Boxing, as with all other contact sports, is littered with injuries. This sport is synonymous with pain, but also discipline and self-fulfillment. So, it is not all bad. Do not let the risk of being hurt deter you from taking on this practice – it can be one of the most gratifying experiences in your life.
As they say, no pain, no gain. With boxing, you have a handful of benefits to be had from building stronger physical and mental endurance, as well as honing your focus and self-discipline.
That said, how does one who practice boxing deal with the pain which is guaranteed to come. How do boxers deal with the pain after a fight and during training? In this article, we will be listing some of the tried and tested techniques that you can apply to help alleviate the more painful aspect of boxing.
Boxing Related Injuries
Training and getting in the ring for a boxing match are two different things. However, both are still attributed to causing injuries in one way or another.
Boxers can get hit in several vital parts of the body – the jaw, nose, and solar plexus are three of that will mostly absorb the most punishment during a boxing match. But it is not exclusive to those three specific body parts.
Everything from your waist up is a target, and it is up to you to protect yourself to the best of your ability during a match.
However, it is nigh impossible to not absorb even a fraction of damage during a boxing match, unless you manage to finish the match in a matter of seconds.
This is the same in training. Injuries are also common even in training sessions.
Boxing is designed to push an individual to their limits both mentally and physically. If they overdo it or perform a particular exercise improperly, an injury may not be too far behind.
As for specifics, here are three of the most common injuries that a boxer might develop throughout their career:
- Boxer’s or Brawler’s Fracture
This injury revolves around the hand, specifically the knuckles. This type of injury is caused when you punch any hard surface. This is why protective boxing gloves and hand wraps are essential as it can help lower the risk of this injury.
- Carpal Bossing
This condition is distinguished by a lump that develops at the back of one’s hand between the wrist bone and the fingers. This can lead to acute pain and swelling and can even exacerbate arthritis in older individuals.
- Dislocated Shoulder
This type of injury is not only prevalent in boxing but also other contact sports such as football. In boxing, a dislocated shoulder can be caused by several factors, from awkwardly throwing a punch to being forcefully hit around the shoulder area.
There are also three types of shoulder dislocation:
- Anterior Dislocation – characterized by forwarding displacement of the shoulder. This is also the most common type.
- Posterior Dislocation – the complete opposite of anterior dislocation, this one is categorized when the humerus is pushed backward. This type is often seen in players of contact sports or those with weakened rotator cuff muscles.
- Inferior Dislocation – this shoulder injury is quite rare and is caused by hyperextending the upper limb due to stress. This type of shoulder dislocation injury is also attributed to ligament damage.
How the Body Reacts When Getting Hit
The body adapts subconsciously to danger; this is more noticeable in boxing as athletes’ bodies will react almost automatically to getting hit. Let us take a closer look at how our body reacts to the imminent danger and the split-second moment before getting hit.
- The Body’s Natural Reflex Kicks In
Notice how your eyes immediately shut and your head reels back when you think that you are about to get hit.
This is an automatic reflex the body makes to dampen the impact. Once you do get hit, your head will try to snap back to help absorb the blow; both hands will also raise to cover your face and guard against follow up punches.
This reflex is triggered whenever an object comes close to your eyes, and everybody has them.
In a boxing match, relying on this automatic reflex is not recommended.
The reason for this is that closing your eyes, even for a second, will leave you open for another attack. Also, blindly covering up your head can leave you open to attacks on a different part of your bodies such as your solar plexus or liver.
As you can see, in a boxing match this body reflex can be more of a detriment.
- The Body Reacts to the Damage Received
A second after getting hit, your body will start to react to the damage. The body’s reaction will depend on where you got hit. Getting caught in the solar plexus will suck the wind out of you while getting hit in the jaw can most likely turn off the lights. I have also seen boxers crumple to the ground from constant body blows, so the head is not the only target that can net you a KO. You will also experience a sudden swelling on the area of impact and expect a bruise that will last for a couple of days as well.
- Your Body Will be Left Sore After Rigorous Training
It goes without saying that boxing training is one of the most physically demanding and mentally draining exercises that you will go through. As such, your body will feel sore afterward. It is advisable not to push yourself too far during training and allow your body adequate time to recover, or you are risking permanent damage on your muscles.
Ways to Alleviate Pain Caused by Training and Boxing
Pain and boxing go hand in hand; this is something that practitioners of this sport have embraced wholeheartedly. However, that is not to say that you can embrace the pain, as well. There are several ways to provide your body with relief; some are even surprisingly simple. Let us go through the most common body pains that boxers go through during and after training or a match. Keep in mind that it is always best to consult with a doctor if you feel any pain, soreness, or disorientation after a match.
- Muscle Soreness Remedies
Massaging the affected area gently. Afterward, you should take a warm bath, as this will help relax your muscles. You should also limit yourself to doing light warm-ups and stretches, and remember always to get enough rest.
- Mild Injuries
Apply first aid to the injured area. For example, applying cold compress as soon as possible is advisable. Applying warm compress, the next day is the next recommended step to help alleviate the swelling. You can also take anti-inflammation medications as advised by your doctor.
- Severe Injuries
In these cases, you must undergo proper checkups from a doctor. This way, you will be appropriately diagnosed and get the appropriate treatment. It is crucial that you know your limits, pushing through the pain is an excellent way to exacerbate the problem and leave you with an even more severe injury.
- Training Injuries
For beginners, training regularly is recommended if you wish to improve upon your physical limits and pain threshold. Going through a boxing training regimen can be quite unforgiving for first-timers. The pain is natural, as long as it is not debilitating. In most cases, you just need to continue with your training, and your body will adapt to it over time. Take a breather in between sets to allow your body to recover. Take deep and slow breaths and allow your brain to release endorphins which helps relax your muscles.
Tips for Beginners
For those who are just beginning with their boxing training, here are several tips to help you get in the right mindset. Mental fortitude is just as important as physical prowess in regards to boxing; getting both factors right will help you greatly along the way.
- Don’t Bite More Than You Can Chew
One way to get yourself injured is deliberately overestimating your skills. It is okay to acknowledge when your opponent is far more skilled than you. During sparring, don’t hesitate to ask for a break if you get hit with a hard shot. Live to fight another day, as they say.
- Proper Posture and Defense Goes a Long Way
Any boxer knows that getting hit in the nose or liver is not a fun way to spend the day. To help reduce your opponent’s targets, always keep your chin tucked and position your right elbow so that it shields your body (where your liver is located). One good hit to your nose or your liver can be extremely painful and can even drop you to your knees.
When injured, you should refrain from continuing training as it can only worsen your injury. Never push yourself and know your limits. If push comes to shove, you can apply the techniques we listed above to help you work through the pain. However, those are only applicable to small injuries, anything severe, and you will need the help of a medical professional.