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Privacy Policy

ONLINE PRIVACY POLICY

Magic Massage Pro, (MMP), is committed to keeping any and all personal information collected of those individuals that visit our website and make use of our online facilities and services accurate, confidential, secure and private. Our privacy policy has been designed and created to ensure those affiliated with of our commitment and realization of our obligation not only to meet but to exceed most existing privacy standards.

THEREFORE, this Privacy Policy shall apply to Magic Massage Pro, and thus it shall govern any and all data collection and usage thereof. Through the use of magicmassagetherapy.com you are herein consenting to the following data procedures expressed within this agreement.

Collection of Information

This website collects various types of information, such as:

  • Voluntarily provided information which may include your name, address, email address, billing and/or credit card information etc., which may be used when you purchase products and/or services and to deliver the services you have requested.
  • Information automatically collected when visiting our website, which may include cookies, third party tracking technologies and server logs.

Please rest assured that this site shall only collect personal information that you knowingly and willingly provide by way of surveys, completed membership forms, and emails. It is the intent of this site to use personal information only for the purpose for which it was requested and any additional uses specifically provided on this site.

We may also gather information about the type of browser you are using, IP address or type of operating system to assist us in providing and maintaining superior quality service.

It is highly recommended and suggested that you review the privacy policies and statements of any website you choose to use or frequent as a means to better understand the way in which other websites garner, make use of and share information collected.

Use of Information Collected

Magic Massage Pro may collect and may make use of personal information to assist in the operation of our website and to ensure delivery of the services you need and request. At times, we may find it necessary to use personally identifiable information as a means to keep you informed of other possible products and/or services that may be available to you from magicmassagetherapy.com. Magic Massage Pro may also be in contact with you with regards to completing surveys and/or research questionnaires related to your opinion of current or potential future services that may be offered.

Magic Massage Pro does not now, nor will it in the future, sell, rent or lease any of our customer lists and/or names to any third parties.

Magic Massage Pro may deem it necessary to follow websites and/or pages that our users may frequent in an effort to gleam what types of services and/or products may be the most popular to customers or the general public.

Magic Massage Pro may disclose your personal information, without prior notice to you, only if required to do so in accordance with applicable laws and/or in a good faith belief that such action is deemed necessary or is required in an effort to:

  • Remain in conformance with any decrees, laws and/or statutes or in an effort to comply with any process which may be served upon Magic Massage Pro and/or our website;
  • Maintain, safeguard and/or preserve all the rights and/or property of Magic Massage Pro; and
  • Perform under demanding conditions in an effort to safeguard the personal safety of users of magicmassagetherapy.com and/or the general public.

Children Under Age of 13

Magic Massage Pro does not knowingly collect personal identifiable information from children under the age of thirteen (13) without verifiable parental consent. If it is determined that such information has been inadvertently collected on anyone under the age of thirteen (13), we shall immediately take the necessary steps to ensure that such information is deleted from our system’s database. Anyone under the age of thirteen (13) must seek and obtain parent or guardian permission to use this website.

Unsubscribe or Opt-Out

All users and/or visitors to our website have the option to discontinue receiving communication from us and/or reserve the right to discontinue receiving communications by way of email or newsletters. To discontinue or unsubscribe to our website please send an email that you wish to unsubscribe to info@magicmassagepro.com. If you wish to unsubscribe or opt-out from any third party websites, you must go to that specific website to unsubscribe and/or opt-out.

Links to Other Web Sites

Our website does contain links to affiliate and other websites. Magic Massage Pro does not claim nor accept responsibility for any privacy policies, practices and/or procedures of other such websites. Therefore, we encourage all users and visitors to be aware when they leave our website and to read the privacy statements of each and every website that collects personally identifiable information. The aforementioned Privacy Policy Agreement applies only and solely to the information collected by our website.

Magic Massage Pro shall endeavor and shall take every precaution to maintain adequate physical, procedural and technical security with respect to our offices and information storage facilities so as to prevent any loss, misuse, unauthorized access, disclosure or modification of the user’s personal information under our control.

