Is Psychogenic Pain Real?

Psychogenic pain has long been misunderstood. People who do not understand the profound effects of how your emotions and thoughts have argued that psychogenic pain is not real pain.

Psychogenic pain is real pain. Experiencing pain due to traumatic thoughts and beliefs has the ability to cause physical pain. As such, fear has the same ability. Psychogenic pain is a physical pain disorder just as any other psychologically related disorder that relates to mental/emotional health.

This article will discuss more of what psychogenic pain is, frequently asked questions, treatment options and more.

What is Psychogenic Pain Disorder?

Psychogenic pain is recognized by someone’s chronic or acute experience with pain when there is no evidence of a cause. Most times, someone will be experiencing reoccurring symptoms which cause them to worry for their health/life. It might seem distressing no diagnosis is offered after they’ve been examined.

Before it was understood, people were left to suffer with it indefinitely. Fortunately, we are more aware of the effects of psychological pain. Knowing that mental and emotional health issues have the ability to cause psychogenic pain has helped many people seek treatment. Many are able to recover over time as they confront their mental health issues.

How do you know if your pain is psychogenic?

It can be hard to determine whether or not you might have psychogenic pain disorder. One typical hint that this may be the case is when the pain you’re experience does not line up with symptoms. You might have symptoms that should lead to a certain type of pain that you might not be experiencing.

How is this type of pain caused?

According to this interesting article by the folks at, psychogenic pain can be caused by a number of external and internal factors. In summary, psychogenic pain may be caused by lack of control over one’s own emotion health.

Basically, if someone bottles everything up, is in denial, refuses to acknowledge difficult emotional/mental health areas and is lacking in various areas of self esteem and support, physical pain can manifest as result.

Depression and symptoms and lifestyle that accompany that are usually at play as well. Anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, weight gain an other relating symptoms may be experienced as well.

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Even avoiding the healthy expression of anger, joy or any other emotion that may occur daily can lead to the manifestation of physical ailments.

As humans, we are extremely physical creatures. The need to relieve stress is a basic necessity that should be considered part of our regular habits an routine. Not just a luxury reserved for when there is time.

While not all of us have the resources to schedule a weekly massage or spend hours in nature each day, there are certain small things we can do to avoid these serious health problems later in life.

Is Psychogenic Pain Serious?

It can be, yes. If someone is in so much emotional distress that it starts causing physical pain to manifest that could have serious effects down the road if it’s not properly addressed. Being proactive about pain once you notice that it’s continuing is the best way to get ahead of long term issues.

Massages, light exercise such as walking, yoga and basic stretching have been known to help relieve pain. They can also help relax and strengthen you as well.

How do you fix it?

Usually, this type of pain needs to be diagnosed in order to be treated properly. This is because it typically takes the professional treatment of both a doctor and a therapist. A doctor may prescribe certain medications to help ease the pain while a therapist can help you work through the underlying emotional and psychological causes.

This combination has proved very effective in the past. Many people experiencing psychogenic pain often are not aware of what the underlying emotional issues might be as they are so used to “brushing it under the rug”. Having an experienced professional to talk to can help unearth issues that someone might not be aware of.

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What does Psychogenic Pain feel like?

Most of the time, it is felt by way of headaches, various muscle soreness/aches, and joint pain. While carrying tension in the shoulders is often a direst result of stress, emotional anguish that causes psychogenic pain might not be so easily recognizable.

Some people have reported off symptoms such as ankle, hip and hand pain. These less common types of pain points can usually be linked to extreme emotional/psychological distress.

How to Achieve Emotional Health

For a more in-depth look at the following 6 tips on how to achieve emotional health, check out this previous article on Understanding Emotional Health.

There are several things you can do to achieve emotional wellness or just improve it in general. Being emotionally well really comes down to knowing yourself and being proactive to achieve it.

Here are some things you can do to work on your emotional health…

1. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is all about living in the present moment. It’s often hard to leave feelings of overwhelm behind and focus on what’s happening right now.

To start this, allow yourself to sit still (or go for a walk) and just think about what is happening in those present moments.

psychogenic pain

At first it might feel ridiculous, but keep working on the way you think about the stressors in your life.

Stress is tricky because it’s something that can be controlled by you but it sure doesn’t seem like it at first.

2. Start Observing Your Emotions

Understanding how you feel about things that happen to you is easier said than done.

Especially when it’s a negative emotion. If there is something that always seems to make you upset, try observing why that is.

The next time it happens, ask yourself why you feel the way you do. Don’t try to stop your emotions, just observe them. You’re upset and there’s a reason.

It’s not a bad thing that you feel the way you do.

3. Establish Meaningful Relationships

When you have meaningful relationships in your life (even just one or two), you have a stronger sense of purpose. Having extra support from loved ones is an important part of maintaining emotional health.

Not only that but deep relationships are a great way to relieve stress and ease mild anxiety and depression symptoms. It can even help relieve some pain – literally!

The mutual support and love that you get with valuable relationships will also bring you a stronger sense of self-worth.

4. Be Mindful of Your Stress Levels

If you have healthy practices for dealing with stress, you’ll be able to bounce back faster and have a better mindset while doing that. Here are a few things you can do to prevent stress…

  • Get more sleep
  • Create a bedtime routine
  • Listen to relaxing music
  • Try Therapy
  • Exercise 

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5. Express Yourself

Think about the tension behind your feelings and express yourself in a healthy way. It’s important to feel free to express yourself. Turning to drugs or alcohol will only make the issues worse and you could develop more complex mental health issues as a result.

6. Be More Self-Conscious

Being more self-aware should involve understanding your passion or purpose. When you figure out what these are for you, you get a sense of belonging, fulfillment and validation.

This not only gives you something positive to focus on, but it helps enlighten other areas of your life.

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Hi, I'm Marissa! I'm passionate about mental and emotional health and want to share what I've learned over the years with others! I've seen first hand how mental health struggles can cause serious issues within relationships, work life, daily productivity, self-worth and more! I truly believe that we owe it to ourselves to bring more awareness to these life changing topics. Start your mental/emotional health journey by learning more today!

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