Described below is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain:
BOTTOM LINE: Probably helpful; still to be determined for me.
Creative outlets often benefit chronic pain sufferers. Not only has my compulsion to write my story been a form of therapeutic writing, it is also a form of creative expression. As an environmental scientist for over twenty years, I wrote technical prose for work, but creative writing taps into a different part of my brain. Gymnastics had been my form of creative expression in the past, but that stopped in 2005 when I ruptured the disc in my neck and developed chronic myofascial pain.
Some see the benefit of creative expression as a distraction from pain and associated depression, but it also allows people to express feelings they might otherwise be bottled up. Expressing ourselves creatively can help us let go of tension and negative beliefs that may be perpetuating our pain.
There are innumerable ways to exercise your creative side: painting, drawing, singing, writing, dancing, gardening, etc. For someone with chronic pain, however, it is often difficult to pursue some of these activities. I have found that once my pain came down significantly (after my intensive John F. Barnes myofascial release [JFB-MFR] therapy), I could write for short spurts of time. I have since added occasional gardening to my repertoire. Planting makes me feel grounded in the earth, and patiently watching the slow growth of new life gives me hope that I can have a renewed life. I've also expanded my creativity to the kitchen as I've become more focused on healthy eating recently. I enjoy the challenge of concocting dishes that are full of super nutritious foods that taste good, too—although pain still limits my ability to stand for too long while cooking.
Because my pain limits me, I have to be selective about the creative outlets (and all my daily chores) that I choose at any one time. For example, my compulsion to write my story demanded more time than my neck was comfortable with, so I've had to respect my pain and not push myself too much. I do activities for short periods of time and give deference to my healing process (even if it’s a slow one). I hope that keeping my brain engaged via creative expression, along with whatever other treatment modality I'm trying at any given time, will help me heal further.