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? WHAT HOBBIES do you have that doesn't increase your pain ??

SueDSSueD Posts: 545
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:01 AM in Chronic Pain
I do understand that we all have good and bad days as far as chronic pain goes, but because recovery from the last surgery seems to be taking so long, I'm also trying to cope with boredom (|:

In the past, I have relied on being able to work - which totally consumed my days and left me too exhausted and in pain to do anything in the evening anyway. But I haven't worked since September and although I've got a works meeting next Friday, I am still not sure if I'll be allowed back or not (I do hope so).

To give you an idea, a couple of my hobbies are:

Photography - I even had my own darkroom years ago where I'd develop and print my own b & w film images. I really loved it, seeing the image magically appear on the page was always exciting, albeit very solitary. I don't do it any more because there's too much bending involved that it's just too painful now. I have since changed to digital, but haven't been out for quite a while because the weather here in the UK is very poor and I'm still recovering from surgery. Hopefully I can get back into this when the better weather arrives.

Art - I actually tried last week to start painting again and whilst I can stand up, using a tall metal easel, I didn't realise how standing in one position for too long would adversely affect my back. I know I should have taken breaks and walked about more often but got so engrossed that 3 hours just flew by. For the following couple of days I couldn't do any because of my increased back pain, which was disappointing. Still, at least I CAN do this, I'll just have to pace myself and perhaps do a little less at each session. I'm hoping next week to do a little each day if I can.

Ha! I'd like to also say that 'retail therapy' would be a perfect hobby for me (isn't this true for every female?), as the walking involved can only be a good thing for my back, but sadly not being at work right now has ruled this one out :(

So, I was just curious to find out what, if anything, other people on Spine Health thoroughly enjoy doing that does not increase your pain?

I may pick up some ideas from you that I might not have thought about otherwise. I'd really be interested to read any comments you have. Thanks.

2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!


  • Glad to see there's another "artist" on the forum! I haven't done any art in a while, but I have picked up knitting. This winter I went crazy and knitted 4 scarves, 3 hats, 2 pairs of leg warmers. I'm hoping to make an infinity scarf next. Have you considered painting sitting down or doing watercolors or drawing in your recliner? In my case, I feel best when I'm moving around, so now that the weather's better, I am outside more.

    Hope your recovery picks up once the weather warms up!
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • I love to read, do jigsaw puzzles, and word game puzzles.
  • I also paint, plus I crochet, scrapbook and I enjoy reading. I just opened up a store on Etsy to try and sell my art, blankets, etc. I figured I might as well, art and crafting keeps me sane so I might as well try to make some money with it.

    i have never been able to paint with an easel, even before I got hurt. When I paint, or even handwrite, I do it at a 45 degree angle. I've tried to do it the proper way, it just doesn't work for me. I thought I saw short easels in Micheal's to go on top of desks or tables, it might make it less painfull for you to paint.
  • don't know if it's majorly a canadian thing, but i have been collecting hockey cards for years, and years ....
  • I have developed a desire to read for pleasure. For the past 60 years I detested reading because it was forced on me by school teachers. Now it has become a mental escape.

    Clive Cussler is my favorite author. I average one novel every two weeks. I bought one back in September and laid down to begin reading and the story seemed familiar. I sorted through my pile of "already read" books and there it was. So I have two copies of the same book. I then typed up a list of all the books I have read. Keeps me from buying a second copy and it showed me just how many I have read. I have read more in this first year of fusion recovery than I have in the past 20 years! My teachers would be proud of me, but they are all now 120 years old!

    I have even toyed with the idea of writing. Actually, I did coauthor a book (technical book about safety, etc.) ten years ago, so I know the process. Computers make it so easy. Time was the limiting factor - now it is not. Maybe I could compose an interesting story line about a spiney who lives a thrilling life. Any ideas?
  • to see what you all get up to and enjoy doing.

    Hi Jim - that author is one of my husband's favourites too. I believe he has read all of them and, when he's finished, they go to my sister-in-law and then 'do the rounds'. I've never read a Cussler book as they sound too invovled for me. I like easy reading with few characters, so I don't get too confused (it doesn't take much!)

    Thanks for your replies.
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • I'm an avid reader also, but love gaming as well. I'm a member of Big Fish Games and love their hidden object games - it keeps my mind going, but is easy on the body. Especially if it's a bad weather day or my back is hurting (yes, standing is horrible and can lay you out for days when done too much - been there, done that), I'll lay back slightly in my recliner, put my laptop on my lap and get engrossed in a good game. Those type of games usually come with puzzles, too.

    Also, in case you didn't know, you can sell your digital photography on istockphoto.com. If you go there, you can see what types sell the most and try to sell some of your photos there. They may need to be manipulated a bit, but it might be a source of a little extra income, not a full-time job income, but a few extra dollars.

