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Patterns in psychosomatic pains

Patterns in psychosomatic pains



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In the case of somatoform disorders, when considering such a disorder where seeing the scenes of the surroundings and sensing a series of psychosomatic pains in a specific way, is there a name for that type of somatoform disorder?

Updated:

For example, psychotic pains are such that, for example, during anxiety thoughts in the upper right region of the apadiancy or thoughts and emotions related to the affection of the pain in the heart area and…

This situation is somehow associated with repressive mechanisms and in some way when there is no possibility of feeling emotionally or there is a lot of work. Some psychologist said to me about Conversion disorder.


Contents

DSM-5 Edit

In the DSM-5 the disorder has been renamed somatic symptom disorder (SSD), and includes SSD with predominantly somatic complaints (previously referred to as somatization disorder), and SSD with pain features (previously known as pain disorder). [4]

DSM-IV-TR Edit

The DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria are: [5]

  • A history of somatic complaints over several years, starting prior to the age of 30.
  • Such symptoms cannot be fully explained by a general medical condition or substance use or, when there is an associated medical condition, the impairments due to the somatic symptoms are more severe than generally expected.
  • Complaints are not feigned as in malingering or factitious disorder.

The symptoms do not all have to occur at the same time, but may occur over the course of the disorder. A somatization disorder itself is chronic but fluctuating that rarely remits completely. A thorough physical examination of the specified areas of complaint is critical for somatization disorder diagnosis. Medical examination would provide object evidence of subjective complaints of the individual. [5]

Diagnosis of somatization disorder is difficult because it is hard to determine to what degree psychological factors are exacerbating subjective feelings of pain. For instance, chronic pain is common in 30% of the U.S. population, [6] making it difficult to determine whether or not the pain is due to predominately psychological factors.

ICD-10 Edit

"The main features are multiple, recurrent and frequently changing physical symptoms of at least two years duration. Most patients have a long and complicated history of contact with both primary and specialist medical care services, during which many negative investigations or fruitless exploratory operations may have been carried out. Symptoms may be referred to any part or system of the body. The course of the disorder is chronic and fluctuating, and is often associated with disruption of social, interpersonal, and family behaviour."

ICD-10 also includes the following subgroups of somatization syndrome: [3]

    . . .
  • Persistent somatoform pain disorder.
  • Other somatoform disorders, such ones predominated by dysmenorrhoea, dysphagia, pruritus and torticollis.
  • Somatoform disorder, unspecified.

Although somatization disorder has been studied and diagnosed for more than a century, there is debate and uncertainty regarding its pathophysiology. Most current explanations focus on the concept of a misconnection between the mind and the body. Genetics probably contributes a very small amount to development of the disorder. [7]

One of the oldest explanations for somatization disorder advances the theory that it is a result of the body's attempt to cope with emotional and psychological stress. The theory states that the body has a finite capacity to cope with psychological, emotional, and social distress, and that beyond a certain point symptoms are experienced as physical, principally affecting the digestive, nervous, and reproductive systems. There are many different feedback systems where the mind affects the body for instance, headaches are known to be associated with psychological factors, [8] and stress and the hormone cortisol are known to have a negative impact on immune functions. This might explain why somatization disorders are more likely in people with irritable bowel syndrome, and why patients with SSD are more likely to have a mood or anxiety disorder. [5] There is also a much increased incidence of SSD in people with a history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse. [9]

Another hypothesis for the cause of somatization disorder is that people with the disorder have heightened sensitivity to internal physical sensations and pain. [10] A biological sensitivity to somatic feelings could predispose a person to developing SSD. It is also possible that a person's body might develop increased sensitivity of nerves associated with pain and those responsible for pain perception, as a result of chronic exposure to stressors. [11]

Cognitive theories explain somatization disorder as arising from negative, distorted, and catastrophic thoughts and reinforcement of these cognitions. Catastrophic thinking could lead a person to believe that slight ailments, such as mild muscle pain or shortness of breath, are evidence of a serious illness such as cancer or a tumor. These thoughts can then be reinforced by supportive social connections. A spouse who responds more to his or her partner's pain cues makes it more likely that he or she will express greater pain. [12] Children of parents who are preoccupied or overly attentive to the somatic complaints of their children are more likely to develop somatic symptoms. [13] Severe cognitive distortions can make a person with SSD limit the behaviors he or she engages in, and cause increased disability and impaired functioning. [14]

Neuroimaging evidence Edit

A recent review of the cognitive–affective neuroscience of somatization disorder suggested that catastrophization in patients with somatization disorders tends to present a greater vulnerability to pain. The relevant brain regions include the dorsolateral prefrontal, insular, rostral anterior cingulate, premotor, and parietal cortices. [15] [16]

To date, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the best established treatment for a variety of somatoform disorders including somatization disorder. [17] [18] [19] CBT aims to help patients realize their ailments are not catastrophic and to enable them to gradually return to activities they previously engaged in, without fear of "worsening their symptoms". Consultation and collaboration with the primary care physician also demonstrated some effectiveness. [19] [20] The use of antidepressants is preliminary but does not yet show conclusive evidence. [19] [21] Electroconvulsive shock therapy (ECT) has been used in treating somatization disorder among the elderly however, the results were still debatable with some concerns around the side effects of using ECT. [22] Overall, psychologists recommend addressing a common difficulty in patients with somatization disorder in the reading of their own emotions. This may be a central feature of treatment as well as developing a close collaboration between the GP, the patient and the mental health practitioner. [23]

Somatization disorder is estimated to occur in 0.2% to 2% of females, [24] [25] and 0.2% of males.

There are cultural differences in the prevalence of somatization disorder. For example, somatization disorder and symptoms were found to be significantly more common in Puerto Rico. [26] In addition the diagnosis is also more prevalent among African Americans and those with less than a high school education or lower socioeconomic status. [27]

There is usually co-morbidity with other psychological disorders, particularly mood disorders or anxiety disorders. [5] [28] Research also showed comorbidity between somatization disorder and personality disorders, especially antisocial, borderline, narcissistic, histrionic, avoidant, and dependent personality disorder. [29]

About 10-20 percent of female first degree relatives also have somatization disorder and male relatives have increased rates of alcoholism and sociopathy. [30]


When symptoms are a mystery

Your client has physical symptoms that may be serious but haven't yet been diagnosed. What is the best way to help him or her cope?

July/August 2013, Vol 44, No. 7

Many psychologists see clients who are worried about physical symptoms with no clear organic cause, whether they are headaches, abdominal pain or more vague complaints such as fatigue or simply feeling unwell. Depending on the severity and chronicity of the complaints, they present a conundrum: To what extent should you be concerned that a serious medical condition underlies the complaints, and how much should you assume the problem is psychological and tailor treatment accordingly?

As it turns out, so-called medically unexplained symptoms are extremely common: Studies show that at least a third of somatic symptoms presented in primary care fall into this category, according to a 2003 review of the literature by Kurt Kroenke, MD, a research scientist and professor of medicine at Indiana University. Between one-fifth and one-quarter of those symptoms are chronic or recurrent, adds Kroenke, whose results are published in the International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research.

Physicians often see symptoms without a definitive organic diagnosis as psychosomatic — a modern if less dramatic version of the 19th-century tendency to label neurological symptoms "hysteria," says Michael Sharpe, MD, a University of Oxford psychiatrist who studies the psychological aspects of medical illness.

