Pain and fatigue in sport: are they so different? [Editorial]

O'Sullivan, Kieran and O'Sullivan, Peter B. and Gabbett, Tim J. (2018) Pain and fatigue in sport: are they so different? [Editorial]. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 52 (9). pp. 555-556. ISSN 0306-3674


Pain and fatigue are common reasons for athletes to avoid, or reduce, sporting participation. Despite commonly coexisting, they are usually treated as distinct entities. Both sensations are often interpreted by medical staff as indicating that physical activity should be reduced or avoided, either due to tissue damage (pain) or excessive training (fatigue). But paradoxically, that management plan—relative rest—means that athletes avoid what keeps them healthy, fit and resilient—physical activity.

Coaches sometimes view the sensations of pain and fatigue as indicators of physical and/or psychological weakness; they should be ignored to ‘toughen up’ athletes, sometimes leading to athletes unhelpfully provoking symptoms. These opposing views between medical staff and coaches—which often reflect limited understanding regarding the interaction of training load, beliefs and other external factors on pain and fatigue—often place the athlete in a conflicted state. ‘Should I tell (the medical team) or should I remain stoic’ (figure 1). We discuss the parallels between pain and fatigue, and how their management reflects the lens through which theseare viewed.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2019 04:51
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2021 03:22
Uncontrolled Keywords: fatigue, injuries, physical activity, training
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4207 Sports science and exercise > 420799 Sports science and exercise not elsewhere classified
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