Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Suffering for Art

Last week, Mercedes at A Broken Laptop wrote a post about the migraines she experiences, and how they hinder her ability to write. As I read the comments, I was struck by the number of people who mentioned that they also experience migraines, and I got to wondering: just how many of us suffer for our art?

It's entirely possible that headaches (including migraines), arm, hand, shoulder and back pain have nothing to do with our creative efforts. But then again, it's entirely possible that they do. I have trouble with all of the above (except migraines, and for that I am extremely grateful), and since I started writing in earnest, I've found that they've gotten worse. Yoga and trigger point therapy are the only things that keep me functional.

But what everyone else? I'd like to see how common this is. Please vote in the poll to the right (I *think* you can enter more than one response) and we'll see just how many of us suffer for our art/passion/obsessions.

Please spread the word about the poll, so we can get as many people included as possible (please vote if you don't experience pain, too!).

If we can collect enough evidence, we might be able to convince conference organizers to include sessions on yoga and pain management. ;)

17 comments:

  1. Hey there! I saw you joined the crusade over on Rach Writes and just wanted to stop by and say hello.

    Generally, I don't suffer from pain due to writing ... but then I guess it depends. If I'm writing by hand all day (like I did last year), my hands and wrists will hurt. If I'm sitting on the floor typing because I don't have a computer chair yet, I'll have back pain.

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  2. I tried to vote on your poll ("no pain" since I don't experience any of those things on a regular basis). I clicked my response and then clicked on vote. It said that I had already voted ... but this is my first time to your site.

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  3. Hi Quinn, welcome! Your vote went through, thanks for participating!

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  4. Hey, Alison, just stopping by from the Crusade.

    I don't suffer from migraines but have several family members who do. Normal headaches are pretty common for me from staring at the computer screen all day at work then at night while writing. I've been writing more longhand lately just to give my eyes a break.

    I couldn't access the poll (probably my browser). Looking forward to following your blog.

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  5. Hi Alison,

    I've been practicing yoga for about 20 years. It's the only way to stretch out my back and sharpen my focus at the same time! I had migraines for years, thankfully over now. But the biggest improvement I've made was investing in a good office chair a few weeks ago. I'd thought the back pain I was experiencing was just age and being seated too many hours a day. But the chair has made a huge difference. See my blog about it here.

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  6. P.S. I've refreshed the page several times, but the poll's not popping up.

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  7. Hi Lisa: I have a hard time with the computer screen, too.

    Toby: good to hear about the computer chair. I probably need to invest in one. For some reason the blog poll thing seems to be down. Grrr. Will try to get it up and running again soon.

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  8. I'll definitely vote when the polls are up!

    Migraines, for sure, but I've had them before I was writing. I have new wrist pain and a click in my right wrist that's new. I was writing more than usual when that happened, and it hasn't gone away.

    -Mercedes

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  9. Hi! Thanks for finding erica and christy. (I'm Christy, following you as lynneawest (identity crisis!)) I've had calf pain since running a race on Sunday, but have been using a rolling pin to loosen up the muscles. (Three boys in my house and no one will massage them for me.) Since I don't bake (often) I'm glad I found a use for the rolling pin!

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  10. Hi Alison,

    I'm a new follower.

    I have to say I don't associate writing with pain - unless I've really overdone things! Too many late nights, computer on lap in front of TV with bad back support, etc. I can get sore back/neck then. Your post reminds me to sit properly when I'm working - and I really have to look into doing yoga again. I'm always more limber when I'm regularly stretching, and I really believe yoga helped me complete my first novel; that was my 'meditation' focus at the end of each yoga session.

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  11. Christy: Good to know about the rolling pin. I might have to put mine to similar use. :)

    Adina: Welcome! Thanks for the tip on yoga and writing. I've been really bad about doing it regularly (both yoga and writing, actually), but I'm working on both.

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  12. Interesting question. I get back and shoulder pain sometimes. Usually when I am not exercising. I am sure sitting on the lap top on the couch does not help.

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  13. Very interesting post! I think a yoga or massage session at conferences is a great idea! I haven't started suffering...yet!

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  14. Tabitha: I wondered if exercising wouldn't make a difference. I never had these problems when I went the gym regularly. Well, I did get headaches then, which I no longer get on a regular basis, but the rest came after I started spending ridiculous amounts of time at the computer.

    Megan: Good... stay pain-free. It's hard to write when you hurt. :(

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  15. Hi! I voted in your poll "no pain," but there is kind of an exception. Maybe once a year, if that, I get a migraine-type headache. I just didn't think it was worth voting if it's so rare. Anyway, good question. From the results, I think people need more supportive chairs!

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  16. hey there Thank you for poping in and visting I see you see and signing up for the Location blog fest cant wait to see what you come up with!

    as for your post i do get headaches, dry eyes if im looking at my lap top for to long, and most definatly back and neck pain! i though it was just me sitting funny! I voted

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  17. JEFritz: I think you're right about the chairs. I clearly need to get a better one. :)

    Serena: I'm looking forward to the Location blogfest. And it probably IS you sitting funny--Toby Speed's post on her new chair says it all.

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