Psychosomatic disorders are disorders which have physical symptoms and which are thought to be caused or aggravated by emotional factors.
Chronic pain is defined as pain that persists after an injury has healed or pain that lasts longer than six months.
There may be several reasons why people suffer from chronic pain.
Chronic pain often develops after a physical injury or an infection. It can also be associated with a decease such as fibromyalgia, cancer multiple sclerosis or stomach ulcers.
Sometimes people develop various pains in different parts of their body in the absence of past injury or evidence of body damage, which can be associated with emotional problems such as anxiety or depression. It often happens when people become over concerned with physical symptoms, which initially could have been associated with physiological symptoms of anxiety, such as physical tension or increased heart rate. Such symptoms can be interpreted as signs of having a physical disease.
Even if chronic pain develops as a result of emotional problems this does not mean that the pain is in your head; such pain is real and can be as debilitating as pain caused by a physical injury.
Independently of the causes of chronic pain, it is very often associated with emotional factors. Most people who suffer from chronic pain also suffer from depression, anxiety, anger, irritability or sleeping problems as a result of it. Such emotional factors contribute to subjective perception of pain and make pain feel worse therefore successful treatment of emotional problems also leads to improvement in subjective perception of pain.
Modern approaches to the treatment of chronic pain are based on cognitive-behavioural principles and focus on educating and teaching positive skills for coping with pain and addressing barriers to progress. It includes teaching such techniques as relaxation, identifying cognitive thinking errors, problem solving and assertion training.
Another approach to the treatment of chronic pain involves correcting the disruption of the energy system, which is centred on working with emotions and beliefs associated with chronic pain using Energy Psychology (EP) techniques. This approach often leads to significant reduction in pain.