"There has been an unfortunate split in our thinking between what's physical and what we think of as ‘real,' and what is mental, and what we think of as imaginary or blameworthy," says Sharpe. "What we really don't have, and what we need, is better integration and understanding of conditions that may have both physical and psychological components."

In fact, because of this split, the area is highly controversial, with physicians and researchers sometimes butting heads with patient advocates who are unwilling to accept that their conditions may be partly or completely psychologically based.

Fortunately, a number of psychological researchers and clinicians are starting to think in more sophisticated, patient-friendly ways about this issue.

For one thing, they're more likely than in the past to view illnesses along a mind-body continuum, rather than as an either-or phenomenon. This thinking is reflected in the latest version of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-5, which came out in May.

"We tried to get away from saying whether the symptoms are explained or not, and just allow people to have symptoms," says Sharpe, who was on the DSM-5 work group for somatic symptoms. (The new DSM does include a category called "somatic symptom disorder" for people with severe, chronic and troublesome physical symptoms that may or may not have a medical explanation.)

For another thing, psychologists do have labels for "gray" conditions that meet the criteria of conditions without a known organic cause — chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivities, for example, says Dan Galper, PhD, director of research and special projects in APA's Practice Directorate. They are called "functional" illnesses, meaning that while there isn't necessarily a cause that shows up on an X-ray or blood test, it's clear these conditions cause problems in functioning and pain and can be treated from that perspective.

"You don't have to see evidence of pain to see that someone is in pain, or fatigued, for that matter," Galper explains.

Thanks to these insights and our growing knowledge of the complex ways the brain affects the body, practitioners and researchers are developing more nuanced ways of treating such patients. Some are tailoring cognitive behavioral strategies specifically to address physical symptoms, while others are creating and testing models that see poorly understood or unexplained conditions as multifactorial, the result of complex biopsychosocial factors (see In search of causes).

No matter what the ultimate cause of a client's physical symptoms, however, psychologists' main focus should be on helping patients cope with their symptoms and develop a better quality of life, just as they would with a firm organic diagnosis, says Ellen Dornelas, PhD, a health psychologist who sees patients with cancer and other medical conditions at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn.

"The body and mind work together in mysterious ways, and there are a lot of permutations in why people develop physical symptoms," Dornelas says. "I strive for a dialectic that acknowledges both the person's physical and emotional symptoms, and then work on helping people make positive changes."


Alexithymia

Physiological Aspects

As alluded to earlier, the relationship between alexithymia and psychosomatic disorders has a long history with a considerable amount of literature supporting it. An important subsection of this research has focused on aspects of physiology in people who have high alexithymia scores. It has been proposed that alexithymia is related to a higher baseline arousal. This was viewed as a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system and system linked to pervasive dysphoria in people high in alexithymia and various other mental and physical disorders. Anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and personality disorders, eating and substance abuse disorders, coronary heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and hypertension, all have been seen as related to the deleterious effect of a prolonged state of arousal.

Initially, people high in alexithymia were also thought to experience higher reactivity to emotional stimuli compared to healthy people. Three different theories have been proposed to explain the increased physiological arousal in response to emotional stimuli: Papciak and colleagues’ decoupling hypothesis, Martin and Pihl's stress hypothesis, and Cacioppo and colleagues’ discharge theory. The decoupling hypothesis proposes that in people high in alexithymia there is a disconnect between emotional experience and physiological automatic response when exposed to stress that results in high somatic response but lack of emotional expression. The stress hypothesis proposes that through the inability of alexithymic people to identify emotion and emotionally charged stimuli, they are also unable to identify stressful situations and, therefore, are not signaled to engage adaptive emotional regulatory tactics, leaving them vulnerable to experience more stressors, or more prolonged stress. Discharge theory views emotional expression as the outward channeling of energy. Alexithymia is characterized by an inward emotional expression through increased activation of the nervous system, given the deficit of individuals high in alexithymia to direct expression of emotion outward through speech or emotional behavior.

More recently, in contrast to previous theories, Linden and colleagues proposed the hypoarousal theory, which suggests that people high in the alexithymia trait will react less to emotional stimuli than other individuals. Evidence for the physiological aspects of alexithymia is still equivocal, although more recent studies have found more considerable support for the theory that people with alexithymia experience low physiological arousal to emotional stimuli. This is perhaps a direct result of decreased awareness of emotions in people high in alexithymia.


Studies That Support The Existence Of Psychogenic Pain

Evidences suggest that somatic pain experienced by children has an equal intensity as that of an adult. Differences in ethnic groups and race are found to prevail in the cases of psychosomatic pain. Moreover, a strong correlation has been found between gender and pain. It is found in many studies that women suffer more from psychosomatic pain than men and that they seek more help. It was also established that children complaining of somatic pain often complain of headaches or abdominal pain. However, with the advancement of age, the pain locations vary and rather they start to experience it in many varied locations and the intensity is also higher.


Criticism of hysteria

The theory of hysteria has been heavily criticized almost since its reformulation by Freud, Charcot and other 19th century neurologists.

Feminist criticism

In her 2000 analysis, 34) Briggs says that scholars of women and gender have long argued that hysteria participated in powerful narratives of cultural crisis, which goes a long way toward explaining the logical glue that held together an apparently endless catalogue of symptoms as a singular syndrome. She goes on to say hysteria was the “provenance almost exclusively of Anglo-American, native-born whites, specifically, white women of a certain class.” “The primary symptoms of hysteria in women were gynecologic and reproductive—prolapsed uterus, diseased ovaries, long and difficult childbirths—maladies that made it difficult for these hysterical (white) women to have children.”

Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English, for example, have concluded hysteria is virtually a diagnostic fiction, arguing that nineteenth century physicians called upon narratives of nervous illness to denounce women’s agitation for expanded social roles. They cite the now classic example of Harvard president Edward Clarke arguing against women’s education in 1873 by claiming that the blood demanded by the brain would prevent the reproductive system from developing properly. 35)


Pain without any injury or illness? It could be psychosomatic

Why do we experience pain? Science explains that pain occurs because of tissue damage, so when we complain of pain, there must be a source of injury. It is called organic pain or somatic pain. The concept of psychosomatic pain (non-organic pain) was not considered until studies on hysteria by Breuer and Freud (1895) suggested that pain could be a manifestation of a psychological problem. [1] Also Read - 5 Reasons Why Self-Love Is Important For Your Mental Health

Psychosomatic pain, also called psychogenic pain, is a chronic pain disorder associated with psychological factors. Back pain that refuses to go away, splitting headache, say, after a marital discord, muscle pains and stomach ache during a traumatic period, all these are examples of psychosomatic pain. Also Read - How to beat stress during the Covid-19 pandemic: Eat more fruit and vegetables

Later, studies in the 20 th century revealed that psychosomatic pain usually occurs as a chronic pain. Psychosomatic pain works two ways: [2]

  • Experiencing pain triggers a chain of neurological events that lead to an altered psychological state and
  • Prior psychological states increase the risk for chronic pain due to cross-sensitisation (sensitivity to one substance predisposing sensitisation to another related substance).

This goes to say that both pain and the psychological state in the psychosomatic pain are responsible for the symptoms.

