Chronic pain is a misunderstood and complex condition to treat. Research on the biology and neurobiology of pain has shown a relationship between spirituality and pain. Using a number of cognitive and behavioral strategies to cope with pain, including religious/spiritual factors, such as prayer or seeking spiritual support to manage pain is an essential component to finding a ‘cure’ for your pain.
Many patients confuse spirituality with religion. Although the two can overlap there is a difference between the religion and spirituality. Religion is an organized faith system grounded in institutional practices while spirituality is grounded in personal beliefs and practices that can be expresses with or without a specific formal religious belief.
The role of spirituality in treating chronic pain is vital as it helps patients to create a meaning and purpose that is essential in fighting chronic pain. Spirituality can help patients cope with the physical as well as the psychological component to chronic pain. The psychological meaning that patients assign to their pain impacts how they process their pain long term.
Spirituality lies in the sense of connection and inner strength and peace that individuals derive from the relationship with themselves, others, nature and possibly a connection to a specific religion. The role of a more spiritual patient is vital to improving a patient’s overall well-being and quality of life. This improved well being takes time and training to accomplish but works through visualization, meditation, positive thinking and possibly even prayer.
A sense of connection to one’s environment, nature and a higher power helps to give patient’s an improved outlook on their treatment and significantly improved outcomes in treating their pain. Patients that find the ability to improve their inner strength will have an improved outlook, a sense of purpose and will lead them to their ‘cure’.