Monday, November 1, 2010

Even Olympic Gold Medalists Struggle With Long-Term Pain

Tessa Virtue is " A beauty, and a (competitive) beast". This apt description comes from the headline of Rosie Dimanno's recent column in the Toronto Star (October 31, 2010, p. S3).

Yet, even a tough highly competitive superstar like Tessa Virtue can struggle with persistent pain. Even an Olympic Gold Medal winner.

What struck me from Dimano's article was how Ms. Virtue's struggle seemed very similar to what many of my patients go through in their fight with long-term pain. Here are some quotes from this article, in Ms. Virtue's own words.

"I wasn't admitting I was in pain because I thought, if i think I'm healthy, then maybe I will be.  That wasn't the case. Just to walk for 10 minutes was a struggle."

"I was told there was no reason for me to be in pain."

"At some point, you're thinking: suck it up, just do it. If there is no answer, then maybe I am just a baby."

According to Dimanno, Ms. Virtue was feeling a little embarrassed to complain since all of the experts were telling her she shouldn't have been feeing pain. She wondered if they were hinting that all of her pain was in her head.

How many of the millions of people who live every day in pain have felt like this? I'm betting almost everyone.

Ms. Virtue has now undergone a new surgery, in early October, to help solve this physical, not psychological, problem. We wish you well and thank you for your candor and bravery.

Yours with care

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