Causes of psychosomatic pain

Abuse — whether physical, mental, or sexual — has been proven to be one of the most important causes of psychosomatic pain. According to a study [3], at least 40 to 60 percent of women and at least 20 percent of men with chronic psychosomatic pain disorders report a history of being abused during childhood and/or adulthood. Researchers have found that abuse may physiologically and developmentally increase a person’s susceptibility to pain and that some organic changes may be associated with their pain.

Thoughts and perceptions are also believed to be the cause of fibromyalgia. Ivan Staroversky, a psychotherapist and a wellness counsellor from Canada, believes there are three main causes of illness trauma, toxicity, and thoughts. He is of the opinion that our thoughts can change our body chemistry.

Remember that cells, tissue and organs of the body do not question the information that is sent to them from the nervous system. Thus, we respond to life-affirming perceptions or self-destructive misperceptions every day. Our perception influences our fate. Our thoughts have the power to change our body chemistry. Some thoughts cause stress and some thoughts cause relaxation and self-rehabilitation, he says. [4]

Similarly, repressed emotions can cause psychosomatic pain. Psychosomatic disorders may appear to be purely physical but they originate in emotions that are unconscious or dissociated from consciousness. Loss and isolation can cut like a knife. Grief and anger can be stored in the muscles of the neck, head, back, or gastrointestinal tract, says Sharon Farber, psychotherapist from New York. All these factors could cause back pain, migraine or allergies.

Mind-body healers theorise that many symptoms of pain are an unconscious distraction that help repress deep emotional issues, which means the brain is so wired that you would prefer to feel the physical pain rather than experience emotional pain.

Stress is another important cause of psychosomatic pain. For example, a study by Pratibha Kane involving nurses in Indian hospitals revealed that psychosomatic disorders like acidity, back pain, stiffness in neck and shoulders, forgetfulness, anger and worry significantly increased in nurses having higher stress scores. Or in other words, incidences of psychosomatic illness increases with the level of stress. [7]

Symptoms of psychosomatic pain

How will you distinguish between psychosomatic pain and somatic pain? Following are some of the symptoms characteristic of psychosomatic pain.

  • When the pain you are experiencing does not match your symptoms or when your pain cannot be explained by a medical condition, though it is important to note that there are certain illnesses that do not show up in routine tests.
  • When you are not faking the pain and it is not caused by a psychological condition such as anxiety or mood disorder.
  • When the symptoms exacerbate or become more severe depending on the psychological factors.

Diagnosing psychosomatic pain

It is not easy to determine whether the pain is somatic or if your psychology plays a role in the perceived pain. It is very difficult for a doctor to establish how much of the problem is psychological and how much of it could be a serious medical condition! It becomes more difficult when the patient is unwilling to accept that their condition is psychological, partly or completely.

Staroversky discusses an interesting concept of diagnosing psychosomatic pain. It is called the placebo test. Put some sugar pills in a small glass bottle and explain to the patient to the point of convincing them that it s a very powerful remedy and the pain will go away in one week if they follow the instructions to the dot. If the problem goes away, it is a psychosomatic problem, if not, it may be a somatic problem. [4]

However, the first step to diagnosing a psychosomatic illness is to look at the whole human being and not just the symptoms of the illness. It is important to check their lifestyle, family history, social circle, their past, negative live events, abuse and so on.

Then blood tests, X-rays, CT scan, MRI, or other tests are done to rule out a serious medical condition.

Probable solutions to psychosomatic pain

Resolving psychosomatic pain requires more than just medicine. Simply treating the symptoms of pain will not resolve the issue. Health care practitioners need to go to the root of the pain and treat that cause .

Counselling and psychotherapy can help find out the real source of the pain by finding the connection between the physical pain and its possible psychological causes.

Stress management techniques can help individuals manage their physical and emotional health. For example, a study revealed that there is a positive relationship between job satisfaction and spirituality at work among sales professionals, which provides the relevance of spirituality at work to salespeople. Studies have also shown the importance of Vipasana meditation and yoga in improving psychosomatic pain. [5]

Sometimes, non-narcotic painkillers and anti-depressants can help resolve psychosomatic pain. Studies show that antidepressants can help ameliorate many unexplained symptoms, even if the person is not depressed, because the neural pathways for negative psychological and physical symptoms such as pain and depression are closely related. [6]

Physical exercise and physiotherapy can in many cases relieve psychosomatic pain.

The influence of psyche on pain symptoms is much more widely recognised now. What is now required more than ever is for pharmacologists, neurologists, orthopaedic surgeons and psychiatrists to work together to deal with the issue of psychosomatic pain.


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The Journal of Psychosomatic Research is a multidisciplinary research journal covering all aspects of the relationships between psychology and medicine. The scope is broad and ranges from basic human biological and psychological research to evaluations of treatment and services. Papers will normally.

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Psychologically Induced Pain Syndrome Causes

Psychologically induced pain syndromes are actually defense mechanisms designed to cover up sensitive or unresolved emotional issues. The subconscious mind feels that these issues are so threatening to the wellbeing of the individual, that it will do anything to prevent them from becoming conscious. This process is called repression.

When repression is not enough to guarantee that the painful emotions will remain hidden, the subconscious can create psychosomatic symptoms to preoccupy the conscious thoughts of the individual. This focus on the pain is a very effective means of making sure that repressed emotional issues remain well hidden and out of the conscious mind of the affected individual.

It is clear that some personality types are more prone to this process than others. It is also clear that the extent of the health conditions created varies greatly. I think it is safe to say that all of us have had tension-related headaches and the occasional upset stomach from stress. This seems quite normal in humans. However, some of us generate more complex pain syndromes when emotional stress threatens our consciousness.

The incidence of psychologically induced pain syndromes is universal in our species, but what differs from one person to the next is the severity, location and duration of the symptoms. These factors are often linked to the degree of threat presented by the repressed or suppressed emotional issues.

The subconscious mind is very clever. It will not typically invent some crazy physical pain condition to serve as a distraction. It will take advantage of real structural abnormalities and past injuries to create realistic and convincing chronic pain syndromes. If the subconscious mind sees a physical weakness or imperfection, it knows that pain experienced in that location will be attributed to the physical defect.

The subconscious mind is also aware of what is considered to be a very physical cause of agony. Back pain is the perfect example. The symptoms and causes are so seemingly anatomical that it makes the perfect disguise for a psychologically induced pain syndrome. No one will ever suspect that the pain is only a smokescreen designed to distract from painful emotional issues.

This camouflage is obviously a purposeful part of the psychosomatic process. This also explains why pain will move around illogically when treated. They mind is not going to be discouraged that easily. It likes this successful process of distraction and must be forcibly broken of the habit in order to cease and desist permanently.

Psychological back pain is just one of many pain syndromes caused by emotional sources, but as you will see from the list of other chronic concerns below, back ache is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg here.

It is vital to understand right from the start that the theory of psychologically induced pain syndromes causation is not new age or alternative medicine. Psychologically induced pain syndromes are part of medical science and have been proven in the laboratory, in observation and in practical application. This is medical fact. What remains very open to speculation is exactly which conditions and diagnoses qualify.

Read more about the universality of mindbody disorders.

Diverse Psychologically Induced Pain Syndromes

Ulcers used to be the # 1 chronic expression of psychologically induced pain syndromes. Medical science now knows that ulcers are caused, or worsened, by emotional stress. Once this fact was accepted by the general public, the frequency of ulcers decreased steadily year by year. Yes, the discovery of the link to H. pylori bacteria does exist, but this is only because the mind creates an environment in which the bacteria can thrive.

