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Pain Relief for Active Teens


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As a parent, there’s nothing worse than seeing one of my kids in pain. Of course, since I also encourage my kids to be active in sports, some degree of pain and discomfort is a normal part of their lives. I believe the long-term benefits of physical activity outweigh the minor aches and pains. So I use several methods of pain relief for my active teens to help them enjoy their favorite activities without letting pain interfere with their daily lives.

a collage of four different ways to help teens in pain with title text reading Pain Relief for Active Teens

My Teen’s Pain

While all of my kids play sports, my 16-year old daughter suffers the most. Not only is she in an extremely physically demanding sport (gymnastics), she also battles tendonitis in her wrists and knees and a congenital condition in her lower back that becomes inflamed when she is physically active. Since the only way to completely prevent these aches is to become sedentary, our only real option is to help her find ways to alleviate and cope with the pain.

Pain Prevention

In my daughter’s case, the pain from her tendonitis and back condition are impossible to prevent if she wants to be active. That being said, she does everything she can to prevent pain and injury to limit the amount of pain she has to endure.

Safety Equipment

Since all sports carry risk of injury, most of them have recommended safety equipment. For my sons who wrestle, it’s headgear. For my daughter, it’s grips (for the uneven bars). She also wears an elastic knee brace to help support her knees to minimize the tendonitis pain. When she forgets her brace, she can sometimes achieve the safe effect with elastic sports tape. As a runner, I am very careful about choosing the right running shoes.

Proper Training

Because gymnastics is such a physically demanding sport with high risk of injury, my daughter’s coaches are very strict about following proper procedures and using good form. This includes warming up slowly, stretching thoroughly, following coaches’ instructions for body placement and technique, and conditioning. Likewise, my sons’ wrestling coaches were thorough in demonstrating wrestling moves, supervising the athletes as they practiced them, and then running several practice drills to ensure the wrestlers could safely and accurately perform them.

Proper Nutrition

Sports are physically demanding so our teens’ already raging metabolisms demand EVEN MORE calories and nutrients. My kids always pack a snack that has plenty of protein and carbs to fuel them through workouts (typically trail mix or a protein bar). For the rest of their meals, I try to ensure they have plenty of healthy choices and limit the amount of empty-calorie options so they actually eat the food their bodies need. I also keep a lot of chocolate milk on hand since it’s the ideal post-workout drink to help repair muscles and the calcium is great for their bones.

Pain Relief

No matter how many measures my kids take and their coaches implement to prevent injury, intense physical activity involves pain. I think it’s good to learn to deal with minor pain. Also, since pain is our body’s way of communicating with us, I think it’s important to acknowledge so that we know what parts of our body need rest or extra care. That being said, my busy teens also have responsibilities at home and school. When pain starts to interfere with those responsibilities or with their overall ability to get through the day, we take action.

TYLENOL® 8 HR Muscle Aches & Pain

My daughter’s school doesn’t allow students to take medication during the day without a doctor’s note on file with the nurse. Even then, the medication must be kept by the nurse and administered in her office. I appreciate the safeguards the school has for preventing drug abuse so I don’t circumvent them by sending my daughter to school with medication. Instead, on mornings when she is still sore from the previous day’s practice or competition, she takes a TYLENOL® 8 HR Muscle Aches & Pain since she can take it at home in the morning and it controls her muscle pain all day. If you incorporate this remedy into your own pain relief plan at home, make sure you use as directed on the product packaging.

a teen girl using Tylenol 8 hr before school to control pain all day

Another reason we choose TYLENOL® 8 HR Muscle Aches & Pain is that it’s gentle on her stomach. So, in fighting her back and knee pain, we don’t worry about causing stomach discomfort in the process. Having a teen driver is stressful enough. I don’t want to be anxious about her feeling nauseous on her drive to school.

Heat vs. Ice

Heat pack to help relieve sore muscles

If you suspect your child has an injury (e.g. sprained wrist or pulled muscle), you’ll want to apply ICE. However, if your teen is experiencing sore muscles or chronic pain, ice can aggravate the area. You’ll need to apply heat instead. Heat should NOT be used to treat inflammation so if you see swelling or the pain is intense and piercing, use ice.

Ultra Strength BENGAY® Cream

My daughter keeps Bengay in her gymnastics bag to relieve muscle aches and pains

My daughter’s gym is half an hour away from our home and her practices are four hours long. Since her pain typically surfaces during practice, she often needs relief long before she arrives home where her heat packs are. That’s why she keeps a tube of Ultra Strength BENGAY® Cream in her gym bag. It temporarily relieves the minor aches and pains in her back, knees, and wrists. (Please note: Ultra Strength BENGAY® is for individuals age 12 and older. Always refer to package directions for proper use.)

MOTRIN® IB Liquid Gels

Motrin after practice to reduce inflammation for a teen girl's pain relief

On especially intense training days and after competitions, I give my daughter a MOTRIN® IB Liquid Gels capsule. It temporarily relieves her muscular aches so she can focus on homework and enjoy dinner with the family without discomfort. Plus, her doctor recommended to us that she take an anti-inflammatory medication after practice to reduce tendonitis pain as well. She’s careful to use them as directed.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy helps relieve pain for active teens

We also use aromatherapy in my daughter’s room to help alleviate her pain at night so she can get a good night’s rest. Typically, we use a blend of chamomile and lavender. If she’s studying in her room and needs to stay alert, she prefers a blend of wintergreen and peppermint.

Stock Your Medicine Cabinet

The start of the school year is a great time to stock your medicine cabinet with everything you need to cope with illnesses and injuries since your kids will be exposed to more germs and activities. First, print off my Medicine Cabinet Checklist to make sure you have all of the essentials on hand.

printable Medication Checklist

You can get positively prepared with the right pain relief for you and your family at Target (that’s where I picked up all of the pain relief items I use for my teen daughter).

Pain Relief aisle at Target

4 thoughts on “Pain Relief for Active Teens”

  1. I love this post! I, too, have a teen {actually 2} that deal with chronic pain. My son has lower back pain, and my daughter has a condition that causes joint pain in many of her joints. We are slowly creating a ‘toolbox’ of resources they can rely on to help with their pain. We will definitely be adding many of your suggestions to our list. One thing you might want to look at is a TENS unit. Our PT prescribed one for my daughter so our insurance would cover it.

    Reply
  2. It’s so tough to see your “baby” suffer through pain. You’ve got all the bases covered to take care of your babies and their pain. (they’re lucky to have you as their mom!)

    Reply
  3. I love how prepped you are for any potential pain your daughter might have. This checklist is awesome to have on hand as well. #client

    Reply

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