to its neighbor. To prevent an injury to happen; try doing some strengthening exercises with a barbell, such as wrist curls and finger curls.
Back strain (twinge in your lower back during activity, extreme stiffness the next morning)
This is caused by over-stretching of the back ligaments until they tear. Bleeding tissue irritates muscles in the area. The best treatment for this pain is to immediately stop activity. Ice the area and take an anti-inflammatory (aspirin or ibuprofen). Restrict movement and seek professional care if you don’t see improvement after 72 hours. A good protective measure is to condition back and abdominal muscles with stretching and strengthening exercises. Bend your knees and use leg muscles when lifting. Stretch your hamstring muscles before and after vigorous play.
Hamstring tendonitis (sharp pain behind and above the knee when you bend your leg)
This is due to the over-stretching of connectors between thigh muscles and knee leading to inflammation. Increased pressure between the kneecap and the thigh bone due to wearing away of the cartilage beneath the cap. When you feel the pain, immediately stop activity, ice the area and take anti-inflammatory. Keep the leg straight. For prevention; avoid bumpy terrain when jogging or walking. Avoid activities that cause a dramatic change of heel height, especially high to low, which may pull on inflexible tendons. Before getting into a game, try strengthening hamstring muscles with stretching exercises.
Leg cramps (sudden cramping in the calves characterized by severe pain and immobility of legs)
This is due to overstress of muscles and occasionally, dehydration can lead to sudden, painful spasms. When cramps occur, stop immediately and gently stretch and massage the affected area. If you can reach your foot, raise your big toe while gently pressing down the rest of the toes of the affected leg. An effective way to avoid getting leg cramps is to drink plenty of water before and during activity. Also, warm up cold muscles before a game. And remember, don’t push beyond your limits.
Ankle sprain (soreness around the ankle, sharp, searing pain when you put weight on the affected foot, and swelling)
This is cause by over-stretching of the ankle ligaments as a result of the foot inverting or turning in with relation to the leg. Other causes include weak muscles, inappropriate shoes, uneven surfaces and being overweight. To get relief– apply RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method. Take an anti-inflammatory. Restrict motion for two days, then gradually work back up to your regular routine.
Blisters (painful, fluid-filled sacs under the skin resulting from friction)
It is due to friction produced by unsuitable or ill-fitting footwear, wet socks, and hard ground or rough shoe insteps on unprotected feet. Treatment– apply talcum powder or petroleum jelly to the skin to protect against unnatural friction. Do not burst a blister. Cover with bandage or band-aid strip to prevent from tearing. If the blister tears open, do not wet raw skin. Apply skin antibiotic. To avoid blisters, wear shoes of perfect fit and comfort during vigorous activity. Wear tubular socks or two pairs of regular socks during vigorous activity.