Back pain has become the latest, greatest (last 50 years) psychological pain syndrome. The incidence of chronic back pain has reached epidemic proportions. The reason is the success of the disguise. No one suspects that back ache could possibly be the result of a psychological process. Many cases of PIPS act as back pain substitute symptoms.

Angina is a common and highly recognized version of stress-related chest and heart pain. Heart palpitations sometimes accompany angina or arrhythmia. This is a particularly dangerous form of PIPS.

Repetitive strain injury is one of the most misdiagnosed and prevalent health crises today.

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a psycho-emotional tormentor which enslaves affected patients with all-consuming rituals.

Chronic fatigue syndrome makes even the most basic physical and mental tasks nearly impossible to accomplish. Chronic fatigue is a very profitable niche in the healthcare sector.

Digestive tract sensitivity is an extremely common mindbody pain syndrome. Chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas, heartburn, nauseousness and Irritable bowel syndrome are all common effects. Many back pain sufferers also have one or more of these chronic symptoms that can last for years. Colitis is one of the worst GI disorders which may be linked to psychological issues.

Frequent urination can come from a wide range of psychological issues.

Heel spurs are another scapegoat used to explain chronic foot symptoms.

Bruxism is an annoying and sometimes painful teeth grinding nuisance.

Torn rotator cuff is a common shoulder diagnosis which is typically blamed for enacting painful symptoms, when in reality, the condition may be coincidental.

A frozen shoulder is a frightening condition which may be caused by structural or ischemic reasons.

Impingement syndrome can result from physical or mindbody conditions which affect the shoulder joint.

Skin disorders can be mindbody problems. Adult acne, psoriasis, eczema, hives and rashes are all commonly caused by repressed psychological issues.

Sexual dysfunction is a general term for a variety of conditions affecting both men and women. Erectile dysfunction is a particular form of sexual problem affecting a large percentage of men.

Asthma is a condition that may revolve around psychological causation and certainly involves almost universal emotional escalation.

TMJ / temporomandibular joint disorder is an increasingly diagnosed condition that affects the jaw bone, jaw joints and jaw muscles. It has always been linked to stress, but rarely thought to be caused exclusively by a psychological process.

Trigeminal neuralgia is a facial nerve pain syndrome which is often linked to a psychosomatic source.

Carpal tunnel syndrome should be awarded second prize for most creative use of a psychological pain syndrome, right after back pain. People think this condition is common and comes from repetitive use of the hands and wrists (typing). Doctors have jumped all over this condition, especially with pharmaceutical relief and surgery. A majority of diagnosed carpal tunnel syndrome cases actually involve a powerful, but harmless form of psychologically induced tendonitis. Read more about PIPS wrist pain.

Tennis elbow is often misdiagnosed as a structural injury due to overuse, but is commonly a psychosomatic tendonalgia.

Bursitis is a universal part of aging in many joints including the hip, elbow, knee and the shoulder.

Prostatitis is a common form of psychological pain experienced by middle aged men. This condition is sometimes interpreted as a pre-cancerous condition and can lead to unnecessary treatments.

Urinary tract problems are classic examples of psychological symptoms.

Allergies are certainly linked to psychological causes. Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, is one of the most common of all allergic sensitivities. Psychosomatic allergies are experienced physically, but induced psychologically.

Fibromyalgia is a perfect example of a psychologically induced pain syndrome. Doctors have been trying to figure out this epidemic condition for years, with little of no success. No surprise, since many have been trying to find a physical cause, rather than investigating the possibility that this is a psychologically induced condition.

Headaches are the most common acute expression of psychological pain. Everyone knows that headaches come from stress and anxiety. Ask any medical doctor, and they will tell you that emotions, stress, and worry definitely contribute to the cause of headaches. Here is some detailed information about tension headache and migraine headaches.

Hypertension is often caused or escalated by psychological issues. Paroxysmal hypertension is proven to be especially related to repressed emotional issues.

Knee pain is commonly caused or perpetuated by psychological factors. This condition plagued me for many years, but never became as severe as my terrible back pain. Psychosomatic knee conditions are responsible for countless unnecessary surgeries every year.

Leg cramps are often linked to emotional ischemia syndromes and can be very difficult to diagnose and treat using traditional medical modalities.

Iliotibial band syndrome is a common runner’s nightmare often caused by a psychosomatic process.

Anxiety is a universal condition which affects all of us to one degree or another.

Chronic vertigo is often sourced in the subconscious mind instead of the physical body. Many cases are mistakenly attributed to inner ear concerns.

Bell’s palsy is an idiopathic facial nerve paralysis condition which may be tied to the mind/body processes in many patients.

Psychologically Induced Pain Syndromes Conclusion

The list above are just some examples of common psychologically induced pain syndromes. The mind actually influences the entire general health of the body, so virtually any health condition might have a psychological component to it.

Psychological back pain is gaining more acceptance in the traditional medical community, as more undeniable facts gain acceptance in the general public. Research science has already discovered a link between the mind and the development of cancer. Some people die simply because they think it is their time.

I truly believe that the future of healthcare will eventually move more towards mindbody medicine. The process of preventing disease is always easier and more effective than treating it. The key to better general health is to embrace the power of the mind. We must accept its ability to affect our physical bodies for the better and for the worse or suffer endlessly under its whim.

I encourage all readers to further research these topics by reading the works of Dr. Sigmund Freud and studying the history of psychosomatic medicine. Not only is this fascinating material, but it will really reshape your thoughts on health and disease forever. This can be a very good thing for victims of chronic pain conditions.

In the past 10 years, I have seen sweeping changes in the use of mindbody modalities in traditional medicine. Once considered witchdoctor tactics, now there is not a single cancer treatment program in the US which does not utilize forms of knowledge therapy. Additionally, addiction treatment programs, pain management programs and therapies designed to treat an incredibly diverse range of diseases and conditions ALL utilize mindbody methods.

Lots of change is a very good thing indeed. I am happy and proud to have been a part of it for many years now. If you want the complete story on the full scope of mindbody disorders, then you must read the resources of our Cure Back Pain Forever Program. There is no better set of tools for defeating chronic pain available today!


Recap of psychosomatic pain – what your body is telling

Psychosomatic pain is something everybody will come into contact with during their lifetime.

Taking your time to try to decipher the causes of your pain may greatly help you deal with your psychosomatic pain. Emotions play an important part. So the first step to tackling it can be to consider whether emotions or stress might be involved, and to label them.

Next, analyze your current situation by deciphering internal and external stressors. This will give you starting points to start reducing the cause of your negative emotions and stress, which in turn will reduce the occurrence of your psychosomatic pain.

Specifically, reduce external stressors by:

  • Updating expectations by engaging in clear communication
  • Not being afraid to ask for help

And internal stressors by:

  • Becoming aware of your own perfectionism
  • Getting logical about self-imposed stress.

Tackling stress is half the battle. Being able to detect signs of emotions early on, and engaging in emotion regulating behavior will help prevent the negative emotion from forming, or otherwise mitigate the damage they cause.

For tips on becoming more proficient in recognizing and regulating negative emotions please have a look at our posts on emotional intelligence. For a more in-depth look at battling perfectionism please have a look at our posts on self-doubt.


