Psychogenic pain is a physical pain, also known as psychalgia that is caused by emotional, mental and behavioral factors. Some of the most common types of psychogenic pains are stomach pain, headache and back pain. It may occur in a person affected with a mental disorder, rarely.

 Emotional Pain Becomes Physical

But generally, it is induced due to the broken heart, social rejection, love sickness, grief, or tragic events. A person suffering from this is often stigmatized because the general public and the medical professionals tend to think that the mental source of pain is not real.

However, according to professionals, this pain is no less painful than other sources of pain. In this article, we will describe the symptoms, causes, and treatment of psychogenic pain, so read the article till the end.

Symptoms Of Psychogenic Pain

Symptoms Of Psychogenic Pain

There are two types of psychogenic pain disorders.

  • Acute: This pain occurs briefly and then disappears; normally it occurs for some days.
  • Chronic: This pain is persistent and occurs for over the course of week, months or even year.

When the pain is chronic it can produce a variety of symptoms. The level of pains can vary person to person which can be mild to severe and dull or sharp. In general, the symptoms of psychogenic pain are as following:

  • A feeling of persistent discomfort despite of taking medicine.
  • Confusion and hard to describe the quality, location and depth of pain.
  • Undefined locations of pains that comprises larger parts of the body.
  • Relapsing pain which is independent of any underlying medical condition.
  • If in the absence of any chronic disorder with physical cause these symptoms are present, the patient is likely to suffer from psychogenic pain.

Causes Of Psychogenic Pain

There are three theories which cause psychogenic pains in a person and these theories are suggested by the experts.

Theory 1

Some psychological factors in a person can cause psychogenic pain.

Theory 1

Anxiety Disorder

This disorder is the amalgamation of mental disorders in which the affected person is characterized by substantial feelings of fear and anxiety and some of its significant symptoms include shaking body and rapid heartbeat.

Bipolar Disorder

It is a mental illness that causes a rapid change in moods and ability to function is called bipolar disorder. It is named bipolar because it comprises two poles, one where dominant factors are depression and stress and another where dominant factors are mania or hypomania.


This disorder is characterized by almost two weeks of the persistent feeling of sadness in all aspects of the person’s life and by a lack of interest in any activity that was previously serene or rewarding.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Disturbing images, urges or images are comprised by this disorder and these are characterized in the affected person due to discomfort and anxiety, which the affected person then tries to reduce by engaging in repetitive mental acts or behaviors.

Panic Attacks

A panic attack is an abrupt surge of fear or anxiety and it reaches its peak within a minute and some of its symptoms include racing heart, derealization, shortening of breath and fear of dying.

Theory 2

Theory 2

If there is any previous injury, which has not been healed completely, yet, can cause the psychogenic pain. According to this theory, emotional problems can result from the pain and can increase the intensity of it if the ongoing physical causes of the pain are not treated.

Theory 3

Theory 3

An existing pain is felt worse than the actual situation warrants due to the psychogenic problems. According to this theory, the affected person is forced to feel exaggerated, to feel more extreme pain with a comparison to the extent of physical disease or injury because of any psychological disorder.

Note: Because the affected person can feel the sensations of pain in real, the ongoing mental disorder plays a role in increasing the intensity of the pain.

Consequences Of Psychogenic Pain

Consequences Of Psychogenic Pain

If the psychogenic pains are not treated on time, the affected individual may undergo a negative mental behavior or negative lifestyle. These negative activities include:

  • Alcohol abuse.
  • Drug abuse.
  • Fatigue.
  • Irritability.
  • Isolation.
  • Loss of sleep.
  • Memory loss.

Diagnosing Psychogenic Pain

When a patient goes for a checkup to doctor about pain, the doctor will make all the attempts at first to identify the reasons for the physical pain.

Diagnosing Psychogenic Pain

If the patient is identified to suffer from a psychological disorder, and there is no physical element can be diagnosed as the source of pain, then the doctor may start to suspect that it is because of psychogenic pain.

There will be a series of test such as CT scans, MRIs and blood tests, etc. performed by the doctor so that at the end he will be able to diagnose psychogenic pain.

Psychogenic Pain Treatments

Psychogenic Pain Treatment

The treatment of psychogenic pains include:

  • Getting physical therapy, especially when the muscles and joints are experiencing pain.
  • Making dietary changes.
  • Sticking to a healthy exercise regimen.
  • Taking medication.

After dealing with the psychogenic pains, the patients are then advised to be prepared on their psychotherapies advised by their psychologists or psychiatrists.

Note: It is typically easy to relieve the immediate physical pain. But the treatment of associated mental disorder can require more time and far more work. So you must have patience in order to recover.

Given below are some of the alternative treatments used by the psychologists or psychiatrist:

  • Acupuncture.
  • Behavioral training.
  • Family counseling.
  • Hypnotherapy.
  • Occupational therapy.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation in which the electrical nerve impulses are used to relieve the pain.
Note: If you found yourself present with any of the symptoms of the psychogenic pain, it is recommended to go for an expert advice. Treatment through therapy varies person to person according to the severeness of illness. Do not use any anti-depressant without the prescription of you respective psychiatrist.

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