I was thinking about writing a blog about Spring Break, maybe a documentation of the quest for the ideal bikini line. However, the better angels of our nature instead gently touched my shoulder, and they and my age convinced me that it is better to write about this week as Holy Week—and not Spring Break. After all, to paraphrase the Jay Leno of twenty years ago, we already had the experience of putting up with the shenanigans of one fifty-something American (Teddy Kennedy) who persisted in going on Spring Break when the time for going on Spring Break had long passed. Just where did I think I was going?
This is one of those times of the year when many of us do reflect on religion, whether it has meaning for us, or what has it done for us lately. It is a time of the year that can have a significant impact on the psyche of individuals suffering from chronic pain. It is important that we all be reminded of the overwhelmingly positive impact that spirituality and religion have on the patient with chronic illness.
A concise but comprehensive review of research on religion and spirituality and both mental health and physical health was published by Dr. Koenig in 2012, in the journal “ISRN Psychiatry.” It can readily be understood how pain and other distressing somatic symptoms can motivate people to seek solace in religion through activities such as prayer or the study of Scripture. Religion and spirituality are used in order to cope with such symptoms: In one study of 382 adults with musculoskeletal complains, coping via religion and spirituality was the most common strategy for dealing with pain and was considered the second most helpful in a long list of coping behaviors. This phenomenon has been corroborated via additional research.