Studies That Support The Existence Of Psychogenic Pain

Evidences suggest that somatic pain experienced by children has an equal intensity as that of an adult. Differences in ethnic groups and race are found to prevail in the cases of psychosomatic pain. Moreover, a strong correlation has been found between gender and pain. It is found in many studies that women suffer more from psychosomatic pain than men and that they seek more help. It was also established that children complaining of somatic pain often complain of headaches or abdominal pain. However, with the advancement of age, the pain locations vary and rather they start to experience it in many varied locations and the intensity is also higher.


Contents

DSM-5 Edit

In the DSM-5 the disorder has been renamed somatic symptom disorder (SSD), and includes SSD with predominantly somatic complaints (previously referred to as somatization disorder), and SSD with pain features (previously known as pain disorder). [4]

DSM-IV-TR Edit

The DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria are: [5]

  • A history of somatic complaints over several years, starting prior to the age of 30.
  • Such symptoms cannot be fully explained by a general medical condition or substance use or, when there is an associated medical condition, the impairments due to the somatic symptoms are more severe than generally expected.
  • Complaints are not feigned as in malingering or factitious disorder.

The symptoms do not all have to occur at the same time, but may occur over the course of the disorder. A somatization disorder itself is chronic but fluctuating that rarely remits completely. A thorough physical examination of the specified areas of complaint is critical for somatization disorder diagnosis. Medical examination would provide object evidence of subjective complaints of the individual. [5]

Diagnosis of somatization disorder is difficult because it is hard to determine to what degree psychological factors are exacerbating subjective feelings of pain. For instance, chronic pain is common in 30% of the U.S. population, [6] making it difficult to determine whether or not the pain is due to predominately psychological factors.

ICD-10 Edit

"The main features are multiple, recurrent and frequently changing physical symptoms of at least two years duration. Most patients have a long and complicated history of contact with both primary and specialist medical care services, during which many negative investigations or fruitless exploratory operations may have been carried out. Symptoms may be referred to any part or system of the body. The course of the disorder is chronic and fluctuating, and is often associated with disruption of social, interpersonal, and family behaviour."

ICD-10 also includes the following subgroups of somatization syndrome: [3]

    . . .
  • Persistent somatoform pain disorder.
  • Other somatoform disorders, such ones predominated by dysmenorrhoea, dysphagia, pruritus and torticollis.
  • Somatoform disorder, unspecified.

Although somatization disorder has been studied and diagnosed for more than a century, there is debate and uncertainty regarding its pathophysiology. Most current explanations focus on the concept of a misconnection between the mind and the body. Genetics probably contributes a very small amount to development of the disorder. [7]

One of the oldest explanations for somatization disorder advances the theory that it is a result of the body's attempt to cope with emotional and psychological stress. The theory states that the body has a finite capacity to cope with psychological, emotional, and social distress, and that beyond a certain point symptoms are experienced as physical, principally affecting the digestive, nervous, and reproductive systems. There are many different feedback systems where the mind affects the body for instance, headaches are known to be associated with psychological factors, [8] and stress and the hormone cortisol are known to have a negative impact on immune functions. This might explain why somatization disorders are more likely in people with irritable bowel syndrome, and why patients with SSD are more likely to have a mood or anxiety disorder. [5] There is also a much increased incidence of SSD in people with a history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse. [9]

Another hypothesis for the cause of somatization disorder is that people with the disorder have heightened sensitivity to internal physical sensations and pain. [10] A biological sensitivity to somatic feelings could predispose a person to developing SSD. It is also possible that a person's body might develop increased sensitivity of nerves associated with pain and those responsible for pain perception, as a result of chronic exposure to stressors. [11]

Cognitive theories explain somatization disorder as arising from negative, distorted, and catastrophic thoughts and reinforcement of these cognitions. Catastrophic thinking could lead a person to believe that slight ailments, such as mild muscle pain or shortness of breath, are evidence of a serious illness such as cancer or a tumor. These thoughts can then be reinforced by supportive social connections. A spouse who responds more to his or her partner's pain cues makes it more likely that he or she will express greater pain. [12] Children of parents who are preoccupied or overly attentive to the somatic complaints of their children are more likely to develop somatic symptoms. [13] Severe cognitive distortions can make a person with SSD limit the behaviors he or she engages in, and cause increased disability and impaired functioning. [14]

Neuroimaging evidence Edit

A recent review of the cognitive–affective neuroscience of somatization disorder suggested that catastrophization in patients with somatization disorders tends to present a greater vulnerability to pain. The relevant brain regions include the dorsolateral prefrontal, insular, rostral anterior cingulate, premotor, and parietal cortices. [15] [16]

To date, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the best established treatment for a variety of somatoform disorders including somatization disorder. [17] [18] [19] CBT aims to help patients realize their ailments are not catastrophic and to enable them to gradually return to activities they previously engaged in, without fear of "worsening their symptoms". Consultation and collaboration with the primary care physician also demonstrated some effectiveness. [19] [20] The use of antidepressants is preliminary but does not yet show conclusive evidence. [19] [21] Electroconvulsive shock therapy (ECT) has been used in treating somatization disorder among the elderly however, the results were still debatable with some concerns around the side effects of using ECT. [22] Overall, psychologists recommend addressing a common difficulty in patients with somatization disorder in the reading of their own emotions. This may be a central feature of treatment as well as developing a close collaboration between the GP, the patient and the mental health practitioner. [23]

Somatization disorder is estimated to occur in 0.2% to 2% of females, [24] [25] and 0.2% of males.

There are cultural differences in the prevalence of somatization disorder. For example, somatization disorder and symptoms were found to be significantly more common in Puerto Rico. [26] In addition the diagnosis is also more prevalent among African Americans and those with less than a high school education or lower socioeconomic status. [27]

There is usually co-morbidity with other psychological disorders, particularly mood disorders or anxiety disorders. [5] [28] Research also showed comorbidity between somatization disorder and personality disorders, especially antisocial, borderline, narcissistic, histrionic, avoidant, and dependent personality disorder. [29]

About 10-20 percent of female first degree relatives also have somatization disorder and male relatives have increased rates of alcoholism and sociopathy. [30]


When symptoms are a mystery

Your client has physical symptoms that may be serious but haven't yet been diagnosed. What is the best way to help him or her cope?

July/August 2013, Vol 44, No. 7

Many psychologists see clients who are worried about physical symptoms with no clear organic cause, whether they are headaches, abdominal pain or more vague complaints such as fatigue or simply feeling unwell. Depending on the severity and chronicity of the complaints, they present a conundrum: To what extent should you be concerned that a serious medical condition underlies the complaints, and how much should you assume the problem is psychological and tailor treatment accordingly?

As it turns out, so-called medically unexplained symptoms are extremely common: Studies show that at least a third of somatic symptoms presented in primary care fall into this category, according to a 2003 review of the literature by Kurt Kroenke, MD, a research scientist and professor of medicine at Indiana University. Between one-fifth and one-quarter of those symptoms are chronic or recurrent, adds Kroenke, whose results are published in the International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research.

Physicians often see symptoms without a definitive organic diagnosis as psychosomatic — a modern if less dramatic version of the 19th-century tendency to label neurological symptoms "hysteria," says Michael Sharpe, MD, a University of Oxford psychiatrist who studies the psychological aspects of medical illness.

