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How to Stop Psychosomatic Pain: 5 Self-Care Tips
Mental Health

How to Stop Psychosomatic Pain: 5 Self-Care Tips

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on December 2, 2022
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6 min

Mental health issues can trigger a range of physical symptoms that leave you feeling pain. We bring the top 5 tips to help you help yourself when experiencing psychosomatic pain.

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Do you have unexplained aches and pains?

You could be suffering from a psychosomatic disorder. Anyone can experience psychosomatic symptoms occasionally. However, others are more prone to developing psychosomatic illnesses. If left ignored, these symptoms could significantly impact your overall health.

Due to a strong connection linking your mind and body, symptoms usually occur due to your emotional state. Therefore, you must take action to manage stress, anxiety, and other mental conditions triggering your physical pain.

In this article, you can find some practical strategies to help manage psychosomatic pain.

How to Stop Psychosomatic Pain? 5 Ways to Help Yourself Today

There is not always a quick fix to treat psychosomatic illness, as a range of factors can trigger symptoms. Practicing self-care is a fantastic place to start treating the underlying cause of your physical pain. It focuses on your mental health so you can begin tackling emotional pain.

Try the below tips to overcome psychosomatic pain.

#1 Try CBT-based psychotherapy

CBT, short for cognitive behavioral therapy, is a form of talking therapy. It focuses on changing how you think and behave to help you better manage mental health problems. The evidence behind CBT is strong, and it is one of the most studied forms of psychotherapy.

CBT-based psychotherapy is effective for anxiety, depression, and stress. It is also a common intervention for chronic pain and certain psychosomatic disorders. It can help break the pain cycle by altering how you view your discomfort and providing coping strategies for managing pain.

There are several ways to access cognitive behavioral therapy. You can try online therapy or attend face-to-face sessions with a mental health professional. Mental health apps like Sensa use the principles of CBT to provide therapy techniques to help change your thought patterns.

#2 Reduce your stress levels

Excessive stress is a key trigger for psychosomatic pain. When you are under stress, pain may occur as your body’s physical response. It can make you feel physically ill as cortisol levels rise, causing various symptoms, such as nausea, stomach aches, and other gastrointestinal problems.

Stress can trigger various aches and pains, from back pain to muscle spasms. Cortisol dysfunction is associated with stress-related chronic pain, as studies show that it may cause widespread inflammation in the body.

Relieving stress can provide pain relief or lessen symptoms. You can reduce stress with a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity, a balanced diet, and a good sleep schedule. Try implementing positive activities into your day, such as stretching and daily walks.

You can practice good stress management with mindfulness activities. Journaling, for example, helps you identify thought processes and patterns. It can help you discover possible stressors, allowing you to avoid or prevent a similar stressful situation from occurring.

The Sensa app is an ideal at-home tool for tackling chronic stress, handling negative emotions, and improving mental state. It has a mood journal for recording your feelings, daily tasks to keep you motivated, and quick relief exercises should you experience an anxiety or panic attack.

Sensa Health
Your calm mind assistant
  • Lessons based on the CBT method
  • Mood journal
  • Challenges & self-improvement activities
  • Quick relief function
  • Assessments to help you grow
Our rating:
4.5
Start Free Quiz Now

#3 Get enough sleep

Did you know that getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do for your mind and body?

Sleep deprivation can elevate stress levels and negatively affect physiological functioning. It can increase symptoms of anxiety and depression, and there is a connection between poor sleep and the development and maintenance of chronic pain.

The average person should aim for 7 hours or more sleep per night to promote optimal health. Sleeping less than the recommended hours can contribute to adverse health outcomes, including weight gain, high blood pressure, impaired immune function, and increased pain.

#4 Try herbal remedies

Herbal remedies won’t necessarily cure a psychosomatic illness but can relieve negative emotions like stress and anxiety. These formulations contain active ingredients from natural plant sources that offer soothing effects to the mind and body.

Common examples of herbs used to boost emotional well-being are chamomile, kava, and lemon balm. Many herbal remedies and medicines can work as natural painkillers to reduce psychosomatic symptoms, including lavender essential oil, ginger, turmeric, and capsaicin.

#5 Follow a healthy diet

Poor nutrition can contribute to anxiety, bad mood, and other emotional factors. Alternatively, a nutritious diet can help ward off negative symptoms and boost emotional well-being. Healthy eating habits are strongly associated with better mental health.

