I have had a chronic pain condition for about 11 years now and have days that I simply cannot physically do anything. I have ideas buzzing through my head if I'm not too foggy to think. I'm finally getting some relief and have found that zendoodles help because I don't have to think, and using the creative side of my brain removes me from the pain and stress for a while. It's also something lightweight and portable so I can bring my little pens and journal to doctor's appointments, keep them next to the bed for restless nights, and I can do it in just about any comfy position. Does anyone else use art as pain management? If so what do you do? Looking for some new inspiration...

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Jennifer - first off, so sorry you are dealing with chronic pain - I know it can be mentally disabling as well as physically.  I use zendoodles/zentangles as a stress release - also for the headaches and muscle aches that accompany long stressful days.  As for inspirations - aside from wonderful ideas and patterns found on Pinterest, I have been using a technique suggested by a dear friend.  It is to sit looking around a room, out the window or in a magazine and see "patterns" instead of objects.  One of the funniest - but pretty- ones I have done was making a zendoodle of the chart of the sinus system that was posted on the wall as we waited for the doctor.  After doing this a while, I see patterns everywhere.  It really works to take my mind off of all else - aches, pains, worries, schedules.....Hope it can help you too.  Blessings!

I too use art as a diversion from fibro pain. "Zendoodles" work nicely as they can be rather mindless on those days when forming coherent thoughts is tough. My art journal is my go to for this kind of art. I use it to gather incomplete ideas, color combo possibilities, thoughts etc. I don't try to write out what I'm experiencing and often don't even try to document my health experience in any way but rather just create in my journal freely. It lessens my critical thoughts or frustration with physical limitations on any particular day yet still allows me to be creative and to capture my thoughts and ideas even if my hands and arms aren't cooperating like I would like them to. On good days I can pull the journals put and choose the ideas that really matter and apply to canvas. I suppose it's no different than any other artist's journey really.
As for other ideas...I try to avoid things that require finer motor skills on rough days. (Makes me worry if I will lose my abilities and that increases stress which isn't good!).
I play with various mediums to see what feels most comfortable that day. At times I've done collage work if my fingers are too tender to hold pens etc. Best of luck and I hope this helps a tiny bit!

Hi Jennifer - I also have chronic pain but have found some ways to manage it, art being one.  When you are able to focus on something other than the pain it seems to subside sometimes.  I spend time in prayer and meditate on our Lord Jesus.  If I may, I would suggest taking cocoanut oil daily for energy; I mix mine in with hot drinks or you can cook with it.  One teaspoon is enough to help me but others take 2-3 a day. I am an artist in the making at 67 but have created since I was 7.  I now take a variety of classes, most recently Calligraphy and this helps take the focus away from how I feel.  Art is expressing yourself, getting lost in new techniques, and color-lots of it.  Art is personal, it is what makes YOU feel good - you should do what you like while experimenting with various new products.  There are so many great young people to learn from - maybe having a friend over and working together would also help.  I have read some of the comments above and people are so eager to reach out and help with great suggestions.  Have a blessed day.

Peg - this is about as original as I have seen - as I sit here with my daily sinus issues.  Thanks for making me smile and have a joyful day.
 
Peg said:

Jennifer - first off, so sorry you are dealing with chronic pain - I know it can be mentally disabling as well as physically.  I use zendoodles/zentangles as a stress release - also for the headaches and muscle aches that accompany long stressful days.  As for inspirations - aside from wonderful ideas and patterns found on Pinterest, I have been using a technique suggested by a dear friend.  It is to sit looking around a room, out the window or in a magazine and see "patterns" instead of objects.  One of the funniest - but pretty- ones I have done was making a zendoodle of the chart of the sinus system that was posted on the wall as we waited for the doctor.  After doing this a while, I see patterns everywhere.  It really works to take my mind off of all else - aches, pains, worries, schedules.....Hope it can help you too.  Blessings!

I also have fybro and am in constant pain.  I don't really have good days as I also have severe arthritis along with it.  I had to have a thumb joint replaced and the other is going.  Also need knees done as I have bone on bone on one knee and the other is just about as bad.  I can't have surgery for knees or hips as I can't take pain pills of any kind, ORC or prescription.  I also had cancer and that is when I started painting.  It helped a lot to get me through it.  I noticed when I painted that I could ignore a lot of the pain better, guess your head is somewhere else.  I will be so glad when I am able to paint and sew again if I ever get moved.  I am now trying to get stuff together to do a journal as I thought it might help.  I forgot I would need DecoPodge and I have no kind of glue, but am hoping to make it out to the store today and pick some up so I can get started.  It is supposed to rain tomorrow and turn cold again so I am in a lot of pain today with fybro and arthritis, not to mention sinus' are driving me crazy for this up and down weather.  I have to get out and get food though or starve. It looks awfully bare in here.



Jan Cutter said:

Peg - this is about as original as I have seen - as I sit here with my daily sinus issues.  Thanks for making me smile and have a joyful day.
 
