As clinicians we've often come come across patients who paint, draw, write songs or even dance in relation to their pain experience.
It has been known that pain can be a powerful inspiration for creativity. In order to forget their pain, pain sufferers paint about other things or make art or music as a coping mechanism. They can then be distracted from their pain. The act of painting about their pain may give the artist a better understanding of pain and most of all allow them to be more in control of the pain.
Here are some images of pain that I came across that shows the brain and mind's artistic creativity and attempts to describe how pain works.
Here Australian indigenous artists painted on issues of substance abuse in their community.
The picture above shows a man's struggle's after being run down by a car and his ensuing nightmares that followed as he battles to win an insurance claim.
This picture above was shown to us by David Butler when were were his students in our postgraduate studies in Adelaide. Here's what the patient "Irene" (not her real name) said " I had a migraine yesterday and had to have 2 injections, 1 of Dihydrogot & 1 of Phenergon which made me feel rather unable to sleep although I was very tired. I feel it was the Phenergon that made me feel this way as I had not had the drug before. This drug also made me extremely thirsty."
The last picture illustrates the artist's isolation, loneliness & anger. At age 14, he suffered from Non Hodgkins Lymphoma & was isolated from his friends, school activities and the rest of the world for several months. He began painting about his isolation and loneliness and his paintings reflected this in empty landscapes and buildings which was all devoid of life. His parents didn't tell him his diagnosis and he didn't find out until he went for a medical exam for a job interview in his late 20's and the doctor told him. He continued to paint and became increasingly isolated & angry with his family. It was only at his exhibition that his family came and for the first time read & understood his story next to his paintings and they came together and spoke about his illness for the first time.
* Pictures from NOI 2010 Neurodynamics & the Neuromatrix Conference in Nottingham, UK.
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