Psychosomatic pain, a complex and often misunderstood phenomenon, reflects physical pain stemming from the interplay between the mind and body. The mind is linked to the body, so without any apparent injury or cause of pain; the body starts feeling pain and discomfort. This is caused by the thoughts or feelings in the person’s mind.
Apart from physical pain, the brain needs to be tailored not to suppress its feelings. This can be done through online counselling. This article delves into the intricate understanding of psychosomatic pain, its underlying mechanisms, causes, treatment methods, and more.
What is Psychosomatic Pain?
Psychosomatic pain refers to physical discomfort that arises from psychological factors. Unlike physical pain, where there is a direct injury or ailment, psychosomatic pain originates from emotional stressors.
Psychosomatic pain is usually medically unexplained. This pain is caused due to feelings and distressed feelings. Excessive negative thoughts lead to this and depressive feelings, which also affect the ability of the brain to perform its functions.
Psychological Origins of Psychosomatic Pain
It is related to the mind and thoughts, so it mainly originated from the mind. Multiple mental health issues can cause psychosomatic pain. Stress, anxiety, depression, or unresolved trauma can lead to physical symptoms. The brain perceives these emotional distresses and translates them into physical sensations, leading to discomfort or pain.
Physical pain can be in multiple forms, like headaches, migraines, backache, stomach issues, etc.
Common Symptoms of Psychosomatic Pain
Psychosomatic pain is caused in various parts of the body. It depends on the condition of your body. The pain usually affects the place that is weakest of all or closely linked to the mind. Most people suffer migraines or headaches, but other types of pain are related to it.
- Chronic Pain
Persistent pain without apparent physical cause. These are recurring and suppressing pains. They affect your daily life and can even cause issues in mobility.
- Gastrointestinal Issues
Stomach and gut-related issues are another common psychosomatic pain type. Issues like irritable bowel syndrome, slow metabolism, etc., are also related to psychosomatic problems.
Psychosomatic issues cause tension headaches and migraines. These can be hard to get rid of and are recurring. The nature of these headaches can be head-splitting pain, dizziness, and even unconsciousness.
- Muscle Tension
The psychosomatic pain affects muscles in the neck, shoulders, and back. Frozen shoulders and inability to move the hand or walk fast due to back aches are also linked.
Psychosomatic pain is different for everyone. Mostly, such pains go undiagnosed as the relation between the pain and feelings of a person can not be linked through any tests or screenings.
Causes of Psychosomatic Pain
Understanding the roots and causes of psychosomatic pain is essential for proper management. The main cause or root problem is hard to put your finger on as it relates to thoughts and feelings. A person under stress or going through a negative change in their life can suffer from psychosomatic issues. The causes can be complex and multifaceted, but there are a few categories in which we can categorise the causes.
- Emotional Trauma
Emotional trauma or unresolved conflicts can lead to physical manifestations of pain. The body translates emotional wounds into physical symptoms. It leads to pain in different parts of the body. It also can cause insomnia and sleep deprivation, weakening immunity and body functions.
- Stress and Anxiety
Prolonged stress and anxiety can result in physical symptoms like headaches and muscle tension. These mental states cause physiological changes, leading to discomfort. Stress leads to further issues in the body and its functioning.
Diagnosis of Psychosomatic Pain
A careful evaluation by healthcare professionals is needed to diagnose psychosomatic pain. There are mainly two ways in which the psychosomatic symptoms can be identified. These ways can further be branched out per the medical practitioner’s assessment; they may need to conduct tests, screenings, or other assessments.
- Medical Examination: The first step. The doctor tests for any physical injuries, other causes, pain, or problems.
- Psychological Evaluation: To identify underlying emotional or mental factors. Consultants or therapists do these tests. These can be identified through counselling.
Treatment of Psychosomatic Pain
The treatment of psychosomatic pain often requires a multidisciplinary approach. It can be cured through one way of treatment, but it will take longer than anticipated.
Counselling or psychotherapy can be effective in addressing the underlying emotional factors. There are multiple ways to get the treatment. Online counselling is also a great way to get treated from your home. In online counselling, the anonymity of the patient can also be maintained.
In some cases, medication like antidepressants may be prescribed to manage symptoms. These can be drugs of high potency to relax the brain and let it sleep better so that there are no negative thoughts.
- Lifestyle Changes
Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including stress management techniques, can be vital in treatment. This is a huge and permanent step. It takes time to get used to it, but it is also the most beneficial in the long run.
The Rising Importance of Online Counselling
Treatments have become better and easier with rapid technological advancement, and online counselling has emerged as an essential tool in addressing psychosomatic pain.
Like any other branch of medicine, it is inevitable to provide online counselling for psychosomatic pain and make the treatment boundariless. Online counselling allows individuals to access therapy from the comfort of their homes. It breaks geographical barriers, enabling many to seek help.
People who are afraid of being judged or do not want to reveal their identity prefer online counselling as it provides a sense of anonymity and privacy. This can be comforting for those dealing with psychosomatic pain as they don’t know the issue and can be reluctant to get help.
Online Counselling and Psychosomatic Pain: The Connection
- Understanding the Mind-Body Connection
Online counselling helps unravel the complex connection between mental states and physical sensations, clarifying the underlying psychological triggers. This is time-consuming and needs expert and professional training; any person with proper training will be able to help their client have the connection between their mind and body.