"There has been an unfortunate split in our thinking between what's physical and what we think of as ‘real,' and what is mental, and what we think of as imaginary or blameworthy," says Sharpe. "What we really don't have, and what we need, is better integration and understanding of conditions that may have both physical and psychological components."

In fact, because of this split, the area is highly controversial, with physicians and researchers sometimes butting heads with patient advocates who are unwilling to accept that their conditions may be partly or completely psychologically based.

Fortunately, a number of psychological researchers and clinicians are starting to think in more sophisticated, patient-friendly ways about this issue.

For one thing, they're more likely than in the past to view illnesses along a mind-body continuum, rather than as an either-or phenomenon. This thinking is reflected in the latest version of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-5, which came out in May.

"We tried to get away from saying whether the symptoms are explained or not, and just allow people to have symptoms," says Sharpe, who was on the DSM-5 work group for somatic symptoms. (The new DSM does include a category called "somatic symptom disorder" for people with severe, chronic and troublesome physical symptoms that may or may not have a medical explanation.)

For another thing, psychologists do have labels for "gray" conditions that meet the criteria of conditions without a known organic cause — chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivities, for example, says Dan Galper, PhD, director of research and special projects in APA's Practice Directorate. They are called "functional" illnesses, meaning that while there isn't necessarily a cause that shows up on an X-ray or blood test, it's clear these conditions cause problems in functioning and pain and can be treated from that perspective.

"You don't have to see evidence of pain to see that someone is in pain, or fatigued, for that matter," Galper explains.

Thanks to these insights and our growing knowledge of the complex ways the brain affects the body, practitioners and researchers are developing more nuanced ways of treating such patients. Some are tailoring cognitive behavioral strategies specifically to address physical symptoms, while others are creating and testing models that see poorly understood or unexplained conditions as multifactorial, the result of complex biopsychosocial factors (see In search of causes).

No matter what the ultimate cause of a client's physical symptoms, however, psychologists' main focus should be on helping patients cope with their symptoms and develop a better quality of life, just as they would with a firm organic diagnosis, says Ellen Dornelas, PhD, a health psychologist who sees patients with cancer and other medical conditions at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn.

"The body and mind work together in mysterious ways, and there are a lot of permutations in why people develop physical symptoms," Dornelas says. "I strive for a dialectic that acknowledges both the person's physical and emotional symptoms, and then work on helping people make positive changes."


Alexithymia

Physiological Aspects

As alluded to earlier, the relationship between alexithymia and psychosomatic disorders has a long history with a considerable amount of literature supporting it. An important subsection of this research has focused on aspects of physiology in people who have high alexithymia scores. It has been proposed that alexithymia is related to a higher baseline arousal. This was viewed as a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system and system linked to pervasive dysphoria in people high in alexithymia and various other mental and physical disorders. Anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and personality disorders, eating and substance abuse disorders, coronary heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and hypertension, all have been seen as related to the deleterious effect of a prolonged state of arousal.

Initially, people high in alexithymia were also thought to experience higher reactivity to emotional stimuli compared to healthy people. Three different theories have been proposed to explain the increased physiological arousal in response to emotional stimuli: Papciak and colleagues’ decoupling hypothesis, Martin and Pihl's stress hypothesis, and Cacioppo and colleagues’ discharge theory. The decoupling hypothesis proposes that in people high in alexithymia there is a disconnect between emotional experience and physiological automatic response when exposed to stress that results in high somatic response but lack of emotional expression. The stress hypothesis proposes that through the inability of alexithymic people to identify emotion and emotionally charged stimuli, they are also unable to identify stressful situations and, therefore, are not signaled to engage adaptive emotional regulatory tactics, leaving them vulnerable to experience more stressors, or more prolonged stress. Discharge theory views emotional expression as the outward channeling of energy. Alexithymia is characterized by an inward emotional expression through increased activation of the nervous system, given the deficit of individuals high in alexithymia to direct expression of emotion outward through speech or emotional behavior.

More recently, in contrast to previous theories, Linden and colleagues proposed the hypoarousal theory, which suggests that people high in the alexithymia trait will react less to emotional stimuli than other individuals. Evidence for the physiological aspects of alexithymia is still equivocal, although more recent studies have found more considerable support for the theory that people with alexithymia experience low physiological arousal to emotional stimuli. This is perhaps a direct result of decreased awareness of emotions in people high in alexithymia.


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The Journal of Psychosomatic Research is a multidisciplinary research journal covering all aspects of the relationships between psychology and medicine. The scope is broad and ranges from basic human biological and psychological research to evaluations of treatment and services. Papers will normally.

The Journal of Psychosomatic Research is a multidisciplinary research journal covering all aspects of the relationships between psychology and medicine. The scope is broad and ranges from basic human biological and psychological research to evaluations of treatment and services. Papers will normally be concerned with illness or patients rather than studies of healthy populations. Studies concerning special populations, such as the elderly and children and adolescents, are welcome. In addition to peer-reviewed original papers, the journal publishes editorials, reviews, and other papers related to the journal's aims.

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Recap of psychosomatic pain – what your body is telling

Psychosomatic pain is something everybody will come into contact with during their lifetime.

Taking your time to try to decipher the causes of your pain may greatly help you deal with your psychosomatic pain. Emotions play an important part. So the first step to tackling it can be to consider whether emotions or stress might be involved, and to label them.

Next, analyze your current situation by deciphering internal and external stressors. This will give you starting points to start reducing the cause of your negative emotions and stress, which in turn will reduce the occurrence of your psychosomatic pain.

Specifically, reduce external stressors by:

  • Updating expectations by engaging in clear communication
  • Not being afraid to ask for help

And internal stressors by:

  • Becoming aware of your own perfectionism
  • Getting logical about self-imposed stress.

Tackling stress is half the battle. Being able to detect signs of emotions early on, and engaging in emotion regulating behavior will help prevent the negative emotion from forming, or otherwise mitigate the damage they cause.

For tips on becoming more proficient in recognizing and regulating negative emotions please have a look at our posts on emotional intelligence. For a more in-depth look at battling perfectionism please have a look at our posts on self-doubt.


Psychologically Induced Pain Syndrome Causes

Psychologically induced pain syndromes are actually defense mechanisms designed to cover up sensitive or unresolved emotional issues. The subconscious mind feels that these issues are so threatening to the wellbeing of the individual, that it will do anything to prevent them from becoming conscious. This process is called repression.

When repression is not enough to guarantee that the painful emotions will remain hidden, the subconscious can create psychosomatic symptoms to preoccupy the conscious thoughts of the individual. This focus on the pain is a very effective means of making sure that repressed emotional issues remain well hidden and out of the conscious mind of the affected individual.

It is clear that some personality types are more prone to this process than others. It is also clear that the extent of the health conditions created varies greatly. I think it is safe to say that all of us have had tension-related headaches and the occasional upset stomach from stress. This seems quite normal in humans. However, some of us generate more complex pain syndromes when emotional stress threatens our consciousness.

The incidence of psychologically induced pain syndromes is universal in our species, but what differs from one person to the next is the severity, location and duration of the symptoms. These factors are often linked to the degree of threat presented by the repressed or suppressed emotional issues.

The subconscious mind is very clever. It will not typically invent some crazy physical pain condition to serve as a distraction. It will take advantage of real structural abnormalities and past injuries to create realistic and convincing chronic pain syndromes. If the subconscious mind sees a physical weakness or imperfection, it knows that pain experienced in that location will be attributed to the physical defect.

