How Did Ruth Bader Ginsberg Work Through the Pain?

Posted on September 28, 2020

With the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, (known to many as RBG,) we express our heartfelt condolences to those mourning the loss of her, and honor her legacy by remembering those exceptional qualities that made her such an extraordinary being in our time.

There are many reasons the life of RBG is notable, including her tireless advocacy for civil rights, her resolute fight against discrimination, and her groundbreaking progress in circles of academia, ultimately becoming only the second woman ever appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

Yet despite all of these achievements, perhaps one of the most remarkable things about RGB is that she accomplished much of it while living with pain.

While many of us wonder how one woman did it all… marriage, children, attending college AND changing the world; it’s even harder to imagine doing it all while physically suffering.

RBG encountered many run-ins with cancer in her lifetime, including:

  • Colon cancer in 1999, pancreatic cancer in 2009
  • Cancerous lesions in the lung in 2018
  • A recurrence of pancreatic cancer in 2019, which eventually led to her demise in 2020

Between the diseases and associated procedures she endured, she undoubtedly suffered a great deal of pain over the years. Yet, until 2018, Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not miss a single day of Supreme Court oral arguments; she consistently worked at full capacity despite her discomforts.

If you live with chronic pain, this may seem like an impossible feat.

So, how did Ruth Bader Ginsburg work through the pain?

Many people think it’s because she was “tough as nails”. But pain sufferers should understand that managing chronic pain doesn’t always mean you have to be tough; and experiencing a diminished lifestyle as a result of your pain doesn’t mean you’re weak.

The truth is, everyone experiences pain in their own unique way. Many factors play a role in how intense or debilitating the pain may feel, and different pain conditions contribute to each person’s symptoms in myriad ways. What may be considered mildly uncomfortable to one person could be outright excruciating to another.

Since pain is unique and subjective, it’s clear that the way RGB learned to work through her pain was by whatever means proved effective for her individual pain condition.

While we may not know exactly what facilitated her success in overcoming her many afflictions, here are a few recommendations that are widely known to be beneficial in helping pain sufferers manage their chronic pain:

1. Maintain a Positive Outlook

If you live with chronic pain, you know this is often easier said than done. But it can be done, and it’s a critical factor in managing your discomfort.

It isn’t just about thinking good thoughts; a positive outlook can be derived from many origins. When considering RGB, we recognize that she had passion for her work as well as valued interpersonal relationships. Striving for goals and maintaining a sense of purpose are great motivators and they offer distraction from painful symptoms. Connecting with others can provide comfort and help to shift perspective in beneficial ways.

Succumbing to your condition and falling into depression will only serve to worsen your chronic pain. It’s more than just a cliché to say that attitude is everything. So, find what makes you feel happy, useful and productive – you may soon find your pain taking a back seat to your happiness.

2. Stay as Active as Possible

Any pain physician will tell you that staying active, (as much as is permitted by your individual pain condition,) can help you reduce or eliminate pain symptoms. Maintaining flexibility, strength and overall good physical health makes you better equipped to cope with any discomforts you may have.

RBG is known to have worked out twice per week with a trainer in order to stay fit. She included cardio, strength training and other exercises to help keep her physically supple, strong and energetic. There is little doubt that these activities not only helped her to manage any pain she was experiencing, but also helped her prevent further injury that can arise from lack of strength and balance.

3. Heed the Expert Advice of your Pain Physician

Regardless of your pain condition or the intensity of your symptoms, you should always consult with a qualified pain doctor to learn what will work best for your unique situation. Never try to ‘tough it out’ and work through your pain without knowing what your condition calls for, and how not to exacerbate your symptoms.

Even a ‘rock star’ like RGB had qualified experts to turn to; no one has to do it alone. Talk to your pain physician and together, you can determine what will be the most effective in diminishing your individual type of pain.

To manage your pain and help you return to a happier and more comfortable quality of life, you don’t have to be a ‘tough as nails’ women’s rights icon like RBG; you simply have to find out what works for you.

We Can Help You Find Your Unique Pain Relief Solution.

At Riverside Pain Physicians, we want to help you live your best life so that you can accomplish all that you aspire to do. Let our board-certified pain experts work with you to find a comprehensive, personalized care plan with the most effective treatment option(s) to help relieve your individual pain condition.

If you are tired of living with chronic pain and want more information about options for minimizing or eliminating your suffering, contact Riverside Pain Physicians today at 904.389.1010 or click here to set up a consultation online.

Tags: Interventional Pain Management, Pain Management Jacksonville, Pain Physicians Jacksonville