Moreover, eating well keeps your physical health intact. It helps you maintain a healthy weight, shift unwanted fat, and boost energy levels. Feeling good in your body can help you feel good overall. It may help you feel stronger and cope better with physical symptoms.

Fill your diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, fatty fish, and lots of water.

What Is Psychosomatic Pain?

Psychosomatic pain, also known as somatic pain or somatic symptom disorder, is a psychological condition that brings physical symptoms as a result of emotional factors. The physical symptoms may occur regularly, and often there is no medical explanation for them.

Those experiencing psychosomatic pain tend to believe a physical problem causes their pain. The pain may lead them to frequently visit their healthcare provider in search of a diagnosis and treatment. It can cause severe distress and frustration, as they may constantly wonder about their physical health and engage in hypochondriac thoughts.

Common symptoms of a psychosomatic illness include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Insomnia and trouble sleeping
  • Aches and pains in various parts of the body
  • Upset stomach and other digestive issues
  • High blood pressure

Is Psychosomatic Pain Real?

Yes, psychosomatic pain is real. While doctors may struggle to determine the precise cause of the physical symptoms or provide effective treatment, the physical pain is legitimate. Psychosomatic illness can be so debilitating for some people that it affects daily life and general tasks.

There is a psychological cause behind the pain since trapped emotions can manifest as physical discomfort. Stress-related physical symptoms can impact almost any part of the body. Muscle pain, stomach aches, muscle spasms, back pain, and headaches are among the most reported.

The extent and severity of the pain may fluctuate depending on your emotional state.

How to Know if Your Pain Is Psychosomatic?

It can be challenging to conclude that your pain is psychosomatic. Generally, a doctor might arrive at this conclusion if they cannot find anything physically wrong with you. It is also considered when the pain persists, and symptoms flare despite having medical treatment.

Several factors can help determine if you’re suffering from psychosomatic pain. Here are some examples:

  • The severity of your pain varies and changes in location
  • Your symptoms appear to occur in patterns, for instance, at certain times of the day
  • The pain arises or worsens during times of stress
  • You suffer from anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders
  • You have experienced a significantly stressful event or trauma prior to developing psychosomatic pain
  • Doctors cannot find anything wrong with your physical health

A Word From a Psychologist

Psychosomatic pain is pain that results from psychological factors rather than physical factors, such as an injury or disease. The pain can stem from your emotions or fears, and it may increase or decrease depending on the psychological pain you are experiencing.

Dealing with psychosomatic pain is challenging, but there are many ways to take action. A psychological approach is the best course as it allows you to discover and tackle the root cause of your pain. It can bring emotional turmoil, but it will aid in providing adequate relief.

Becoming more self-aware of your emotions and identifying triggers is an effective method. You can do this by paying close attention to your anxiety and stress levels and noting when physical pain occurs. Writing in a journal is a good way to keep track of your thought patterns.

You can also try psychosomatic therapy to help you get to the bottom of things. A therapist can support and guide you as you delve into your emotions and discuss your negative experiences. They can help you reach a deeper understanding of your psychosomatic pain.

Cognitive behavioral therapy explores the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and behavior. It is a particularly effective method for psychosomatic illness because it works to rewire your thought processes and transform the way you perceive your physical pain.

Self-care is another crucial step forward. Maintaining regular physical activity, eating a balanced diet, and practicing relaxation techniques with yoga and meditation help manage stress. It’s also beneficial to seek support from friends and family members.

Talk to your healthcare provider for advice if you are worried about physical or emotional pain.

Conclusion

Psychosomatic pain is a frustrating condition that takes a physical and emotional toll. Some people may never fully recover from psychosomatic illness, and symptoms may come and go. However, you can learn to manage stress and obtain better control over your emotions.

Dealing with the psychological problems that trigger your pain can reduce symptoms and even eliminate them entirely. Stress management is an essential practice that can promote overall health and wellness. Consider using the Sensa app as an entry point to mental wellness.

Sensa Health
Your calm mind assistant
  • Lessons based on the CBT method
  • Mood journal
  • Challenges & self-improvement activities
  • Quick relief function
  • Assessments to help you grow
Our rating:
4.5
Start Free Quiz Now
HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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