Living with Chronic Pain
Prayer and Chronic Pain
Prayer can be an effective coping tool for individuals with chronic pain who also have religious or spiritual beliefs. This is especially true for individuals who truly believe that prayer can help relieve pain.
Prayer provides a sense of connection with a higher power. It can induce feelings of peace and a more positive outlook regarding pain, illness, and other challenging situations. Prayer releases control to a higher power, which can help relieve the stress associated with chronic pain.
The act of praying is similar to the practice of meditation and, therefore, provides some of the same benefits. However, the focus of the two practices differ. Meditation shifts focus inward to the breath and the self, whereas prayer shifts focus outward to a god, a higher power, or the universe. However, both practices can lower blood pressure and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. They can also improve mental health and reduce chronic pain levels.
Prayer is not a replacement for professional medical care. Prayer should not be regarded as a demand or guarantee; this can lead to frustration. Instead, the act of prayer should be considered a way to develop a relationship with a higher power, generate a more positive outlook, reduce stress, and better cope with chronic pain.