Monday, April 19, 2010

Even Sports Heroes Can Suffer From Chronic Pain

Thank you to Nick Canepa from the San Diego Union Tribune. Your recent article, Back pain nearly drove Bill Walton to end it all, will help more than 50 million North Americans who live every day in pain.

Your inspiring article helps in two ways.

First, you explain that even a famous sports hero can suffer from chronic pain. Bill Walton, an all-time basketball great was living in unbearable pain after more than 36 surgeries. His was a clear example of physical injuries causing his long-term pain. No psychological causes here.

Secondly, you point out that even Bill Walton's enthusiastic personality was no match for his relentless back pain. At one point, his chronic back pain became so unbearable that he was ready to jump off a bridge, taking his own life. This tells us a little about how difficult it is for anyone to live in constant pain. All the more power to Bill Walton, for having the courage to admit this.

Depression is a common side effect of living every day in pain. It is hard for anyone to admit this. With depression, thoughts of ending one’s life come to mind. They are unavoidable. This is another reason why people in pain need all the love and support we can muster. Understanding and validation are important too. Thank you Nick Capepa.

Yours with Care

Michael R. MacDonald, Ph.D.

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