  • That's one of my favorite hobbies.. Actually I love to play guitar, have several accoustic and electric and the first Ibanez I bought at the age of 17, on a payment plan, right after I got the boot and moved to the ghetto,. It is in mint condition, and a real beauty. My son gets to play it, and myself, that's it! I bet it's worth a small fortune, inlaid gold and pearl, and one of the few Ibanez's that was made with teak wood. Let me see if I can find a pic to post...

    I also love to oil paint mountains, trees, etc, and love to draw and color. Don't have time for much of that tho - maybe upon retirement...
  • My newest Ibanez, this one is only a couple years old. My son's friend borrowed it for his band competion at school - he's not too bad on it huh??!!


  • I like the look of your guitar and it sounds pretty good too! Very "Hendrix-esque" I thought.
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • I'm envious of your ability to get back to photography....

    That was my passion for so many years starting in high school. I did this for my profession as well as pick up stringer work for newspapers and was even published in USA Today once!!!

    Being a member of the Smithsonian Resident Program...I have been lucky to attend many seminars and classes in photography that were taught by people such as David Doubilet and even Annie Leibovitz...

    It was obviously an integral part of my life...(humming the song Kodachrome right now...lol)..

    However...since my issues are all cervical, and most likely carrying around that Nikon with the lovely 80-200 lens contributed to the deterioration of my discs:(

    As well as without health insurance and needing treatment for another ailment of a brain tumor, I had to sell all my equipment....It was an awful day.....

    So...it's been a very difficult adjustment to find new hobbies as my other ones included rock climbing, volunteer firefighting/EMT for over 10 years, and many extreme sporting activities...

    It's finding ways to keep that adrenaline rush without trashing my neck...

    I still refuse to give up motorcycle riding with friends once in awhile!!!

    And hiking is absolutely doable and a bit of repelling is easy on the neck...So is SCUBA diving....

    So thankful to be able to do some things:)

  • I crochet and read. Crocheting actually does sometimes hurt my back worse though due to not watching my posture while I do it.
  • Hobbies are therapy, they substitute the place where thoughts and our imagination about our pain reside, these distractions help and are vital to our long term sanity and future achievement, the mode which we use individually is less important than doing something.

    Finding hobbies to replace all the active things from golf, sailing, running or canoeing and many other sports has been emotional, that buzz is missing, I make stained glass now and up-lighters, it’s all very sedate now...

    Have fun. John
  • John: Your comments about photography were really interesting. I can well imagine how you felt when you had to stop doing it. I felt so low when my darkroom was de-commissioned so to speak, but I still have all the equipment (although the chemicals must be dead by now!) and I keep hoping, some how, that one day I might be able to get back to it.

    I really feel for you, having to sell all your equipment. I've also got a Nikon (a D200) and wish I could use it more often. Unfortunately my back dictates how much (if any) I can do each week.

    It's good to read how each of you now occupy your time with things you enjoy doing and how some of you have adapted to the changes your health condition has forced upon you.

    Thanks for your contributions, they are fascinating.
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!

  • I find that reading is a great way to transport me somewhere else, away from spine and other life problems. Usually I don't get much time to read and only do it on holiday, but after my fusion I really enjoyed reading.

    I intended to do some painting during my recovery and bought various paints and canvasses. I never got started. Painting is not something that I really do, but I always want to try. If I have my neck surgery, then perhaps I'll get to use all my artist materials.

    I enjoy having a 'go' at just about any craft.

    I have written poems. Actually I find it quite theraputic to write poems and I wrote one comparing my back to a teenager, when I was at my worst.

    I have written a couple of books for my granddaughter. I should spend the time turning them into proper books rather than just the script.

    I enjoy suduku and other puzzles. I tried jigsaws after my fusion, but the leaning forward flared up my pain.

    It would be great if you could do some photography as you enjoy that so much. How about taking puzzle photos for a family game next time you are all together? Take the photos from strange angles and they have to guess what the photos are.

  • Why not bring your camera with you while you do your daily walk? Not sure how close you are to the zoo or to the water where the ducks and swans hang out but you could probably snap a good shot here and there.

    I tried knitting but then lost a row and now can't get back to my knitting this scarf! It can be more frustrating then a relaxing hobby! I love old movies but the most is to get out for a walk by the lake where I live just to relax and get my exercise and look at the ducks and swans and even the some of the Canadian geese have come back home from the south early since our winter never really happened this year in southern Ontario.

    John, making stain glass windows or decorations sounds like fun! Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • This is a fun thread.
    I wish I was talented enough to paint or do some sort of art.

    But I do love taking pictures and have often thought about taking it to the next level and seeing what I can do with it.

