I have personally been battling with back pain for a while, and in 2016 I had back surgery to help remedy my ruptured disc challenges. My surgeon told me the surgery might not be a long-term solution, but he did say it would help to relieve the pain I had from also having a chipped disc piece in one of my back nerves. Yes, this was extraordinarily painful, and I wasn’t certain I could make it via the waiting process to have the surgery, let alone the recovery phase of it. Although the silver lining from this experience is knowing I can tolerate more pain than I ever imagined was possible, but this was never one of my goals in life.
Post my surgical experience I was treated with incredibly addicting pain medication and physical therapy to help me recover. Having been an athlete, I knew I could tolerate the physical therapy, but the pain medication proved to be harder to battle. The good news is that I was able to successfully wean off the pain medications, although I certainly would have been in less pain agony during the tail end of the healing process. However, I learned a great deal from having gone through this experience. Especially since my professional role at that time made it difficult to take the full amount of recovery time off, but that I was given and needed.
Going back to work post my surgery far earlier than I should have been isn’t something I would recommend doing. I wasn’t trying to be a hero doing this, or to set an example for anyone, as I was reluctant to doing so. Despite my reluctance for returning to my role early, there are positive take aways I learned from this experience. One of them is that no on can ever appreciate what level of pain you are experiencing. Namely because everyone has a different level of pain tolerance. Since I am not a medical person, my comment is solely based on my own knowledge, and I’m not aware of whether there is an actual measurement available to determine a comparative analysis of people’s pain tolerance level.
A second thing I learned about living and working with extreme pain is that it is exhausting. This is because much of my energy was directed at simply trying to get through the day with the unrelenting pain I was experiencing. Also, while trying to mask the reality of my pain by having others think, I was tolerating it well. I wasn’t, and being inauthentic about how I was feeling was something I wasn’t accustomed to experiencing. However, I didn’t want to make other people feel badly for me. I was also aware that plenty of other people had far more difficult challenges than what I was experiencing (e.g., loss of limbs, being burned, becoming unable to speak, walk or hear), so this was also another reason I was able to proceed forward each day because I knew I would eventually become better.
As I’m writing this story today, another thing I learned when I was experiencing great pain; and unfortunately, like I am today, is that doing something for others can be a wonderful distraction. This includes work, and if you are an athlete, continuing to train in your sport at the level you can do so is a good distraction. Even if it means you are only capable of serving as a spectator of your team. Likely with the goal of coming back to experiencing a full recovery so that you can participate at the level you are accustomed to either in sports, or your work profession.
Being an entrepreneur means I must work via my pain. I’m not feeling sorry for myself, and in fact, I feel fortunate to know I can manage through this period, as I’m hopeful it is simply a temporary setback. At least that’s the plan I intend to proceed with. What I’m doing today may or may not be inspirational to you, but I do have some suggestions below for those of you who might be able to relate to my current pain scenario, and how to turn a negative scenario into a positive one.
- Have a longer-term outlook in any given situation to help you to look past and work through the pain or setback you might be experiencing currently.
- The power of our minds is tremendous in terms of helping us to deal with and get to a place where we are not experiencing excruciating pain. Today I am channeling the power of my own mind to help me not be as focused on the pain I am experiencing, so I can accomplish more than I expected to without this approach.
- Proceeding through the pain, if you are not doing more damage to yourself, isn’t always recommended, but sometimes it is required. You’ll know when this is, and when you should back off from this approach.
- Seek expert advice on suggested times for actual rest or complete abandonment from what you normally are doing if your condition requires you to do so. Don’t set your healing process back unnecessarily. I’ve done this, and it’s not worth it, and suggestion number one supports this.
- Appreciate that you will have limits to what you can do when you are attempting to work via your pain as both an athlete or businessperson or leader. Your limits might be greater than you think, but sustaining the limits and tolerance to your pain shouldn’t be driven by trying to impress anyone.
- Pain is something almost everyone will experience in their lifetime. We can look at it from the perspective of setting us back, or we can take on a new perspective of better understanding what we can learn from it. Perhaps we need to be more patient, slow down or care for ourselves differently than we have before?
Although I’m realistically in a great deal of pain right now, I have an interesting sense of peace knowing that writing can be cathartic. Even better, hoping that at least one person will benefit from me taking the time to write this story today, and working through my own pain to accomplish doing so.
TAGS: #Business #Motivation #Communication #Leadership #Sports #Athlete #Pain #Management #Sportsteams #Tipstodealwithpain #Persistance #Leader