Peg said:

Jennifer - first off, so sorry you are dealing with chronic pain - I know it can be mentally disabling as well as physically.  I use zendoodles/zentangles as a stress release - also for the headaches and muscle aches that accompany long stressful days.  As for inspirations - aside from wonderful ideas and patterns found on Pinterest, I have been using a technique suggested by a dear friend.  It is to sit looking around a room, out the window or in a magazine and see "patterns" instead of objects.  One of the funniest - but pretty- ones I have done was making a zendoodle of the chart of the sinus system that was posted on the wall as we waited for the doctor.  After doing this a while, I see patterns everywhere.  It really works to take my mind off of all else - aches, pains, worries, schedules.....Hope it can help you too.  Blessings!

I was moved by your situation and others regarding art / pain / and healing.  Three things came to mind to share: 1) Use Pinterest and other art filled websites to go through the art slowly and carefully to find images that create peace, harmony, and happiness within you and that transport you into a state of mind that over-rules pain. Then either save the image, location, or re-pin in your Pinterest site, so you can at any moment of need go to those images for comfort… it does work.  2) Seriously as well look into neurobehavioral therapy, it works similarly (I personally did http://www.neurobehavioralprograms.com/nbp_providers/bio.php?id=6  and it helped with my chronic degenerative back pain); 3) And this next one supports the fact that art really can heal…  

An ill elderly Japanese gentleman was admitted to the hospital and was critically ill (I was told, less than 1 in 5 chance of surviving flesh-eating disease). His brother saw my framed image in the Hospital's Art Can Heal Gallery.  Determining it was good fortune to have run into it despondently wondering the hospital halls, he asked Hospital management if the image could be moved and hung up in his brother’s ICU room. Long story short, that picture moved with him through multiple hospitals and remained in each of his rooms through five major surgeries (including the ICU's rooms). The elderly gentleman to all the doctors' surprises survived and the photo now hangs in the man's bedroom. His daughter indicated the Red Dragonfly had deep spiritual meaning in their family and that the picture literally gave her father the fortitude and will to stay alive through all that he went through. She added that the spiritual history of Aka Tombo went back generations in the family and that her grandfather had just died a few days earlier at 105, and that the family was sure her grandfather guided her uncle to the image.  Weeks later I found out that the red dragonfly (Aka Tombo) in the Japanese culture represented renewal, positive forces and power of life, and is as well associated with good luck, prosperity, peace, and harmony.   I firmly believe art does heal.  Here is that image: http://patrick-witz.artistwebsites.com/featured/positive-forces-pat...

I don't think there is anything like that around here.  I am in NE KY.  Would be nice to find something that worked.  I have not been able to paint for a few years (long story) but hope to get situated soon where I can.  I am looking for a place to move as this one is full of black mold under my apartment and all in the walls.  They found this out looking for a leak.  It is making me sick. There are no laws in this state regarding mold so he will just move someone else in here. It is also freezing as termites have eaten the floor and the wind blows right up through them.  I have never completely unpacked.  Just have to find another place.  It has been too cold with ice and snow in the hills here. I am not from here and I learned not to ever move to the top of a hill around here again. You are just stuck.  It is dangerous.  People don't move much here in the winter.  I wish I could take something, even a couple of asprin for pain as it has really been bad this winter with the cold floors. Vents are in the ceiling so it doesn't do any good to turn the heat up. I will just have to deal with it unless they come up with something new I can take. I think when I can get back to doing some art it will help some.  I looked in Pinterest today and thought I better get out. I could stay lost on that site a long time.  I can't sit too long at one time either or I pay for it. I keep hoping the price of tablets will come down as I could move from place to place with one of those. Maybe they will as more people are making them.  I have some books to read downloaded which helps too, but can't sit in front of the computer long to read.  I have an old, uncomfortable chair that was given to me and that doesn't help  either.

For Jennifer: I deal with Chronic Pain issues...for various reasons....a lot is due to age. I am a retired Art educator and taught art for 33 years. I have to say that Physical Therapy did help a lot.....I also have Epidurals and at this time that helps. On days that I am unable to work on my art then I read and study about art until I can paint, draw, or use other art forms at a later time. Next I do a lot of reading about art and that relaxes me and helps with stress. I was fortunate in that I have a large collection of books on art and when I am unable to do other activities, then I read. My books are a wonderful thing to have on hand. I look for books, and search the internet and web sites to see what others are doing in art and that inspires me. Something easy that I can use at home is a small set of watercolors, I use Cottman. It is in such a small package, and requires only a few brushes. I break my art into sections, I draw one day, then paint on another. Other times I search the internet and Facebook, You Tube, Pinterest, & Etsy are great sites to visit to see what Artists are doing especially if you are confined to bed. A lot of times I draw in my head by looking around the room and imagining what I could draw that I see. In college I had a life drawing class and drawing hands and feet can be quite interesting. I was surprised how my art improved just by studying how to draw a foot, a sandal, a hand, a ring, a cat, or my dogs. . If you can't do the art, you can draw in your head and work out the dynamics until you are able.                                               Next to reference the young woman in NE KY. I live in SE KY and it has been a harsh winter, but there are many affordable and safe places to live. Given what was written I definitely think moving would be a consideration when spring arrives. There are a lot of places in the SE area. I often see places although it might take an individual in  Real Estate 5o assist.  As an educator I can't say that I would be working with too many art materials especially if you are being exposed to mold. Environment impacts art materials and the final outcome. As far as the price of Art materials, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, & JoAnn's Craft stores have coupons for 40% off and a 140 pound drawing paper will work for drawing, Bristol and watercolor paper would cost more but they are worth it. I like to shop via internet at Jerry's Artorama. Often I will drive to Knoxville,TN. for materials from Jerry's It is a great store and offers demonstrations.I have a lot of pain, but I make an effort and it gives me something to look forward to attending.

