Ben O'Donoghue Share Your Pain Interview

Ben O'Donoghue Share Your Pain Interview

Ben O'Donoghue Share Your Pain Interview

New research released shows six out of ten (59%) Australians who report living with neuropathic (nerve) pain are missing work at least once a week due to their nerve pain. Intriguingly, this is higher than those living with other chronic pain conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (where 43% miss work at least once a week).

Pain Medicine Specialist Dr Nathan Taylor, of Sydney's North Shore Private Hospital, explains how nerve pain is different to other forms of pain:
"Nerve pain affects many Australians. It is often described as being more severe than other pain and lasts longer than would be expected. Nerve pain feels different and is sometimes described as burning, stabbing, pins and needles, or the feeling of electric shocks. It can be associated with numbness or increased skin sensitivity."

Celebrity chef Ben O'Donoghue shares his story of living with nerve pain as he becomes the ambassador of a new health awareness campaign called Share Your Pain, which launches today to coincide with the beginning of the Global Year Against Neuropathic Pain.

'Share Your Pain aims to increase understanding that nerve pain feels different," Ben said.

'We want to encourage people who are putting up with pain that won't go away to speak to their doctor today, to seek options to help manage their pain. Nerve pain should be treated as early as possible before it develops into chronic pain."

'My nerve pain started back in 1998 when I was working as a chef in England. I thought the pain was muscular, but after six months of intense pain I realised it must be something else. I had severe shooting pains down my leg. It felt like I was being stabbed with a knitting needle in my buttocks. I was pretty much house-bound and getting really depressed. It started to affect my relationships and I couldn't work for four months," Ben explained.

Ben is not alone. Nerve pain not only impacts on work, but can also cause relationship difficulties, with almost half of those who report living with nerve pain saying it causes stress in their relationship (45%) and over a third (37%) saying sexual activity is impossible due to their pain.

'I was diagnosed with sciatica when I was just 27 years old. I was devastated. It had been suggested to me that I might not be able to cook again. I'd spent 10 years of my life cooking and I saw the rest of my life being a restaurateur so that was pretty scary," said Ben.

Dr Nathan Taylor recommends anyone living with pain to seek advice from a healthcare professional, in order to get a diagnosis and help with managing their pain.

"If you have been suffering with pain that just isn't settling, it may be nerve pain. There are a number of different management strategies that can empower you to take control and get back to normal life. It is worth talking to your doctor or seeing a pain medicine specialist to discuss these options," he said.

Talk to your doctor and visit www.nervepain.com.au. Complete the online questionnaire intended to help you explain your pain and take a printout to discuss with your doctor. Your doctor and healthcare team will help you find a diagnosis and implement the most appropriate pain management strategy for you.

Videos:
Celebrity chef Ben O'Donoghue shares his story of living with nerve pain as he becomes the ambassador for Share Your Pain on YouTube.

Two emotive new awareness videos – both show a depiction of someone living with nerve pain, based on real patient stories on YouTube, here and here.

 

Interview with Ben O'Donoghue

Question: What is the Share your Pain awareness campaign?

Ben O'Donoghue: Share Your Pain aims to increase understanding that nerve pain feels different.


Question: What do you hope to achieve from the Share your Pain campaign?

Ben O'Donoghue: We want to encourage people who are putting up with pain that won't go away to speak to their doctor today, to seek options to help manage their pain. Nerve pain should be treated as early as possible before it develops into chronic pain.


Question: Why was it important for you to become an ambassador for the Share your Pain campaign?

Ben O'Donoghue: I was diagnosed with sciatica when I was just 27 years old. I was devastated. It had been suggested to me that I might not be able to cook again. I'd spent 10 years of my life cooking and I saw the rest of my life being a restaurateur so that was pretty scary. I wanted to raise awareness of a condition that has affected me and help others seek options to manage their pain.


Question: What is nerve pain like?

Ben O'Donoghue: My nerve pain felt like I had severe shooting pains down my leg. It felt like I was being stabbed with a knitting needle in my buttocks.


Question: When did your nerve pain first begin?

Ben O'Donoghue: I was in my mid-twenties.


Question: What is sciatica?

Ben O'Donoghue: Sciatica is a type of nerve pain due to damaged sciatic nerve.


Question: How is nerve pain and sciatica treated?

Ben O'Donoghue: I recommend anyone living with pain to seek advice from a healthcare professional, in order to get a diagnosis and help with managing their pain. Talk to your doctor and visit www.nervepain.com.au


Question: How does sciatica affect you daily, now?

Ben O'Donoghue: I'm one of the lucky ones, my severe nerve pain is now under control but I still get some feelings of numbness.


Question: Where you surprised by any of the research?

Ben O'Donoghue: No I wasn't surprised by the research, when I had severe nerve pain I was pretty much house bound and couldn't work for four months so I can understand why so many people living with nerve pain are missing work due to their nerve pain.


Question: What advice do you have for Australians suffering from nerve pain?

Ben O'Donoghue: Seek advice from a healthcare professional in order to get a diagnosis and help with managing your pain.


Interview by Brooke Hunter

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