Psychologically induced pain syndromes (PIPS) is the categorical name of actual physical health issues that are that the direct result of psychoemotional causative processes. In essence, the symptoms exist 100% in the body, but the source of the symptoms resides exclusively in the mind.
These disorders were brought to light by Sigmund Freud, and his many disciples, and recently have been championed by such well known physicians as Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. John Sarno and Dr. Deepak Chopra, among countless others.
These health crises are not imagined nor are they invented, exaggerated or fake. They are real and 100% verified by research and medical science. The mindbody processes have been shown to be incredibly influential on all the body’s systems and the effects of emotional scenarios on the body have been documented in far more research studies than can be cited here (or anywhere).
Psychological 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.
Learn all about psychological symptom escalation.
It is vital to understand right from the start that the theory of psychological 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.
to be the # 1 chronic expression of psychologically induced pain.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
is often caused or escalated by psychological issues. Paroxysmal
hypertension is proven to be especially related to repressed emotional
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some people die simply because they think it is their time.
Research science has already discovered a link between the mind and the development of cancer.
Psychological back pain is gaining more acceptance in the traditional medical community, as more undeniable facts gain acceptance in the general public.
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.