Changes to Privacy Policy Agreement

Magic Massage Pro reserves the right to update and/or change the terms of our privacy policy, and as such we will post those change to our website homepage at magicmassagetherapy.com, so that our users and/or visitors are always aware of the type of information we collect, how it will be used, and under what circumstances, if any, we may disclose such information. If at any point in time Magic Massage Pro decides to make use of any personally identifiable information on file, in a manner vastly different from that which was stated when this information was initially collected, the user or users shall be promptly notified by email. Users at that time shall have the option as to whether or not to permit the use of their information in this separate manner.

Acceptance of Terms

Through the use of this website, you are hereby accepting the terms and conditions stipulated within the aforementioned Privacy Policy Agreement. If you are not in agreement with our terms and conditions, then you should refrain from further use of our sites. In addition, your continued use of our website following the posting of any updates or changes to our terms and conditions shall mean that you are in agreement and acceptance of such changes.

How to Contact Us

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Privacy Policy Agreement related to our website, please feel free to contact us at the following email, telephone number or mailing address.

Email: info@magicmassagepro.com

Telephone Number: 1(800)840-1973

Mailing Address:

Magic Massage Pro
8056 17th Ave NE
Seattle,Washington 98115

prod02

Magic Massage Ultra 2

Magic Massage brings you the latest TENS technology to give you most effective and lasting pain relief.

  • Digital control display with back lit
  • 16 massage modes (knead, Cupping, Parego, Massage, Kneading, Stroke, Acupuncture, Butterfly, Shiatsu-Deep, Sports Mode, Thai, Swedish, Deep Tissue, Trigger Point, Reflexology, Auto-Combination)
  • Adjustable timer for your convenience (10-60 minutes)
  • 20 levels of intensity with double outputs so you can work 4 pads at the same time.
  • Extremely small dimensions (the Ultra Magic Massage2 is smaller than an Ipod!)
  • Rechargeable Lithium battery. One charge lasts over 42 hours!
  • 2 year warranty
  • It comes with an Acupuncture chart that shows optimal pressure and treatment points.

You will be amazed by the massage sensations produced by the Magic Massage Ultra 2. It feels like the fingers of a real massage therapist applying massage techniques on your muscles. Easy to use, safe and effective. You will have to try it to believe it!

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Magic Massage Combo

Magic Massage-Ultra Combo Package Only: $449.99

  • Comes with The magic massage ultra 2, magic massage shoes and magic massage ear clips
  • Digital control display
  • 16 massage modes (knead, Cupping, Parego, Massage, Kneading, Stroke, Acupuncture, Butterfly, Shiatsu-Deep, Sports Mode, Thai, Swedish, Deep Tissue, Trigger Piont, Reflexology, Auto-Combination)
  • Adjustable timer for your convenience (10-60 minutes)
  • 20 levels of intensity with double outputs so you can work 4 pads at the same time.
  • Extremely small dimensions (the Ultra Magic Massage is smaller than an Ipod!)
  • Rechargeable Lithium battery. One charge lasts over 42 hours!
  • 2 year warranty

It comes with an Acupuncture chart that shows optimal pressure and treatment points.
Magic Massage Shoes-These incredible pinook massage shoes are specially designed according to acupressure points’ technique in Chinese traditional medicine.

Acupressure is an ancient healing art that uses key pressure points on the surface of the skin to stimulate the body’s natural self-curative abilities. When these points are pressed, they release muscular tension and promote blood circulation and the body’s life force to aid healing.
Our shoes will actively stimulate these pressure points while you are wearing them (walking or standing), to help relieve headaches, migraines, stomach aches, tiredness etc.

