Michael Clarke has revealed the extent to which chronic pain afflicted him in during his fine career.
The revelations cast a new light on the former Australia captain's achievements, which came despite Clarke suffering from chronic pain due to three degenerating disks since the age of 17.
Despite that, Clarke would still go on to score 8,643 runs over 198 Test innings in 115 matches.
At his best, he was ranked the world's number one Test batsman and took over the captaincy following the retirement of Ricky Ponting in 2011.
He retired from cricket in August 2015 after the Ashes against England although he returned to the sport in February to play grade cricket.
Clarke said the pain got so bad at times he pondered whether or not he should quit.
"My wife [Kyly] and my family knew just how I woke up in the morning, what they could prepare for, what sort of day it was going to be," he told The Australian.
"There were a number of days I couldn't put my shoes and socks on so I needed Kyly to help."
Clarke said the pain was excruciating and impacted his family.
"If you've suffered with back pain and nerve pain you'll understand; sometimes it's devastating," Clarke said.
"What it can do to you, your family and everyone around you ... words can't describe the things you think because the pain is so strong.
"When you're suffering chronic pain and nerve pain, to a certain extent, it's more about your life -- being able to get out of bed, being able to pick up your son or daughter, that's the stuff you fear the most.
"But it shouldn't stop you doing anything ... you can still chase your dreams -- you can go to work every day, you can play sport at the highest level."