Described below is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain:
BOTTOM LINE: Probably very helpful; to date, unsure of long-term effect on my pain.
My physical therapist suggested I keep a journal when I went to my first John F. Barnes myofascial release therapy (JFB-MFR) intensive in 2007. I had never been one to journal, but since I was going to be away from home for two weeks to focus solely on healing, I bought a notepad. Thus began my six-plus years of feverish writing.
Once I learned about my past trauma during my JFB-MFR intensive, I couldn't stop writing. I felt compelled to pen my story. I had to understand it for myself. I'd lie in my bed or on the couch scrawling page after page of a story that I had hid from myself for decades.
I can't say whether this therapeutic writing directly reduced my pain, but it seems to have played an important part of my physical and psychological healing, which are inextricably linked. I think it was very beneficial for me to purge my feelings and thoughts onto paper as part of my healing process, even if I'm not fully healed yet. As my JFB-MFR therapists like to remind me, healing is a process, not an event.
I'd like to add that writing and sharing my story here on this website did eliminate a layer of my pain. The day after I published this website, I unexpectedly woke up with a little less pain. For six months prior, my pain had been spiked up after enduring the physical and emotional demands of moving to a new state with my husband and teenager. But the simple act of clicking "publish" removed a layer of pain that was in my upper back and neck. I wasn't able to pinpoint the location of the pain until I noticed it had disappeared. I'm thankful for every little layer that melts away. Yet I'm still susceptible to spikes and flare-ups of my pain with excess activity and stress. However, actions that allow me let go of tension, such as sharing my story and trying to help others (see also Take meaningful action), do help me reduce my pain.
Finally, I recently viewed videos by Nicole J. Sachs, LCSW, who is a social worker that was trained by Dr. John Sarno (see Reading about mindbody). In her videos she recommends journaling to release buried emotions. She provides specific instructions that have helped her clients. I plan on taking a more serious crack at this. Drafting my memoir and preparing this website have been forms of therapeutic writing, but maybe now I need to resurrect my daily practice of writing down my raw emotional thoughts about the past, the present, and my personality traits to help release my remaining tension and pain, as Ms. Sachs suggests. I'll let you know how this goes after I've made a serious effort at journaling again. I also recommend her book published in 2016: The Meaning of Truth: embrace your truth. create your life.