Chronic pain is often misunderstood and untreated. In addition to the biopsychosocial impact of chronic pain frequently, a spiritual crisis accompanies the condition. This is a body mind spirit problem that needs a multifaceted solution including addressing the spiritual component of pain. Spiritual healing can be an effective complementary and alternative approach.
Many people have found spiritual interventions like the traditions of prayer and meditation to contribute to the easing of their suffering. Unfortunately, in our fast paced world and our secular treatment modality the spiritual component of chronic pain management does not get enough attention.
Spirituality is a complex and multidimensional part of the human experience. It involves beliefs, perceptions, thinking, feeling, experiential and behavior aspects. The thinking or belief and perception aspects include the search for meaning, purpose and truth in life and the beliefs and values by which a person lives their life. The experiential and emotional aspects involve feelings of hope, love, connection, inner peace, comfort and support. The behavior aspects of spirituality involve the way a person externally demonstrates their individual spiritual beliefs and inner spiritual state.
I’ve know many people who are very religious but lack true spirituality and have met many others who demonstrate powerful spiritual principals that were not in any organized religion. However, many people do find spirituality through religion or through a personal relationship with the divine. However, others may find it through a connection to nature, through music and the arts, through a set of values and principles or through a quest for scientific truth.
The concept of spiritual pain requires healthcare providers to go beyond the bounds of traditional clinical treatments and be prepared to devote the time required to give supportive and understanding care. It is crucial to add the spiritual aspects of pain in a multidimensional assessment.
I believe that for many people spiritual healing can be an important component of a multifaceted treatment plan. One goal of spiritual healing is to help patients improve well-being and quality of life, rather than to cure specific diseases or in this case eliminate pain. The spiritual healing component may include encouraging patients to use visualization, prayer and positive thinking.
As chronic pain impacts a person’s body mind and spirit the solution must address those domains. This takes a multidisciplinary approach that would greatly benefit from including a spiritual healing practitioner to the team. The ultimate goal of effective chronic pain management is to increase the individual’s quality of life in all the domains.
To read more on spirituality in chronic pain management please check out my full article Spirituality and Chronic Pain Managaement that you can download for free on our Article page.
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