Magic Massage Ear Clips- There are 360 pressure points on your ear. With this special designed ear clip (Tens Unit), you can do ear massage. Make sure to use water to moisted the foam before use.
The Ultra Magic Massage is our newest most advanced tens unit. This feature rich and very portable device can be used for pain relief and muscle toning practically anywhere. While you are sitting in your favorite arm chair at home or if you are a long haul truck driver on the highway! This electronic brain stimulator is a perfect device to distract a patient in the dentist chair, while painful dental work is being performed. The Magic Massage Ultra tens unit is a must for athletes, body builders and anyone with extreme pain, especially anybody sitting at a desk using a computer everyday! The Magic Massage Ultra gives you relief from an aching back, headaches, shoulder and neck pain, sore hips, knee and ankle pain, Sciatica, Fibromyalgia, Plantar Fascitis, Arthritis, Tennis Elbow and for most common blood circulation problems. Neurostimulation (also called spinal cord stimulation) is a proven therapy that has been recommended by doctors to manage chronic pain and improve quality of life. Neurostimulation systems are approved and cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the management of chronic pain in the back, neck, arms, or legs. They are also covered by many major health insurance plans, Medicare, and workers’ compensation programs. If you have been living with chronic pain, neurostimulation may be an option for you. Over the past 40 years, neurostimulation has helped thousands of people manage their pain and return to normal activities.Neurostimulation, however, is not a cure for what is causing the pain and does not treat specific diseases. Instead, it is a therapy that is designed to mask pain by blocking pain signals before they reach the brain. The Magic Massage Ultra relaxes the body’s electrical system by contracting and releasing the muscles, which relieves tension in the entire human body. You have to try it to believe it, the Magic Massage Ultra tens unit is more than just a Neuro Stimulator, it has chips that are programmed with multiple bio-electrical signals. These signals are sent out in phases with variable speeds (from slow to fast) to produce the very best massage sensations. The Magic Massage Ultra unit is pre-programmed with so many combinations of signals that it keeps you guessing on what’s going to come next; Tap, Stroke, Knead, Massage, Acupuncture and Cupping. Why pay $80/hour for a session to a massage therapist while you can get instant massages in the comfort of your own home? You will be amazed by the massage sensations produced by this hands free massager. It feels like the fingers of a real massage therapist applying massage techniques on your sore muscles.

ultimatecombo

Smart Relief Ultimate Combo

Smart Relief Massage Ultimate Combo Package Only: $449.99 Comes with The smart relief massage ultimate, smart relief massage shoes and smart relief massage ear clips Digital control display with blue back lit screen. 10 massage modes (Kneading, Cupping, Lomi, Massage, Assorted, Deep Tissue, Acupuncture, Butterfly, Shiatsu-Deep, Sports Mode) Adjustable timer for your convenience (10-60 minutes) 20 levels of intensity with double outputs so you can work 4 pads at the same time. Dual ports that you can control separately Extremely small dimensions (the Ultra Magic Massage is smaller than an Ipod!) Rechargeable Lithium battery. One charge lasts over 42 hours! 2 year warranty

Smart Relief Massage Shoes-These incredible smart relief massage shoes are specially designed according to acupressure points’ technique in Chinese traditional medicine. Acupressure is an ancient healing art that uses key pressure points on the surface of the skin to stimulate the body’s natural self-curative abilities. When these points are pressed, they release muscular tension and promote blood circulation and the body’s life force to aid healing. Our massage shoes will actively stimulate these pressure points while you are wearing them (walking or standing), to help relieve headaches, migraines, stomach aches, tiredness etc. Smart Relief Massage Ear Clips- There are 360 pressure points on your ear. With this special designed ear clip (Tens Unit), you can do ear massage. Make sure to use water to moisted the foam before use. The Ultimate Smart Relief Massager is our newest most advanced tens unit. This feature rich and very portable device can be used for pain relief and muscle toning practically anywhere. While you are sitting in your favorite arm chair at home or if you are a long haul truck driver on the highway! This electronic brain stimulator is a perfect device to distract a patient in the dentist chair, while painful dental work is being performed. The Smart Relief Massage Ultimate tens unit is a must for athletes, body builders and anyone with extreme pain, especially anybody sitting at a desk using a computer everyday! The Smart Relief Massage Ultimate gives you relief from an aching back, headaches, shoulder and neck pain, sore hips, knee and ankle pain, Sciatica, Fibromyalgia, Plantar Fascitis, Arthritis, Tennis Elbow and for most common blood circulation problems. Neurostimulation (also called spinal cord stimulation) is a proven therapy that has been recommended by doctors to manage chronic pain and improve quality of life. Neurostimulation systems are approved and cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the management of chronic pain in the back, neck, arms, or legs. They are also covered by many major health insurance plans, Medicare, and workers’ compensation programs. If you have been living with chronic pain, neurostimulation may be an option for you. Over the past 40 years, neurostimulation has helped thousands of people manage their pain and return to normal activities.Neurostimulation, however, is not a cure for what is causing the pain and does not treat specific diseases. Instead, it is a therapy that is designed to mask pain by blocking pain signals before they reach the brain. The Smart Relief Massage Ultimate relaxes the body’s electrical system by contracting and releasing the muscles, which relieves tension in the entire human body. You have to try it to believe it, the Smart Relief Massage Ultimate tens unit is more than just a Neuro Stimulator, it has chips that are programmed with multiple bio-electrical signals. These signals are sent out in phases with variable speeds (from slow to fast) to produce the very best massage sensations. The Smart Relief Massage Ultimate unit is pre-programmed with so many combinations of signals that it keeps you guessing on what’s going to come next; Tap, Stroke, Knead, Massage, Acupuncture and Cupping. Why pay $80/hour for a session to a massage therapist while you can get instant massages in the comfort of your own home? You will be amazed by the massage sensations produced by this hands free massager. It feels like the fingers of a real massage therapist applying massage techniques on your sore muscles.