    I also have been wanting to learn how to Crochet or knit. I tried once before but gave up fairly quickly so thanks for the idea, I might try it again

    I love to cook/bake but with less exercise, I need to learn how to do this in a healthier way

    I wish I could get into reading. I find a great book from time to time but I have not patience/focus for it.
  • I watched a youtube video on how to knit and cast on as I forgot after so many years. I was knitting when I was 19 and made slippers but even forgot how to do that after 30 years. I like watching music videos also in my spare time. Music can bring you up also not sure if it's a real hobby though. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • that taking a camera with you when out walking is a great idea. I have done that last year in the late spring and summer and then into autumn.

    You could even take a series of photos throughout the seasons on the same route, to see the changes.

    Having something to do while you are out will add another purpose other than just walking. I have a Nike device that has a sensor attached to my shoe and I have my iPod with me and it measures how far I walk, how many calories I burn, how fast I go etc. That helps to motivate me to walk and makes it a bit more interesting.

    Before we are in this state with so much time on our hands, the idea of being able to do whatever we please sounds wonderful, but the reality is not so good. Not only does the pain limit us, I personally have found that sometimes I just can't be bothered. Chronic pain does that to us.

    Do you like cooking Sue? Perhaps you could try some new recipes.
  • I'm also a photographer, but I've actually been doing less photography since my back got so bad. Before the final injury, I used to get out almost every weekend and go hiking and take tons of pictures. I also did a lot of portrait photography for people who wanted their families or children photographed.

    While I was recovering from my first surgery, I was watching one of the shopping channels, (I think it was QVC) and there was a guy on there presenting his jewelry. I thought, "I could make that." So I began researching jewelry making right that minute and placed a $300 order on a jewelry supply site. Back then, I hardly knew what I was doing and I was literally making jewelry in my bed. Now I have my spare bedroom turned into my jewelry room and I've gotten a lot better at it. I now have an Etsy shop and I participate in our employee craft fair at work.

    I can sit and make jewelry for hours without straining my back. I'm one of those people who needs a creative outlet or I go crazy. So the jewelry making has been an awesome experience for me and I really love it.
  • Thank you all for your posts and it's good to read about some of your interesting hobbies, thank you.

    I have tried knitting before, but I'm terrible at it. I keep forgetting which line I'm on (plain or Peal) and cannot 'cast on or off', so that doesn't help. I bought all the needles and wool - and it's all still in the bag!

    As for cooking - The only thing I've ventured to do is make banana cakes. The only problem is that it's only me that eats them all up, so that's no good as I've already put on 2 stones since September!!!

    When I go out for a walk, I could take my camera with me. It's really quite big and cumbersome and, if I'm honest, I won't take it out in the rain if I can possibly help it. When the weather is nicer, I will definitely take it out then.

    I'm not clever enough to attempt Sedoku and I quickly lose patience with it. However, I do love to read and regularly visit our local library, which reminds me, I really must take my old ones back! I also love watching most movies on the TV but dislike westerns.

    I found out today that a doctor is coming to my house on Wednesday to discuss my DLA claim, so now I'll have to do some research on the Internet to find out what sort of questions he might ask. That'll keep me busy for the next couple of days, I'm sure.

    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • As Sue said, finding something that does not increase the pain is challenging, I stay seated cutting and making glass with a set-up that I need. Many are gifted and talented here having skills and experience to pass onto those wishing to try a new hobby.

    Charry, yes making glass things is fun or should be, copper-foil sun-catchers are an easy starting point. I made two windows for church and one for a house in France it was a bigger commitment than expected.

    DNice you are talented, Art is what it means to you, I help young children to produce art just for them, Picasso, Kandinsky or Mondrian produced simple ideas, go on have a go. I am trying to read for fun, lighter bites.

  • I luv doing jewelry, bracelets, necklaces, earrings and get creative re-designing old jewelry.

    Interior decor, doing silks flowers, arrangements indors & outdoors for every holiday wreaths of every kind, shapes.

    Up until a year and a half ago big changes, losing my left hand to neuropathy....and now right hand is weakening with (severe DDD nerve compression multi-levels = no surgery(, coordination, strength, dexterity...

    Stopped because of severe flare-ups, nerve pain - - and grieving the loss, but slowly getting back to doing it again

    not giving up, my interior decor pieces I do well, just slower...

    my jewelry making & designs have had to change not as elaborate nor use of tools (pliers) techniques is challenging and I am r-e-a-l- l-y slow with my hands (finger coordination) and repetitive issues.

    Proud & happy :) I didn't give up - - each and every holiday I have decor I have created, wreaths (door & on big live oak & on palm) greenery arrangements per season on porch / foyer & urns either side of driveway, garden flags

    I'm slow (hands with intricate, wiring, knotting, strength of grip cutting) - - but so happy when I can still do it and do with patience so I CAN :) !

