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Ignoring the pain

Updated on February 14, 2011


Pain and Treatment

When we are young we feel like we can do anything since we are in the midst of our youth, healthy, conditioned and have a very positive outlook. As we age and reality sets in we find that what we once could do in a fraction of the time now takes longer as each year passes us by. It is a normal progression in the aging process and we feel we have no control over it as it is inevitable. We can deal with it better by having a good mental view and by staying in good shape and maintaining a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle.

I remember as a young child looking up to my parents and realizing how hard they both worked to take good care of my sisters and I. I remember my dad worked in a very demanding and physical line of work as an ironworker so he had to always make sure he paid attention to his body and the injuries he encountered . He always pushed himself and always worked through his injuries unless they were so painful they required hospitalization. I remember my dad spending time in the hospital due to severe back pain, shoulder pain and leg pain. He never would take a day off from work unless his pain was intolerable. He really pushed himself as a young man basically ignoring his pain and as he aged his body would slow down and he could not do this anymore. As he aged he finally realized that in the years he ignored the pain and worked through it that it would finally catch up to him and he now needed to remedy the pain by having it treated medically and he now had to pay closer attention to it since he was now more prone to injury and would also suffer more intense pain as a result.

I know my dad was not reckless but he did try to push himself to the point that it was not always in his best interest from a health point of view but he felt obligated to work and dreaded losing time as it meant his paycheck would reflect the lost time and he needed to make sure he could put food on the table and pay the monthly obligations. It is a shame that we are so overwhelmed with financial pressures that it makes us react in ways that may not always be the most prudent but it is what we feel compelled to do.

My mother tolerated pain well too and had a high threshold to it having given birth to three of us and I remember my dad always saying how he could tolerate the pain he had but could not deal with the pain of childbirth. He always praised mom for being so brave for each of our births. I know when my wife gave birth I too felt the same way about her as dad felt about mom.

Pain is a hard thing to deal with and sometimes we try to cope with it by trying our best to live with it esentially ignoring it. If the pain is intense then we can no longer ignore it but up to the point it becomes intolerable we had pushed off treatment because we either did not have the financial resources to treat it or we just felt we would lose too much time from work and we were more concerned about that than getting the proper treatment. I know my dad felt like this on many occasions. When we live in fear like this we must question why we have such anxiety and such a preoccupation with missing days from work. We should never sacrifice our health for fear of losing time from work.

As we approach middle age we will likely encounter more pain and will have to adjust and make wiser choices. We can not take our bodies for granted like we did in our youth because our bodies will break down more and we will most likely pay the price with longer bouts of pain and extended days off for recuperation and healing. We will also have to condition our bodies and our minds to adapt to the aging process and the likelihood of more pain management issues. We must always remember that we must never sacrifice our health especially when we are raising families and have children depending on us. It is our responsibility to take good care of ourselves so we can in turn take good care of our children. After all our children learn from us and we must always set a good example for them so they will learn and make proper choices in their lives as they grow and mature. We are passing the torch to them in the long distance race of life.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Pain and depression

Chronic pain


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