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Smart Relief Ultimate

The Smart Relief Ultimate Massager Tens Unit is our newest most advanced unit. This feature rich and very portable device can be used for pain relief and muscle toning practically anywhere. While you are sitting in your favorite arm chair at home or if you are a long haul truck driver on the highway! This electronic brain stimulator is a perfect device to distract a patient in the dentist chair, while painful dental work is being performed. The Smart Relief Ultimate Massager is a must for athletes, body builders and anyone with extreme pain, especially anybody sitting at a desk using a computer everyday! The Smart Relief Ultimate Massager gives you relief from an aching back, headaches, shoulder and neck pain, sore hips, knee and ankle pain, Sciatica, Fibromyalgia, Plantar Fascitis, Arthritis, Tennis Elbow and for most common blood circulation problems. Neurostimulation (also called spinal cord stimulation) is a proven therapy that has been recommended by doctors to manage chronic pain and improve quality of life. Neurostimulation systems are approved and cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the management of chronic pain in the back, neck, arms, or legs. They are also covered by many major health insurance plans, Medicare, and workers’ compensation programs. If you have been living with chronic pain, neurostimulation may be an option for you. Over the past 40 years, neurostimulation has helped thousands of people manage their pain and return to normal activities.Neurostimulation, however, is not a cure for what is causing the pain and does not treat specific diseases. Instead, it is a therapy that is designed to mask pain by blocking pain signals before they reach the brain. The Smart Relief Ultimate Massager relaxes the body’s electrical system by contracting and releasing the muscles, which relieves tension in the entire human body. You have to try it to believe it, the Smart Relief Ultimate Massager is more than just a Neuro Stimulator, it has chips that are programmed with multiple bio-electrical signals. These signals are sent out in phases with variable speeds (from slow to fast) to produce the very best massage sensations. The Smart Relief Ultimate Massager Tens unit is pre-programmed with so many combinations of signals that it keeps you guessing on what’s going to come next; Tap, Stroke, Knead, Massage, Acupuncture and Cupping. Why pay $80/hour for a session to a massage therapist while you can get instant massages in the comfort of your own home? You will be amazed by the massage sensations produced by this hands free massager. It feels like the fingers of a real massage therapist applying massage techniques on your sore muscles.

Digital control display with blue back lit screen

10 massage modes (Kneading, Cupping, Lomi, Massage, Assorted, Deep Tissue, Acupuncture, Butterfly, Shiatsu-Deep, Sports Mode)

Adjustable timer for your convenience (10-60 minutes)

20 levels of intensity with double outputs so you can work 4 pads at the same time.

Dual ports that you can control separately

Extremely small dimensions (The Smart Relief Ultimate Tens Unit is smaller than an Ipod!)

Rechargeable Lithium battery.

One charge lasts over 42 hours!

2 year warranty

Slippers2

Magic Massage Slippers

These incredible Magic Massage Slippers are specially designed according to acupressure points’ technique in Chinese traditional medicine.