  • your post has inspired me to try to make something for Easter to decorate the house.

    Maybe an egg shaped wreath ????

  • This post made me think. Before my back issues I loved to travel, cook, grow my own organic vegs, entertain friends. I still try and do those things in a limited way but it is with so much pain at times it seems it is not worth it. I am still not accepting of my limitations but the topic is hobbies that one does now and that don't cause pain. Watching reality shows. I love when The Donald says you're fired (aahh too bad, lucky you don't have sciatica). Playing mindless slot games on the computer(better losing cyber money than real money). But seriously, I try to walk everyday if I can, and be around people. I need to be part of humanity. Today when I was at the local Starbucks I saw ladies sitting and laughing. I thought they are so fortunate to be healthy. But then one lady wondered about how much it would cost to get a bigger battery for her scooter. You just never know. So I guess what I am saying my hobby is trying to stay connected to life.
  • Joydancer, it's so neat to see that you make jewelry as well! I'd love to see some of your stuff if you have any of it posted online. Regarding the neuropathy, that's too bad. I've been having a lot of hand pain lately as well and I can't figure out what it is. I've asked my doctor about it a few times (my PCP) and he just sorta blows by it and never really answers my questions. But I do know exactly what you mean because making jewelry requires hand strength and dexterity and when your hands hurt, it gets really difficult.

    I had almost forgotten about all my cervical spine issues since my lumbar spine issues have been taking up all my time for the past three years. I wonder if my hand pain is related to flare-ups with my cervical spine? Hmmm...makes me wonder. I was already diagnosed with acute radiculopathy bilaterally because of the stenosis in my neck.

    Anyway, it sounds like we've got a bunch of talented people here! =D>

    Joydancer, here is some of my jewelry at my Etsy shop EDITED
    There is a menu on the left side of the page for necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and children's jewelry.

    And here some of my photography- http://www.pbase.com/rrains

    Be sure and show me some of yours if you have it online. And any others of you who have your hobbies online....PLEASE SHARE!! :D

    Post Edited by Authority Member Liz
  • I bought some liquid 24 carat gold liquid and it coats your jewelry with a 24 carat gold called liquid gold dip or something similar which may be nice for your jewelry crafting. I like the copper earrings and your work. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • This is a great thread!

    I can't do many of the things I used to love doing. I did martial arts (Kendo, Chinese gungfu, etc.) and Chinese opera and modern dance from my teens through to my mid-late twenties. It was during training that I first hurt my back actually, and obviously I can't do any of that now. I was an enthusiastic soccer and rugby player too, but I can't do that any more either.

    I've always loved nature and animals and the outdoors, so I still try to get out as much as possible. There's a river with a nice natural park along it just outside my apartment, so I walk there whenever I can. I used to be into photography, but lugging my heavy camera and lenses around made my back and neck a lot worse over the years, so that's out now too. The most I can do photography-wise is snap pics with my smartphone (it takes surprisingly good ones, actually, but it's no good for shooting telephoto).

    I like playing guitar and bass, but I can't do that as regularly as I used to - any sustained position, whether it's washing dishes or playing guitar, soon becomes too painful. I've just decided to learn harmonica, as I've always loved the sound, and it's a small, light instrument that I figure I can play anywhere - I can even take it with me on my walks along the river. Just hope I don't scare away all the little animals...
  • My goodness, that takes me back. I used to do karate about 30 years ago! I think it was called 'Shotakan' or something like that. I used to do serious weightlifting about the same time too, but obviously cannot do either of these things any more.

    I was a member of a gym until mid last year and had to give it up because my back used to hurt for 2-3 days afterwards. I used to go with my daughter and really enjoyed it, especially since she left home last year and moved in with her boyfriend. It was our 'quality' time together and I miss it. I cannot afford it any more anyway because I'm not working or getting paid at the moment.

    This chronic pain sucks!!!!

    I've got the doctor visiting me at home tomorrow to discuss my recent DLA claim. I hope it's not an inquisition and that he's nice and not miserable.

    I tried a little gardening at the weekend (don't get me wrong, I only did a total of about an hour in 3 separate sessions, resting in between) and boy, am I paying for it now. I've spent the last 2 days in bed resting my back because of the increased pain. I figure, that while I'm off work, I can do a little gardening because I enjoy it so much and I've got the time to rest more when I need to. Of course, if I was back at work, then I could not indulge in this pleasure.

    I've really enjoyed reading all your posts, thank you everyone!
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!

  • I was thinking about your appointment with this doctor tomorrow ealier this evening. I hope that it isn't stressful for you and that you have a good outcome.

    I've been looking at my garden, and all the weeds that are starting to look very healthy. I was wondering if I would get away with pulling just a few out. I am undecided! I do have a gardener sometimes, but it is so frustrating that they don't quite do what I ask!

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