For Parents Pain vs Injury

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Proud Parent
Dec 22, 2016
I want to start by saying I am not seeking medical advice :) more looking for general discussion...After reading this site for some time now I am acutely aware of the potential for injury both just freak accident and over use kinds. When do you "know" when to see a Dr? DD complained that her back was sore yesterday. First time this has happened and she is starting to train new things so I am reasonably sure its just typical sports soreness however I will keep an eye on it. Same with her heels she has heel pain but we are managing it don't think its severs yet but continue to be proactive and monitor and we have a PT we can check in with stuff as well.

Generally speaking how long does normal pain last? Does it depend on the part of the body? do you just have to trust your gut? I feel like knowing so much about what could happen can make you paraniod and lead to reading too much into every sore muscle or tweaked joint. Are there any "signs" you wish you would have known about (20/20 hindsight sort of thing)?


Proud Parent
Aug 12, 2016
Ugh I wish i had an answer to this question as well! I feel like it's a tough one! My daughter is sore 24/7 and always has a pain somewhere! LOL! I have taken my daughter twice to get xrays and neither time was there a break.. I just try to gauge her pain and if it continues i take her in. If it tends to go away or start feeling better i don't take her in. good luck and let me know if you find the magical solution to what is probably an age old problem!


Proud Parent
Dec 30, 2017
Not a doctor here just giving sports advice based on my own athletic and coaching experience.

It can be really hard to tell the difference between a sprain, a strain, and a tear/break. All will be painful, all of them can swell/bruise, and all have different recovery times. Most doctors will start with R.I.C.E.S and if it gets a bit better on it's own than it is in the sprain category, if it doesn't get better or gets worse than it is more towards a tear/break.

It's hard to judge the severity just by pain as everyone has different thresholds, but look for escalating symptoms unless it was a major incident where you absolutely knew something was wrong when it happened (ACL/MCL tears have legs flexing backwards or sideways etc) and seek medical care immediately. With escalating symptoms if it was sore but now it is sore and swelled than that is a sign of improper healing and something is wrong.
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Proud Parent
Jan 31, 2015
This is so hard for me too. I think you just have to judge your child. My daughter never complains and has a high pain tolerance. My daughter was out of gymnastics 2 years ago for 6 weeks for jumper's knee. I thought it was no big deal. She told me her knee hurt. I iced it and told her to tell her coach. It wasn't getting much better but I thought well it's from overuse. I went early to pick her up from gym and she was limping. From there we went to the ortho and he told me how serious it was and the only cure is to stop using it.

Recently she hurt her back and I thought oh no here comes the injuries (as we haven't had any other than the jumper's knee). I immediately took her to the chiropractor had xrays and it's just a pulled muscle. However she enjoys the adjustments so much I decided to continue with that.


Proud Parent
May 6, 2013
I don't mess with back, neck, brain. DD had back pain for a week or so and her coach (who I love and who takes injuries seriously) was telling us just to rest and ice it but I took her straight to a sports ortho and it was spondy. Don't play.

Everything else I'll take a little more wait and see unless it's really acute pain. She has knee pain sometimes that every sports person has told me is Osgood Schlatters (sp?) and since it's not awful, and the gym babies her knees when it's happening, and it eventually goes away, I don't worry much about it.


Staff member
Gold Membership
Sep 4, 2008
You asked the thousand dollar question. As I get older I often feel that something is tweaked, a sore muscle, is that a lump, is my pinched nerve coming back, is that a sinus infection or allergies?

Almost everything goes away eventually but with not great health insurance and an active job I often wonder when something is serious, fortunately, It usually brief and I really am healthy.
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Proud Parent
Dec 22, 2016
I like the idea of looking for escalating symptoms.. and reoccuring for the back even if its not consinstent for 1-2 weeks. I just like to have some gauges for things in the back of my head cause you have to be careful about getting on the google train cause next thing you know they are dying of some rare virus that hasnt been seen since the 1600s lol.


Proud Parent
Sep 30, 2013
Back and heels are tough. My dd seems to have a little bit of pain here and there too. She had back pain last year and we waiting awhile but eventually went into the doctor. Turns out she has very minor scoliosis that was causing her pain. I always ask her to talk to her coaches about her pain first. They see her when she is running/swinging/jumping...I don't, they have also seen injuries over the years and would know more than me. However the final decision is with my dd and myself.
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