Acupressure is an ancient healing art that uses key pressure points on the surface of the skin to stimulate the body’s natural self-curative abilities. When these points are pressed, they release muscular tension and promote blood circulation and the body’s life force to aid healing. Our shoes will actively stimulate these pressure points while you are wearing them (walking or standing), to help relieve headaches, migraines, stomach aches, tiredness etc.

  • Can enhance blood circulation
  • Its biological wave information can reflect to the brain
  • The massage shoes are also designed specifically to help patients with high blood pressure

Healthy feet are very important for your body. Connect your massage slippers to our massage products, and relax!

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Magic Massage Jumbo Pads

Jumbo size of Magic Massage Pads For Only: $19.99 may be used for all of our massagers and the following tens unit brands:Palm Massager, Hi Dow XPO, Hidow XP, Massage Mouse, Ismart Massagers, Mini Masseuse Massagers, Magic Masseuse Massagers, Rhythym Touch Massagers, Pinook Mini Massagers, Irest Massager, HealthmateForever.

Replacement pads last approximately 2 months
Deep, penetrating relief
Attach easily to the Magic Massager

Tens Unit Massage Pads Maintenance and Care:
Always remember to apply a few drops of water on the sticky surface of both pads before and after use
To maintain the cleanliness of the massage pads, always apply a few drops of water and cover them with protective films after use
Depending on usage, each pair of massage pads usually last for more than 2 months
When the massage pads completely lose their adhesiveness, please purchase replacement pads

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Magic Massage Pads – LARGE

Large size of Magic Massage Pads Only: $9.99 may be used for all of our massagers and the following tens unit brands:Palm Massager, Hi Dow XPO, Hidow XP, Massage Mouse, Ismart Massagers, Mini Masseuse Massagers, Magic Masseuse Massagers, Rhythym Touch Massagers, Pinook Mini Massagers, Irest Massager, HealthmateForever.

Replacement pads last approximately 2 months
Deep, penetrating relief
Attach easily to the Magic Massager

Tens Unit Massage Pads Maintenance and Care:
Always remember to apply a few drops of water on the sticky surface of both pads before and after use
To maintain the cleanliness of the massage pads, always apply a few drops of water and cover them with protective films after use
Depending on usage, each pair of massage pads usually last for more than 2 months
When the massage pads completely lose their adhesiveness, please purchase replacement pads.

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Magic Massage Pads – SMALL

Small size Magic Massage pads Only: $8.99 may be used for all of our massagers and the following tens unit brands: Palm Massager, Hi Dow XPO, Hidow XP, Massage Mouse, Ismart Massagers, Mini Masseuse Massagers, Magic Masseuse Massagers, Rhythym Touch Massagers, Pinook Mini Massagers, Irest Massager, HealthmateForever.

Replacement pads last approximately 2 months
Deep, penetrating relief
Attach easily to the Magic Massager

Tens Unit Massage Pads Maintenance and Care:
Always remember to apply a few drops of water on the sticky surface of both pads before and after use
To maintain the cleanliness of the massage pads, always apply a few drops of water and cover them with protective films after use
Depending on usage, each pair of massage pads usually last for more than 2 months
When the massage pads completely lose their adhesiveness, please purchase replacement pads

3449475

Life Time Warranty + 2 Free Pads

All of the Massagers we sell are backed by a 2 year manufacturers warranty however Magic Massage now offers its customers the option of purchasing an extended lifetime warranty coverage within 30 days from the Purchase date. This coverage costs an aditional $49.99 for each unit and can be purchased on either our website, over the phone, or at one of our retail locations.

* Includes 2 free sets of pads, additional pads are extra.
Warranty does not cover damage caused by misuse, abuse, accident or attachment of any unauthorized accessory, alteration to the product or any other conditions that are beyond the control of ​Magic Massage.

The warranty is only effective if the product is used in the USA and Canada.

Please fill out our product registration within 30 days of purchase. You must include product serial number to registration form.If your product is missing the serial number please insert 086510840. If you purchase a Lifetime Warranty please insert Invoice # in serial number Box.

Magic Massage requires that our customers present a receipt in order to take advantage of our 2 year warranty service.Please make sure you keep your reciept in a safe place
​Magic Massage will not provide the life time warranty service without the above mentioned. Please enclose your receipt with the vendor name and final purchase price to our warranty department.