i have chronic pain. nerve pain. arthritis. i had a brain tumor removed in 2 operations 2 years ago and i have very poor balance also and my left side is very painful all the time.

i take methadone long term. i'm drugged, at night i fall over, bump into things.

art is my saviour.

but right now i feel rubbish. i've just thrown out a heap of pictures i didn't like, that i had spent hours doing. or i ruined things by experimenting or rushing...

from now on i only want to do what i like. i want to do some good pieces. i'm a beginner so most of my art is dumb. actually, if i follow instructions in a lesson, or use a reference and be careful, my art is ok. i had better do that then . draw the front of my house from across the road, carefully. maybe. that's all i can think of right now.

i need inspiration. what can i do, as a beginner, drawing -type stuff. something nice. in one of my sketch books…i've got more than 10 going!!!!!!!at least i

i've numbered them now and i'm working through them to get them finished. i'm at  5.

i thought i had it but it's gone. i threw it out. inspiration i mean.

 i've been doing zentangles but i don't feel like doing any more. i spent hours doing some and hated it and threw it away. 

i don't want to get messy. i have some new fine pens and markers i wouldn't mind using. i love my coloured pencils too.

 i want to draw, really. sketch with my mechanical pencil. maybe i'll take it outside. i don't know. yeah, i think i'll do that. unless anyone has anything different to suggest.

 help!!!!!

Michele... I am deeply sorry to hear of your chronic pain and your medical issues. I personally paint from photos I've taken and enjoy the challenge to modify and better them through painting.  I offer you that same inspiration and opportunity without leaving your home... I hereby personally grant you, specifically only you, Michele Josiane Martin, permission to paint any of my photos posted on my webpage (over 300) at http://patrick-witz.artistwebsites.com.  Please enjoy them and hope you find a few that catch your eye and become artistically inspired to recreate them... and please post a few here on the community forum if inclined.  Hope this helps.  Draw to your hearts content.  Pat 

i have chronic pain. nerve pain. arthritis. i had a brain tumor removed in 2 operations 2 years ago and i have very poor balance also and my left side is very painful all the time.

i take methadone long term. i'm drugged, at night i fall over, bump into things.

art is my saviour.

but right now i feel rubbish. i've just thrown out a heap of pictures i didn't like, that i had spent hours doing. or i ruined things by experimenting or rushing...

from now on i only want to do what i like. i want to do some good pieces. i'm a beginner so most of my art is dumb. actually, if i follow instructions in a lesson, or use a reference and be careful, my art is ok. i had better do that then . draw the front of my house from across the road, carefully. maybe. that's all i can think of right now.

i need inspiration. what can i do, as a beginner, drawing -type stuff. something nice. in one of my sketch books…i've got more than 10 going!!!!!!!at least i

i've numbered them now and i'm working through them to get them finished. i'm at  5.

i thought i had it but it's gone. i threw it out. inspiration i mean.

 i've been doing zentangles but i don't feel like doing any more. i spent hours doing some and hated it and threw it away. 

i don't want to get messy. i have some new fine pens and markers i wouldn't mind using. i love my coloured pencils too.

 i want to draw, really. sketch with my mechanical pencil. maybe i'll take it outside. i don't know. yeah, i think i'll do that. unless anyone has anything different to suggest.

 help!!!!!

pat, i'm honoured. thank you.

So I have chronic pain too. Long history of artitis etc. New hip joints 10 and 7 years ago. And now I need a new hip joint again.I am waiting for surgery for about 6 month and I am not allowed to walk at all.I sit on my chair and at first I didnt know what to do I  wanted to create, but how do you paint when you can't fetch water etc.Then I discovered The Art Colony on the internet and  then I discovered ArtRage. ArtRage is an online drawing software. It allows you to paint, draw etc on the computer. I did some tutorials and posted my first chalenge here on the TAC site, I now can draw whatever I can find on the internet, although I can't post everything because of the copyright. Jennifer I downloaded the demo version of ArtRage. it will cost you nothing.Maybe you can give it a try. Best wishes for all of you (forgive me my poor english)

Nella Heidweiller

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