The subconscious mind is also aware of what is considered to be a very physical cause of agony. Back pain is the perfect example. The symptoms and causes are so seemingly anatomical that it makes the perfect disguise for a psychologically induced pain syndrome. No one will ever suspect that the pain is only a smokescreen designed to distract from painful emotional issues.

This camouflage is obviously a purposeful part of the psychosomatic process. This also explains why pain will move around illogically when treated. They mind is not going to be discouraged that easily. It likes this successful process of distraction and must be forcibly broken of the habit in order to cease and desist permanently.

Psychological back pain is just one of many pain syndromes caused by emotional sources, but as you will see from the list of other chronic concerns below, back ache is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg here.

It is vital to understand right from the start that the theory of psychologically induced pain syndromes causation is not new age or alternative medicine. Psychologically induced pain syndromes are part of medical science and have been proven in the laboratory, in observation and in practical application. This is medical fact. What remains very open to speculation is exactly which conditions and diagnoses qualify.

Read more about the universality of mindbody disorders.

Diverse Psychologically Induced Pain Syndromes

Ulcers used to be the # 1 chronic expression of psychologically induced pain syndromes. Medical science now knows that ulcers are caused, or worsened, by emotional stress. Once this fact was accepted by the general public, the frequency of ulcers decreased steadily year by year. Yes, the discovery of the link to H. pylori bacteria does exist, but this is only because the mind creates an environment in which the bacteria can thrive.

Back pain has become the latest, greatest (last 50 years) psychological pain syndrome. The incidence of chronic back pain has reached epidemic proportions. The reason is the success of the disguise. No one suspects that back ache could possibly be the result of a psychological process. Many cases of PIPS act as back pain substitute symptoms.

Angina is a common and highly recognized version of stress-related chest and heart pain. Heart palpitations sometimes accompany angina or arrhythmia. This is a particularly dangerous form of PIPS.

Repetitive strain injury is one of the most misdiagnosed and prevalent health crises today.

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a psycho-emotional tormentor which enslaves affected patients with all-consuming rituals.

Chronic fatigue syndrome makes even the most basic physical and mental tasks nearly impossible to accomplish. Chronic fatigue is a very profitable niche in the healthcare sector.

Digestive tract sensitivity is an extremely common mindbody pain syndrome. Chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas, heartburn, nauseousness and Irritable bowel syndrome are all common effects. Many back pain sufferers also have one or more of these chronic symptoms that can last for years. Colitis is one of the worst GI disorders which may be linked to psychological issues.

Frequent urination can come from a wide range of psychological issues.

Heel spurs are another scapegoat used to explain chronic foot symptoms.

Bruxism is an annoying and sometimes painful teeth grinding nuisance.

Torn rotator cuff is a common shoulder diagnosis which is typically blamed for enacting painful symptoms, when in reality, the condition may be coincidental.

A frozen shoulder is a frightening condition which may be caused by structural or ischemic reasons.

Impingement syndrome can result from physical or mindbody conditions which affect the shoulder joint.

Skin disorders can be mindbody problems. Adult acne, psoriasis, eczema, hives and rashes are all commonly caused by repressed psychological issues.

Sexual dysfunction is a general term for a variety of conditions affecting both men and women. Erectile dysfunction is a particular form of sexual problem affecting a large percentage of men.

Asthma is a condition that may revolve around psychological causation and certainly involves almost universal emotional escalation.

TMJ / temporomandibular joint disorder is an increasingly diagnosed condition that affects the jaw bone, jaw joints and jaw muscles. It has always been linked to stress, but rarely thought to be caused exclusively by a psychological process.

Trigeminal neuralgia is a facial nerve pain syndrome which is often linked to a psychosomatic source.

Carpal tunnel syndrome should be awarded second prize for most creative use of a psychological pain syndrome, right after back pain. People think this condition is common and comes from repetitive use of the hands and wrists (typing). Doctors have jumped all over this condition, especially with pharmaceutical relief and surgery. A majority of diagnosed carpal tunnel syndrome cases actually involve a powerful, but harmless form of psychologically induced tendonitis. Read more about PIPS wrist pain.

Tennis elbow is often misdiagnosed as a structural injury due to overuse, but is commonly a psychosomatic tendonalgia.

Bursitis is a universal part of aging in many joints including the hip, elbow, knee and the shoulder.

Prostatitis is a common form of psychological pain experienced by middle aged men. This condition is sometimes interpreted as a pre-cancerous condition and can lead to unnecessary treatments.

Urinary tract problems are classic examples of psychological symptoms.

Allergies are certainly linked to psychological causes. Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, is one of the most common of all allergic sensitivities. Psychosomatic allergies are experienced physically, but induced psychologically.

Fibromyalgia is a perfect example of a psychologically induced pain syndrome. Doctors have been trying to figure out this epidemic condition for years, with little of no success. No surprise, since many have been trying to find a physical cause, rather than investigating the possibility that this is a psychologically induced condition.

Headaches are the most common acute expression of psychological pain. Everyone knows that headaches come from stress and anxiety. Ask any medical doctor, and they will tell you that emotions, stress, and worry definitely contribute to the cause of headaches. Here is some detailed information about tension headache and migraine headaches.

Hypertension is often caused or escalated by psychological issues. Paroxysmal hypertension is proven to be especially related to repressed emotional issues.

Knee pain is commonly caused or perpetuated by psychological factors. This condition plagued me for many years, but never became as severe as my terrible back pain. Psychosomatic knee conditions are responsible for countless unnecessary surgeries every year.

Leg cramps are often linked to emotional ischemia syndromes and can be very difficult to diagnose and treat using traditional medical modalities.

Iliotibial band syndrome is a common runner’s nightmare often caused by a psychosomatic process.

Anxiety is a universal condition which affects all of us to one degree or another.

Chronic vertigo is often sourced in the subconscious mind instead of the physical body. Many cases are mistakenly attributed to inner ear concerns.

Bell’s palsy is an idiopathic facial nerve paralysis condition which may be tied to the mind/body processes in many patients.

Psychologically Induced Pain Syndromes Conclusion

The list above are just some examples of common psychologically induced pain syndromes. The mind actually influences the entire general health of the body, so virtually any health condition might have a psychological component to it.

Psychological back pain is gaining more acceptance in the traditional medical community, as more undeniable facts gain acceptance in the general public. Research science has already discovered a link between the mind and the development of cancer. Some people die simply because they think it is their time.

I truly believe that the future of healthcare will eventually move more towards mindbody medicine. The process of preventing disease is always easier and more effective than treating it. The key to better general health is to embrace the power of the mind. We must accept its ability to affect our physical bodies for the better and for the worse or suffer endlessly under its whim.

I encourage all readers to further research these topics by reading the works of Dr. Sigmund Freud and studying the history of psychosomatic medicine. Not only is this fascinating material, but it will really reshape your thoughts on health and disease forever. This can be a very good thing for victims of chronic pain conditions.

In the past 10 years, I have seen sweeping changes in the use of mindbody modalities in traditional medicine. Once considered witchdoctor tactics, now there is not a single cancer treatment program in the US which does not utilize forms of knowledge therapy. Additionally, addiction treatment programs, pain management programs and therapies designed to treat an incredibly diverse range of diseases and conditions ALL utilize mindbody methods.