​Magic Massage reserves the right to discard any defective ​Magic Massager unit after 60 days from the date we receive the defective unit from the buyer if the buyer does not provide the documents requested by the service department.

To process warranty claims the ​Magic Massage Warranty service department requires the following:
1. Consumer needs to send the original receipts with the retailers name and date of purchase.
2. All of the items need to be returned in the original box and packaging. ​Magic Massage will not honor the warranty if any of the items are found to not be original.
3. Include a check or money order in the amount of $11.95 made out to ​Magic Massage to cover the return shipping costs.
JUST $49.99

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10 Magic Massage Pads

Large size Magic Massage Replacement Pads may be used for all of our massagers and the following tens unit brands: Palm Massager, Hi Dow XPO, Hidow XP, Massage Mouse, Ismart Massagers, Mini Masseuse Massagers, Magic Masseuse Massagers, Rhythym Touch Massagers, Pinook Mini Massagers, Irest Massager, HealthmateForever.

  • Replacement pads last approximately 2 months
  • Deep, penetrating relief
  • Attach easily to the Magic Massager

Tens Unit Massage Pads Maintenance and Care:
Always remember to apply a few drops of water on the sticky surface of both pads before and after use
To maintain the cleanliness of the massage pads, always apply a few drops of water and cover them with protective films after use
Depending on usage, each pair of massage pads usually last for more than 2 months
When the massage pads completely lose their adhesiveness, please purchase replacement pads

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Magic Massage AC Adaptor

This Magic Massage AC adapter For Only: $19.99 may be used for all of our massagers and the following tens unit brands:Palm Massager, Hi Dow XPO, Hidow XP, Massage Mouse, Ismart Massagers, Mini Masseuse Massagers, Magic Masseuse Massagers, Rhythym Touch Massagers, Pinook Mini Massagers, Irest Massager, HealthmateForever.

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Magic Massage Wires

Did your Magic Massager wires stop working? Are you feeling one Magic Massager pad stronger than the other? Chances are you need new wires (Wires are not covered under warranty)
Our Magic Massage wires For Only: $19.99 are high quality and very durable. May be used for all of our massagers and the following tens unit brands:Palm Massager, Hi Dow XPO, Hidow XP, Massage Mouse, Ismart Massagers, Mini Masseuse Massagers, Magic Masseuse Massagers, Rhythym Touch Massagers, Pinook Mini Massagers, Irest Massager, HealthmateForever.

Ice or Heat?

Pain and gain – how athletes can manage and overcome pain?

Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.’ So goes a well-known but anonymous quote. For many athletes, pain is a normal everyday experience and success is often achieved in spite of pain. But what’s the best strategy for coping with and overcoming pain and how can athletes distinguish between benign and potentially damaging pain? Matt Lancaster looks at the latest evidence
Pain is synonymous with sport. Endurance athletes relish the challenge of ‘pushing through pain’ while boxers expect to fight on regardless of a jarring blow to the chin. Adulation is reserved not just for the star rugby player, but anyone who can play through pain and contribute to the team. Winners and heroes overcome pain. Losers don’t.

But the price of pain can be high. Pain both demands attention and creates fear(1). It can restrict the ability to concentrate on performance and take away the opportunity to compete. Pain can even end sporting careers. The relationship between pain and sport is filled with challenges for sportsmen and women as well as those who support them. However, although pain of some description is no stranger to most athletes, it’s still a curious phenomenon in many ways. For example, consider the following questions:

How are some people able to shrug off a painful injury?
How can two athletes with the same injury experience different pain?
Why do some pains seem to last ‘forever’?
Why can some people compete, seemingly regardless of pain, while others struggle to overcome even a minor niggle?
This article will explore these questions, offering practical advice about when it is appropriate to perform in the presence of pain, when you should consult a professional, and how to best approach pain in a sporting environment.

The diagnostic dilemma

If you tear your hamstring muscle or sprain an ankle it hurts – obviously. Since the 17th century, the medical and scientific world has sought to diagnose pain by identifying the particular tissue that has been injured. For example, the philosopher René Descartes proposed that a pure pain sensation is transmitted from the damaged body to an entirely separate organ, the mind, just as… pulling on one end of a rope…makes to strike at the same instant a bell which hangs at the end(2,3). Descartes separated the body from the brain, and even today it is usual for people to make a distinction between physical pain and mental pain(3,4).This is especially the case in sport.

