Many doctors underestimate the importance of religion and prayer to their patients, and many patients are reluctant to bring these issues up for discussion.

However, recent research seems to indicate that belief in a higher power makes a positive contribution to a person’s physical health and provides many benefits that can facilitate the surgery process and improve outcomes, including:

  • Giving the person a sense of meaning and purpose
  • Setting health priorities
  • Giving comfort in the face of illness and crises

Spiritual issues can be incorporated into the back surgery preparation process:

  • Coping thoughts might be developed using spiritual content
  • Relaxation exercises can be combined with a patient's spiritual beliefs and prayer

Doctor Benson found that patients commonly use prayers as a "mantra" to enhance the relaxation response in many ways, including:

  • Increasing the likelihood that the patient will continue to practice the Relaxation Response
  • Bringing forth brain waves associated with wellness
  • Helping allay feelings of worry and anxiety

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