Making Friends with Pain !?

OK, an unusual title for a post but one that I’ve been contemplating for the last 2 weeks. The title of this piece is based on a secondary school assembly I attended back in the day! These assemblies would be a rare highlight for a speaker to be invited from the outside world by the headmaster in a hope to inspire a generation! Really? Anyway, some stuff sticks and in a developing mind references can be closer to reality later in life.

Yesterday I ventured out after a 2 week break from road running. I’m not implying here that I’m some sort of athlete that has to ‘hit’ the road. Yet, personally there is something meditative about the open road with future deafness invoking music & legs killing. For some reason my old (2009) skiing injury returned just under my right knee. It felt like it was located in the tendon/ligament area that runs down the outside of the knee. Just look at how complex the knee is:

500metres later
Here is a picture of my new green glow Nike Vomero 8+ shoes & legs. At first I felt some twinges then once I warmed up during my 500m test run it felt better. However, today my left calf is a bit tight, maybe it was compensating? NB This post is not about my legs!
When in Pain…
The assembly presenter suggested that

When in pain, we keep heading back to check if it is still there.

He suggested that it was like a friend. For example, you call it up to see if it is OK or even left you. In one sense pain’s ‘friendship’ can be a driver to help you recover. I’m not implying that it is something we must actively seek in order to gain a return. Often it is an inevitability based on actions or predetermined. Many people sadly live with pain, persevering everyday. For example, our step instructor has had hip pains in the past yet she works through it, smiles and all, getting on with it. Old age can bring pain with it, frustratingly impact a life-style or quality of life. People who have suffered strokes are left to contend with pain with some not able to fully recover. I feel for them. I’ve seen cases where someone can be a mountain climber up into their late 60s, yet sadly after an illness or heart condition they cannot perform at the same level. Michael Jackson’s apparent addiction to pain killers eventually claimed his life. Losing a life partner & remembering the good time you had with them. Losing parents or a close relative to illness, is certainly painful. Pain for the latter cases is clearly not a friend.

Often in our daily lives we think we’re immortal. We tend not to consider the long term impact of our daily actions. We talk rubbish and forget the impact of the pain we cause on others, egotistically losing temper to prove a point or strike out in cowardly excuse driven frustration. In the latter scenario both the giver and receiver of a reaction become victims of administered pain. We don’t learn from these episodes, instead we rinse and repeat!

Is pain really a friend?
In one sense it is. For sports people a reminder to slow down or change ones current approach/regime. For stressed out conditions in the work place or home life, there is an opportunity to contemplate. Used as a way to prevent a bad reaction, yes it is a friend. Suggesting that we think before we speak.

In terms of living with Pain, sadly it is hard for those in suffering. However, if and when we see pain in others we should try to seek a way to ease it. For example, in situations of poverty, disaster recovery and delivering good will to others around us. To help people in homes or simply smile to provide a human connection can be a contribution.

The future of Pain.
Pain is around us and it can drive apathy. However, it is only through our passion to rise above it, that we can and have an opportunity to deliver change. I thank the assembly speaker who’s name I didn’t log for giving me a life lesson. We take the rough with the smooth but no one knows what is around the corner. We can only hope for the best for everyone. Pain is a component of life that pops up unexpectedly, yet it has the potential to drive us to deliver relief.

Categories: 2013, Health, Pause for thought

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