However, there are some problems with this classical view of diagnosis. For instance, an extensive network of nerves supplies the various tissues in your back, making them potential sources of pain when injured(5). It follows that if you can identify the damaged spinal tissue, for instance using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), it should be possible to explain the pain.

The problem is that while MRI findings of severe damage to the discs or nerves is associated with the experience of pain, studies have failed to demonstrate a clear relationship between the majority of tissue damage observed on MRI and the patient’s pain(6). What’s more, almost 40% of people who have no history of back pain have abnormal, damaged spines at more than one spinal level when scanned using MRI(7)! Likewise, the damage shown by ultrasound investigations of athletes with painful patella tendons (jumper’s knee) does not necessarily correspond directly to the degree of pain experienced by the athlete(8).

This doesn’t mean that identifying the injured structure is not important or that it isn’t crucially involved in your pain. But looking to tissue damage alone (which is both frequent and often quite subtle in sporting injuries) to explain the relationship between pain and sporting performance is probably not sufficient.

A painful process

Another theory, first proposed in 1965, suggested that far from acting like an old-fashioned telephone exchange, your brain and spinal cord can actually increase or inhibit the transmission of pain signals(9). Gate control theory was revolutionary because it proposed a mechanism for the brain to have a modulating influence on the generation of all pains, and not just mental pain(10). While the original theory has been modified and expanded, it has essentially stood the test of time and been supported by 40 years of scientific research(11).

If you listen to the language people use to describe their pain, it soon becomes apparent that pain is quite simply pain, and is not separated into physical or mental compartments. All pain invokes not just a pure sensory response, but a range of thoughts and emotions also(3,12) and pain emerges from the integrated, combined action of the pain system(2,3). Simplistically, this system can be viewed as three separate parts of the nervous system, all of which modulate pain.

How do some people shrug off a painful injury?

Remember that following an acute injury, such as an ankle sprain, pain receptors are first stimulated by the mechanical stress and strain placed upon the tissue. ‘Inflammatory soup’ soon floods the tissue leading to peripheral sensitisation. Several hours later, similar chemicals will also lead to spinal modulation(19). Pain and sensitivity to movement and pressure increase over a period of a few hours; the time between the transition from the original mechanical pain (which may pass) to the maximum sensitised state may provide athletes with a ‘window of opportunity’ to shrug off their pain and continue competing.

However, this mechanism is probably only the tip of the iceberg. When you are totally focused on your opponent, or consumed by the contest, supraspinal and spinal modulation may act to inhibit the transmission or limit the awareness of the pain signal(18). We’ve all heard stories of sportsmen and women who have continued despite an injury which (theoretically) should have caused them to stop: a boxer with a broken hand, rugby players with torn ligaments, a long jumper with a strained hamstring etc. In the cut and thrust of competition, the pain system can ‘shut the gate’, and athletes are able to continue in spite of injured tissue(18). However, once your attention is drawn back to the acute pain (particularly following competition), awareness of the pain becomes strong again, especially if this also coincides with an increase in peripheral and spinal modulation.

So, should you ignore pain and try to shrug off an injury? Acute sensitisation is a normal, helpful process to encourage you to stop using the injured tissue and avoid further damage(20). It might be helpful to ask yourself the three questions in the box below.

There are a few other questions, which are perhaps even more important. We’ll get to these later. But remember, acute pain usually occurs for a good reason. It makes sense to seek professional advice as soon as you can. Sometimes people can overcome acute pain and continue to compete, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a wise decision!

How can two athletes with the same injury experience different pain?

Studies have confirmed that people respond differently to similar levels of painful stimulation(19). Differences exist not just in our individual sensitivity to a painful stimulus, but also in our perception of pain and how we display it. Pain is individual, even when the stimulus is not, but while we cannot know exactly what someone else is experiencing, our brains undergo quite similar activity when confronted with someone else’s pain(21). This is the basis for empathy and acknowledging someone’s pain is normal and important.