Lots of change is a very good thing indeed. I am happy and proud to have been a part of it for many years now. If you want the complete story on the full scope of mindbody disorders, then you must read the resources of our Cure Back Pain Forever Program. There is no better set of tools for defeating chronic pain available today!


Criticism of hysteria

The theory of hysteria has been heavily criticized almost since its reformulation by Freud, Charcot and other 19th century neurologists.

Feminist criticism

In her 2000 analysis, 34) Briggs says that scholars of women and gender have long argued that hysteria participated in powerful narratives of cultural crisis, which goes a long way toward explaining the logical glue that held together an apparently endless catalogue of symptoms as a singular syndrome. She goes on to say hysteria was the “provenance almost exclusively of Anglo-American, native-born whites, specifically, white women of a certain class.” “The primary symptoms of hysteria in women were gynecologic and reproductive—prolapsed uterus, diseased ovaries, long and difficult childbirths—maladies that made it difficult for these hysterical (white) women to have children.”

Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English, for example, have concluded hysteria is virtually a diagnostic fiction, arguing that nineteenth century physicians called upon narratives of nervous illness to denounce women’s agitation for expanded social roles. They cite the now classic example of Harvard president Edward Clarke arguing against women’s education in 1873 by claiming that the blood demanded by the brain would prevent the reproductive system from developing properly. 35)


Pain without any injury or illness? It could be psychosomatic

Why do we experience pain? Science explains that pain occurs because of tissue damage, so when we complain of pain, there must be a source of injury. It is called organic pain or somatic pain. The concept of psychosomatic pain (non-organic pain) was not considered until studies on hysteria by Breuer and Freud (1895) suggested that pain could be a manifestation of a psychological problem. [1] Also Read - 5 Reasons Why Self-Love Is Important For Your Mental Health

Psychosomatic pain, also called psychogenic pain, is a chronic pain disorder associated with psychological factors. Back pain that refuses to go away, splitting headache, say, after a marital discord, muscle pains and stomach ache during a traumatic period, all these are examples of psychosomatic pain. Also Read - How to beat stress during the Covid-19 pandemic: Eat more fruit and vegetables

Later, studies in the 20 th century revealed that psychosomatic pain usually occurs as a chronic pain. Psychosomatic pain works two ways: [2]

  • Experiencing pain triggers a chain of neurological events that lead to an altered psychological state and
  • Prior psychological states increase the risk for chronic pain due to cross-sensitisation (sensitivity to one substance predisposing sensitisation to another related substance).

This goes to say that both pain and the psychological state in the psychosomatic pain are responsible for the symptoms.

Causes of psychosomatic pain

Abuse — whether physical, mental, or sexual — has been proven to be one of the most important causes of psychosomatic pain. According to a study [3], at least 40 to 60 percent of women and at least 20 percent of men with chronic psychosomatic pain disorders report a history of being abused during childhood and/or adulthood. Researchers have found that abuse may physiologically and developmentally increase a person’s susceptibility to pain and that some organic changes may be associated with their pain.

Thoughts and perceptions are also believed to be the cause of fibromyalgia. Ivan Staroversky, a psychotherapist and a wellness counsellor from Canada, believes there are three main causes of illness trauma, toxicity, and thoughts. He is of the opinion that our thoughts can change our body chemistry.

Remember that cells, tissue and organs of the body do not question the information that is sent to them from the nervous system. Thus, we respond to life-affirming perceptions or self-destructive misperceptions every day. Our perception influences our fate. Our thoughts have the power to change our body chemistry. Some thoughts cause stress and some thoughts cause relaxation and self-rehabilitation, he says. [4]

Similarly, repressed emotions can cause psychosomatic pain. Psychosomatic disorders may appear to be purely physical but they originate in emotions that are unconscious or dissociated from consciousness. Loss and isolation can cut like a knife. Grief and anger can be stored in the muscles of the neck, head, back, or gastrointestinal tract, says Sharon Farber, psychotherapist from New York. All these factors could cause back pain, migraine or allergies.

Mind-body healers theorise that many symptoms of pain are an unconscious distraction that help repress deep emotional issues, which means the brain is so wired that you would prefer to feel the physical pain rather than experience emotional pain.

Stress is another important cause of psychosomatic pain. For example, a study by Pratibha Kane involving nurses in Indian hospitals revealed that psychosomatic disorders like acidity, back pain, stiffness in neck and shoulders, forgetfulness, anger and worry significantly increased in nurses having higher stress scores. Or in other words, incidences of psychosomatic illness increases with the level of stress. [7]

Symptoms of psychosomatic pain

How will you distinguish between psychosomatic pain and somatic pain? Following are some of the symptoms characteristic of psychosomatic pain.

  • When the pain you are experiencing does not match your symptoms or when your pain cannot be explained by a medical condition, though it is important to note that there are certain illnesses that do not show up in routine tests.
  • When you are not faking the pain and it is not caused by a psychological condition such as anxiety or mood disorder.
  • When the symptoms exacerbate or become more severe depending on the psychological factors.

Diagnosing psychosomatic pain

It is not easy to determine whether the pain is somatic or if your psychology plays a role in the perceived pain. It is very difficult for a doctor to establish how much of the problem is psychological and how much of it could be a serious medical condition! It becomes more difficult when the patient is unwilling to accept that their condition is psychological, partly or completely.

Staroversky discusses an interesting concept of diagnosing psychosomatic pain. It is called the placebo test. Put some sugar pills in a small glass bottle and explain to the patient to the point of convincing them that it s a very powerful remedy and the pain will go away in one week if they follow the instructions to the dot. If the problem goes away, it is a psychosomatic problem, if not, it may be a somatic problem. [4]

However, the first step to diagnosing a psychosomatic illness is to look at the whole human being and not just the symptoms of the illness. It is important to check their lifestyle, family history, social circle, their past, negative live events, abuse and so on.

Then blood tests, X-rays, CT scan, MRI, or other tests are done to rule out a serious medical condition.

Probable solutions to psychosomatic pain

Resolving psychosomatic pain requires more than just medicine. Simply treating the symptoms of pain will not resolve the issue. Health care practitioners need to go to the root of the pain and treat that cause .

Counselling and psychotherapy can help find out the real source of the pain by finding the connection between the physical pain and its possible psychological causes.

Stress management techniques can help individuals manage their physical and emotional health. For example, a study revealed that there is a positive relationship between job satisfaction and spirituality at work among sales professionals, which provides the relevance of spirituality at work to salespeople. Studies have also shown the importance of Vipasana meditation and yoga in improving psychosomatic pain. [5]

Sometimes, non-narcotic painkillers and anti-depressants can help resolve psychosomatic pain. Studies show that antidepressants can help ameliorate many unexplained symptoms, even if the person is not depressed, because the neural pathways for negative psychological and physical symptoms such as pain and depression are closely related. [6]

Physical exercise and physiotherapy can in many cases relieve psychosomatic pain.

The influence of psyche on pain symptoms is much more widely recognised now. What is now required more than ever is for pharmacologists, neurologists, orthopaedic surgeons and psychiatrists to work together to deal with the issue of psychosomatic pain.


Watch the video: Προαγωγή ψυχικής υγείας και ψυχοσωματική ιατρική Καλημέρα Θεσσαλία 14 2 2020 (August 2022).