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Spirituality/Medicine Interface Project

What Physicians Should Know About Spirituality and Chronic Pain

Amy B. Wachholtz, PHD, Francis J. Keefe, PHD
Volume: 99 Issue: 10 October, 2006

Abstract:

There is growing recognition that persistent pain is a complex and multidimensional experience that can influence and be influenced by biologic, psychological, social and spiritual or religious factors.1–4Individuals experiencing persistent pain often report they turn to their religion or spirituality to cope with pain. Religious pain coping techniques vary. Some types of religious coping are adaptive and some types are maladaptive.1 Religious or spiritual practices can help in managing pain in several ways.1,3–4 First, practices such as daily prayer may serve as a distraction from pain. Second, actively participating in a religious community or church may provide many opportunities for instrumental, social, or spiritual support. Third, religious/spiritual practices such as meditation and prayer may create feelings of relaxation that directly alter the pain experience.

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References:

1. Bush EG, Rye MS, Brant CR, et al. Religious coping with chronic pain. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 1999;24:249–260.
 
2. Rippentrop EA, Altmaier EM, Chen JJ, et al. The relationship between religion/spirituality and physical health, mental health, and pain in a chronic pain population. Pain 2005;116:311–321.
 
3. Keefe FJ, Affleck G, Lefebvre J, et al. Living with rheumatoid arthritis: the role of daily spirituality and daily religious and spiritual coping. J Pain 2001;2:101–110.
 
4. Wachholtz AB. Does spirituality matter? Effects of meditative content and orientation on migraineurs. Doctoral Dissertation, Bowling Green State University, 2006. Available at:http://www.ohiolink.edu/etd/view.cgi?bgsu1143662175. Accessed Retrieved April, 2006.

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