Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Art Helps with Chronic Pain

In 2010, the For Grace's 3rd Annual Women in Pain Conference was held. That particular year part of their theme was to focus on how creative expressions through the arts can work hand in glove towards helping a patient with chronic pain along with traditional medication. 

Many studies show that creative expression through music, writing, or art work can break the cycle of chronic pain. Radene Marie Cook, one of the speaker, suffers from chronic pain after she sustained injuries in an airplane crash. She stated, "It means that my pain, there are so many signals and it's at such a severe level, that without treatment I'd have a heart attack or a stroke". Cook stated that she receives some relief in art, poetry and music..

"There's something about getting inner conflict and inner feelings out to where your eyes can see it," said Cook. Art can be much more than a form of therapy. The artistic expression can provide a visual means for patients to communicate with their doctors about their pain that's difficult to describe."Some of the pain is indescribable when nerves are involved. It does bizarre stuff," said Cook. "But I could show them a picture of something being electrocuted and they could understand that."

Pain specialist Dr. David Bresler says art can be a distraction from the pain."When they realize that they're becoming obsessed and concentrating way too much on their pain, they need to break that cycle in some way, and let their mind focus on other kinds of things," said Bresler. One powerful prescription: focusing on the positive.

"One of the things that we've learned is that whatever you give attention to, grows," said Bresler. "Whether it's your garden, your children, or your worries, anxieties and fears. When people pay so much attention to pain, the pain   will grow. "It's that advice -- and art -- that keeps a smile on Cook's face."I wanted to put on the walls everything that I could look to and grab immediately that told me I was going to make it," said Cook. "It's a reminder to say, 'Yes, I can and it's going to be OK in the end.'"*


FYI- Just the other day I read in the newspaper about this marvelous idea. It is a place where complete novices can go and in two to three hours produce a painting like the one above. I think this would be an excellent way to start your artistic juices flowing if you want to dabble in acrylics. Check out their website for more information. http://www.paintingwithatwist.com/ 



  1. I found knitting and crocheting to be a great therapy against chronic pain. Never tried painting, though - sounds like an interesting idea!

    1. Barbara, have you tried the square knitting needles. I find they work better for me since my hands have gotten so bad. I haven't done much hand work since my hand surgeries in January and March 2012 but I hope to in the future.