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What causes psychogenic pain?

Psychogenic pain is often caused by psychological factors. People experience pain that is caused by mental or emotional problems. People who suffer chronic pain from a physical injury can also develop psychogenic pain.

Dr. Marni Feuerman, LCSW, MFT
Marriage & Family Therapy

Psychogenic pain, also called psychalgia, is physical pain that is caused, increased, or prolonged by mental, emotional, or behavioral factors. Headache, back pain, or stomach pain are some of the most common types of psychogenic pain. It may occur, rarely, in persons with a mental disorder, but more commonly it accompanies or is induced by social rejection, broken heart, grief, love sickness, or other such emotional events. While psychogenic pain is primarily psychological, it is a very real type of chronic pain.

Psychogenic pain is often harder to treat than nociceptive pain or neuropathic pain. Traditional painkillers are designed to treat physical problems, such as inflammation or nerve dysfunction. With psychogenic pain, however, there is often no physical cause to find and treat.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.