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article imageWhen a Pharmacy Encourages Prayer Instead of Pills

By Carol Forsloff     Feb 18, 2009 in Health
Yesterday I bought medicine for my arthritis at the local drugstore. The clerk in the pharmacy section said, “You don't need those. I just deal with pain myself and turn to the Lord, so try that instead."
I felt out of place and worried for a moment, embarrassed for feeling weak. Then I remembered the issues about pain that showed it more complex than just dealing with it, so I smiled and proceeded with my purchase.
Pain is something many people fear. Some also don't want to face its reality nor talk about it honestly, it seems. Perhaps they are fearful of the pain of death and of most illnesses and accidents. But many might not confess it to others honestly because they are embarrassed, just as I was at the drugstore counter. They simply say they'll get over it or just deal with it.
Some people deal with pain by turning to religion. They will emphasize prayer as the mechanism for managing pain. Some may say they would see a doctor if the pain is bad enough but the value of prayer is reflected in the responses of people of evangelical belief. One writer gives specific Bible verses related to pain and how to deal with it: He introduces the topic by stating :
Generally we Suffer Because We’re Separated from God and His Glory
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:20-21)
The writer goes on to say that those who suffer from pain are simply not receiving God’s blessing because he or she has failed to conform to scriptures.
Then there are those who deal with pain with “natural” means. Alternative healers abound in many forms. One website maintains a solution that will take only 7 minutes. The system, called WHEE is a way of looking at oneself from within to understand the underlying factors involved in pain and why the individual creates it and how then it can be released. The writer of this piece claims he developed the system from his own frustrations about pain.
Some doctors maintain that they encourage patients just to deal with their pain because they themselves find pain a complex issue and difficult to manage. So their response is sometimes just to tell patients to go on with their lives and try to deal with their pain as best they can. These doctors recognize, however, their limitations and seek to examine solutions for pain which they recognize as limiting and debilitating.
Where does this “deal with it” attitude come from? It may begin with our mothers who tell us, after we fall down and cry a little and get a little bandage, to just go on and deal with it. That message, as it comes from an early authority figure, is heard and echoed by our practices and beliefs for many of us, both men and women, according to one writer.
AARP maintains that many people resist medication because of concerns of addiction or a belief that pain is simply part of life. That's why folks may not tell their doctor about the pain and decide they'll just deal with it. AARP says that causes many people to have to suffer needless pain.
So the woman at the counter yesterday has the response many people have that causes them and others to suffer needless pain. It is also a response that some doctors maintain in telling patients how to manage pain. Maybe that’s why some people don’t complain and seek help, as AARP maintains, because to do so is to be embarrassed, ignored or told just to deal with it.
More about Pain, Arthritis, Prayer
 
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