Meaningful Work Is Possible When Living With An Injury Or Persistent Pain

Meaningful Work is Possible When Living with an Injury or Persistent Pain

For many, recovering from an illness or living with persistent pain is a life-changing event. The mental toll of adjusting to a completely new life can be more of a struggle than the physical.

The important thing is to not long for a life that once was, but rather to seek meaningful change in your new life – whether this is a new job, a hobby, or something else.

To inspire you to see past the restrictions of injury or persistent pain, here are 5 examples of people achieving meaningful things in the face of life-altering circumstances.

Henry Fraser – Art 

Henry Fraser dislocated his neck diving into the sea while on holiday in Portugal. While he had done this many times in the past, this time something just went wrong. Dislocating the fourth vertebrae left him paralysed from the neck down.

He spent 3 weeks in hospital in Portugal before he was well enough to return to England. He then spent 6 months in hospital recovering, literally learning to breathe again.

As a result of this injury, Henry had to give up pretty much everything in his life, including his passion for art. But after falling ill in 2015, he discovered an iPad drawing app he could control with a stylus, which he held in his mouth.

Luckily, this app allowed him to rediscover his love for art and to turn it into a job. Henry was even commissioned by The Times to produce the cover art for their rugby World Cup supplement. 

As Henry states, “I thought so many doors had been shut. In fact [the accident] opened so many more.”

You can check out his art here.

David Grant – Charity

In 2010, David was hit by a speeding car while cycling.Predictably, he was left with catastrophic injuries, including significant brain trauma. While his other injuries healed as normal, David’s brain injuries took much longer.

After 3 months of recovery he was still unable to speak properly, and was understandably still dealing with PTSD 2 years after the event. 10 years later, David still deals with complications, and it’s fair to say the PTSD will always be there in one form or another.

But David has since turned his experiences into help for others. Along with his wife, Sarah, David launched a Facebook community focusing on advocacy and education about brain injury. Its purpose is to educate those who need information and to help those living with brain injury to overcome challenges. 

David is also the author of Metamorphosis: Surviving Brain Injury and is a motivational speaker and educator. 

Michelle Munt – Education

Michelle sustained a significant brain injury in a car accident in 2014. The life-changing event forced her to give up her career in recruitment and to spend months in recovery learning to walk again.

After her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Michelle realised she needed to be there for him. She miraculously managed to speed up her recovery enough for her to provide her father with care.

Now Michelle works as an educator and coach for those living with brain injuries, along with their caregivers. Her purpose is to help them overcome stigma and understand how to find passion in their lives again.

Michelle runs a blog on her website, which she uses as her main tool. In it, she is very candid with her thoughts in the hopes that others are able to connect. She also offers coaching sessions, which you can find on her website.

Natasha Lipman – Podcasting

Natasha Lipman runs an award-winning blog that she uses to highlight common issues people experience when living with a chronic illness. Topics include exercise, diet, hobbies, and overcoming the mental health challenges associated with chronic illness.

Natasha is a prime example of how someone can turn their illness into a benefit for others. She uses her established position online to bring evidence-based information and expert guidance to a wide audience.ß

Importantly, Natasha has started the Rest Room podcast, which she uses to offer her expert information in a more accessible format. Each episode she’s joined by an expert and they discuss important topics for the benefit of others. She covers topics relating to both chronic illness and persistent pain, making it a valuable resource for many.

Erich Luetke – App Creation 

Erich suffered from various types of persistent pain for years. After seeing a range of doctors over 2 years, the closest diagnosis they could give was repetitive stress injury (RSI).

But Erich was not sure this diagnosis fitted. He’d experience pain in his hands and wrists, swelling in his joints, and had constantly cold hands and feet. While RSI could explain the pain, it didn’t fit the other symptoms he experienced.

In short, Erich concluded there was little he could really do about the pain and that he would just have to manage it. As he worked in tech, Erich decided to use his career knowledge for better purposes, and created the Curable app.

He worked alongside other people living with persistent pain to develop a psychology pain management program. It runs an AI pain coach called Clara. The program uses chatbot services to discuss things with you and sends exercises and lessons to help you understand your situation.

When used properly, this app has the potential to be game-changing, as persistent pain can be a very mentally damaging condition to live with. Erich recently appeared on a podcast, which you can listen to on the link above.



Recovering from an injury or living with persistent pain will lead to significant adjustments in your life, but this doesn’t have to be for the worse. Finding (or reviving) a passion has the potential to make adjustment so much easier, particularly if it has the potential to inspire others