Explaining Your Pain to Your Doctor: The Artistic Approach

Karen Lee Richards Health Guide
  • If your doctor doesn’t understand your pain, paint him a picture.  That’s what one man did when he found himself unable to adequately relate the intensity of his pain to his doctor.  When Mark Collen presented his mixed-media piece accompanied by a poem about suicide to his pain doctor, she “got it” and no longer questioned him about his pain. 

    As a result of his experience, Collen created www.painexhibit.com, a nonprofit online gallery to display his work and that of other chronic pain patients.  His site has received national recognition, being recently featured in The New York Times and several medical journals. 

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    I came across Collen’s story in an intriguing article from The Herald, a Monterey County, Calif. newspaper.  Whether or not you think of yourself as artistic, I would encourage you to read Collen’s inspiring story:  “Artist helps doctors understand pain.”

    In addition to the artwork on Collen’s Web site, see the artistic creations of other ChronicPainConnection community members at our Pain & Creativity Center.  You can also submit your own artistic expressions of your pain there.   Even if you don’t consider yourself artistic, you may find someone else’s work that expresses exactly how you feel.  After all, that’s what art is all about.

    Source:  McManis, S. (2008, 05 17). Artist helps doctors understand his pain. The Herald.

Published On: May 19, 2008