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Airing Pain 67: Biopsychosocial and spiritual?

The place of faith in pain relief, plus physiotherapy meets mental health, and educating doctors

This edition is funded by a donation from the residents at Falcon House, Edinburgh.

It’s well established that pain needs to be understood and treated as a biopsychosocial problem, but what about the spiritual side of life? Professor of nursing and Anglican chaplain Michelle Briggs speak to Paul Evans about how some people in pain can find relief and meaning in the prayer and community engagement offered by their faith.

We’ve looked at the issue of pain education before – Emma Briggs gives an update on the struggle to increase pain training for doctors and improve its quality. Her interdisciplinary pain management course brings healthcare professionals together with a focus on empathy, working as a team and understanding the importance of drug and non-drug treatments.

Physiotherapy and mental health care might seem at opposite ends of the pain management spectrum, but physiotherapist Nathan Goss sets out why we have to see pain as a mind-body problem and argues that mental health difficulties are ‘something we all experience’.

Issues covered in this programme include: Multidisciplinary approach, the biopsychosocial model, mental health, educating health professionals, religion, faith, physiotherapy, research, psychology, communicating pain and empathy.


  • Michelle Briggs, Professor of Nursing, Leeds Metropolitan University and Anglican chaplain
  • Emma Briggs, Lecturer, King’s College London and Chair of the British Pain Society Pain Education Special Interest Group
  • Nathan Goss, Senior Physiotherapist, Pain Management Programme at the Walton Centre, Liverpool.
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