Our individual sensitivity to pain is in part explained by our genetic makeup (22-24), while studies involving twins have shown that learned behaviours are also important (25). Again, the division of pain into real and mental is unhelpful and the variation in pain between two athletes with the same injury lies at all levels of the pain system. Even for the same athlete, pain sensitivity varies under different circumstances, and perhaps not surprisingly, can become significantly less during competition(26).

It’s also worth noting that different groups in society may have significantly different pain responses, and this applies within sport. A study performed 40 years ago demonstrated that contact sport athletes could tolerate experimental acute pain for longer than non-contact athletes, while both groups could tolerate more acute pain than non-athletes(26).

Pain sensitivity may also be different in different people at different times; the way athletes display that they are in pain can vary, both between individuals and also between groups of athletes from different sports. It might be an extreme example, but imagine a footballer who could potentially be rewarded with a penalty responding to the pain from a kick in the shin. Now, assuming the tissue damage is equivalent, think about the same incident involving a Thai kick boxer who is in the middle of a title fight. Get the idea?!

Why do some pains seem to last forever?

During ongoing or chronic pain, adaptive changes at all levels of the pain system often outlast their usefulness in helping us protect injured tissues. Movements and pressures that would otherwise be normal continue to cause pain long after the risk of further injury has passed and often even once the tissue has essentially healed.

Examining possible tissue damage remains important when considering ongoing or recurrent pains, but a broader approach is required to address an athlete’s fear and anxiety about their ongoing pain and help them return to their sport. Focusing too much attention on pain can actually increase pain(18). It is probably more helpful to concentrate on working hard to strengthen the tissues at a sensible rate, regain normal fitness and aim to return to training.

Providing an appropriate environment for people to overcome ongoing pain is important and not always easy in sport. Coaches or team-mates who are angry at or ignore athletes with ongoing pain may contribute further to those athletes avoiding the very things that will help them return to full activity (such as a rehabilitation programme), and generate further anxiety that doesn’t help either(27). Getting this balance right and remaining positive is therefore important. People who develop an exaggerated, negative mindset towards their ongoing pain have been shown to experience both increased pain and emotional distress(28). Pain is a normal part of sport but the right mental approach can prevent it from becoming a catastrophe.

Does this mean it is okay to ignore ongoing pain? Well, it’s not quite that simple. Once again consider the three Cs. Any pain that has been present for more than a week or so, or keeps returning periodically is worth getting checked out by a professional who can not only assess for tissue damage but can also understand your pain and hopefully point you in the right direction before the maladaptive changes to your nervous system become entrenched.

Why are some people able to compete, seemingly regardless of pain, while others struggle to overcome even a minor niggle?

Although pain (especially acute pain) is related to tissue damage, this damage alone is not sufficient to explain pain fully. Pain is not just a sensation but results from the interaction between sensory inputs and brain processes, such as emotion and conscious thought. And pain is individual, not just to you as an athlete, but also to the time, circumstance and environment you find yourself in. Within the mechanics of the pain system, individual variation and modulation occur subconsciously, which helps to answer this question.

To ultimately address the relationship between pain and sport however, it is necessary to consider one further aspect of pain: your own ‘personal values’. We’ve already considered the three Cs as a guide to considering how to act in the presence of pain; however, as anyone involved with sport knows, making decisions about athletes in pain is often a judgement call. The three C questions only have meaning if we add a further, more personal line of questioning:

  • Am I prepared to cope?
  • How important is contributing a worthwhile performance to me?
  • Am I prepared to suffer the consequences?

Having a pain killing injection two days before an Olympic final, regardless of the risks, would seem quite a reasonable thing to do for most elite athletes if it was the only way they were able to compete. Under similar circumstances, few casual joggers would agree to the same injection just days before a fun run. Entering a boxing ring, running 100 miles a week or crashing into a rugby scrum is not for everyone. Some people can continually and repeatedly overcome pain for the sake of their sport because they are prepared to. Sometimes they are rewarded with success, and sometimes, despite their desire to cope and contribute, their body succumbs to the consequences. Winners and heroes overcome pain sometimes. Losers often try and fail. Perhaps the most successful sports people are those who best understand the relationship between pain and performance: they are prepared to overcome pain, but make wise, informed decisions about when it is worthwhile trying to do so.