- Customised Treatment Plans
Through one-on-one online sessions, therapists can tailor treatment plans to address specific symptoms of psychosomatic pain. The patient gets specific attention through an online session and can talk their heart out to the counsellor.
The treatment plans cater to the specific client and their needs. It is not a generic treatment plan; usually, with mental health, it is important to have a customised plan.
- Integration of Multiple Therapies
Online counselling offers a platform to integrate various therapies, including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). This helps to speed up the treatment and produce effective results.
Techniques Used in Counseling
Within counselling, many types and ways fall under the vast umbrella. There are multiple ways to treat psychosomatic pain; the techniques that can be adapted are:
- Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT)
CBT is one of the most common treatments in counselling, depending on the needs of the patients. It is often used to treat psychosomatic pain, focusing on identifying and challenging irrational beliefs and thought patterns that may contribute to the pain. This targets the patient’s thought process and aims to treat it from the root.
- Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques
It is similar to connecting the mind to the body. It helps realise the link and heal from within. These can help individuals become more aware of their bodies and learn how to reduce tension and stress, which may alleviate pain.
- Emotional Support and Validation
Emotional support is important for people who suffer at the hands of their thoughts. Sometimes, having a professional acknowledge that the pain is real and not “all in the head” can be therapeutic.
This also helps with keeping the self-esteem of the person intact. They might have an unsupportive social circle, who try to belittle their pain, but having someone acknowledge it makes them feel heard.
- Trauma-Informed Care
If the psychosomatic pain is related to past trauma, a counsellor trained in trauma-informed care can help the individual process these experiences in a safe and supportive environment. Like PTSD, it is important to treat the thoughts and feelings the person has about the trauma they have been through. They need to have a forum to vent their feelings.
Educating clients about the mind-body connection and how emotional well-being can impact physical health might be part of the therapeutic process. This can cure much more than psychosomatic pain.
The person with a connection between their mind and body feels confident in their skin and can call out for help, unlike the underconfident and reluctant people who belittle their trauma and mental health condition.
- Integration with Medical Care
Sometimes, counselling may be part of a broader treatment plan that includes medical care. This is an approach necessary for longer-term benefits. Communication between healthcare providers and counsellors ensures that all aspects of a person’s health are addressed
Challenges and Considerations:
- Diagnosis: It can be challenging to identify psychosomatic pain, as an actual physical condition may require treatment. A thorough assessment by healthcare providers is essential. It is related to feelings and thoughts, so getting them on the radar and having a measuring scale for these pains is difficult.
- Stigma: Psychosomatic pain may be associated with stigma, as some may perceive it as “fake” or “just in the mind.” This can lead to a lack of understanding and support from family, friends, and healthcare providers. This also breaks the patient’s confidence, leading to feeling unwanted and having more negative thoughts.
- Individualised Treatment: Every person’s experience with psychosomatic pain is unique, so the counselling approach must be tailored to the individual’s specific needs, beliefs, and symptoms. The counsellor must be trained and highly qualified to do so.
The Process of Online Counselling for Psychosomatic Pain
- Initial Assessment
Understanding the client’s history and specific symptoms. The first step is to talk to the client and understand their issues to get to the root cause of the problem.
- Setting Goals
Collaborative goal setting for treatment. An achievable goal is set after assessment and coming to the root of the problem. This is for the client as well as the doctor/counsellor. They set goals for the short term as well as the long term.
- Regular Sessions
Weekly or bi-weekly online therapy sessions are necessary to achieve the goals. Through regular counselling and therapy, the client will feel a positive change.
- Monitoring Progress
Regular check-ins to assess progress. Regular sessions make it easier for the counsellor to monitor change and customise the plan as they progress.
Embracing the Future of Psychosomatic Pain Treatment
Psychosomatic pain presents a complex interplay between the mind and body, and online counselling offers a promising avenue for treatment. By combining accessibility, anonymity, and the integration of various therapeutic techniques, online counselling is an influential force in modern mental health care. This brings promise and hope to many who suffer silently without getting to the root of their problems.
However, it’s essential to approach online counselling with an understanding of potential challenges and to seek guidance from qualified professionals. The counsellor and their training play an important role in the sessions and the overall result of the sessions in clients’ lives.
Online counselling signifies a bold step forward in understanding and managing psychosomatic pain. It has become a ground-breaking practice to solve issues of those who are left without help. Its application holds tremendous potential to create a more accessible and responsive mental healthcare landscape.
Navigating Psychosomatic Pain: Final Word
Psychosomatic pain presents a unique challenge, intertwining health’s mental and physical realms. Recognising the connection between mind and body is the first step toward understanding and managing this complex condition.
The multifaceted nature of psychosomatic pain demands an individualised and comprehensive treatment approach. It is important to be recognised and treated timely.
Addressing the underlying psychological factors and employing a combination of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes can alleviate psychosomatic pain. A deeper understanding of oneself, emotional intelligence, and professional guidance are keys to successfully navigating and overcoming psychosomatic pain. The patient needs confidence and acknowledgement. The counsellor provides their client with it to fulfil and address their issues.