Spiritual Dimensions of Pain and Suffering

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry; Department of Medicine



Document Type

Book Chapter

Medical Subject Headings

Religion; Mental Healing; Spirituality; Pain; Chronic Pain; Adaptation, Psychological




Pain is a multi-dimensional, complex experience. It is a struggle to adequately identify and meet the needs of patients experiencing pain in a bio-psycho-social–spiritual context. In this chapter we explore the relationship between the spiritual dimensions of suffering and the experience of physical pain. By intertwining research with clinical case studies, the chapter reviews definitions, the relationship between spiritual anguish and physical pain, and finally interdisciplinary and evidence-based approaches to alleviating suffering.


Citation: Wachholtz, A. & Makowski, S. (2012). Spiritual Dimensions of Pain and Suffering. In RJ Moore (ed) Handbook of Pain and Palliative Care: Biobehavioral Approaches for the Life Course. NY: Springer, p. 697-713, DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4419-1651-8_36.

A partial preview of Chapter 36 is available via Google Books.