Debra Chew: Thinking Outside The Prescription Bottle For Pain Relief

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - by Debra Chew

Most people do not like pain. That’s a pretty safe thing to say.  Whether it is physical, mental, or emotional pain….individuals, groups and organizations have been working for thousands of years to find relief for all types.  Unfortunately, some of the solutions that have been discovered, and are recommended and used come with unfavorable risks or long-term side effects.

Whether intentional or not, many individuals are finding themselves addicted to the very prescribed medicines they look to for pain relief.  And, that addiction often sends them on to illegal drugs. Nearly four out of five people who recently started using heroin used prescription painkillers first, according to a 2013 study from the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality.  And, a Feb. 25 ABC World News with Diane Sawyer segment on Veterans reported “In 2012, Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) found VA doctors wrote more than 6.5 million prescriptions for hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone and morphine. That's more than the total number of patients they saw and a 270 percent increase from 2001.”   

It seems that our quest for a “quick fix” for pain has resulted in risky side effects with damaging addictions.  As the toll of these unintended consequences rises, health professionals and patients are desperate for solutions.  Some physicians now recommend meditation or relaxation therapy, others suggest aromatherapy, yoga, mind-body therapies or even therapeutic touch in place of conventional medicine to treat pain. And, while many patients are finding temporary relief as a result of these therapies, permanent solutions to chronic – and in some cases extreme - pain remain allusive. And, the numbers of addicted continue to skyrocket.    

One approach to healing acute or chronic pain that is sometimes found among the “alternative” therapies but not yet well known is to reframe how we view – and, thus, experience – the problem. In this approach, the patient can use a spiritual lens to relook at the pain. I’ve found it helps to deepen my understanding of God as an all loving Parent and as more powerful than the body and any pain messages it sends me.  This isn’t unique to me.  More and more physicians are considering the role mental pictures and understanding of the Divine plays in our health.  After a NDE (near-death-experience), Dr. Eben Alexander said “Communicating with God is the most extraordinary experience imaginable, yet at the same time, it is the most natural one of all, because God is present in us at all times.  Omniscient, omnipotent, personal—and loving us without conditions.”  Dr. Alexander also wrote, “We have a very powerful loving God.”

I believe it is in that concept of God as Love, and in communicating directly with the Divine, that we can find healing for pain of all kinds.  My prayers help change my thoughts and this has a calming effect that is enough to begin to relieve pain. Continued prayer brings permanent relief. 

Several years ago I suffered a tubal pregnancy.  The pain afterwards was horrendous. I was offered morphine but decided to use prayer instead.  I read passages of comfort from the Bible, like “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” Rev. 21:4.  This particular scripture was helpful for both the physical as well as the emotional pain I felt after losing this baby.  When my parents arrived the following day, they found me quiet and calm and pretty much pain-free – and there were no side effects or risks. 

Am I recommending you stop taking pain relief medicine today?  No.  But I am suggesting that you, too, can use your spiritual lens to think outside the prescription bottle to control – and end - pain.    


Debra Chew is a self-syndicated columnist and writes about the connection between thought, spirituality and health.  She has been published in the, Memphis Commercial Appeal, and in the UK.  She is a Christian Science practitioner and also the media and legislative liaison for Christian Science for Tennessee.  You can contact her at

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