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Leaders in pain

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

The hidden journey and consequences of physical pain alongside leadership

The 2020 buzzword in the world of work seems to be wellbeing. It’s a word that I have an ambivalent relationship with. On the one hand, I celebrate that there may be a focus on what people need to be healthy and successful, on the other hand I wonder, “what does wellbeing actually mean?” and “do people even realise it is what they need?”

Don’t get me wrong. I am akin to the many definitions of wellbeing. But who has ever gone to Google and searched for their nearest wellbeing provider, or ordered a bottle of wellbeing?

I don’t want to sound trite — but my many years in Health Psychology and Coaching have revealed to me that the concept of ‘wellbeing’ is not obvious to people even when they desperately lack it.

Physical Pain — the hidden epidemic

One area of need where this is most striking is in the area of Chronic Pain.

It may surprise you to hear that the British Pain Society estimates that two-fifths / 43% of adults in the UK (about 28 million ) are experiencing chronic pain!

Read that again, are experiencing now… not have experienced in the past.

Chronic pain is defined as any pain that persists for 3 months or longer.

When I first opened my private pain service, alongside my NHS clinical role, in 2014 I was amazed by how many of my clients were leaders or senior professionals. Business CEOs, barristers, sales directors, politicians, other clinicians… well, the list is long.