Abdominal & Chest Pain
Chest pain in the athlete can be anything from indigestion to a heart attack so if you are at all unsure seek medical advice. Moderate to severe chest injuries should always be assessed by a doctor to ensure the ribs, lungs and other internal organs, including the heart, have not been affected or damaged. However, in view of the possible consequences from any chest or abdominal injury, always consult a doctor if in doubt.
Chest pain can occur in sportspeople, whether it's brought on by exercise or from a specific incident like a particularly violent tackle. Many cases have musculoskeletal causes, but it is possible that the pain is related to cardiac issues. Acute chest injuries can often be caused by a hard impact to the ribcage, which is not easy to prevent, but there are ways you could help avoid other causes of chest pain. With chest pain there is always the danger that it has a cardiac cause (linked to the heart) so symptoms should be monitored for any changes.
Acute abdominal pain is often caused by an injury to the stomach, like a direct hit or a strong tackle. External impacts can cause internal damage that may need medical attention. The abdominal muscles and organs can be damaged from participating in sports like Rugby and American Football especially. An infection may also be responsible for the stomach pain. Some cases of stomach pain are mild and can be treated at home, but others will need medical attention.
Unlike acute stomach pain, chronic abdominal pains are often recurring and may be brought on for a number of reasons. Exercise can upset the stomach and cause vomiting, bloating, cramps and wind. If exercise brings on these symptoms, there are things you can do to reduce the likelihood of them happening. Much of it is related to the food you eat, and you may wish to consult a doctor for their advice if it is a recurrent and severe issue.
Chronic chest pain comes on gradually over time and, like asthma, may be a long term condition. Overuse is a more common cause of these pains and issues rather than a specific injury or impact. Injuries or conditions in another part of the body, such as the back or stomach, may be causing the chest pain and may get worse with activity. These chronic pains should be checked out by a doctor to find the original, underlying cause and so they can prescribe treatment to help ease the pain.